Lionel's Role In Lord Of The Flies

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Lionel, who has become a captain in the British Army, is initially reticent and conservative: he is shocked to learn that he is to share a cabin with his childhood acquaintance, because "British officers are never stabled with dagoes, never, it was too damn awkward for words." (2128) Lionel thus embodies the prevailing prejudices against cross-ethnic involvement, since he deems it improper to 'stable ' a British officer with a dago, a disparaging term for someone of foreign descent. ("Dago, n.) Moreover, though he first allows Cocoanut 's sexual advances, Lionel becomes "puzzled, scared and disgusted in quick succession" (2128) when Cocoanut comes too close to his loins, and he even purports to report this incident as an "offence against decency"…show more content…
Indeed, after the 'incident ', he wonders whether he should "go forward with the charge or blow his own brains out or what?" (2129) This question demonstrates that Lionel starts to doubt, because there appears to be an option other than downright submission to society 's norms. Even so, the alternative is a pessimistic one: should he no longer "go forward with the charge" that his role as a member of the 'Ruling Race ' imposes on him, he would (have to) 'blow his own brains out ', because his homosexual proclivities are forbidden. Lionel thus faces the impossibility to accept his nature: he can only choose between upholding society 's ideals and committing suicide. Still, the very fact that he doubts is an important evolution in Lionel 's behaviour. This is corroborated by the hesitant addition of the third, further unspecified option "or what?": Lionel wonders whether there may be other options after all. Remarkably, it is when Lionel sees "England recede" (2128) that the authority of society 's morals gradually cripples and that his doubt arises. When the ship then enters the Mediterranean Sea, Lionel 's homosexual awakening rapidly gains momentum and "resistance weaken[s] under the balmier sky, curiosity increase[s]." (2130): "since Gibraltar [Cocoanut and he] had become so intimate and morally so relaxed that he experienced nothing but friendly curiosity." (2132) Hence, the…show more content…
Indeed, the aforementioned opposition is prone to be overridden by other distinctions on the boat itself. Lionel realises, for instance, that he "couldn 't associate on deck with that touch of the tar-brush, but it was a very different business down here" (2127), whereas "up on deck, ... Lionel began to recover his poise and his sense of leadership." (2139) The text thus establishes a difference between events on deck and below deck and links each place to a certain behaviour. It can be argued that conventions falter below deck: only there can Lionel escape society 's pressure and experience a certain form of sexual freedom. In contrast, on deck, these norms once again envelope Lionel 's mind. Since the deck is a public place, Lionel is obliged to must assume his role as member of the Ruling Race by dissimulating his homosexuality and attempting to fit in with the Big Eight, his British companions. After all, Lionel 's appearance "suggests virility" (2127), thus predetermining him to be the epitome of masculinity, a Victorian ideal. Therefore, though the boat gradually nears India, the public role he is forced to assume on deck causes Lionel to suppress his feelings for Cocoanut. Nevertheless, he cannot forget
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