If it Were Only Girls

The Lord of the Flies is a novel by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding about a group of boys marooned on a deserted island who try to govern themselves, with disastrous results. These well -educated boys are faced with multiple human issues involving survival and power that eventually lead to savage and inhumane behavior. Would the events and major themes of the novel be similar or different had the marooned group been girls? There would be examples of behavioral similarities; however, the differences in personality, innate behavior, and temperament would have resulted in vast differences in numerous scenarios in the novel if the marooned group had been girls. In the novel, the blowing of the conch shell was a signal for the group to come together.

This “assembly” became the place where decisions were made and strategies were discussed. It was decided that whoever held the conch shell would be allowed to speak thus controlling chaos and allowing everyone to talk. The girls would have experienced a similar “assembly” type group, reaching important decisions in a democratic way. The boys eventually divided into two opposing sides both dominated by a very strong leader. In contrast, girls would most likely have divided into sides similar to the boys, but would have had multiple leaders.

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This division with the girls might have developed into focused groups centered on certain characteristics necessary for survival (food, shelter, child care). These activities are more natural “mothering” instincts ingrained in women. The boys divisions were somewhat forced; and opposition to a leader became more important than performing the work that needed to be done. The boys drew upon natural objects to build their huts. A few boys worked together to achieve this goal while the others wasted time playing, not actively taking part.

The boys did not delegate duties well nor did they take the time to design huts that would adequately protect the group from storms. The girls may have had some members who were not focused; however, core leaders would have evolved, and group rather than individual pressure would have caused progress as a whole rather than individually like the boys. Some of the boys in the Lord of the Flies became obsessed with hunting a mother pig for food and for the enjoyment of the hunt. When the pig was killed, the boys cut off the head and mounted it on a stick. This head was a symbol of the raw, wild, demented behavior of the boys on the island. Girls on the other hand, would never, ever have killed a mother anything, especially a mother with cute, pink piglets.

More than likely, the girls would have adopted the animals, and, only with a natural death, even considered eating the pig. A group of girls would have feasted on greens, berries and fruits, and perhaps eaten marine animals, but active hunting would have never occurred. A major difference between girls and boys on the island would be the treatment and care of the little ones and the murder of group members. Most of the boys had the attitude that the little ones would have to fend for themselves. Girls would baby them, provide nurturing, show the little ones how to contribute, and provide proper guidance.

In the novel, Simon is stabbed to death, and a little boy is believed lost and missing in the woods. Piggy was pushed off a cliff and died, and Ralph was nearly hunted to death. None of these events would have happened on an island with girls. A little drama may have occurred but absolutely no murder. Girls may feel hate but rarely is a female able to kill other humans, or other living things for that matter, so easily.

Had the novel The Lord of the Flies been about a group of girls marooned on an isolated island the plot, major themes, and symbolism would have been similar in a few instances but very different overall. The major topic of how civilized young humans could resort to savage actions would not even be discussed in a book written about marooned girls. The potential differences and similarities between the behavior of men and women are an interesting contrast; however an adapted version of the novel The Lady of the Flies would probably not be nearly as interesting.