"Lord of the Flies" takes place in a remote island presumably near Great Britain, "This is an island. At least I think it's an island. That's a reef out in the sea." (pg 2). There is a war going on, and a plane carrying British boys, likely getting evacuated, gets shot down and crashes on the island, "we was attacked" (pg 2). The only survivors of the crash are young boys with ages ranging from 6 to 13 years old. They get stranded on the island, and try to survive until they get rescued, "I could swim since I was five. Daddy thought me. He's a commander in the navy. When he gets leave he'll come and rescue us" (pg 7).
Clambering (pg 1) - "He was clambering heavily among the creepers and broken trunks when a bird, a vision of red and yellow, flashed upwards with a witch-like cry; and this cry was echoed by another."
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Fledged (pg 3) - "The shore was fledged with palm trees."
Coarse (pg 3) - "The ground beneath them was a bank covered with coarse grass, torn everywhere by the upheavals of fallen trees, scattered with decaying coconuts and palm saplings."
Upheavals (pg 3) - "The ground beneath them was a bank covered with coarse grass, torn everywhere by the upheavals of fallen trees, scattered with decaying coconuts and palm saplings."
Eccentric (pg 12) - "The creature was a party of boys, marching approximately in step in two parallel lines and dressed in strangely eccentric clothing."
Muddled (pg 12) - "Then he got muddled; the twins shook their heads and pointed at each other and the crowd laughed."
Incredulous (pg 12) - "They were twins, and the eye was shocked and incredulous at such cheery duplication."
Intimidated (pg 13) -"He was intimidated by this uniformed superiority and the offhand authority in Merridew's voice."
Furtive (pg 14) - "There was a slight, furtive boy whom no one knew, who kept to himself with an inner intensity of avoidance and secrecy."
Clamor (pg 15) - "Jack started to protest but the clamor changed from the general wish for a chief to an election by acclaim of Ralph himself."
Acclaim (pg 15) - "Jack started to protest but the clamor changed from the general wish for a chief to an election by acclaim of Ralph himself."
Ralph - The novel's protagonist, Ralph is described as being fair haired and athletic. He is the elected leader of the tribe. Ralph is an allegory to civilization, leadership, and order. While the majority of the other boys are more interested in having fun and playing, Ralph is more concerned on building shelters and working on ways to get rescued, such as building a fire, "if it rains while we drop in we'll need shelters, all right" (pg 42).
Jack - Jack is the antagonist of the novel, he is the leader of a large choir of small boys. He and his group become the hunters, with him as the leader of the hunters. He developed a rivalry with Ralph since he wanted to be chief of the tribe. Throughout the book he tries to get more power, and becomes more savage. He later defects from the tribe and creates his own group of barbarians, "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in" (pg 75). Jack is an allegory to the savage and animal instincts of man, opposite to what Ralph represents.
Simon - Simon is a taciturn and sensitive boy in the tribe. He is the only character in the novel that is respectful to the others. He always works to help the community, such as building huts, "And I work all day with nothing but Simon and you come back and don't even notice the huts" (pg 45). Since Simon's kindness seems to be something that he was born with, instead of a learned behavior, he represents the natural goodness and kindness of man, contrary to Ralph's morality and Jack's savagery.
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Piggy - Ralph's "right hand man," piggy is whiny, physically weak, but intelligent boy, showing all the qualities of a "nerd." Piggy's intelligence lead him to be very inventive and innovative. He came up with the idea to use a conch shell he and Ralph found on the ground to make a whistle to rally the other survivors of the plane crash, "we can use this to call the others. Have a meeting. They'll come when they hear us---"(pg 10). Piggy represents man's intelligence and creativity.
