Childhood is portrayed as being full of difficulty and fear. How do the writers of Lord of the Flies and I'm the King of the Castle present this?

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Both Hill and Golding present many ideas about how childhood is full of ‘difficulty and fear’. In novels written almost wholly about the actions of children, it is somewhat surprising to find that the roles of ‘Lord’ and ‘King’ are found in the titles of each novel. Perhaps, this is to portray the way in which children are often forced to adopt more mature responsibilities as a result of a lack of civilisation or influence on their lives. Both Hill and Golding portray ideas about how childhood is fraught with prejudice, the desire for power, and the conflicts this creates. Hill moreso uses her novel as a warning, as to what could happen if these events continue, whereas Golding uses his novel as an allegory, with hidden messages about this topic, and he especially uses the island as a microcosm to reflect the events of the real world.

Both writers portray childhood as being under constant threat from prejudice in both novels. Although all main characters are children, and it should be assumed that they would treat each other equally and fairly, as they have not yet grown enough to discriminate against people for certain reasons, it is fairly evident in both novels that those who are different are ostracised. In Lord of the Flies, Golding writes how ‘Piggy was an outsider’. This creates the impression that Piggy does not fit in with the rest of the boys, and possibly that he does not ‘belong there’. This is most likely due to him being ‘fat’ and due to his ‘specs’ and accent, showing how Piggy is excluded by the upper class boys purely due to superficial reasons. Through this, perhaps Golding is trying to illustrate that the older generations, specifically men, have had an effect on the children, due to the prejudice involved in warfare. This is because Golding was possibly known to be a pacifist, and spoke out against warfare, and especially the way in the British forced their power upon other nations, due to them being perceived as inferior, similar to the way in which Piggy is used by the boys for his ‘specs’, to light the fire, rather than being respected for his logic or intelligence. This is reflected in Hill’s novel, as Kingshaw is instantly prejudiced against by Hooper, due to his lower-class upbringing and relative lack of wealth. The fact that Hooper speaks about how ‘it's not your house then’ and jests at him once he learns that he is a ‘Governor’s Bequest Boy’ goes to show how Hooper uses his own wealth as a tool to prejudice against others. Although both children are described to be only ‘almost eleven’, this sort of prejudice still occurs, showing how the upper class adults possibly influence their children to look down upon those with less wealth. This relationship in fact causes Kingshaw to feel ‘extreme isolation’, which is caused by Hooper’s ‘relentless persecution’. The adjectives of ‘relentless’ and ‘extreme’ emphasise the events taking place, and it is further shocking that a child is having to experience something that only an adult would have been thought to have to face, and the fact that this ‘persecution’ is being caused only through a relationship with another young boy is further shocking. Both Kingshaw and Piggy are children who are perceived to be lower class, and therefore it is not surprising that they are equally poorly treated by the upper-class children. Perhaps, Hill is using Hooper as a symbol of the British upper class, and through this striking relationship, she is most likely trying to portray the effect of the behaviour of the upper classes on general society, and is using the relationship between the two boys to emphasise that events like this can also effect the youngest members of society. It is known that both writers were possibly critics of the British upper classes, and, it is possible that these writers are trying to highlight the issues with the British upper classes.

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Furthermore, it is portrayed by both writers that childhood is fraught with the effects of the desire for power. This is showcased in Golding’s novel, through the desire for power between Ralph and Jack. Both characters are seen to desire power, as they both wish to be ‘chief’ and aim to win the initial ‘vote’ that is held on the island. Although this seems to be somewhat of a mature procedure, the fact that they desire to be ‘chief’ and the fact that Jack states ‘I can sing C sharp’ as sufficient reasons as to why he deserves to ...

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