Do you remember having to watch your little brother or sister while you parents were at work? Remember how annoying or reckless they would be? You would always want to tell but as soon as your parents came home they were the nicest human beings ever. You always wondered, “why do you have to be so evil when they’re not around.” This is because kids only remain civilized when under the authority of their parent. When their parent are not around they become savage, due to not having consequences for their reckless behavior.
In chapter one of “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, two of the main characters, Ralph and Piggy’s plane has crashed, they were now on a mysterious island with no clue of what happened. As they meet each other they begin talking about what might have happened as they walk around their new found environment. While still exploring, one of the boys Ralph says to Piggy, “‘Aren’t there any grownups at all?’ ‘I don’t think so.’ The fair boy said this solemnly; but then the delight of a realized ambition overcame him… ‘No grownups!’”(8) Based on this quote you can notice that when Ralph discovered there were no grownups, the feeling of delight and freedom seemed to overcome him. He was happy with this information because it now allowed him to do what he wanted without worrying about the consequences he would usually face when around his parents. Since there were no grownups Ralph now had a wide range of freedom, which he then uses. As described in various parts of the book, Ralph had fun and did things that didn’t really help them in survival ways but allowed them to be the young boys they were. Even if allowing by them to do this, it sometimes ending in a very savagual way, there were no sorts of consequences or punishments that followed their actions. This is what they liked and continued until the grownups would show up and put them back into a civilized mindset.
This type of savage behavior that the boys of “Lord of the Flies” have been portraying not only occurs once, but in multiple occasions of this book, like in chapter four. One of the boys named Roger decides to throw rocks at one of the younger kids named Henry. The narrator explains that Roger does not hit Henry, he left space between Henry and where he threw the rocks. They explained how Roger was older and strong and could have did anything to harm Henry, but he didn’t. “The taboo of old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents… Roger’s arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins.”(62) You can see from this quote that Roger was brave enough to be savage and decide to throw rocks at Henry, but when it came to actually hitting Henry there was doubt. In the quote it even states that the invisible circle portrayed to be around Henry represents the protection of parents, which makes Roger scared that if he actually hits Henry there will be consequences. Rogers understands that he is alone with Henry on this island without any bigger authority to oversee him, but in his mind he still fears the thought of consequences from higher authority. Roger does not want to accept the fate of punishment so he acts only a little bit savage towards Henry but not dangerously savage because he still fears the need to be civilized to not have to face a consequence from the authority of the parents.
These types of behaviors not only happens in “Lord of the Flies” but there are also many cases of it in the real world. For example, one of the largest riots ever experienced in Los Angeles, California, the Watts riot of 1965. This riot destroyed many buildings and places and also injured over one thousand people; it was also lead by many of the teenagers in that time. In the recent documentary “Bloodz & Crips - Made in America” one of the men who participated in the riot, Kumasi said, “Our elders felt you should bite the bullet, suck it up… The parents are coming from places where black men are expected to step off the street and say yes sir to a twelve year old white boy… Their children however have a very different perspective… You took it, were not” This quote shows how the kids were being savage and starting huge riots when they were not with the parents. Most of the parents were civilized and didn’t find the need to fight, they knew what was happened but they accepted it as life. Whereas, the kids weren’t in the presence of parents and decided to think savagely and recklessly by themselves. Most of the kids who listened to their parents were civilized and safe within their houses. This shows how when the kids used their own thinking they decide to act recklessly and non-civilized.
Another example of kids and their savage behavior when not under the authority of their parents is a recent girls fight at Edison High School in Philadelphia, PA. There was a group of girls at that school who cornered one girl in a bathroom and physically beat her up. The video is now viral and many parents and other classmate have spoke on this topic. One classmate actually made the remark, “It’s not a bad school, it’s the kids in the school.” This quote explains how it is not the authority or the higher people who make the school seem savage but it is the kids in the school whose behavior have been very savage and effect the looks of the school. The kids are not in direct contact with their parents allowing them to be very mindless and make reckless decisions. Also, the kids went into the bathroom, neglecting themselves from any possible authority to intervene. This allows the kids to completely forget anything that could possibly turn their minds civilized and allows their minds to just go dramatically savaged.
Overall, kids do what they want when given the freedom to make that decisions. Parents are the switch that sends the kid’s brain civilized. So, next time you’re watching your little brother or sister, be aware that there will be some complications that only the parents can fix. Until they come home, well good luck.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin, 2003.
Bloodz &Crips - Made in America. N.d. 22 May 2012. Web.
Hopper, Jessica. "Caught on Tape: Teen Girls Fight at Philadelphia High School." ABC News. ABC News Network, 07 Jan. 2010. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.
"Watts Riot Begins." History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.
"Watts Riots." Watts Riots. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.