Lord of the Flies and Water For Elephants Comparison Jordyn Ferguson

Lord of the Flies is a story about a group of boys who end up on a deserted island and must figure out how to survive and manage without adults. If you are unfamiliar with the book, below is a video summary for you so you can understand the comparisons made in this webpage.

The book that I will be comparing Lord of the Flies with is Water For Elephants. If you have not read the book, the link below will take you to a summary.


Now that you are familiar with both of the books, lets get in to the comparisons.

Piggy and Rosie

In Lord of the Flies, Piggy is a sort of outcast of the boys. He is seen almost as an adult figure and is, therefore, resented by the other boys. with Jack as the leader, the boys constantly harass piggy. As the book progresses, the torment continuously get more horrendous until Piggy finally ends up being hit by a boulder, flinging him into the sea below. He is a gentle character who is easily intimidated and highly emotional. Jack uses this to his advantage. The only character that stands up for piggy is Ralph.

Rosie from Water for Elephants is a kind circus elephant. Similar to Piggy, she is abused throughout the novel. The equestrian director, August, is violent towards most of the other characters. In contrast to Piggy, Rosie is able to stand up for herself in the end. During a ruckus in the big top, she takes the stake that has kept her grounded and stabs him in the back of the head with it. She sees that she has the opportunity and is capable of protecting herself and others, and decides to seize it.

While both of these characters were victims, they differ in the fact that Rosie had the intelligence and courage to take a stand and protect herself and Piggy does not. He showed many weaknesses and in the end, pays with his life for them. In the end, Piggy is seen as meerly a weak pig whom can be controled fairly easily. On the contrary, Rosie is seen by Jacob, the main protagonist of Water for Elephants, as more human like. She shows characteristics that are not usually linked to animals, such as intelligence and understanding. While these characters are similar in ways, they end up dealing with their situations entirely differently.

August and Jack

August, as mentioned it the comparison above, is not only charming, but abusive and eventually violent towards everyone in the Benzini Brothers' Most Spectacular Show on Earth. He beats his wife and abuses the animals until he is eventually killed by the elephant Rosie. His aggression plays a huge part in affecting the cast and crew of the circus.

Very similarly, Jack, the second eldest on the island, is just as abusive with his power towards the other boys. At first he only uses violence in his words. He yells, manipulates, and threatens people to obtain his desires. Once he kills his first pig, however, his inner anger comes out and he begins getting physically violent. Jack acquires and keeps control over the younger boys by using aggression and hostility.

Both Jack and August use their power negatively, having major effects on the characters around them. Both appear charming on the outside, but turn out to be hateful and gruesome on the inside. These are a few of the "classic bad guy" traits, making both Jack and August similar types of antagonists. However, they differ in the fact that August is much older than Jack. This means that his brain is fully developed and he should have a better understanding of right from wrong, right? This is countered with the fact that August is a paranoid schizophrenic, which would infer that he is not quite in control of his thoughts and not aware of how he affects others. To conclude, both characters have circumstances that have the possibility of hindering their morality processes, making them complex characters.

Independence Themes

The whole premise of Lord of the Flies is that these boys are in a plane and crash on a deserted island. They are literally thrusted into independence. There are no adults on the island, which forces the children to create a sort of leadership structure. Ralph is placed at the top as the leader, Jack is placed in charge of his choir boys, and everyone else is a follower.

Jacob Jankowski decides to leave the university he has been attending after the death of his parents. He receives word that his parents have been in a car accident while he is at Cornell University. During his final exam, Jacob realizes he is devastated and feels he is unable to continue in his studies, which would end up being terminated at the end of the school year anyway due to lack of finances. In an attempt to escape his pain, Jacob starts running. He ends up on a train that happens to be escorting the Benzini Brothers' Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a circus. He takes on his independence the moment he steps on that train.

There is a big difference in the two stories, as in one has the character choose his independence while the other has the characters dropped into it. This largely affects how the characters deal with their new found independence. In Lord of the Flies, characters like Ralph try to rid themselves of the independence, characters like Jack try to embrace it to its fullest extent, and the littluns use it to enhance the fears inside their heads. In Water for Elephants, Jacob uses it to find a sense of purpose within himself. However, the two novels are similar in the fact that the characters take up positions soon after establishing their independence; Jacob becoming the circuses veterinarian and the boys dulling out leadership roles. Both novels show that even in independence, there must still be some sense of society and government. Without these, independence would be meaningless because, similar to the end of Lord of the Flies, everything would go up in smoke and chaos would reign above all else.


Created with images by Alzheimer's Association - Greater Illinois - "MTUA2014-Davis, Damion The Memory of an Elephant"

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