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Lord of the Flies Study Guide 2.0
Terms in this set (19)
The first character we are introduced to in the book. Ralph is quickly revealed to be the ultimate symbol of the achievements of civilization. He is physically attractive (in a generally acknowledged way NOT intended to be sexual), well-spoken (even if most of the ideas do not come from him but are restated versions of other's statements), and morally grounded. Ralph never displays strong emotions EXCEPT when it relates to his own survival and returning to civilization. From the moment Ralph is elected leader, all his actions are motivated by the need to bring order and civilization. His role as leader defines him. Although Ralph shows little caring for others, his two most reliable allies are Piggy and Simon. They are the only boys that do not betray Ralph and descend into savagery.
Jack is a bit of an ironic character. We are first introduced to Jack as the leader of a choir of boys. Even after the chaos of the crash, Jack has the choir walk in formation and keep their hot stuffy clothes on. Jack has complete control of himself and the choir. However once Ralph is elected leader instead of Jack, Jack becomes consumned by the identity of the hunter. The restraints of civilization no longer have any hold on Jack and he becomes the representation of the ultimate savage. It is Jack that "creates" the Lord of the Flies by mounting the head of the female pig they kill on a stick as an offering to "the beast". Although Jack fears "the beast" he also worships "the beast". His desire to kill "the beast" stems from more of a desire to become "the beast", to become the ultimate hunter. Ralph repeatedly questions why Jack hates him, although the answer is never given, we can deduce the answer. Science, reason, and civilization would "kill the beast". The Beast is a product of the boys fears and savage instincts. As long as civilization exists, "the beast" and Jack's desire to become "the beast" can never be fully realized. Therefore Jack wants Ralph dead.
The second character we are introduced to in the book and the main reason Ralph is elected leader and remains the leader. Piggy's real name is never told. Despite the fact that Piggy is the brains behind Ralph and has the most to offer toward bettering the lives of the stranded boys, he his mocked and ridiculed by all the other boys. Piggy is fat and whiny but is also smart and knowledgeable. Without Piggy's glasses, the boys would not have been able to make fire and therefore be rescued. The character of Piggy is used to point out that civilization is ultimately flawed and savage as well. Ralph represents civilization at its best but even Ralph despises Piggy. Piggy's death marks the end of any veneer of civilization in the stranded boys. All of Ralph's remaining followers dessert him for Jack after Piggy's death. Although Ralph remains opposed to Jack after Piggy's death, he too descends into savagery in order to survive. So ultimately Piggy represents the ideal of civilization that Ralph tries to live up to. Piggy is pure logic, reason, and scientific innovation, and these are the true pillars of civilization that Ralph attempts to uphold without really understanding why.
If Jack represents the pure savagery of mankind, Simon represents the possibility of innate goodness. Simon is the only one of the boys to care about the little boys and attempt to protect them. Even though Simon supports Ralph as leader, he only does because Ralph is the best available option. Simon finds one spot of tranquility on the island and spends time there alone. Simon's overwhelming goodness cannot fully be satisfied even within civilization. The turning point of the book is when Simon's peaceful place is desecrated by Jack and the hunter's killing the sow and creating the Lord of the Flies. Simon is the only one to "see" the Lord of the Flies for what it is and Simon's discussion with it gives the most clues for the main theme of the book. Simon is the only one of the boys to discover the truth about "the beast" but is brutally murdered by the other boys out of fear of the beast. Thus Simon's death serves several purposes. First his death represents that man's potential for innate goodness is more often not destroyed by fear. Second, Simon's death demonstrates how thin the veneer of civilization covers the desire for savagery and violence. Ralph and Piggy participate in Simon's murder but are horrified at their actions after the fact and agree to rewrite "history" so that they will never have to acknowledge that part of themselves.
shows signs early on of enjoying the pain and suffering of others. He becomes Jack's right hand man and is the one who pushes the boulder that kills Piggy.
Sam and Eric or Samneric
twins that are closely connected to Ralph. Their motivations are never delved into but they remain with Ralph until being forced to choose between dying and joining Jack. They warn Ralph about Jack's plan to kill Ralph.
A bigun who plays the role of the pig in one of the tribal dances that reenact a hunt. He is hurt when the dance turns into a fierce beating.
One of Jack's key supporters and is involved in the raids on Ralph's camp
these are the boys too young to understand what has happened to them or really work toward their own survival. Several are named but mostly they are regarded as lacking in identity and a burden to the biguns. They are the original source of the fear of the beast. They represent pure ID. Although terrified of the beast at night, they are not concerned with anything but fulfilling their immediate desires during the day.
Percival Wemys Madison
A littlun who has a nervous breakdown and is often picked on by the other littluns. He introduces the idea that the beast might arrive from the sea
one of the littleuns with a sour attitude
a littleun often picked on by Roger
The boy with the birthmark on his face
this is the little boy that goes "missing" on the first night when the boys accidently set a forest fire. No one knew his name and although the boys know he must have been killed by their actions, they refuse to think about it. This boy's death and the fire are foreshadowing for the events at the end of the book.
Originally the projection of the littleuns fear at night, the beast becomes the ruling force on the island once the older boys begin abandoning civilization for their primal ID impulses. Jack both fears and worships the beast and eventually seeks to become it. The "physical beast" the boys discover on top of the mountain, is in fact a dead pilot still connected to his parachute. Only Simon discovers the truth but is killed before he can reveal that vital information. The body and parachute are eventually blown into the ocean, ensuring that "the beast" remains very real to everyone on the island.
The Lord of the Flies
physically it is the head of a mother pig that Jack and the hunter's kill. It is named the Lord of the Flies by Simon. Simon's conversation with the Lord of the Flies is interpreted as the conversation between good and evil, a metaphorical fight for the innate goodness or evil within mankind. While Simon continues to try and expose the danger and truth about the Lord of the Flies and the Beast, he is killed. So the author acknowledges that goodness in humans exists but it cannot withstand the savagery that is also present.
The Naval Officer
the only adult we meet during the story. He speaks briefly to Ralph at the very end, informing Ralph that they are saved now. Ralph worked the entire book to get back to civilization and get off the island, but when he faces the naval officer, Ralph realizes that they cannot be saved from the savagery in their own hearts. It is the naval officer's complete lack of emotional response to the state of the boys and the island that concludes the book.
This story is told from a neutral point of view. The narrator knows everything and follows the perspective of several of the different boys but is coldly neutral. The narrator gives no indication of feeling, positive or negative.
themes in LOTF
Civilization vs. savagery; the loss of innocence; innate human evil
Symbols in LOTF
The conch shell; Piggy's glasses; the signal fire; the beast; the Lord of the Flies; Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, and Roger
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