In the final pages of
The officer seems unable to fully comprehend what they boys have been through, preferring to believe they have been playing a game, and expressing disappointment that British boys could revert to such savagery. During much of the book, Piggy and Ralph wish for a “grownup” figure to tell them what to do and how to keep order. But the officer reminds us that while the boys have been trying to survive and maintain civilization on the island, adults all over the world were waging war for no discernible reason. The adult world waiting for Ralph back home is just as savage as the island with Jack and his tribe. The devastating realization for both Ralph and the reader suggests that despite our best efforts to uphold order and civility, humans are inherently prone to self-destruction. This ending suggests that despite what we want to believe, the line between civilized order and inherent human savagery is blurred.