My favorite character in this book is Piggy. I admire him because he is so passive, even when he is constantly teased and ridiculed, either for being overweight, or having medical problems such as asthma and poor eyesight. I think it is wrong that the other boys tease him for things he has no control over, but then again it is not surprising since the group consists of only young boys. I think that this is a good reminder to all of us that we should top bullying and hurting other people. My least favorite character is Jack, though he is an excellent leader, he is a very dishonorable person. Jack manages to convince most of the tribe to join his group of savages and barbarians, "He gave a wild whoop and leapt down to the pale sand. At once the platform was full of noise and excitement, scrambling, screams and laughter. The assembly shredded away and became discursive and random scatter from the palms to the water and away along the beach, beyond night-sight. Ralph found his cheek touching the conch and took it from Piggy" (pg 80). Jack shows the qualities of a dictator, people will do what he says, even if they do not know why, and they view him as their savior. I think he might be an allegory to various dictators such as Hitler, Stalin, and Sadam Hussein.
Festooned (pg 39) - "The tree trunks and creepers that festooned them lost themselves in a green dusk thirty feet above him, and all about was the undergrowth."
Unheeding (pg 39) - "Then dog-like, uncomfortably on all fours yet unheeding his discomfort, he stole forward five yards and stopped."
Tendril (pg 39) - "Here was a loop of creeper with a tendril pendant from a node."
Pendant (pg 39) - Here was a loop of creeper with a tendril pendant from a node."
Node (pg 39) - Here was a loop of creeper with a tendril pendant from a node."
Complication (pg 40) - "Ralph looked up, frowning, from the complication of leaves."
Contrite (pg 40) - "Simon's contrite face appeared in the hole."
Brimmed (pg 40) - "Jack took up a coconut shell that brimmed with fresh water from among a group that was arranged in the shade, and drank."
Perceptible (pg 46) - "Simon turned away from them and went where the just perceptible path led him."
Flaunted (pg 47) - "A great tree, fallen across one corner, leaned against the trees that still stood and a rapid climber flaunted red and yellow sprays right to the top."
During a great war, an airplane carrying a group of British boys, presumably evacuating them from war-torn England, gets shot down over a secluded island. The boys get separated from each other until two boys, Ralph and Piggy, discover a conch shell on the beach and Piggy decides to use it as a horn to call in the other survivors. After the group is assembled, they start to elect a leader; Ralph is elected as the "chief." Ralph assigns a boy named Jack Merridew, to be the leader of the group of boys whose job will be hunting. Ralph and Jack, and a third boy named Simon start exploring an island until they find a large mountain; Ralph states that a fire must be lit on top of the mountain to act as a signal, so that the group can be rescued by a passing ship. They manage to start a fire by concentrating the suns light with Piggy's glasses, but they leave the fire unattained for too long and it goes out of control and burns a portion of the forest. They soon find out that a young boy with an unknown name but with a "mark on his face" disappears. He most likely died in the fire. At first the boys decide to focus more on playing, but then Ralph announces that huts and a signal fire should be built. One day, Ralph and Piggy notice a ship passing in the horizion, but unfortunately for them, the fire which was supposed to be maintained by the hunters, had gone out due to lack of maintenance. Jack had decided that his main priority was to catch a pig for food, though he succeeded, he was not greeted with a warm welcome from Ralph. Ralph, Piggy, and Jack argue and even engage in physical violence, until Ralph calls an assembly by blowing the conch shell. While at the meeting, some of the younger boys or "littluns" as the older boys call them, complain that they have had nightmares of a "beast". The older boys try to convince the littluns that no such beast exists, but they are still frightened. A short time after the meeting, military planes engage in a dogfight above the island,
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"A silver moon rose over the horizon, hardly large enough to make a path of light even when it sat right on the water; but there were other lights in the sky, that moved fast, winked, or went out, though not even a faint pooping came down from the battle fought at ten miles' eight" (pg 83).
