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At the end of the novel the Naval Officer says, "I know. Jolly good show, like The Coral Island." Why did Golding choose to end the novel with such a mistaken view?

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Introduction

At the end of the novel the Naval Officer says, "I know. Jolly good show, like The Coral Island." Why did Golding choose to end the novel with such a mistaken view? At the end of chapter 12 suddenly Ralph looks up to see a naval officer standing over him. The officer tells the boy that his ship has come to the island after seeing the blazing fire in the jungle. Jack's hunters reach the beach; upon seeing the officer, they stop in their tracks. The officer, stunned at the sight of this group of bloodthirsty child-savages, asks Ralph to explain. When he learns what has happened on the island, the officer is reproachful: how could this group of boys, he asks, and English boys at that, have lost all reverence for the rules of civilisation in so short a time? ...read more.

Middle

Golding's use of irony in the novel's last chapter complicates the boundaries between civilisation and savagery, implying that the two are more closely connected than the story has illustrated. After all, the boys' appalling savagery brings about the rescue that their most co-ordinated and purposive efforts were unable to achieve. Still, many readers of Lord of the Flies have criticised its ending, feeling that Ralph's death would have provided a more appropriate conclusion to this dark novel. It is certainly true that the biting irony permeating Golding's characterisation of the naval officer-who is unable to understand how upstanding British lads could have acted with such poor form-is tonally inconsistent with the dramatic register of the rest of the book. In other words, his appearance is somewhat anti-climactic. But it is important to recognise that the novel's ending is not particularly happy, and that the moment in which the officer encounters the boys is not one of pure, untainted joy. ...read more.

Conclusion

This conclusion is not just a trick to make a happy ending; it serves a deeper purpose. We are asked to compare Golding's novel with Coral Island, which was another book with a similar background to this novel. It is also about boys on an island, but instead of turning savage like in Lord of the Flies these boys convert savages that are already on the island into Christians. This gross misinterpretation by the officer shows that society refused to see the evil inside us all. This ending shows that the officer represents society and it's lack of willingness to address evil. " The officer, surrounded by these noises, was moved and a little embarrassed. He turned away to give them time to pull themselves together, and waited, allowing his eyes to rest on the trim cruiser in the distance." By Sarah Du Cass´┐Ż Bottom of Form 1 ...read more.

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