The Naval Officer in Lord of the Flies
In the final moments of the book Lord of the Flies, the boys sob, and the officer turns away. The naval officer has arrived on the beach just as Ralph is attempting to run away from Jack and his tribe, who are trying to kill him. The arrival of an adult stops the children in their tracks. The naval officer represents their old life with laws and consequences. The officer asks Ralph if there are any dead and Ralph tells him that two children were killed. The officer is shocked to hear that two children were killed. The officer asks Ralph who the boss is and Ralph told him that he is. The officer expects more of British boys, and tells him he was disappointed in their behavior. Ralph begins to cry and the other children began to cry as well.
The naval officer represents civilization and civility that the children have almost forgotten. I interpret this final moment of the novel to mean that the children now realize what they have done on the island. Ralph is crying because his friends died, and he helped kill one. The other children cry because they realize that they have become savages and that they have murdered their friends. The officer turning away from them when they broke down crying shows his disappointment in their ability to remain civil in a difficult situation. The officer looks to his organized warship and expects the same civility from the children. The naval officer is shocked by their behavior and embarrassed by their emotions because he believes that proper British schoolchildren should know better.