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LORD OF THE FLIES. By William Golding. LORD OF THE FLIES. Introduction; Stylistic features: Key messages Key characters Ralph, Jack, Piggy, Roger, Simon Key symbols The conch, the beast, glasses, fire, light and dark Order v Savagery The Island.

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lord of the flies


By William Golding

lord of the flies2

Introduction; Stylistic features: Key messages

Key characters

Ralph, Jack, Piggy, Roger, Simon

Key symbols

The conch, the beast, glasses, fire, light and dark

Order v Savagery

The Island

The novel is an allegory, which is a story that works on two or more levels of meaning. There is the actual story of what happens to the boys on the island and there is the deeper level to the story with the moral message.

In The Lord of the Flies there is the look at different methods of government, the democratic government and the dictatorship, which was relevant at the time the novel was written after the end of the second world war, with Hitler’s dictatorship as well as those of Mussolini and Stalin.

The story is meant to give a lesson to its readers, which is the quality of a fable. One of the messages could be that there is a dark side to all of us which, given the right circumstances, could come out. Evil lurks in all of us.

key characters
Key Characters
  • Ralph

Ralph is the original leader of the boys on the island.

Golding presents him as a fair leader, allowing votes and he is caring for the other boys as he wants to run the group in a democratic way.

He has a loyal group of supporters initially, but gradually his support dwindles until he is alone being hunted by the others at the end.

Ralph is presented as a thinker and a sensitive character.

He learns a lot from his time on the island and is the one most affected by the change from innocence to knowledge.


Jack is Ralph’s rival and opposite.

Along with Ralph he is the oldest boy on the island and he already has a loyal group of followers when they arrive on the island in the form of the choir.

He is a strong and violent figure who commands fear from his followers.

He rules by force, which can be linked to Hitler’s dictatorship in Germany and he forces his supporters to do as he says.

He is a physical character and gradually becomes more violent as the novel progresses.


The intellectual of the island.

Serious, he often objects to the silliness of the other boys’ games.

Physically weak (he needs glasses, has asthma and is fat).

An adult figure, he comes up with a lot of sensible ideas such as how to use the conch and what to use it for.

Clear sighted, he can see what is happening to the boys, but is powerless to do anything about it.


Cruel, violent shown by his enjoyment of throwing stones.

Sadistic attitude, he is in charge of all the physical punishments.

Jack’s right hand man, as all dictators need close supporters.


The mystic, he sees into the future and often goes into trances.

A Christ like figure, he is compassionate, but a victim of the savagery of the others.

A deep thinker.


The Conch

Represents order.

Colour changes to show a loss of innocence in the boys.

Loses its importance as the novel progresses as Jack and his ‘Tribe’ take over.

Smashed into a thousand pieces at the end to show loss of order and civilisation.

The Beast

The beast is different for different boys

It is represented as the dead parachutist, snakes, the pig’s head and noises heard in the night.

The real beast is our deep, dark primeval urges.

The boys invent the beast as a fear for them to focus on rather than the darkness in themselves.


Piggy’s glasses represent intelligence and clear thinking.

They are useful for the boys to get the fire started both to attract rescuers and for cooking the meat.

When one lense is smashed it represents the lack of clear thinking of the others.

The glasses are completely destroyed when Piggy dies and this is Golding’s way of representing the further fall of the boys into chaos and darkness.


The fire has good and bad uses. It is useful for attracting rescue, gives warmth and can be used for cooking, but it can be very destructive as we see at the end of the novel.

Fire is used in ritual and is the backdrop to Simon’s frantic death.


Light represents freedom and innocence.

Darkness shows fear and uncertainty.

Order v savagery
  • Order can be shown by
  • The glasses (represent reason, seeing clearly)
  • The conch (calls the boys to order at the start, but looses its power as the novel progresses and is ignored before being completely destroyed)
  • Assembly
  • Fire (for rescue and cooking for survival)
  • Piggy represents common sense which links to order
  • Savagery is shown by
  • Jack’s group of followers are known as the Choir early in the novel, they soon become the hunters, but they are known as a tribe by the end, which is a savage term, showing their gradual decline into savagery.
  • The boys wear face paint and dress like savages
  • There is a gradual decline from the accidental death of a Littleun early in the novel to the hunting of a pig and the difficulty of killing it, to the frenzied accident of Simon’s death and then the final savage murder of Piggy. Ralph is about to be the latest and most horrifying victim of the murderous pack when they are rescued.
The Island
  • THE ISLAND IS SEEN AS A MICROCOSM OF THE WORLD (this means the world in miniature)
  • There is the good side of the island where Ralph leads (this is where the beach is and the landscape is pleasant to reflect the sense of calm and order of Ralph’s leadership style.
  • There is the mountain where the dead parachutist is found. This is a mysterious and unpleasant place. This is where the fire is made to attract any possible rescuers.
  • Castle Rock is where Jack’s tribe live later in the novel. It is an unforgiving landscape and presented as difficult to reach and unpleasant, reflecting Jack’s evil nature.
  • The other side of the island is rocky and covered by trees, making it unfriendly and forbidding to the boys.
  • The sea is vast and shows how cut off they are from the rest of the world.
  • There is a clear message in the novel.
  • Ralph, Jack and Piggy are the key characters.
  • Symbols include the beast, the conch, glasses, fire.
  • The novel explores the boys’ descent from order into savagery.
  • The island is a microcosm of the world.