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"Where's the man with the megaphone?"
The fair boy shook his head.
"This is an island. At least I think it's an island. That's a reef out in the sea. Perhaps there aren't any grownups anywhere." (1.9-11)
Woohoo! No grownups! At this point, Ralph and Piggy are more Macaulay Culkin than, well, Lord of the Flies. This is the kind of no-grownups you fantasize about it. (Too bad the reality is a little more murderous.)
The fair boy began to pick his way as casually as possible toward the water. He tried to be offhand and not too obviously uninterested, but the fat boy hurried after him.
"Aren't there any grownups at all?"
"I don't think so." (1.16-18)
Piggy still can't believe it. Notice that he's the one who obsesses about grownups at first—and he's also the closest thing we have to one. Why is that? What makes Piggy seem particularly grown up, and does it have anything to do with the fact that his parents are both dead?
Ralph paddled backwards down the slope, immersed his mouth and blew a jet of water into the air. Then he lifted his chin and spoke.
"I could swim when I was five. Daddy taught me. He's a commander in the Navy. When he gets leave he'll come and rescue us. What's your father?" (1)
Ralph identifies himself by his father. Without adults, the kids jockey for positions all by themselves—and that's when it gets ugly. The adult world provides structure; it lets kids know where they stand. Without that, how do they know who to follow?