Study Guide

Lord of the Flies Themes

By William Golding

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Rules and Order





Wisdom and Knowledge



Lord of the Flies Themes

The Lord of the Flies themes range from primitivity and civilization to identity and youth. These are demonstrated when the once well-mannered, young British boys end up turning on each other and hurting one another in the absence of governing rules.

Brief Synopsis of Lord of the Flies Book Themes

Designed to focus on the need for responsibility mixed with preventing our inner beast from being released, the themes for Lord of the Flies intertwine into a complex plot, but one with universality. The narrative inspires self-reflection and deeper considerations of one’s own motives, as shown through the plight of the boys. Below, you will find brief descriptions of some of the prominent themes in Lord of the Flies.


  • Primitivity – What we think of as common ideals of humanity slowly become eroded during the course of this story. Golding tries to point out that humans have innate corruption and evil lurking within, aspects that can spring forth under the wrong circumstances, and portrays this through the Lord of the Flies book themes.
  • Civilization – In reality, individuals coexist within a society since civilization itself benefits the greater good. However, the characters in Lord of the Flies struggle with maintaining civilization in their new setting, leading to madness and the death of friends.
  • Innocence – Boys aged 6-12 still have a lot to learn, right? The role of innocence, and the loss of it, is a major theme for Lord of the Flies, underscored by the struggles the boys face while trying to function as adults at such a young age.
  • Rules and order – This theme is presented ironically in a setting where governing rules do not exist. Once you remove the guiding factors that regulate reward and punishment, the author argues people will end up destroying themselves.

Consider Additional Themes in Lord of the Flies

As you read, see if there are any additional Lord of the Flies themes that you can identify. And, as always, feel free to read about the other themes we have listed, including power, fear, and others.

In the end, the mock war the boys engage in serves as a warning to the reader about the fragility of society. As Golding illustrates, the absence of rules can ultimately end up bringing out the worst in people.

Happy reading!

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