Whether you’ve read the book or not, these Lord of the Flies quotes will remind you of why we need structure and rules, even if we may not always want to follow them.
The 1954 novel by William Golding is still being read in classrooms today. Why? It’s an epic tale that talks about what humans do when they do not have structure or a governing body to facilitate them.
Have you ever wondered what life would be like without the rule of law?
As young boys end up stranded on an island, they are excited for the freedom to live without others telling them what to do. But, without adults present, children — and people in general — learn that they can and will quickly become savages.
These Lord of the Flies quotes will leave you on the edge of your seat, and if anything, make you feel grateful that government and adults exist, even if they may not always do the best job of it.
Also check out these Fahrenheit 451 quotes on censorship, society, and more.
Lord of the Flies Quotes on Government
1. “Which is better — to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is? Which is better — to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill? Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?” ― William Golding
2. “The world, that understandable and lawful world, was slipping away. Once there was this and that; and now-and the ship had gone.” ― William Golding
3. “Grownups know things,” said Piggy. “They ain’t afraid of the dark. They’d meet and have tea and discuss. Then things ’ud be all right.” ― William Golding
4. “[The boys] found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society. They were glad to touch the brown backs of the fence that hemmed in the terror [of the makeshift beast] and made it governable.” ― William Golding
5. “All this I meant to say. Now I’ve said it. You voted me for chief. Now you do what I say.” ― William Golding
6. “Whoever has the conch gets to speak at assembley.” ― William Golding
Lord of the Flies Quotes on Fear
7. “The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.” ― William Golding
8. “So the last part, the bit we can all talk about, is kind of deciding on the fear. We’ve got to talk about this fear and decide there’s nothing in it.” ― William Golding
9. “As long as there’s light we’re brave enough” ― William Golding
10. “Of course we’re frightened sometimes but we put up with being frightened.” ― William Golding
11. “He forgot his wounds, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear” ― William Golding
12. “I’m scared of him,” said Piggy, “and that’s why I know him. If you’re scared of someone you hate him but you can’t stop thinking about him. You kid yourself he’s all right really, an’ then when you see him again; it’s like asthma an’ you can’t breathe…” ― William Golding
13. “I know there isn’t no beast—not with claws and all that, I mean—but I know there isn’t no fear, either.” Piggy paused. “Unless—” Ralph moved restlessly. “Unless what?” “Unless we get frightened of people.” ― William Golding
14. “There is nothing in it of course. Just a feeling. But you can feel as if you’re not hunting, but – being hunted, as if something’s behind you all the time in the jungle.” ― William Golding
15. “We may stay here till we die.” With that word the heat began to increase till it became a threatening weight and the lagoon attacked them with a blinding effulgence.” ― William Golding
Lord of the Flies Quotes on Human Nature
16. “Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.” ― William Golding
17. “What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?” ― William Golding
18. “Which is better–to have laws and agree, or to hunt and kill?” ― William Golding
19. “I believe man suffers from an appalling ignorance of his own nature. I produce my own view in the belief that it may be something like the truth.” ― William Golding
20. “He wanted to explain how people were never quite what you thought they were.” ― William Golding
21. “Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!” ― William Golding
22. “We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages.” ― William Golding
23. “Are we savages or what?” ― William Golding
24. “People don’t help much.’ He wanted to explain how people were never quite what you thought they were.” ― William Golding
25. “They looked at each other, baffled, in love and hate.” ― William Golding
26. “The mask was a thing … behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness.” ― William Golding
27. “Ralph wept for the end of innocence.” ― William Golding
Lord of the Flies Quotes on Society
28. “The greatest ideas are the simplest.” ― William Golding
29. “He lost himself in a maze of thoughts that were rendered vague by his lack of words to express them. Frowning, he tried again.” ― William Golding
30. “We’re not savages. We’re English.” ― William Golding
31. “Life’s scientific, but we don’t know, do we? Not certainly, I mean.” ― William Golding
32. “The half-shut eyes were dim with the infinite cynicism of adult life.” ― William Golding
33. “But nobody else understands about the fire. If someone threw you a rope when you were drowning. If a doctor said take this because if you don’t take you’ll die – you would, wouldn’t you?” ― William Golding
34. “Ralph sat on a fallen trunk, his left side to the sun. On his right were most of the choir; on his left the larger boys who had not known each other before the evacuation; before him small children squatted in the grass.” ― William Golding
35. “We did everything just the way grownups would’ve. Why didn’t it work?” ― William Golding
Lord of the Flies Quotes on Violence
36. “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.” ― William Golding
37. “His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink.” ― William Golding
38. “The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering.” ― William Golding
39. “There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws.” ― William Golding
40. “He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling.” ― William Golding
Lord of the Flies Quotes on Leadership
41. “The trouble was, if you were a chief you had to think, you had to be wise.”― William Golding
42. “The rules!” shouted Ralph, “you’re breaking the rules!” “Who cares?”― William Golding
43. “If only one had time to think!” ― William Golding
44. “I ought to be chief,” said Jack with simple arrogance, “because I’m chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp.” ― William Golding
45. “He became absorbed beyond mere happiness as he felt himself exercising control over living things. He talked to them, urging them, ordering them. Driven back by the tide, his footprints became bays in which they were trapped and gave him the illusion of mastery.” ― William Golding
46. “There aren’t any grownups. We shall have to look after ourselves” ― William Golding
47. “I got this to say. you are acting like a crowd of kids.” ― William Golding
48. “Thought was a valuable thing, that got results.” ― William Golding
49. “What was the sensible thing to do? There was no Piggy to talk sense.” ― William Golding
50. “And you shut up! Who are you, anyway? Sitting there telling people what to do. You can’t hunt, you can’t sing…” “I’m chief. I was chosen.” “Why should choosing make any difference? Just giving orders that don’t make any sense…” ― William Golding
What did you learn from these Lord of the Flies quotes?
Have you ever wondered what life would be like without government? If people were not held accountable for their actions and humans could essentially do what they want when they wanted?
If you’re curious about what would happen, then read Lord of the Flies. In this story, the characters come up with rules and ways of organizing themselves the best they can. But it doesn’t take long for them to learn the hard way that we often take for granted the basic foundations of law and order in society; that humans without civilization will eventually become uncivilized.
What’s your biggest takeaway from these Lord of the Flies quotes? Do you have any other favorite quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.
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