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The story takes a look at what would happen if a group of British schoolboys were to become stranded on an island. Their leader is Ralph, and at first the boys have good intentions. For instance, they keep a fire going so that a passing ship can see the smoke and rescue them, however because of the inherent evil of the many the good intentions of the few are quickly passed over for more exciting things. A boy called Jack, who thinks he should be the leader and who rarely agrees with Ralph mainly causes this. The killing of a pig slowly begins to take over the boys life, and they begin to go about this in a ritualistic way, dancing around the dead animal and chanting. As this thirst for blood begins to spread the group is split into two groups: the more rational boys (fire-watchers), who are led by Ralph, pitted against the hunters, of who Jack’s the leader. The younger members of the group perpetuate the fear of a beast and they are forced to do something about it. During one of the hunters' celebrations around the kill of an animal a fire-watcher (Simon) stumbles in to try and disband the idea of the monster. Caught of in the rabid frenzy of the dance, this fire-watcher suddenly becomes the monster and is brutally slaughtered by the other members of the group. The climax of the novel is when the hunters are confronted by the fire-watchers. The hunters had stole Piggy's (one of the fire-watchers and Ralph’s assistant) glasses so that they may have a means of making a cooking fire. One of the more vicious hunters roles a boulder off of a cliff, crushing Piggy, and causing the death of yet another rational being. The story concludes with the hunters hunting Ralph. After lighting half of the island on fire in an attempt to smoke Ralph from his hiding place, they chase him on to the beach only to find a ships captain and crew waiting there to rescue them, because he saw the smoke.
Connection to the theme
This is a story about boys, all alone and abandoned on an island. This leaves the growing up entirely up to themselves. After all, there are no parents or other adults around. There is a certain connection to the theme, because you see the characters develop themselves (and therefore growing up in a sense). But I don’t think the writer intended to write a story about children left alone, who are to grow up without any parental help. I think Golding shows us what would happen if we were to live without all the rules of civilisation. For a moment sense and rationality are maintained, but after a while savagery would strike. So the development of the characters could be related to the theme, but it mainly points out the effects of living without rules on humankind.
Ralph is twelve years old with blond hair, and is the most charismatic of the group. He is described as being built "like a boxer," and is initially chosen as leader due to his many positive qualities. He maintains a conflict with Jack throughout the entire novel, attempting to keep order whereas Jack isn't concerned with it. Ralph and Piggy together represent the struggle for order and democracy.
Jack is about Ralph's age, with a skinnier build and red hair. His freckled face is described as being "ugly without silliness." From the very beginning, he seems to harbour emotions of anger and savagery. At first, he is the leader of his choir group, who become hunters as the book progresses. Finally, his savage personality and ability to tell people what they want to hear allows him to overtake Ralph as chief.
Piggy is a short and overweight boy who wears glasses and represents order and democracy. He is afflicted with asthma and doesn't care to do strenuous work on the island. He tries very hard to cling to civilisation, and tries his best to keep peace. While probably the smartest boy on the island, he lacks any social skills whatsoever, and has trouble communicating or fitting in with the others. His glasses are a very important part of the book, as they are used over and over to start fires. Piggy's constant polishing of them shows his desire for clear-sightedness and civilisation.
Simon is younger than the three boys above, but older than other littl’uns. He is very good and pure, and has the most positive outlook. He insist multiple times that they will get rescued, even when Ralph is strongly doubting the possibility. Simon often travels into his tranquil spot in the jungle, but also tries to help out when it is needed. He meets up with a pig's head skewered on a stick, which becomes known as the Lord of the Flies. Simon is killed soon afterward by all of the other boys who were caught up in a savage dance.
A small boy with dirty and shaggy black hair, Roger represents pure evil and wrongness, even more than Jack. He has no mercy, and is the first one to intentionally kill another boy on the island when he smashed Piggy with a boulder. He gets sadistic pleasure from torturing a pig and other boys on the island. Roger is one of Jack's most loyal helpers, and gladly carries out his orders.
Sam and Eric:
Sam and Eric are two young twins who always travel and do everything together. Without each other, they are incapable of very much. They represent reliance and unity, and because of this become like one person referred to as Samneric. While seemingly loyal to Ralph, they eventually give in to Jack's threats and join his tribe. While Ralph hoped otherwise, the twins in the end disclose Ralph's hiding spot to Jack. The loss of civilisation led them to lose any real sense of loyalty to others.
Lord of the Flies is a well written. Well thought out writing that depicts the evils of human nature. The framework of the novel is simple, and reading it wasn’t too difficult. The only difficulty I found whilst reading, were the circumstances. Especially where it was, and why they were fleeing in a plane. The book is full of symbolism, which almost gives an extra dimension to the book. Lord of the Flies is a great book, and I’d recommend anyone to read it.
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