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Littluns In William Golding's Lord Of The Flies: Their Role, Importance And What They Represent - With A Free Essay Review

In any society, there will be a social system that classifies the leaders, who have more power and there will be a general public who is under the rule of the leaders. In William Golding's novel, Lord of the Flies, the littluns were the younger boys who are treated as almost one character and are often dominated by the older boys. On the island's social hierarchy, the littluns represent the common people.

The littlun's role throughout the story was mainly a passive one: they are influenced by different leaders in different times and may even be used by them. When Jack tells them to hunt, they follow him. When Ralph blows the conch, they gather for an assembly. They rarely express their views on major issues such as when Ralph and Jack are debating on the importance of meat. They are viewed as unimportant by the older boys and perhaps portrayed by so since Golding didn't give us exposure of the littluns and they are generalized as a mass of children.

The littluns, however passive, have the power to elect their leader and gives rise to the two different ideologies on the island. At the start of the novel, they elected Ralph as chief. Ralph is therefore empowered to act on their behalf and feels that in order to protect their safety and ensure rescue, a signal fire must be made and shelters will have to be built. When they start to have an inward fear of the beast, they chose to follow Jack, who decides to hunt for the beast and ensures them meat. The littluns' frequent proclaims of their fear encourages Jack and Ralph's respective ways of leading. This can be seen through Jack's words "we need meat!" and Ralph's "we need shelters!" in which the word "we" seems to be on behalf of the littluns and thereof justifies their actions.

The littluns also symbolizes the easily influenced human nature by emotions and irrationality. The littluns were the first one to bring up a "beastie" and were convinced that there were a "snake thing". This was merely imagination, but the littluns were convinced that it exists, one may feel that Golding is suggesting that human brings have the tendency to succumb to irrational fears and the desire to make a virtual enemy. Jack, grabbing hold of their fear, emerges a protector and the boys, seeking safety, chooses to side with him due to the supply of meat and his hunting skills. While Ralph's insistence of making a signal fire is more effective in the long run, the littluns donn't recognize its value. As the boys were marooned on an island and detached from civilization, they lose touch with reality and are more vulnerable to the power of the dominating emotions.

Littluns, representing the general public, empowers their chosen leaders who advocate different systems on the island. Controlled by their illogical fear, they are the embodiment of the fragile sanity in human nature.



This essay begins with a fairly interesting observation about the novel but it doesn't really go anywhere with it; it doesn't develop it. Instead you move on to a fairly banal observation. And then the essay sums up these two observations. And then it stops!

The interesting observation is that the story of the boys on the island is an allegory of political life generally. You've got the more or less ignorant masses in the form of the littleuns and two political factions in a struggle for power in the form of Jack and Ralph. So you demonstrate that the littluns are fairly passive, with no strong (political) views, and you show that Jack and Ralph attempt to secure their support by responding to their fears and claiming to represent them. The strongest part of this analysis, for me, is your discussion of the (structurally identical) exclamations by Jack and Ralph, and your specific comment on the function of the word "we." A bit more quotation and analysis of this kind would only strengthen your essay further.

I find that observation interesting because it contradicts one of the usual ways of looking at the novel (as a representation of the barbarism to which we [or just children] are liable to revert once divorced from established society) and so it could be developed into a full reading of the novel if it were explicitly set up in opposition to a different interpretation.

The banal observation is that the littluns also symbolize the fact that human nature is easily influenced by emotions and irrationality. My objection is not that that observation is incorrect, but rather that it's something about human nature that we presumably already knew, and that it's not, in any case, related in the essay to the larger point about the littluns as an analogue of the general public. The observation would be a more significant part of your essay if it were, for instance, part of your analysis of the way in which political power is achieved.

The disconnection between the two parts (or two observations) of the essay is summed up neatly in your final paragraph. The two sentences summarize the two observations (the second sentence very awkwardly) but there is no obvious connection between the two sentences. What I think you need, then, is an argument about the relationship between irrational human nature and the political systems that come into being on its basis.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: dreamyclouds


Thanks for the detailed review! I just want to ask, how much will this essay be graded out of 20? Also, I'm planning to write a revised version of this essay. Are there any types of introductions that are suitable for English Literature? Thanks!
March,30 2012

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