The Responsibility of People with Power

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, is a complex story with many interpretations and subjective meanings. Showing the reality of a grim situation, Lord of Flies captures the essence of fear in the unknown and the importance of power to humans. What these stranded boys decide to do with their individual power shows the harsh mentality of nature and the selfishness humans are capable of.  Instead of helping each other using their different strengths they attacked those who were physically weaker. Do people with power have any responsibility to help people with less power than them? In the case of this novel, the answer is no. These kids care about themselves more than others. Their behavior towards having power can be somewhat blamed on the environment they were in. Alone with no authority, but this type of behavior can be seen in real world examples like bullying.

Much like children in a school, these boys bully each other out of lack of knowledge of what is morally right and morally wrong. The only difference is on a small desolate island they have no consequences to their actions. There are no adults to punish and lecture them about what is morally correct. From the very beginning of the book, Piggy was often teased for his weight. He trusted Ralph, and told what that the kids at school used to call him. From that point on we never learn his real name, everyone calls him Piggy.  ”They use to call me ‘Piggy’. Ralph shrieked with laughter. Piggy!Piggy! Ralph-please! Piggy! Piggy! I said I didn’t want to be-Piggy! Piggy! ” (11) This quote from the text hints at what life on the island will be like already.  The boys have quickly picked out the weaker lengths and put them in their place, a choice they derived off of age and physical appeal. Although they try to follow Ralph’s rules, which were all very orderly and constructive, the group split because most of them appreciated the destructive nature of killing. It is not uncommon for bullies to create what is known as bully packs, where a group of people bother the same people over and over again. The children on this island did not care about helping others, maybe a trait they adapted from the society they lived in before they crashed on this island.

Another example from, Lord of the Flies, is when Simon is attacked after all the boys mistake Simon for the non-existent beast they created. They circle him, stabbing and screaming. Simon is completely vulnerable. “ Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Simon was crying out- The beast was on it’s knees in the center, it’s arms folded over it’s face. It was crying out against the abominable noise. At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt onto the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws.” (153) None of the boys were sure what came over them, but when they realized they were killing Simon, not a beast, they continued. Simon, similar to Piggy, was very intelligent, but like the rest of them he was going insane. Simon found the dead body at the top of the mountain, he knew the beast wasn’t real. In a way he was their defense between reality and the crazed universe they have built to conceal it. Even Piggy and Ralph, the most peaceful of the group, gave in to the relentless peer pressure and aiding in the killing of Simon. Simon could do nothing, his strength was not enough to defend himself against an entire group of boys, similar to the case of school bullies. Bullies often round up people who share a similar thirst for control. In this case Jack and Roger taught the boys to enjoy the thrill of killing and everyone joined in, no one could deny the feeling.  These boys did not worry about helping those with less power than them. They only basked in the feeling of being powerful and moved on to their next victim.

Piggy, a character from Lord of the Flies, falls victim to verbal and physical abuse throughout the story. The others proclaim him weak because of his physical appearance and anxiety prone personality, he is seen target. Immediately he is teased and ignored despite his undeniable intelligence.

“I got the couch- Then the monstrous red thing bounded across the neck and Ralph flung himself flat while the tribe shrieked. The Rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee. Piggy saying nothing, with no time for even a grunt. ” (181) This is how Piggy died on the trapped island. Trying the bring everyone together, he screamed about the importance of working as a team and staying away from violence, holding the symbol that once held them together. Instead of listening Roger rolled a giant rock off the cliff above them and killed Piggy. The kids on the island continuously ignore reality and the truth about how wrong violence is, they refuse to work together for a good cause.

Throughout the book the reader accompanies these children to a place of complete isolation and when their personalities clash, those who are considered weak are hunted. Murder becomes something to do, a fun game for the boys and it all started with the slaughtering of animals for food. Something that seemed like a survival skill suddenly became an obsession. The weaklings were disposed of, without a thought. This aspect of bullying goes further than just shredding a person’s self image. It goes further than beating each other up, but the way the boys treat each other has many connections to modern day bullying. In many cases of school bullying, bullies actions go too far, when people start to sustain serious injuries and end up hospitalized. On this island there wasn’t anyone to stop them, but if their was none of those boys would be dead.

Work Cited:

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Perigee, 2006.

Comments (1)

Destiny Patton (Student 2018)
Destiny Patton
  1. I agree with her comparisons because bullying is re;evant in the real world today and in the book

  2. Much like children in a school, these boys bully each other out of lack of knowledge of what is morally right and morally wrong. The only difference is on a small desolate island they have no consequences to their actions.

  3. I really liked this essay because Hannah used a lot of very powerful words some were big some were small but it gave her essay a lot of power and emotion.