the Boy's Behavior and Sense of Order


How the Boy's Behavior and Sense of Order Begins to Disintegrate in Chapter 5 of Lord of the Flies by Golding 



Reading about the appearance of the boys and the rules they are flaunting, the audience learns that order on the isolated island is disintegrating. The boys no longer care for the rules that were established by Ralph and are beginning to form an alliance of their own. The conch is rapidly losing its role as being the item that summons order and some boys are becoming anxious by the beasties that are not real, but fear is travelling from the small boys to the older ones who contemplate about the beasties. It is this anxiety of the unknown, which creates fear leading to the boy's disintegration. As the days of waiting continue, the boys care for the rules are nowhere to be found. This disregard of the laws of the land, implemented shortly after the crash, is starting to annoy Ralph, the lawmaker, and he summons a meeting. “Look at us! … We can’t keep a fire going to make smoke. Don’t you understand? Cant you see we ought to – ought to die before we let that fire out”. Ralph is trying to communicate two messages. One, that the fire is an important means of survival and one of the only chances of release form the island. Two, that the boy’s behaviour is disintegrating. The boys, if back in they’re homeland would abide by any law, but it seems on the island the law does not exist. 


The reason the boys are disconnecting themselves from the rules is because the rules are not fun. Any fun that was to be found on the island has been discovered and there is nothing left to do but sit and wait. The boys turn to mischief because they are bored and scared. This fear, especially in the younger boys, is caused by the “beasties”. The boys fear of “twisty things in the trees”. However the twisty things have never been seen by more than one boy and have never been spotted in daylight. This suggests that either everything is not what it seems on the island or the beasties are just figures in a bad dream. Both seem true. The island is not what it is supposed to be. It is not a sunny beach with palm trees, it is not a holiday island with soft lapping waves and it is definitely not a pleasant setting. The dreams too are not pleasant things. This leads me to think that the reason order is breaking down is from fear of the island and fear of the unknown on the island. The appearance of the boys seems to disintegrate as time passes as well as the order. “The folds were stiff like cardboard and unpleasant” is used to describe Ralph’s shirt as he goes to the meeting. It tells us how over time the one thing that they have from the past civilisation, apart from the civil order, is rotting and becoming uncomfortable. It shows that the shirt, like the order, is disintegrating. Folds suggest that something was full has now become something smaller. “Stiff” suggests something uncomfortable and has connotations of impaired mobility and unmovable. I feel that the quote is referring to the boys. That before the boys were nice, obedient and free but they have evolved into boys that are stuck in a place, the island, and have changed from pleasant children into beings that evoke feelings of disgust. The boys are unpleasant in the way they behave. 


For example the boys no longer use the rocks as a lavatory but rather use the nearest space they can find. The image of boys urinating on food is a contrasting image much like the image of conflict between the friends of before. The children are not getting along like they used to do. The boys no longer show courtesy to each other and shout what they want to say rather than waiting for the conch to become vacant. The boys are tearing into different groups because of their views. The hierarchy that is developing shows that the boys are disintegrating from children of equal status to the survival of the fittest. “He cant hurt you: but if you stand out of the way he’d hurt the next thing. And that’s me.” This shows that the disintegration of the boys might be due to the rise and fall of status of some characters. Jack and Ralph are high status characters but Piggy is a low status character. The opinions of the boys are tearing the group into two, stronger and weaker, and as this is occurring, the order disintegrates and the boys are turning more savage. To settle issues, they resort to fighting instead of more diplomatic talks. This reminds me of what people were like in times before. It makes me think that the boys are disintegrating into a civilisation of the past like Egyptians or cavemen and not evolving into the men of the future. In chapter five, Golding shows the boy’s disintegration through who they are and what they wear. I think the author tries to show that the boys are disintegrating in personality and clothing so that the audience is aware of what is occurring.

 The boys can be judged by their covers because they are dirty and not the same as before. The disintegration is due to the boredom and fear that the boys suffer from and the mix of views of how the island should be run. The boy’s disintegration is shown by the boy’s use of primal instincts such as fighting and hunting instead of more modern means of discussion to establish who are the leaders.