The boys are asleep and do not notice the lights flashing in the clouds. One of the pilots get shot down and eject, but is killed perhaps during the ejection or while drifting, and he falls to the island, near the signal fire. Sam and Eric, or "samneric" as the others call them, are the twins assigned to watch the fire. They are asleep while this incident occurs and do not notice the downed fighter pilot land. When they wake up, they see the large shadow of the pilot's parachute, and hear the strange sounds the parachute makes as it flaps in the wind. Samneric mistake the pilot for the so called "beast" rumored to be roaming the island, and rush to the camp where the other boys were sleeping to announce that they had been attacked by the beast. The boys start an expedition to find the beast. Jack and Ralph travel up the mountain and find the shadow of the parachute, comparing it to a "deformed ape-like creature". The boys assemble a meeting in which they talk about their sightings. Jack calls Ralph a coward, and they argue until Jack gets fed up and defects from the group, taking others with him to make a new group. Jack is established leader of the new tribe of hunters, and he announces that the first assignment they would undertake would be to hunt for pigs. After finding a pig, he decapitates the pig and leaves the head as an offering for the beast. Later, simon encounters the pigs head, and has a hallucination where the pig talks to him. The voice who calls itself "the lord of the flies", tells Simon that he will never be able to escape the beast, as it exists in all men. Simon passes out, and later wakes up and goes up the mountain and to the dead pilot. He understands that "the beast" is not a monster or something that exists on the outside world, but rather a metaphor for the natural evil each man possesses. Simon travels to the camp to tell the others about his discovery, but the boys are performing a chaotic dance, with Ralph and Piggy joining in. when they see Simon, they mistake him for the beast and beat him to death.
The next Day, Ralph and Piggy discuss what happened the other day. Jack and his tribe attack them and during the quarrels steal Piggy's glasses. Ralph's tribe goes up the mountain to confront Jack and take back Piggy's glasses, Jack however becomes angry and fights Ralph, meanwhile his group captures Sam and Eric and takes them as prisoners, and Roger, his right hand man, kills Piggy by rolling a boulder onto them, also shattering a conch shell. Ralph escapes, and Jack orders a manhunt him the following day. Jack stays in the forest, and Jack starts a forest fire to drive Ralph out, mean while Ralph discovers the "lord of the flies" and destroys it. Jack runs away towards the beach, knowing the others will soon find and kill him, he collapses. When he looks up he sees a naval officer standing in front of him. The ship came after seeing the large fire in the forest. The officer asks Ralph to explain what happened. After hearing the explanation, the officer says, "I should have thought that a pack of British boys would have been able to put up a better show than that" (pg 182). Though Ralph knows he is safe now, he begins to cry due to the events that occurred while he was stranded; the other boys begin to cry too.
At first I thought this novel would be another story about how a person survives in the wilderness for several years, such as the books "Robinson Crusoe" or "Island of the Blue Dolphins". To my surprise, it was completely different. The book is less focused on how the boys survived alone on the island, but more on how they try creating civilization. It is an allegorical book, much like the novel "Animal Farm" by George Orwell. Jack represents chaos, and Ralph represents order. I found it interesting that it was Jack who became the savage and lead the group into chaos. Since he was the leader of a choir before the plane crash, "The boy who controlled them was dressed in the same way though his cap badge was golden. When his party was about ten yards from the platform he shouted an order and they halted, gasping, sweating, swaying in the fierce light" (pg 14). I would expect him to have some experience in leadership and maintaining order. What I also found interesting was that the events in the book occurred during the midst of the war, perhaps relating the barbarity of the boys to the barbarity of the adults in the outside world, "A silver moon rose over the horizon, hardly large enough to make a path of light even when it sat right on the water; but there were other lights in the sky, that moved fast, winked, or went out, though not even a faint pooping came down from the battle fought at ten miles' eight. But a sign came down from the world of grown-ups, but at the time, no child was awake to read it. There was a sudden bright explosion and corkscrew trail across the sky; then darkness and stars" (pg 83). This book is an extraordinary piece philosophical and literary work which discusses human nature, and whether people strive to live by rules and maintain order in society, or tries to get as much power as they want and live freely with no rules.
