Lord of the Flies - Revision • Objectives: • To review key moments in the novel which represent the boys’ descent into savagery • To revise the main characteristics and representations of the key characters
11xy1 Lord of the Flies - Revision
Key Point • The chapters of the novel are all symbolically titled, and, themselves, signal the boys’ descent into savagery. It can be helpful to reference these in the exam, should a question on this theme come up.
Descent into Savagery • - On the handouts that you will be given, several key events concerned with varying degrees of descent into savagery are given.- Choose the 10 most important ones and cut/ stick into your exercise books in order 1 = least savage, 10 = most savage. • This will form a ready made essay, should this question come up in the exam. • You need to think carefully about your reasons for grouping them in this order – work in pairs to discuss ideas.
Descent into Savagery – The Main Events • 1. The boy with the birthmark talks about the ‘beastie’ • 2. Jack paints his face and does a war dance • 3. A ship passes the island, but the fire’s out • 4. Jack challenges Ralph’s authority and goes off alone, soon joined by the other boys • 5. Jack and his gang kill a pig and put the head on a ‘stick sharpened at both ends’
Descent into Savagery – The Main Events • 6. Simon is killed by the other boys • 7. Jack’s gang steal Piggy’s glasses, leaving the others without fire • 8. Piggy’s death following Ralph’s gang’s attempt to reason with Jack • 9. Sam and Eric are forced to join Jack’s tribe – they tell Ralph that Roger has ‘sharpened a stick at both ends’ • 10. Jack’s gang hunt Ralph down
Lord of the Flies - Key Characters Remember that the maximum age of the boys is 12
Ralph profile Character Appearance Confident, seems to be a good leader. Tall, blonde hair, athletic. Background Father a Naval officer. Relationshipswith others Piggy and others look up to him, friendly with Jack.
Ralph – Key Points • Does he represent the good in mankind? • He is the epitome of the stereotyped protagonist –tall, fair-skinned, blonde hair, blue-eyed (ironically Aryan featured). • He and Jack are binary oppositions of one another. • Elected leader, but not forceful enough to maintain the position. • He is eventually reduced to the status of outcast, who must flee for his life. • An idealist and a dreamer – it is Piggy who does all of the thinking for him. • At the end of the novel he is a disillusioned realist, who now sees the world and its inhabitants for what they really are.
Piggy profile Character Appearance Intelligent and sensible – teaches Ralph how to blow the conch, suggests making a list of names. Fat, asthmatic and short- sighted. Background Orphan, lives with aunt. Different accent to others. Relationshipswith others Fears Jack, is taunted by others because of nickname.
Piggy – Key Points • Piggy is the stereotypical ‘victim’ in the novel – overweight, fat, asthmatic and short-sighted. His presence initially makes the other boys either wince or make fun of him. • He is represented as being of a lower class than the other boys, and consequently speaks and acts differently. • Ironically, he is the boy who speaks the most sense – he is intelligent, thoughtful and able to reason and hypothesise. • He is a paternal figure who looks after and supports the little’uns. • He becomes a wise counsellor who supports Ralph’s attempts at democratic, parliamentary rule. • He increasingly finds himself at odds with Jack, a person who he instinctively fears and loathes – it is Jack’s subordinate Roger who crushes Piggy with the boulder. • Note how sight is metaphorically and literally associated with Piggy.
Jack profile Character Appearance Bossy and rude – orders the choir about. Thin, red hair and freckles, mean expression. Background Leader of the choirboys. Relationshipswith others Dominates the choir. Likes Ralph but takes an immediate dislike to Piggy.
Jack – Key Points • Is he meant to represent the worst in people? • His physical appearance serves as a warning sign – the flame red hair, the pale face that blanches with displeasure. • He is used to taking up a leadership position – first leader of the choir, he becomes leader of the hunters. • He is responsible for splitting the group – he does this by terrorising them and offering them a tempting life of hunting and plenty of meat. • His leadership results in a dictatorship, where he rules ‘his’ tribe with fear. • Jack is a spontaneous individual who wants instant gratification for his desires. • He doesn’t think through the consequences of his actions (as Ralph does), but puts himself first at all times. • He is amoral and only enforces the sense of justice that he feels is right.
Simon profile Character Appearance Kind and helpful. Introverted – doesn’t like to speak in assemblies. Likes nature. Small, physically frail, black hair and bright eyes. Background Choirboy. Relationshipswith others Loyal towards Piggy and Ralph. Looked on as strange by the other boys.
Simon – Key Points • He is a dark, mystical who the other boys find ‘odd’ or ‘queer’. • He goes barefoot and is an isolated figure – Golding deliberately makes Simon a Christ-like figure, the analogy is not coincidental. • He is helpful and cooperative, and the only boy to help Ralph build the shelters. • It is interesting that he is one of the three boys who initially explores the island (with Jack and Ralph – would we overtly notice that he’s there?) • He has a marked physical weakness in that he appears to suffer from epilepsy (also associated with prophetic qualities). • He has a high level of intuitive intelligence and this allows him to confront the boys’ fears about the ‘beast’ • An original member of the choir, he is ultimately killed by the choir in a ritual frenzy (murder/ manslaughter?)
