Lord of the Flies

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Roger Character Analysis

A quiet, brooding member of Jack's chorus. Roger is at first little more than a mystery, a quiet, intense boy who seems to hide himself from the other boys. But as the trappings of civilization begin to recede on the island, Roger begins to reveal himself, first by throwing rocks at littleuns (and purposely missing), then by killing a pig more viciously than necessary, then by rolling a boulder down on Piggy, then by torturing Samneric, and finally by sharpening a stick on which he plans to stake Ralph's head, just as he earlier staked a pig's head. While Jack loves power, Roger loves to cause pain. He symbolizes mankind's sadistic instincts, the suppressed desire to hurt others.

Roger Quotes in Lord of the Flies

The Lord of the Flies quotes below are all either spoken by Roger or refer to Roger. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Human Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of Lord of the Flies published in 2003.
Chapter 4 Quotes
Roger stooped, picked up a stone, aimed, and threw it at Henry — threw it to miss. The stone, that token of preposterous time, bounded five yards to Henry's right and fell in the water. Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law.
Related Characters: Roger, Henry
Related Symbols: Adults
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, we meet a boy named Roger, who becomes one of the novel's antagonists. Here Roger picks up a handful of stones and begins throwing them--he's just blowing off steam; in short, being a kid. Roger then notices a younger boy named Henry. Although Roger is throwing stones and trying to scare or intimidate Henry, he's careful not to actually hit Henry. As Golding makes clear, Roger doesn't try to hit Henry because he's been well-trained by civilization: all of society is built on the idea that people are supposed to not be able to hurt each other with impunity.

It's important to note that Golding never once mentions Roger's natural inclination to be respectful and kind. While some people argue that humans are naturally good and loving, Golding suggests just the opposite. As he sees it, the only thing than can keep human destructiveness in check is civilization: precisely the combination of "parents and school and policemen" that the passage mentions.

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Roger Character Timeline in Lord of the Flies

The timeline below shows where the character Roger appears in Lord of the Flies. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Human Nature Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
As three littleuns play in the sand, two biguns, Maurice and Roger, emerge from the forest. Maurice heads off to swim, but Roger stays behind. When one... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Roger watches Henry from a distance, and finds some nuts blown from a tree. After a... (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack emerges from the forest and calls to Roger, telling him to follow. In the jungle, Jack paints his own face for hunting camouflage.... (full context)
Chapter 7
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...night. But Jack questions Ralph's courage, and so Ralph agrees to climb right then. Only Roger agrees to accompany them. Halfway up the mountain, Ralph decides it's foolish to go up... (full context)
Chapter 8
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...raid Ralph's camp fore fire to cook the pig, and invite everyone to a feast. Roger, meanwhile, sharpens a stick at both ends. They stake the pig head on the stick... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
...fun on this island!" The beast warns Simon that if he tries to interfere Jack, Roger, Maurice, Robert, Bill, Piggy, and Ralph will "do" him. (full context)
Chapter 9
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...group into "their dance." They form a chanting circle: "Kill the beast! Cut his throat!" Roger pretends to be a pig at the center of the circle, but eventually stops. Even... (full context)
Chapter 11
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
At Castle Rock, Ralph blows the conch. Roger throws a rock, though he purposely misses the twins and the other savages remain quiet. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Roger pushes a boulder from the fort. Ralph dives out of the way, but Piggy can't... (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...the fort. Jack prods them with his spear to terrorize them into joining his tribe. Roger brushes past Jack, making it clear that he knows how to inflict torture. (full context)
Chapter 12
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...Rock. Samneric are guarding the gates. He sneaks up to them. Frightened of Jack and Roger, Samneric beg Ralph to leave. But first they give him meat and tell him the... (full context)