Lord of the Flies. By William Golding. Introduction.
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During an atomic war, an aircraft carrying a group of about 30 pre-adolescent British schoolboys crashes on an uninhabited coral island in the Pacific. The crew has been killed and the boys are left on their own. They begin to collect themselves in a society of food gatherers under their elected chief Ralph.
Ralph is described as a good looking boy with blonde hair who is handsome and athletic; his father is a naval officer.
Ralph is enchanted by the location and initially considers the island a paradise.
Piggy is described as a fat little boy who lived with his aunt (who kept a sweet shop); he has asthma and weak eyes; he appears to be intellectual. His father is dead and his mother is an unknown quantity.
Ralph is cruel in teasing Piggy about his nickname.
The boys discover a conch and use it as a signal to call the other surviving boys.
Simon is a small, thin boy with a pointed chin and very bright eyes; he has long, coarse black hair over a low, broad forehead. He seems mystical.
Jack Merridew is 12 years old, tall, bony, red-haired, freckled, and described as ugly. He is the leader of the choir boys who demonstrates a talent for leadership. He handles the choir with firm discipline and extracts obedience. He has a strict, authoritative and violent manner. Jack takes a liking to Ralph but has an instant disliking for Piggy, calling him fatty and telling him to shut up.
Sam and Eric are a pair of light blonde, identical twins.
When Jack returns he comes across Ralph and Simon who are trying to build a hut. Ralph says about the others: “They keep running off. You remember the meeting? How everyone was going to work hard until the shelters were finished?” (p.54-55)
“They’re hopeless. The older ones aren’t much better. They’re off bathing, or eating, or playing.” (p.55)
Others are unwilling to help – loss of responsibility.
The sun causes mirages that only Piggy recognizes.
Littluns eat fruit and get sick – they begin to isolate themselves from each other.
P.65 – Roger stomps through the sand castles the littluns had built – Maurice followed, laughing, and added to the destruction. Maurice kicked sand in a littlun’s eyes and felt the unease of wrong-doing. (p.65)
Ralph is alone, gathering his thoughts on the assembly. “This meeting must not be fun, but business.” (p.83)
At the meeting, Ralph lectures on: getting drinking water (p.86); rules of sanitation (p.87); not building shelters (p. 87); keeping the fire going (p.88); and the fear of the littluns at night (p.89).
Ralph: “We decide things. But they don’t get done.” (p.86)
Castle Rock (hill) – symbolizes increased savagery.
Ralph upset – fire gone out again. (p.117)
Boys seem ready to accept Jack as chief. P.119 – Ralph says, ”I’m chief…There’s no signal showing. There may be a ship out there. Are you all off your rockers.” Mutinously, the boys fell silent or muttering. Jack led the way down the rock and across the bridge.
Ralph thinks that they are being foolish so Jack continues on his own (p.133). Jack quickly returns and is terrified – he says he saw the beast (p.134). Jack hesitates when Ralph says he wants to go check it out.
The three boys continue to the top of the mountain and see a “creature that bulged”. (p.135)
Ralph promises the security of shelter from the storm (p.167).
As the thunder and lightening begins, the boys begin to simulate a pig hunt, with Roger as the pig. Ralph and Piggy join. Eventually Roger ceases to be the pig so that the “centre of the ring yawned emptily.” (p.167)
Ralph runs for his life. “These painted savages would go further and further.” (p. 203) However, he then tries to justify the actions of the tribe: “No. They’re not as bad as that. It was an accident.”
P. 204 – Ralph hits out at the Lord of the Flies.
P. 205 – Ralph advances toward Castle Rock again. He realizes that Samneric were now part of Jack’s tribe.