Unhandily (pg 81) - "Ralph and Simon picked him up unhandily and carried him to a shelter."
Fitful (pg 84) - "Here the breeze was fitful and allowed the strings of the parachute to tangle and festoon; and the figure sat, its helmeted head between its knees, held by a complication of lines.
Festoon (pg 84) - "Here the breeze was fitful and allowed the strings of the parachute to tangle and festoon; and the figure sat, its helmeted head between its knees, held by a complication of lines.
Scurrying (pg 85) - "Eric watched the scurrying woodlice that were so frantically unable to avoid the flames, and thought of the first fire - just own there, on the steeper side of the mountain, where now was complete darkness.
Frantically (pg 85) - "Eric watched the scurrying woodlice that were so frantically unable to avoid the flames, and thought of the first fire - just own there, on the steeper side of the mountain, where now was complete darkness.
Contours (pg 85) - "Idly looking beyond the fire, he resettled the scattered rocks from their flat shadows into daylight contours."
Interminable (pg 87) - "An interminable dawn faded the stars out, and at last light, sad and grey, filtered into the shelter.
Tremulously (pg 87) - "The twins, holding tremulously to each other, dared the last few yards to the next shelter and spread the dreadful news."
Pricking (pg 87) - "Ralph stood up and walked for the sake of dignity, though with his back pricking, to the platform."
Fanning (pg 87) - "The rays of the sun that were fanning upwards from below the horizon swung downwards to eye-level."
The Conflict of the story is a mix of Person vs. Person, and Person vs. self. When the boys are marooned on the island, they are freed from adult rules and laws. Now they struggle with two opposite and conflicting human instincts, the one to create a society with order and laws, and the other to be free and do what they want. Ralph represents the first instinct, the one to build civilization with order and laws, and Jack represents the other instinct, the one to live by one's own laws and rules. Ralph was elected leader, while Jack was chosen as the person to lead all the hunting expeditions. Ralph was however concerned with making a signal fire and shelters, while Ralph is focused on hunting; and it seems that he is more interested in simply killing animals, then to actually provide the group with food, " kill the pig, cut its throat, spill her blood" (pg 58). Since the two ideas are not compatible, Jack defects from the group, and starts his own. There free of rules, they start reigning terror across the island. They kill piggy, and shatter the conch shell, which represented order, since it was used to call meetings, and the person holding the conch during the meeting was the only person allowed to talk, "Shut up! I got the conch" (pg 36). The conflict is a clash of the civilized and the primitive, and the contradictive traits of human nature.
Does man want to live in security, but with restricted freedoms, or with freedom, but with low security? That is the question this book asks, and shows very vividly what happends in both scenarios. The Conflict of this book is a common problem all teenagers face in their life, when they want to be rebellious and break rules and do whatever they want. It could be exciting for a short amount of time, but after a while you will get consequences. In the book, Jack decides to disobey Ralph, and go hunting, instead of maintain the signal fire, which he was assigned to do. The result was the loss of a potential rescue,
"The fire was dead. They saw that straight away; saw what they had really known down on the beach when the smoke of home had beckoned. The fire was out, smokeless and dead; the watchers were gone. A pile of unused fuel lay ready. Ralph turned to the sea. The horizon stretched impersonal once more, barren of all but the faintest trace of smoke. Ralph ran stumbling along the rocks, saved himself on the edge of the pink cliff, and screamed at the ship" (pg 57). In the real world, if a youth decides to be disobedient, he gets in big trouble with parents, police, and school, which could ruin a person's life. This book shows me that, even if sometimes they are a burden and it is tempting to disobey them, rules and laws are a must for a society to function, and without them there would be no such thing as civilization.
Brooded (pg 129) - "Colors drained from water and trees and pink surfaces of rock, and the white and brown clouds brooded."
