By faber and faber Limited
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A terrible plane crash leaves a group of school children stranded on a deserted island. Ralph, a twelve-year-old handsome boy, and Piggy, a very intelligent fat boy who wears specs, meet each other on the island. Ralph uses a shell, the conch, as a horn to assemble with all the other kids on the island. By the sound of the conch a lot of people come towards them. Piggy tries to take names. There is a kid called Simon a little boy called Percival etc. Soon all the boys on the island have gathered round. Together they decide what they do. First they choose a leader. There are two main contenders: Ralph and Jack. Jack is very mad because he lost and Ralph is leader.
Another assembly is called by Ralph. One of the Littluns says that he has seen a beast which comes back in his dreams. Everybody laughs but deep in their hearts they feel scared. Then Ralph decides that there must be a fire so that they can be rescued. They light the fire with Piggy’s glasses, but the fire goes out of control and half of the small forest is destroyed. During the night most of the Littluns have nightmares about ‘the Beast’.
Ralph has a very big task on his hands because he has to try and convince all the people that there is no beast. There is a lot of unrest about the beast, especially amongst the Littluns. Piggy tries to say that there might not be a beast and that its only themselves but they tell him to shut up.
The next night while the twins sat on the mountain they thought they saw the beast. The kids to try and find it and kill it but when a small group of people including Jack and Raalph see a shadow on the top of the mountain they are scared and they run away.
The next morning Jack calls an assembly to tell them that he’s going to leave them because he doesn’t think that Ralph is a good leader. Only the hunters and the biguns follow him.
Not long after Jack returns to Ralph’s group to invite them to a feast at his side of the mountain.Simon wanders off somewhere and then he finds the head of a pig which is on a stick. It was left there by Jack and his hunters as an offer to the beast. Simon is very tired and he starts to dream about the pig’s head. It makes him realise that the beast doesn’t exist. He also finds the body of the parachutist. When he goes to tell the others he is killed because he was mistaken for the beast.
A lot more people have joined Jacks tribe and Ralph is very depressed because of what happened to Simon. Then Jack and some other boys attack ralph’s shelter and they knick Piggy’s glasses. Piggy can’t see without his glasses so Ralph, Piggy and the twins go to Jack to get them back.
Date and place :
The story probably takes place during the Second World War. I believe this because an atomic bomb is mentioned and because the boys are probably evacuees. A naval ship that comes to inspect the smoke coming from the island also rescues them.
The story takes place on an uninhabited island probably in the pacific. The weather is good and there is a lagoon, a nice beach, cliffs, a jungle, and a mountain.
The story takes place in a chronological order. It starts with the plane crash and it ends with the boys being saved. There is one little flashback where Ralph looks in the past and tries to remember how simple and safe his life used to be. There are no flashforwards. The book has a closed ending but the reader could speculate what would happen next if they return to Britain and how they would cope with what happened in the past. There are no big lapses in time.
Ralph is the main character in the book. He is twelve years old and probably comes from a middle-class society. He’s quite well built and has a friendly personality. In the book he is described as “He’s old enough to have lost the tummy of childhood; and not yet old enough for adolescent to have made him awkward”. He is voted leader of the group and he tries to solve everything in a democratic way. He likes to have everything organised but he doesn’t have the ability to have control over the whole group. His main aim is to keep the fire going in order to get rescued whilst all the other kids just want to have fun and hunt.
Jack Merridew is about the same age as Ralph but he is very different. He has red hair and is the leader of the Choirboys. Jack likes to make rules so that he can have power and punish the ones who break the rules. You can look at him as an evil person because he likes to act like a dictator or a tyrant. Jack becomes obsessed with the idea of killing an animal. Unlike Ralph he changes a lot during the story because without grown-ups his actions become very primitive. He’s also obsessed with hunting, killing and seeing blood. He also comes up with a rhyme; Kill the pig, cut her throat. Spill her blood.
Piggy is a fat boy with specs. He is the most intelligent and most down to earth of them all, but because of his appearance he is ignored and bullied. Piggy has asthma and because of that he can’t do any hard jobs. His only friend who listens to him is Ralph. Piggy is also very good in finding solutions but the sad thing is that none of the boys listen to him.
Simon is an imaginative, quiet boy who sometimes faints. He likes to be on his own a lot and he is very helpful. He also sticks up for Piggy sometimes. He shares his meat with him when Jack refuses to give Piggy food. Simon is the one who realises that the beast isn’t some kind of animal but just something that is a part of them. The sow’s head, The lord of the Flies, tells him this, in a sort of dream.
The other characters can be put in three groups: The Littluns, the choirboys and the biguns. The Littluns are all the small boys they are the ones who start of the rumour of the beast because some of them have bad dreams. They don’t really realise what is happening and all they do is play on the beach and pick fruits from the trees. The biguns aren’t really important in the book. They don’t do much and keep together. They also join Jack’s tribe. The choirboys are appointed to be the hunters. With Jack leading them they turn into vicious mean kids and Roger, one of the choirboys, even likes to hurt other people.
Point of view:
The story is told in a third person point of view. Throughout the story the narrator focuses on the thoughts and feelings of Ralph. You do also get to know Jack when he is alone with the tribe. Piggy’s thoughts and feelings aren’t described that much but you get to know him because he always expresses his feelings very well. Simons’s thoughts and feelings are described during his encounter with the Lord of the flies. In the story you see things from the Twin’s (Sam and Eric) viewpoint when they are alone on the mountain guarding the fire.
The theme can be described as being: The evil in the heart of people which becomes more powerful as civilisation is left. In the book Ralph and Piggy and their followers (good) lose to Jack and his group (evil). Jack, as a leader is very harsh and strict. The main reason that people follow him is because he has a very strong character. He is a hunter and therefore has respect from the other kids. He can manipulate other kids by using his strength and his power and with the power that he has over the other kids he can make them do evil things.
Ralph on the other hand is a very nice and kind person. He doesn’t manipulate other kids and therefore most kids like him as a leader, but when Jack gets mad the other kids turn to Jack because he is the leader of the hunters and he manipulates them by inviting them to a feast.
The ironic part is that the catholic choirboys turn out to be vicious mean kids under the leadership of Jack Merridew and because they are just kids their natural nature rises a lot quicker. If all of them were adults I think that a lot more groups would have been formed and the groups would respect each other and leave each other be.
Golding: “the book is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to defects of human nature”
Lord of the flies' is a literal translation of 'Beelzebub' another name of Satan. Beelzebub was called the god of flies because when he was worshipped by pagan people, the priests at his sacrifices predicted the future by watching swarms of flies.
In the book, the ‘Lord of the Flies’ is the head of a pig, which is swarmed by flies because of the heat. It was left in an open space as an offer to the beast. The Lord of the Flies is the one who speaks to Simon and tells him the truth about the beast. It also makes Simon realise that the evil on the island comes from within them.
Opinion and Recommendation:
I really enjoyed reading this book, it was very interesting. I thought it was quite hard to read as a lot of complicated words and sentences were used. I really liked the characters and they were described very well. The book also kept me in suspense, especially when they went hunting, and another exciting bit is when Simon gets killed. I thought the book was quite vague at times so I had to read things twice to understand it better. A very vague bit is the bit where Simon talks to the Lord of the Flies and when he finds the body of the parachutist. I wouldn’t recommend this book to people who find English and English literature hard as the book is quite a complicated book. However, if you like reading literature and you like adventure books then you must read this book.