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Why is the Opening Chapter in Lord of the Flies so Effective?

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Introduction

Why is the opening chapter in 'Lord of the Flies' so effective? Consider character, narrative, themes and imagery I believe that the first chapter of the novel is effective because we are informed about the main characters and we get an idea of their situation. From the characters' brief descriptions, we can almost instantly tell what sort of roll they are going to take on in the rest of the book. Like in many books, the first chapter is the most beneficial and contributes the most information on things such as the themes, characters and narrative of the story. The first chapter also gives you vital information on the characters which will evolve as the story progresses, in a way that will make the reader want to read on. The first character introduced is Ralph, and so we immediately think of him as being the main character who will take charge in the 'new world'. He is described as having worn school uniform when the plain crashed and is first seen dragging his school sweater behind him from one hand, this is almost symbolic that Ralph has abandoned the order of his probably strict upbringing and that he is rebelling against typical British society at that time. ...read more.

Middle

Jack is portrayed as a very egotistical, and arrogant boy, however he shows a reasonable side to his arrogant attitude when he succumbs to the fact that the rest of the boys feel that Ralph should be chief. The themes present in the opening chapter include, breaking through the constraints of human society; the survival of the fittest which ties in with the issue of popularity and that Piggy is not paid attention as he is different; isolation, that the boys are on an uninhabited tropical island with no adult supervision or guidance. Violence and that everyone has an inner 'beast'; and the order of society tying in with the conch and how its purpose is recklessly abandoned. The themes used in novel are designed to emphasize the struggle between the ordering elements of society, which include morality, law, and culture, and the chaotic elements of humanity's savage animal instincts, which include anarchy, bloodlust, and the desire for power, amorality, selfishness, and violence. The boys often talk of 'The beast' and there is heavy speculation as to what 'The beast' is exactly, some thinking that it is the island itself and others thinking that it is some sort of creature that dwells within the darkest depths of the island's forest. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is a lot of emphasis used on the creepers and how they are like arms, trying to drag the dead plants and trees down to the ground. The creepers are almost portrayed as an enemy, trying to prevent the three explorers, Jack, Ralph and Simon, from reaching their destination 'Here, the roots and stems of creepers were in such tangles that the boys had to thread through them like pliant needles.' The narrative of Lord of The Flies I believe is that evil is inherent in the mind of everyone, and that it can take control at any time. It is almost as though the evil inside of us, or 'The beast', is the representative of the evil inside us all, and that the island is a microcosm of the world. The themes of the story I believe are very relevant to those which are going on in the modern day; children rebel against their parents and authority figures (the constraints of society), popularity plays a big part in school and more people are being bullied and feeling isolated, and the class system is still very much the same, almost as if everyone were divided into categories in a hierarchy. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This essay question asks candidate to concentrate specifically on the effectiveness of the first chapter of William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies'. In this answer, the candidate attempts to address the question, though is often distracted and some of the ...

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Response to the question

This essay question asks candidate to concentrate specifically on the effectiveness of the first chapter of William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies'. In this answer, the candidate attempts to address the question, though is often distracted and some of the analysis appears more suited to what happens in later chapters and is thus not directing the appropriate analysis at the question. Whilst linking the answer to the rest of the novel and showing an understanding of it's entirety is hugely important to answering questions like these, there must be a line drawn at the balance between the analysis of the first chapter and that of the rest. As it stands, this answer does not concentrate on the effectiveness (and therefore, effect on the reader) in sufficient detail or quantity to gain much higher than a solid C grade.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis demonstrated by this candidate suggests that they can analysis to an acceptable depth expected of a GCSE candidate, though has had issues with directing the analysis at the right areas of the book and thus has compromised their focus on the question. For example, the candidate discusses "The themes present in the opening chapter include, breaking through the constraints of human society; the survival of the fittest which ties in with the issue of popularity and that Piggy is not paid attention as he is different; isolation, that the boys are on an uninhabited tropical island with no adult supervision or guidance. Violence and that everyone has an inner ‘beast’; and the order of society tying in with the conch and how its purpose is recklessly abandoned." A lot of the quoted "themes present in the opening chapter" are not themes of the opening chapter, but rather the later ones of the novel as a whole. For example, the "survival of the fittest" does not associate itself until the boys have spiralled into dehumanised savages after prolonged exposure to the lack of society and order. Also, there is no mention of The Beast in this chapter, and no revelation about the "inner beast" in any of the characters to a great enough extent that it requires analysis over the more important themes such as, as the candidate correctly identifies, "popularity" and "isolation" (from society, that is; the absence of adults and rules being an exciting prospect for the young boys, rather than the lack of laws and rules being predicted a recipe for the animalistic tendencies of innate human desires to take over from the start). There is certainly some knowledge demonstrated here, but quite frequently it appears to have been half taken in in lessons and regurgitated in the wrong order in an exam, like the candidate was trying to apply all of Golding's thematic insight to the first chapter alone - but if novels did that, then they'd be rather dull by revealing all the themes in the first few pages rather than developing them over the course of the novel.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is just above average. I say this because there are minor inconsistencies in the English writing standard required for GCSE candidates, but there is a good amount of evidence to suggest that this candidate knows how to use the language to accurately convey they messages of analysis.


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