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Analysis of Lord of the Flies.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Chapter 1 Summary In the midst of a war, a transport plane carrying a group of English boys is shot down over the ocean. It crashes in a thick jungle on a deserted island. Scattered by the wreck, the surviving boys lose each other. The pilot is nowhere to be found. Wandering down from the jungle to the water, one of the older boys, Ralph, meets Piggy, a chubby, intellectual boy, on the beach. Ralph and Piggy look around the beach, wondering what has become of the other boys from the plane. They discover a large white conch shell; Piggy realizes that it could be used as a kind of makeshift trumpet. He convinces Ralph to blow it to find the other boys. Summoned by the blast of sound from the shell, boys begin straggling onto the beach. The oldest among them are around twelve; the youngest are only five. Among the group is a boys' choir, dressed in black gowns and led by an older boy named Jack. They march to the beach in two parallel lines. The boys taunt Piggy, mocking his appearance and his nickname. Jack snaps at them to stand at attention. The boys decide to elect a leader. The choirboys vote for Jack, but all the other boys vote for Ralph. Ralph wins the vote, although Jack clearly wants the position. To placate Jack, Ralph asks the choir to serve as the hunters for the band of boys and asks Jack to lead them. Mindful of the need to explore their new environment, the boys choose Ralph, Jack, and a choir member named Simon to explore the island, ignoring Piggy's whining requests to be picked. The three explorers leave the meeting place and set off across the island. The boys feel exhilarated by the prospect of exploring the island and feel a bond forming between them as they play together in the jungle. ...read more.

Middle

Golding also continues to develop the conflict between Ralph and Jack, now escalated to a real struggle for power, as Jack's brand of violence and savagery almost completely replaces Ralph's disciplined community in the boys' conception of their lives on the island. Ralph's exhilaration in the hunt and his participation in the ritual that nearly kills Robert is, in a sense, a major victory for Jack, since the experience shakes Ralph's confidence in the primacy of his civilized, moral ideals. As befits a power struggle in a savage group, the conflict between the boys manifests itself not as a competition to prove who would be the better leader but as a competition of sheer strength and courage. Just as Ralph went boldly into the dark caves alone to prove his bravery in the previous chapter, Jack goes up the mountain alone now. (It is also significant that Ralph discovers nothing, while Jack discovers what he thinks is the beast: Ralph does not believe in the beast, while it forms a major part of Jack's attitude toward life on the island.) Additionally, Jack gains leverage within the group by using the competition in bravery to force Ralph to commit unwise acts of leadership, such as his decision to go up the mountainside at night. Ralph realizes that it is foolish to hunt the beast at night, but, in a society based on strength, he cannot risk appearing to be a coward. In this way, Jack manages to weaken Ralph's position in the group. Tellingly, Ralph's decision to explore the mountain at night means that he loses the opportunity to prove to everyone that Sam and Eric did not see the beast. Had the boys climbed the mountain in the daylight, they would have seen the dead parachutist for what it was; because they go at night, they see it distorted by shadows and believe that they are seeing the beast. ...read more.

Conclusion

Only me. And I'm the Beast ... Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and 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?" [Explanation] Explanation for Quotation 4 The Lord of the Flies speaks these lines to Simon in Chapter 8. Like Simon's statement in Chapter 5, they are central to the novel's theme of innate human savagery. The Lord of the Flies identifies itself as the beast and acknowledges to Simon that it exists within all human beings. "You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you?" The creature's grotesque language and bizarre appropriation of the boys' slang ("I'm the reason why it's no go") is Golding's way of making him seem hideous and devilish to the reader, which is appropriate, since "Lord of the Flies" is a translation of Beelzebub, the name of a biblical demon. Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy. [Explanation] Explanation for Quotation 5 These lines from the end of Chapter 12 occur at the close of the novel, after the boys have encountered the deus ex machina of the naval officer, who has come from nowhere to save them. The sudden realization that he is safe and will be returned to civilization plunges Ralph into a reflective despair as he realizes that although he is saved from death on the island, he will never be the same. He has lost his innocence and learned about the evil that lurks within all human beings. Here Golding explicitly connects the sources of Ralph's despair to two of the main themes of the novel: the end of innocence and the "darkness of man's heart," a consequence of the savage instincts lurking within all human beings, even at the height of civilization. Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form ...read more.

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