Book Review on The Lord of the Flies
One's need to fit in override one's morality and ethics eventually, although there are some exceptions. You can see this happening in real life, as people change their appearance or how they act to fit in with peers around them. In the book, The Lord of the Flies, you can see examples of both when people attempt to fit in with the norm, and when people don’t. This includes when the kids follow whatever they see around them and also when Jack runs off on his own. Following this norm seems to be what the characters strive to do, including their chief, Ralph, as even he would look away as long as he fits in.
Society often follow what they see as the seemingly most dominant figure. When it came to selecting a chief to be in charge of all the boys on the island, the boys gravitated toward the most dominant seeming figure they saw. For the choir boys, this was Jack Merridew, as they grew up with him, and he could sing C sharp. From the book, Jack seems to be the most dominating figure to the choir boys, which was who the choir boys voted for to be the chief of them and the others on the island. However, all of the other boys didn't know Jack, so they had a different point of view, except for what they saw around them. Their point of view, as the book states, after Roger suggested that people should vote for a chief, "the clamor changed from the general wish for a chief to an election by acclaim of Ralph himself. None of the boys could have found good reason for this; what intelligence had been shown was traceable to Piggy while the most obvious leader was Jack. But there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch." (Pg. 21)With the conch, and the fact that there were no grownups, Ralph seemed to be the most dominant person on the island from the kids perspective. This led people to vote for him, to which, he ultimately became the leader of the kids. Being the most dominant figure to the kids really influenced them. This shows that people get influenced pretty easily, even as this doesn’t seem to break their morals or ethics, Ralph was just sitting there and got elected as the chief, just looking dominant with the conch, just seeing how easily they are influenced.
Fitting in presents it's challenges when you know your morals and what you need to follow. Even when the kids seem to notice they break their morals or ethics, they still attempt to fit in. An example where someone overrides their morality and ethics is also shown in this book. Ralph, the chief, fell victim to trying to meet his people’s standards to fit in, and doesn’t even defend the first person he met on the island, Piggy. Before this example took place, Ralph had established a rule: whoever is holding the conch may speak uninterrupted. This rule was made to maintain order, to make sure that there wasn’t just chaos just people trying to speak over each other and end up screaming at each other. The book describes, “Jack dragged his eyes away from the fire. 'You're always scared. Yah-Fatty' 'I got the conch,' said Piggy bleakly. He turned to Ralph. 'I got the conch, ain't I Ralph?' Unwillingly Ralph turned away from the splendid awful sight."(Pg. 42) This exchange between Jack and Piggy shows Ralph not wanting to stray from the majority and become part of the minority, defending Piggy, even as Piggy explicitly called him out. Even Ralph knows he shouldn't ignore the exchange, he still does, breaking his morals. The book even uses the word "unwillingly" to emphasize the fact that Ralph knows he shouldn’t break his rules he set for himself and for the others go but still does. This is a prime example where Ralph overrides his morals, behavior and rules, that he himself made, in order to fit in.
One might be led to believe that one’s morality and ethics are always overridden by their need to fit in. However, the book shows times where these kids don’t follow the standards set upon them to fit in. These come mainly from the choir boys. Starting from the beginning, where they are the only people who vote for Jack to be chief. Toward the end, the choir boys then fall into the norm, and this time, when Jack proposes something, they don’t vote for what he says, instead, staying in the norm. However, it is what Jack does that is not part of the norm, and leads him to run away alone, as he attempts to impeach Ralph. The book states, "'Hands up,' said Jack strongly, 'Whoever wants Ralph not to be chief?' The silence continued…Slowly the red drained from Jack's cheeks, then come back with a painful rush...'I'm going off by myself. [Ralph] can catch his own pigs. Anyone who wants to hunt when I do can come too.' [Jack] blundered out of the triangle toward the drop to the white sand … He leapt down the platform and ran along the beach, paying no attention to the steady fall of his tears; and until he dived into the forest Ralph watched him." This quote from the book shows that not everyone wants to stay in the norm, and since Jack didn't approve of Ralph’s teachings, or what he says, he spoke out rather than to succumb to whatever he says. Jack is the most dominant choir boy after all.
In conclusion, throughout the book, you can see many examples of both people following the norm, and also sometimes breaking it as well. Although his position as chief makes him the more dominating figure, he still caves in to this pressure. Throughout the book, you rarely see only one person doing something that the other's aren't doing. The older ones could do one thing, such as making shelters together, and the little ones will help, but eventually they all go play, leaving the last shelter for the older kids. Based upon the examples stated above, Ralph being voted to chief by everyone except the choir boys, and caving in attempting to fit in, you can conclude that although there are exceptions, people try to fit in, and sometimes break their morals to do so, such as Jack breaking the norm and running away.
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