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Lord of the Flies. Background Notes. Served in the Royal Navy during WW II Wartime experiences left him with a grim view of humanity Lord of the Flies was published in 1954 and became his most successful book. William Golding.

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Lord of the flies

Lord of the Flies

Background Notes

William golding

Served in the Royal Navy during WW II

Wartime experiences left him with a grim view of humanity

Lord of the Flies was published in 1954 and became his most successful book

William Golding

The plot

A group of school boys are stranded on an island after their plane crashes.

With no adults to set rules, the boys try to organize themselves. They select a leader (Ralph) and divide into groups.

Soon, the boys devolve into savagery.

The book is based on some of the real life violence that Golding experienced during WWII.

The Plot

Characters plane crashes.

  • Ralph – Represents civilization. He tries to recreate the order of society until they are rescued.

  • Jack – Represents barbaric, base instincts within people. He is the hunter and is prone to violence and selfish behavior.

  • Simon – The only truly “good” character. He is kind and generous with others. He is the opposite of Jack’s evil personality.

  • Piggy – Physically very vulnerable. Intellectual.

  • Roger – Sadistic and cruel. Sides with Jack.


Simon and roger
Simon and Rogerhttp://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/433248/Lord-Of-the-Flies-Movie-Clip-There-Isn-t-Any-Beastie.html

  • Simon is a “Christ Figure” in that he is naturally good, kind, and generous.

  • Roger is a sadistic character who takes joy in the pain and suffering of others.

  • While Roger needs the rules of society to keep his evil nature in check, Simon does not need imposed order to remain good.

Simon confronts evil

Simon’s conversation with the Lord of the Flies could be a hallucination

But it is important to remember that Simon is the only character who senses that the true evil on the island is in the hearts of the boys themselves.

Simon Confronts Evil

Simon as a christ figure

The name “Simon” is the same as one of Jesus’s disciples.

Both Simon and Jesus note overwhelming thirst before death.

His conversation with the Lord of the Flies mirrors Christ’s conversation with Satan in the desert.

Simon’s knowledge that the beast isn’t real is the only chance of saving the boys from their own sinful, destructive nature.

Simon as a “Christ Figure”

What is the supernatural message that simon receives
What is the supernatural message that Simon receives? disciples.

  • “Fancy thinking the beast was something you could hunt or kill!”

  • “You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close.”

  • “I’m the reason why it’s no go, why things are the way they are.” (A direct answer to Ralph’s earlier question to Piggy: “What makes things break up like they do?”)

Jesus tempted by satan in the desert
Jesus Tempted by Satan in the Desert disciples.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

Jesus tempted cont
Jesus Tempted (Cont.) disciples.

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Simon s reaction to evil
Simon’s Reaction to Evil disciples.

  • Simon tries to resist the evil of the Lord of the Flies, but faints as a result of fear and exhaustion.

  • When he wakes and finds the truth of the dead soldier, he fails in his attempt to save the boys from their fear. Instead the violence continues to escalate.