In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, innocence slowly disappears amongst the boys. The children are put in a position where they were forced to mature way beyond their years. Naturally, this ends with a complete loss of innocence among the young children. The author shows the decline from sinlessness to corruption in various ways, including the boys’ hunting, and the deaths of the boy with the birthmark, Simon and Piggy. The children’s loss of innocence also comes with the realization of the impact and consequences of their actions.Golding represents the kids’ gradual loss of innocence using the way they hunt. During the first chapter, the boys discover a pig stuck tangled in a bush. When Jack goes to slay it with his knife, he finds himself unable to stab the piglet, “because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood” (Golding 29). At this time in the book, he was still too pure. When the boys finally slaughter a pig for the first time, Jack encounters “the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had … imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink” (74). Jack finds himself able to toy with the shed pig’s blood and the rest of the hunters are “wedded to the sow in lust, excited by the … dropped blood” (148). Ultimately, Jack and the rest of his hunters have wandered so far from innocence that they actually hunt Ralph, planning to murder him like an animal and skewer his head on a sharpened stick. Golding also uses the deaths on the island and their increase in violence to show the fall from innocence. The boy with the mulberry scar is killed because of the carelessness of the other boys, which, although truly unfortunate, was not an intentional death. Next, the boys kill Simon in the heat of an intense moment. This crime was intentional, but not predetermined as they killed him because they thought he was the beast “crawling out of the forest” (168) and murdered after he “stumbled into the horseshoe” (168) formed by the boys. The death of Piggy was premeditated and is celebrated by Jack, as he “bounded out from the tribe and began screaming wildly” (201), making this another point in the novel where innocence is lost. By the end of the book, the boys pursue Ralph, aiming to kill him and impale his head on a stick, planning out his death with not an inkling of shame restraining them. Although the boys progressively get more violent and less innocent as the book goes on, they still retain part of the childlike behaviour that they came to the island with. This is represented well in the two scenes where the boys set the island on fire. As they let the signal fire get out of control, all the boys are celebrating until Piggy points out this is wrong. “You got your small fire all right. … the boys were falling still and silent, feeling the beginnings of awe at the power set free below them” (44). The same thing happens when they set fire to the island to find Ralph. “The fools! The fire must be almost at the fruit trees — what would they eat tomorrow” (220) They don’t stop and think about what they have done until they’re confronted by the naval officer. In both situations, the boys fail to account for any possible complications that could come out of these situations, which resulted in the death of the boy with the mulberry mark, and had the naval officer not rescued them when he did, they would have burned down the entire island, leaving them without any type of shelter or food. Within the text, the boys conduct themselves with an “act first, think second” attitude, a mindset that is very common among kids their age. They carry this attitude until the end of the novel when they are forced to accept everything that happened on the island, which results in a true loss of innocence for of all of the boys.In conclusion, the boys slowly lose their innocence with each kill, their actions becoming more violent as the novel progresses. However, their inability to understand that their actions have consequences is one childlike quality that they possess until the end of the novel. Their innocence is not truly lost until then when they realize what they have done.


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