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What is the significance of the opening chapter in lord of the flies by William Golding?

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Introduction

What is the significance of the opening chapter in lord of the flies by William Golding? The first chapter in the novel introduces the characters which will play the biggest roles in the novel and some of the relationships that will develop. The first character to be introduced is Ralph. He is a fair-haired, good looking and well built. On page five, Golding mentions that he might even make a boxer but insist that there is a "...mildness about his mouth that proclaims no devil." Ralph can swim as well. The reference to his hair being "golden" and "fair" is very relevant and throughout the novel any mention of light is related to goodness. Ralph comes from middleclass family and his father is a commander of the navy (this mite also indicate that he might be a commander of some kind in the future). Ralph is fearless and seems to be at ease with his surroundings. ...read more.

Middle

His appearance is completely opposite to Ralph; he is described as a "greasy wind-breaker" on the first page, he is fat, wears thick spectacles and is asthmatic. He also cannot swim. At school piggy was bullied, this is how he became "piggy". Piggy has no real friends and he is a bit of a loner, and so he seeks friendship with Ralph. He does not speak well, he uses "them" instead of "those", "was" instead of "were" and so on. Piggy is lower class than Ralph. In spite of this he is still very intelligent, organised and sensible. One of the first things he suggests is to make a register of everyone on the island so they could keep a record, he also suggests a meeting as well. He is concerned to find the others and suggests using the conch to call people to them (page twelve). Piggy is pessimistic, he brings up that they might stay on the island until they die, but he is also friendly. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jack is a bully, all of the other boys in his choir are scared of him and he is very nasty towards piggy "...shut up fatty..." He thinks that he should automatically become chief because he is head of the choir, and he doesn't consider anyone else's feeling towards it. Jack gets very angry easily and is not pleasant at all. The first mention of violence comes from jack when he says that the choir should be the army and they could hunt, he is threatening and violent himself, on page twenty Jack "...snatched from behind him a sizeable sheath-knife..." Jack uses this knife to cut at the bushes but also when he was going to kill the piglet. He did not have the courage to kill it, which is understandable for just a boy, but becomes embarrassed. He makes the excuse that he was waiting for a moment to decide where to stab the piglet. Jack emphasises to Ralph and Simon that he will kill it next time. I think that this was an omen that jack will eventually kill piggy. ...read more.

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