From the start of the novel, the children are unable to unite and work together. This lack of teamwork and order is a major factor hindering their survival. For example, in chapter three, Jack separates himself from the group to go hunt for a pig, while the others stay at the campsite building shelter. On page 41 Ralph accusingly says, “You remember the meeting? How everyone was going to work hard until the shelters were finished? ” and Jack replies with, “Except the hunters. Well, the littluns are-. ” Immediately the group is broken up into three sections.
The large group consists of the hunters, who follow Jack into the woods to hunt for unnecessary luxuries. The second group consists of littluns that act on impulse and rummage around the island playing games. Finally Ralph’s small group dedicates themselves to survival and essential teamwork. These three groups all have different interests from one another and their stubbornness and single mindedness does not allow them to unite with one another to create a “successful” society. In chapter four, these groups again form and the struggles arise as the littluns along with Roger and Maurice do not contribute.
Roger and Maurice torture the boys as, “Roger led the way straight through the castles, kicking them over, burying the flowers, scattering the chosen stones” (50). This not only shows that the littluns are separating themselves from the group but also that some of the older boys like Maurice and Roger are being non-productive bullies rather than leaders. With the distinct separation among groups, the boys are unable to summon the man-power to create a strong enough civilization to ensure survival. Ralph’s efforts to create order and teamwork are not effective, particularly among the other two groups, the littluns and the hunters.
Without teamwork or order within the society, the rules become meaningless. The society in which these boys now live is chaotic and unorganized with guidelines that are not followed. Towards the middle of the novel, Ralph realizes that the group has defied all rules and their civilization is in a downward spiral. The kids refuse to work building shelters, they do not collect drinking water, they ignore the signal fire and they do not even use the designated toilet area. Ralph tries to motivate the group to take care of their responsibilities by making them suffer a night without shelter and other luxuries.
Ralph is unable to single-handedly enforce the rules. None of the role models on the island enforce the rules and work as a hole, leaving for the only option of failure. Unfortunately Ralph waits too long to enforce these rules after they have been repeatedly broken and therefore hope for order rapidly weakens. If the simple day to day tasks are not performed, the quality of life will quickly deteriorate and each child will be left fighting for himself. In chapter six, the boys miss an opportunity where they could have been saved.
The lack of commitment is proven when, “In theory one should have been asleep and one on watch. But they could never manage to do things sensibly if that meant acting independently… they had both gone to sleep” (84). Sam and Eric did not live up to their responsibilities. The fire, which was their most important tool for survival, had been neglected when it was most needed. The planes flew overhead that night and no signal was there to attract their attention. The group had abandoned all strategies created to insure their survival and therefore will suffer the consequences.
The biggest asset to a group’s survival is the strength of the leaders. Early in the book, Ralph is elected leader by the group, and with his good intentions and sound strategies, the boys appear to be in safe hands. However, the conflict between Ralph and Jack divides their society into two feuding groups. Ralph’s group is very small and inexperienced. It consists of Ralph, Piggy, Sam and Eric and a couple other littluns. They try and follow Ralph’s ideas for shelter and other provisions but simply do not have the manpower for success.
Ralph has proven that he has the characteristics of a good leader by uniting people under one common goal. Jack’s barbaric group poses a tremendous threat to Ralph’s smaller, weaker group. With civil warfare on the island there is almost no hope for all to survive. Jack’s group, the hunting group, has become wild and perilous. They spend their days hunting the mythological beast (created in the minds of the littluns) and believe it to be a real threat. Their group has no order and they have continued to participate in unthinkable acts.
In chapter eight, Jack and the hunters brutalize a sow and Roger drives a spear up its anus and leaves its head on a sharpened stick as a sacrifice to the Lord of the Flies. This illustrates that the group has crossed the line into frightening barbaric behavior which threatens the other boys. Jack has unified the hunters not under a common purpose but under the act of savagery. The feeling of family and belonging to a group is such a primary need that they are willing to be violent and become dangerous towards those who not members are in order to belong. They have departed
from any semblance of civilized behavior. They have become barbarians. After brutalizing the sow, they assault Simon and deliberately beat him causing an agonizing death then dump his dead body off a cliff. Their savagery has escalated and they have totally lost control of themselves and each other. Ralph even says, “I’m frightened. Of us” (140). There is no telling what the group is capable of. The beast is no longer the enemy as Jack’s group has risen to power. All civilization and sanity has been lost and the island has turned into nothing but a survival of the fittest.
The boys’ society has been extinguished, much like the fire… both due to lack of responsibility and rules among the boys. William Golding illustrates the importance of a structured society in the Lord of the Flies. The lack of civilization on the island not only shows us what is required for the survival but also the gruesome consequences that result from the depths people will go to for survival. It is clear that society requires laws, order and good leadership. These rules and laws must been forced with fair and just consequences to provide sound guidelines and maintain a society.