Unearthly (pg 129) - "The light was unearthly."
Interspersed (pg 130) - "Here there were wide spaces interspersed with thickets and huge trees and the trend of the ground led him up as the forest opened."
Thicket (pg 130) - "Here there were wide spaces interspersed with thickets and huge trees and the trend of the ground led him up as the forest opened."
Glum (pg 130) - "The unusual brightness was gone from his eyes and he walked with a sort of glum determination like an old man."
Corpulent (pg 130) - "Then as the blue material of the parachute collapsed the corpulent figure would bow forward, sighing, and the flies settle once more."
Pitilessly (pg 130) - "He saw how pitilessly the layers of rubber and canvas held together the poor body that should be rotting away."
Indignity (pg 130) - "Then he took the lines in his hands; he freed them from the rocks and the figure from the wind's indignity."
Looming (pg 131) - "Piggy was inspecting the looming sky through his glass."
Primly (pg 131) - "Piggy took off his glasses, stepped primly into the water and then put them on again."
Themes and style
The central theme I found in this story is the conflict between two instincts that are found in all people: the impulse to live by rules, in peace, and benefit the group's interests instead of your own, and the impulse to assume absolute power, lives free of rules, and to work towards your own interests, undermining others feelings. This is the main driving force of the book, showed as the British boys start from behaving civil, obeying rules, and then starting to adapt to their jungle environment, and start behaving like uncivilized barbarians. Golding sees as the impulse to live free without any rules, is more prominent in humans, since most of the boys join Jack's group of barbarians.
Another theme is the losing of one's innocence as a child. The boys progress (or degress) from an orderly society, to a cruel and barbaric one, naturally, during the process, they lose all their innocence that they had before. Jack's hunters chants show very well how they go from being innocent children, to cruel and sadistic, "kill the pig, cut its throat, spill its blood" (pg 58). It is the complete opposite of the children simply playing in the lagoon in the beginning of the book. Golding does not portray the loss of innocence as something that is done to the children, but rather the release of the evil they were already born with. The glade Simon sits on in the end of chapter 3 symbolizes this loss of innocence. In The beginning, it is a place of natural beauty, but later in the book, when Simon returns to the same spot, he finds the Lord of the Flies, a pig's head on a stick. the Lord of the Flies symbolizes the natural eveil in man disrupting childhood innocence.
Golding's style of writing is very articulate. He vividly explains the surroundings and the natural properties of the island. When I was reading the book, It was so vivid to me that I thought I was on the island. However, it can sometimes be hard to read. Golding uses many complicated words in his writing, and he sometimes omits the "said â€¦" during dialogue, making it harder to know who is talking, "The rest are making a line. Come on!' 'But-''-we' Come on! I'll creep up and stab - '" (pg 53).
Covert (pg 165) - "Ralph lay in a covert, wondering about his wounds."
Fronds (pg 165) - "The afternoon died away; the circular spots of sunlight moved steadily over the green fronds and brown fiber but no sound came behind the rock."
Fiber (pg 165) - "The afternoon died away; the circular spots of sunlight moved steadily over the green fronds and brown fiber but no sound came behind the rock."
Intent (pg 166) - "They would be intent"
Sun-flecked (pg 166) - "He paused, sun-flecked, holding up a bough, prepared to duck under it.
Bough (pg 166) - - "He paused, sun-flecked, holding up a bough, prepared to duck under it.
Spasm (pg 166) "A spasm of terror set him shaking and he cried aloud."
Leaden (pg 166) - "The best thing to do was to ignore the leaden feeling about the heart and rely on their common sense, their daylight sanity."
Cynically (pg 167) - "He walked slowly into the middle of the clearing and looked steadily at the skull that gleaned as white as ever the conch had done and seemed to jeer at him cynically."
Inquisitive (pg 167) - "An inquisitive ant was busy in one of the eye sockets but otherwise the thing was lifeless."