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Lord of the flies comparison

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Introduction

How does Society treat and influence children in the novels Lord of the Flies and Oliver Twist? Throughout the course of the two novels, Oliver Twist and Lord of the Flies, the child characters are forced to assume adult roles because they have been isolated from, or excluded by society. The change the children undergo, particularly in Lord of the Flies could be described as 'growing up', obtaining experience and knowledge beyond their years, or a loss of innocence. One of the main ways in which children in these novels assume adult roles is through the way they attempt to govern themselves. This is particularly evident in Lord of the Flies as the boys are forced into a situation many of that age dream of; living without adult supervision. This quickly loses its appeal as the boys realise they have to establish some kind of rule and democracy, they elect a leader and soon something akin to a hierarchy is established, much like that of a real Western society. There is also a link to old tribal methods of establishing order, for example the Conch, which is similar to a Native American talking stick, which you had to possess to speak at a meeting and it was passed around so everyone had the opportunity to speak. ...read more.

Middle

It is evident that the wellbeing of the child was not considered by their 'owners' and confrontation existed in society between boys and men, as the adults exploited them for money and slave labour;"the man against the child for a bag of gold". Throughout the two novels the characters evolve and are influenced by the society and events around them. Oliver is described as having experience beyond his years and over the course of the novel he begins to realise more and more about the cruelty of society. He is described as being "too well accustomed to suffering, and had suffered too much where he was, to bewail the prospect of a change very severely." This shows that he has gradually come to accept that he has been rejected by society, and he is doomed to live in poverty for what he believes will be a short life. This emphasises his loss of innocence as a child of his age should not be in such a situation. The boys portrayed in chapter twelve of Lord of the Flies are very different characters to those innocently swimming in the lagoon in chapter three; they have become tribal savages who have hunted and killed animals and even their fellow boys in order to survive. ...read more.

Conclusion

Oliver also possesses an innate sense of hope despite his desperate situation. When he is shot and dying he "stirred and smiled in his sleep, as though these marks of pity and compassion had awakened some pleasant dream of a love and affection he had never known". In conclusion, Oliver Twist and Lord of the Flies both depict children in their struggle for survival against a society dominated by adults; a situation which is summed up by Fagin as "the man against the child, for a bag of gold". On the other hand, in Lord of the Flies, the threat to the boy's survival is largely caused by the lack of the very same society. It is necessary for Oliver and the stranded boys in Lord of the Flies to grow up emotionally, although this is not portrayed as a positive thing as the boys gradually lose their innocence. This process is evident in Ralph, as he begins the novel as "old enough, twelve years and a few months, to have lost the prominent tummy of childhood; and not yet old enough for adolescence", and ends the novel weeping for his loss of innocence and the death of his friends. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 All sources/quotes taken from Oliver Twist (February 1837 - April 1839) by Charles Dickens or Lord of the Flies (September 17th, 1954) by William Golding. ...read more.

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