Roger profile Character Appearance Quiet and secretive. Cruel – enjoys picking on the littluns. Black hair, gloomy face. Background Is a choirboy. Relationshipswith others Allied with Jack.
Roger – Key Points • He is mysterious, secretive, slight and furtive. • As Jack’s lieutenant, he comes to think like Jack and does not question the consequences of his actions. • His name literally means ‘famous with a spear’ • He is a sadist who delights in inflicting pain – he is unnecessarily cruel in the sow killing incident. • Is he the logical extension of Jack’s character? • He prepares the stick ‘sharpened at both ends’ to mount Ralph’s head.
Setting and Atmosphere • The setting for the novel is a traditional paradise island – an Eden-like Utopia upon first glance – it is interesting that this is soon superseded by the ‘darkness of man’s heart’, causing the island to become a Dystopian prison – reflected in the description. • The island is initially unspoilt by man – it is important that the passenger jet makes the first ‘scar’ across its surface (the corruption of mankind).
Setting and Atmosphere - Contrasts • The lagoon – warm and safe VS The cold open sea • The mountain – high place where rescue can be seen, provides truth and clarity VS The Castle Rock – a jumbled mix up with a dark cave in the centre. The origin of the destructive fire. • The beach – a safe place, the location of meetings, familiar, tame VS The jungle – wild and unknown – the ‘beast’ originates from here.
Weather • This is highlighted in importance during major scenes. • Note that when Simon is murdered there is a tumultuous thunderstorm outside. • Golding uses day and night to emphasise the feelings of the characters – binary oppositions.
Style – How Golding Communicates His Story • The story itself is a deceptively simple analogy • For style, you should consider how Golding manipulates the following: • - Vocabulary, the words, the use of colour • - Syntax – the length and structure of sentences – note how this is different for each character. Does this change when the action is speeded up? • - Imagery – use of simile metaphor, personification – why does Golding use these techniques? How do they enhance atmosphere?
Finding the Deeper Message • Lord of the Flies undoubtedly has a deeper moral message. Consider, with a partner, the following questions: • - Apart from Jack and Percival, why are the other characters not given surnames? • Why do no girls or adults survive the crash? • Why is the passenger tube dragged out to sea once it has ejected the boys – could it have provided food/ shelter? • Why is the island so isolated in the sense that so few ships pass by? • If it is isolated, how do two fighter planes come to be fighting over it to allow the parachutist to land on the island? • Where do the pigs come from? • Why is Piggy the only one with glasses and the only one to go to public school?
Symbolism – using things or people to represent ideas • - Often symbols found in LOTF can be traced back to the Bible or Greek mythology • - In Greek mythology FIRE is a symbol of KNOWLEDGE • - Both fire and knowledge can HELP and HARM • - ‘The Beast’ – physically the head of the sow, the name ‘Lord of the Flies’ translated into Hebrew is ‘Beelzebub’, another term for the devil.
The Beast – A Symbol that Evolves Gradually • Chapter 1: Initially the choir are likened to an animal as they come across the sand • Chapter 2: The fire is compared to a ‘snake’. The snake is the devil in the GOE, but fire also represents knowledge – is this Golding saying the knowledge is a double edged sword? • Chapter 5: Beast from Water – the boys complain that they think there is a beast in the sea
The Beast – A symbol that evolves gradually… • 4. Chapter 6: Beast from Air – the dead parachutist lands on the island, taking over the place where their rescue fire is – a symbol of their aspirations. • 5. Chapter 7: The boys set off up the mountain to try to find the beast – note that Simon absents himself from this because he knows he’s going to have a ‘fainting fit’. Had he been there, they would have discovered the truth.
The Beast – A Symbol that Evolves Gradually • 6. Chapter 8: The killing of the pregnant sow – the murder of the future. Simon has his hallucinatory fit. • 7. Chapter 9: Simon discovers the truth and shows mercy by freeing the dead parachutist from his cruel animation. He is later killed in the group’s ritual, whilst attempting to reveal the truth to them. • 8. Chapter 10: The savage tribe are now ‘the beast’ and they begin their first assault by stealing Piggy’s glasses (symbolic of truth and wisdom). In Chapter 11, Piggy is killed by Roger and Chapter 12 sees the decision to hunt Ralph down – the group are finally the physical embodiment of the beast.
Other Symbols • The Conch – Democracy and democratic freedom • The Huts – Civilization • Fire – Hope/ Rescue
Setting Golding does not provide a map for his readers to show us what the island is like. We learn about the setting as the boys move about the island exploring their new surroundings. Draw your own map of the island, adding on all the significant places so far. You will be able to add to this map as we read the novel.