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Coming of Age in "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding

Coming of age is an event that happens in your life when you become more independent and turn into an adult. In the novel, Lord of the Flies, written by William Golding, a plane crashed onto a deserted island holding British boys. The boys had to work together to survive and get off of the island. Throughout the novel, Ralph was coming of age because he was the one who fought to keep civilization alive. He also tried to stop the other boys from becoming savages.

We could track how Ralph comes of age throughout the novel.

The first way Ralph shows to be coming of age is when he puts a sense of order on the island. Ralph found a conch and gathered the boys together and told them, “I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak, they won’t be interrupted” (33). We can see that there is a form of democracy, and any person who wants to speak will be allowed to.

The idea that the boys won’t be interrupted, shows that Ralph wants the boys to listen to each other and give each other respect even if they don’t totally agree with each other. Ralph is also the leader at this point because he is the one in charge of where the conch goes, and decides what each boy does for their job. This makes Ralph show that he’s coming of age because he is the authority figure and he is in charge.

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Ralph’s authority and sense of democracy become the pathway to his coming of age.

Ralph eventually sees that some of the other boys are starting to lose sense of civilization and move to savagery as time passes. Ralph, however, tries to remind the boys who they are. The boys let the fire go out (their hope of rescue) and Ralph angrily asks “Are we savages or what?” Ralph is trying to tell the boys that they have to behave better. The loss of the fire symbolizes a loss of hope of rescue. Letting the fire go out shows that some of the boys aren’t trying hard to get off of the island. This point of the novel is interesting because it shows Ralph is feeling tired from being the only authority figure and he is overwhelmed at trying to get so many boys to listen to his rules that will eventually save them. Ralph is starting to give up, but still has hope that they will get off of the island, which shows perseverance.

Finally, Ralph loses control of the boys because they’ve become savages, but refuses to join their tribe because he still chooses civility over savagery. When Simon gets falsely identified as the Beast and murdered, Ralph is the only one who will admit that it was murder. Also, after the murder of Piggy, Ralph still refuses to join them. Eventually, a naval officer comes to rescue the boys and asks Ralph if they killed anybody, and Ralph replied that they only killed two people. This statement implies that the boys could have ended up killing more boys if rescue hadn’t come. This point of the novel implies that Ralph isn’t afraid of the truth.

In conclusion, the novel Lord of the Flies shows the power struggle between two different boys, and shows that people need civilization and rules to act normal. Without civilization and rules, people will become savages, and act like Jack’s tribe in the novel. The author, Golding, makes Ralph come of age by showing him grow as a leader and remain the only boy who didn’t move to savagery. Ralph was in the novel to show the readers what would have happened if savagery took over civility. Ralph came of age in this novel, and showed that people need civility and rules to function properly in their society.

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Coming of Age in "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding. (2020, Sep 09). Retrieved from

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