Maurice in Lord of the Flies: Character Analysis & Quotes

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  • 0:00 Who is Maurice?
  • 0:41 Maurice in Lord of the Flies
  • 1:52 Changing the Discussion
  • 3:40 Another Life
  • 4:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lauren Posey

Lauren has taught intermediate reading in an English Language Institute, and she has her Master's degree in Linguistics.

In this lesson, you'll learn about Maurice in 'Lord of the Flies.' Specifically, you'll look at an analysis of his character and how it plays into the novel as a whole.

Who Is Maurice?

Sometimes when you're reading a book, you might see a character that seems to just sort of be there, not really contributing anything. A lot of times, if you look closer, you will see that they are actually pretty important to the novel as a whole, and they certainly serve a purpose other than just being an extra person.

This is the case with Maurice in William Golding's Lord of the Flies, a novel about a bunch of boys marooned on an island. Ralph is established as a leader, but Jack soon gets the boys to his side using aggression and fear. At first glance, Maurice seems to just be a background character. If you look closer, though, he actually bears real importance in the novel.

Maurice in Lord of the Flies

We meet Maurice as a part of Jack's choir, and in some ways he stays in this position. He becomes part of Jack's hunters, as do all the choir members, and he stays with Jack when the boys split into two groups. He is also often part of whatever smaller group Jack picks when something needs to be done. However, he doesn't really take sides in any of the major events, other than remaining part of Jack's general group.

Maurice truly qualifies as a background character, and more than anything else, he plays a supporting role to the main characters. He is always there, and often mentioned in passing as part of Jack's group. For example, Piggy groups him this way when he is angry at Ralph for ignoring him: 'If I say anything,' cried Piggy, with bitter realism, 'you say shut up; but if Jack or Maurice or Simon-'. Maurice isn't really part of the argument, but he is there in the background.

It is important to note that Maurice is always in the background. He is mentioned at least in passing as part of every single thing that happens on the island, whether he is participating or not. For example, he is present when Ralph sees the ship and realizes their fire is out. He accompanies Ralph up the mountain, and is there for Ralph and Jack's confrontation. He is a very present background character.

Changing the Discussion

Maurice's presence at all of the major events actually serves a bigger purpose. Since he's always there, he can easily participate in the discussions, add to them, or change their direction. We find him doing this on several occasions. In two cases, he totally changes the subject, and this helps move the plot along and get the characters to the next point.

The first of these is up on the mountain, during a tense pause in Ralph and Jack's argument. The conversation doesn't seem to be going anywhere, and the situation is tense and stalled. This is where Maurice comes in to change the subject and push them along: 'Then at last Maurice broke the silence. He changed the subject to the only one that could bring the majority of them together. 'Where did you find the pig?'' His comment derails the argument and helps progress the plot.

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