Lord of the Flies

Why does Ralph cry at the end? What does the officer's reaction to this say about his misunderstanding? What is Jack's reaction? Why do you think the author made these choices?


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Ralph runs into the sailor on the beach. The island is a burning inferno and the "savages" are about to kill him. The arrival of the sailor is Golding's Deus ex Machina (God in the Machine). The story has ended and Ralph contemplates everything in a moment. He finally is able to be a child again and he lets go of all his pent up frustrations and angst. He cries tears of regret and sadness rather than tears of joy. Golding puts it best when he writes, "Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy." In that instant Jack goes from being a fierce warrior king to a dirty child with a stick. Golding has ended his social experiment. He has shown the inherent evil in the hearts of men, or boys. The sailor is embarrassed by the poor showing the boys have put up as well as the crying that is taking hold of all of them.