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Theme Of Childhood In Oliver Twist And Lord Of The Flies

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The text Oliver Twist by Charles Dickson and the book Lord of the Flies by William Golding deal with child characters that are forced to assume adult roles because they’ve been excluded from society in some way. The authors want to make their purpose clear that men in positions of power are often not the best role models. The authors explore this through character development, social norms, and emotional morals. Children will go through a change throughout their young lives, particularly in Lord of the Flies could be described as “growing up”, acquiring a thirst for knowledge and loss of innocence. The children inhabiting the island assume their adult roles by attempting to govern themselves.

It is evident that the boys need some type of democracy; they elect Ralph to lead and establish a hierarchy, much like real western society. Establishing a strict society with disorderly boys was bound to fail as they retreat into a primitive state of mind competing for survival. As savagery begins, Ralph craves control and order, “the attraction of wildness had gone.” It is possible to argue that both the boys on the island and Oliver Twist are forced to govern themselves at a young age. The governing bodies, “the Board” are portrayed as faceless people who are not to be trusted as they hold Oliver’s fate in their hands. Throughout Oliver Twist, the men in positions of power do not set a good example for future generations.

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The representation of adults in Oliver Twist is not completely awful, as it is in Lord of the Flies which draws some parallels between the boys governing methods and that of adult government systems. Mr. Brownlow, who is of the upper class, is represented in more of a positive light since he treats Oliver with care meaning that he no longer has to fend for himself. Hierarchy in victorian times often dictated how one was treated. On the other hand, in Lord of the Flies, in the initial attempt to set up a democracy the boys used a conch to call meetings. As the group divides the shell becomes a reminder of jurisdiction.

Throughout the book, Golding often restates the idea that children’s innate sense of wrong is influenced by “the old life.” The loss of innocence is evident at the end of the novel, “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy.” Similarly, Oliver is described as having experience beyond his years and as he grows he realizes more and more about the cruelty of society. He has been told he has become accustomed to suffering and has suffered too much. He is blind to this which shows that he has accepted that he has been rejected by society. The emphasis on this reveals his loss of innocence as a child of his age should not be in such a situation.

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Theme Of Childhood In Oliver Twist And Lord Of The Flies. (2021, August 06). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 2, 2022, from
“Theme Of Childhood In Oliver Twist And Lord Of The Flies.” Edubirdie, 06 Aug. 2021,
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