William Goulding’s the Lord of the Flies has served as an representation and prediction for how children will respond to no rules and no regulations for over half a century. Written in 1954, the novel features a group of school children whose airplane crashes on an uninhabited island — the plot follows their descent into chaos and madness as they become consumed by fear and the lack of regulation.
More recently, the television series, The 100, on the CW channel re-explores this concept of young, immature teenagers challenged to create an organized society. The story is set around a population of humans living on a space station called the Ark after earth is made uninhabitable by nuclear war. One hundred years later, it becomes apparent to the authority on the Ark (also known as the council) that life support on the Ark is failing and estimated to shut down in four months. With no alternative, the council agrees to send down the 100 incarcerated aboard the Ark to Earth to test to see if Earth is habitable. Due to population regulation, anyone over the age of eighteen is executed for committing a crime. So the 100 incarcerated are all minors who are thrown together in a drop ship and sent to earth as a test run.
In the Lord of the Flies, the main character, Ralph, represents the most clear headed of the boys. In The 100, this character is Clark. Daughter of the Chief Medical onboard the Ark, Clark is incarcerated for attempting to tell the public the truth about the Ark. She is the most responsible and the most concerned about the 100’s survival.
Her opposition (representing the Lord of the Flies’s Jack–the sadistic, power-hungry leader) is Bellamy Blake. Concerned for the well being of his sister, Octavia, Bellamy takes aggressive action to ensure himself a spot on the dropship with her. The result is a strong and influential leader who knows how to think like a criminal.
Now admittedly, there are some differences between the two stories. In the Lord of the Flies, it is a group of boys whose ages range widely and distinctively, whereas in The 100, it is mostly just teenagers– and criminals at that.
However, unlike in the Lord of the Flies where the boys become consumed by fear and delve into madness until they are rescued, The 100’s initial disorganization and fear turns into a much more organized society with two strong leaders who hesitantly, but eventually, find a way to work together. So what is the truth?
The biggest difference lies within maturity levels. In the Lord of the Flies, the boys certainly have not reached a point of full maturity. They haven’t managed to establish their own morals and standards of living just yet making them much more susceptible to madness and fear. However, The 100 are convicted criminals; their morals and standards aren’t very developed either.
Ultimately, the differences between the outcomes of the two groups revolve around their creators. Just after witnessing World War II, Goulding wrote the book in fear of WWIII occurring. At that time, fresh off a war that left Europe in a state of economic and philosophical disarray, there was an overall lack of hope in humanity. So much had happened as the Nuremberg trials came to light and the public was exposed to the war crimes committed by both sides during the war. Goulding reflected this overall negative view of humanity and pessimistic outlook within his novel.
However, we have yet to experience WWIII, and that hope and progress has resulted in a much more positive overall outlook of humanity and what we can accomplish. So when the CW network adapted the novels, written by Kass Morgan, they created an outlook that conceded to initial fear but stressed the possibility of overcoming obstacles to actually form an organized society, a sure sign that our society’s opinion of humanity has shifted away from violence and ruthlessness.