Lord of the Flies
by William Golding
A group of boys is left without adult supervision on a deserted island when a plane crashes and there are no adult survivors. The boys start their own society but their flimsy social organization quickly disintegrates thanks to power struggles, circumstances and the evil tendencies of human nature.
Golding’s story makes many people uncomfortable because it puts forward a disturbing question:
Are people naturally good or naturally evil?
Chapter by chapter summary (with highlighted important quotes and their explanations)
Discussion of themes such as:
1. Loss of innocence
2. Loss of identity within a group / mob mentality
3. Peer pressure
4. Power struggles
5. The threat of war
6. Democracy and tyranny
7. Fear of the unknown
6. Sam and Eric
7. The Lil’uns
1. The conch
2. The scar
3. The lord of the flies
4. The fire
5. The island
6. The beast
7. Piggy’s glasses
8. Face Painting
9. The Boys as Symbols
Is a society with no rules practical? What makes a society function?
What makes a good leader? Is Ralph a good leader? Is Jack a good leader albeit a tyrant?
How to the characters in the novel attempt to use propaganda devices in order to acquire power?
Why did Golding write this novel?
The importance of Setting: the granite platform, the coral reef, the mountains, the “scar” etc.
Mood / Atmosphere
Self-Study Guide (Chapter by Chapter)
(if you feel comfortable reading and analyzing the book by yourself, here are some guidelines as to what you should be looking for in each chapter)
How is Simon different from Ralph and Jack?
Is the island welcoming or hostile?
Differences between Jack’s approach to leadership and Ralph’s approach
Does Jack’s desire to kill a pig fit into either of the group’s main priorities as established by Ralph?
Jack paints his face. How does this change his behavior? (theme and symbol – face painting)
Discuss degeneration of beliefs, behaviors, appearances, rules and order
Why is everyone willing to accept the presence of the beast? How does this change the atmosphere?
Why is Simon the only one who doubts the existence of the beast? Why do Ralph and Jack both insist on going after the beat? (They have different motivations)
There is a shift in power in this chapter – analyze it and its consequences
Why does Simon tell Ralph” “you will get back all right”?
Even though Jack enumerated Ralph’s faults, none of the boys is willing to oust Ralph as Chief. Why?
Explain the discussion between Simon and the “lord of the flies.”
Why is the killing of the sow discussed in such detail? Analyze the language used here.
The Lord of the Flies’ prediction that Simon would be killed by the other boys proved accurate. Did you expect this?
Who could Simon be compared to – trying to save the other boys from the real beast (themselves)? (Think Jesus)
Why do Ralph and Piggy join the dance?
Further degeneration of beliefs, behavior, relationships, rules and order – pay attention to them
Discuss the title
Why does Roger shove his way past Jack, only just managing to edge him aside?
Ralph and Piggy’s biggest problem is their inability to comprehend the depths to which people will sink. Discuss this ideas.
Analyze the ending. Is it optimistic or pessimistic? What is the irony of this chapter?
(The notes available for this novel are extensive; they would certainly cover any assignment given by any teacher)