In the novel, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, the author describes the survival of a group of boys who crash land on a deserted island with few supplies and no adults to guide them. These boys have to establish their own rules and try to survive on their own. One possible theme of the novel is that without the enforcement of rules, people will often turn uncivilized. This theme is shown as the boys abandon their rules for their own benefit because of the lack of enforcement of rules by adults or themselves. For the duration of their stay on the island, there are many incidents where the boys violate the established rules or disobey the elected chief, Ralph, but none of them get any punishment in response to their actions, nor do the rules get enforced afterward. For instance, one of the first rules proposed by Ralph as chief is that “[a person] can hold [the conch] when he’s speaking… and he won’t be interrupted. Except by [the chief]. (Golding, 31)” They even threaten to beat anyone who breaks the rules.
However, whenever the boys got excited during the assemblies and yelled out without the conch, they yelled “shut up” at each other, or sometimes “Ralph [just] [waves] the conch. (33)” The punishment is never realized. Because there is no enforcement, it encourages the boys to neglect rules more often and do what benefits them. Moreover, another rule they have established is “[the hunters will] be responsible for keeping the fire going (42),” so if any ships pass by, the boys would be rescued. However, when Jack and his hunters let the fire go out to go hunting for pig while a ship passes by, all he does is apologize and he receives no punishment other than Ralph’s rebuke of his action. Then Ralph just says “all right.
Light the fire (77),” tolerating Jack’s neglect of his duty and the rules on the island. Because Jack gets no punishment for his violation, it encourages the hunters to further neglect the rules. It encourages them to not follow the rules more often and go hunting. Lastly, when Jack loses another election for chief, he says, “I’m not going to be part of Ralph’s lot (140)” and leaves the assembly unstopped. It is the immediate cause of the split of the boys, where most of them “[leave] the same way as [Jack goes] himself (144)”. Because Jack is allowed to ignore the chief’s call and go live by himself, many others feel like they are justified in doing the same and they abandon civilized manners. Therefore, they join Jack’s tribe where they can have meat and hunting is encouraged.
In conclusion, by the end of the novel, most of the boys join Jack’s tribe for their own benefit because of the lack of enforcement of rules such as people speaking without the conch, leaving duty for hunting, and leaving the assembly unstopped. These examples help to reveal one theme of the novel which is people can become uncivilized without the enforcement of rules.