Pig Heads & Pig-Headedness: The Lord of the Flies Comes Alive in American High Schools "The Lord of the Flies" is a poignant novel written by William Golding in the mid-1950's. In his book, Golding describes how a group of young British boys shipwrecked on a deserted island eventually loose the constrictions of society and descends into anarchy and chaos. A frighteningly large number of parallels can be found between this literary masterpiece and public high schools. The greater part of these parallels are between characters in the novel and the different social groups in high school.
Many of the main characters in Golding's novel can symbolize major social groups in public high schools. First, there is Ralph, an innocent adolescent boy with the potential for both good and evil. Ralph is reminecent of most students, starting out their high school careers mostly innocent and neither good or evil. Some students even have leadership abilities like Ralph and are put into positions of power (ie.
-student council). High school, like the island, seems like a paradise to them with more freedom and less constraints. Like in the novel, the students opinions change over time as new problems, responsibility and work come into view.
Other students are like Jack in high school: cruel, malicious, lusting for power and only getting worse over time. Often they use their physical size to overwhelm and pick on others, and they have a large potential, which is often used, for evil. This is the classic high school bully. Although few in number, they reek havoc on the rest of the school. They often have the ability to bring out the worst in people, just like Jack. Most often they will have a few cronies who follow them out of fear instead of friendship. This relationship can be seen the book between Jack and the choir.
Piggy can easily be seen in intelligent students who are rarely socially accepted and are often the main target of bullies like Jack. Although these students are very bright, their ideas are rarely listened to and are often shunned by everyone else. Since bullies like Jack often pick them on quite maliciously, high school is very frequently a horrible experience they barely survive.
Other characters such as Simon and Roger are not often represented in high school. Simon is incredibly mature, non-violent, and tranquil, and few students display these qualities all of the time. Ever the peacemaker, Simon tries to stop the every growing chaos on the island. Most students do not realize, ignore, or perpetuate the chaos in high school. Roger represented pure evil on the island. Near the end of the book he maliciously kills Piggy and tortures Samneric, proving how horrible he can really be. Almost all high school students are nowhere near this mentally disturbed and violent.
Without realizing it, William Golding characterized the social groups that still exist in high school nearly 50 years after he wrote "Lord of the Flies." The two extremes of Piggy and Jack, the median of Ralph, and to some extent Simon and Roger can all be seen in students going to high school today.