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Compare and Contrast the Opening Chapters of 'Lord of the Flies', by William Golding, and 'Great Expectations', by Charles Dickens.

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the Opening Chapters of `Lord of the Flies`, by William Golding, and `Great Expectations`, by Charles Dickens `Lord of the Flies`, by William Golding was written in 1954 almost a century after Charles Dickens wrote `Great Expectations`, in 1860. Both of the novels are considered as being classics and have been made into films and the books while seeming completely different do have similarities although they are in different social, historical and cultural settings. The frameworks of the books are completely different, `Lord of the Flies` starts as a traditional boy's adventure story like `Coral Island`, by R.M. Ballantyne, however it is subverted to a dark, menacing story about how people behave when the constraints of society are removed. The island is a microcosm of society, and in the book we see examples of hierarchy, the social divide, human nature, and how the boys, with no adults, start to rely on their basic savage instincts. `Great Expectations` is mainly about the divides between the rich and the poor, a popular theme in the Victorian times as the industrial revolution had broadened and highlighted the divide, however both books do reflect on society, and the weakness of human nature. Both the books, while having a traditional framework, have an original element. Not many memoirs are as strange and varied as Pip's, and not many boy's adventure stories turn as dark and menacing as Golding's novel. ...read more.

Middle

And you get me wittles." But although it is Ralph and Magwitch who are dominant, it is Piggy and Magwitch who are quite similar in the opening chapters. Both of them are outsiders, Magwitch because he is a convict, and Piggy because he is fat, working class, has asthma and wears glasses, they also have accents which are different to the other people around them, Piggy has a working class accent, ""And this is what the tube done."" While his contemporaries have middle class accents. Magwitch has a rural, garbled accent and says things such as, ""Pint out the place"" and "wittles". In the opening chapters both Piggy and Magwitch have physical impairments, Piggy wears glasses and has asthma, as you can see from these phrases, "looked up through thick spectacles" , (pg12), and "on account of my asthma", (pg 12). Magwitch is inflicted with a leg iron (from prison), has a limp and is generally in a bad state, "A fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg", "A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped" . Unlike Magwitch, who at least with the leg iron, is ashamed an wants to get rid of these impairments, Piggy is proud of his deficiencies, which makes him seem pathetic, "I was the only boy in our school what had asthma" said the fat boy with a touch of pride. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also in the first chapter of `Great Expectations`, the main characters are vividly described. Pip is shown to be a small, fat cheeked, weak and pathetic creature, "I believe they [his cheeks] were fat, though I was at that time undersized for my years, and not strong", a particularly good description of Pip, "and that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry, was Pip", it evokes a very strong image of a small, pathetic lonely boy. In that first chapter is also a very visual description of Magwitch in his torn, coarse and disheveled state, "A fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg. A man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head. A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped". From this the reader can see that, although the opening chapters of both novels seem completely unrelated, in fact when the reader looks more closely, many parallels can be seen. For example though the settings are very diverse, one being a wind swept moor, and the other being a tropical island, both are menacing. Although these books were written almost a century apart, and at first seem to be on different topics, many of the key features are the same, and many of the characters posses similar qualities. 1 Laura Embling 11B ...read more.

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