Lord of the Flies

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Examine he characters of Ralph and Piggy. Explore their relationship as it changes and develops through the novel

Compare and contrast characters of Ralph and Jack. How do their characters affect their leadership style?

Examine the part played by hunters in the story. How important do you think they are? Give reason to support what you say

The conch and Piggy's glasses are both important items in the story. Look at one of them and the way it contribute to what happens

Look ate the character of Simon. Is he important character or not?

Think of the part that death plays in the novel. Why is this subject so central to the story?

Examine the ideas of good and evil in Lord of the Flies

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The relationship between Ralph and Piggy is governed by Ralph's attractive, confidant demeanor and leadership skills combined with Piggy's exceptional intelligence. Ralph is smart, but he doesn't have the same 'smarts' or thinking skills Piggy has. When Ralph gets frustrated, Piggy smoothes him out......... Ralph is the only one to accept Piggy and appreciate him; he may initially join the rest of the boys in deeming him an outcast, but it doesn't last long. He learns to accept him, treat him as an equal, and in the end he actually likes having him around. This acceptance is what eventually completely severs his relationship with Jack.

Ralph's election as chief is based on his looks........ that's what it says! But it also hinges on his possession of the conch, the symbol of power. He's level-headed, believes in order, rules, and not pooping where he eats (literally). He also has notable moments of profound wisdom. But be it weakness or simply being sucked into the game that's being played out in real life, Ralph's strength eventually begins to deteriorate as he displays behaviors that become more savage than civilized.

Jack can be seen as Ralph's foil; they're pretty much complete opposites. Jack is as charismatic as Ralph, and he also has great leadership skills, the down side? He's a control freak, and he enjoys abusing the power he garners. Ralph embraces nuances of civilization, whereas Jack embraces the 'no adults, no rules' mentality. Their predicament has given him complete freedom to do anything he wishes without fear of recrimination.

"Piggy’s glasses are more than just a pair of lenses – they’re an ingrained aspect of his entire persona. Did you ever notice how, in literature, writers say things like “his eyes flashed”? Several times in this novel, we see that “Piggy’s glasses flashed,” as if they are a part of his face, as if they are talking and reacting and, well, emoting. It makes sense, then, that this integral part of a character whose focus is science and technology, is used for the purposes of…science and technology. While the boys revert to their primitive and animal ways, the glasses become a symbol of the opposite sort of transformation: advancement, discovery, innovation. We’ll go into more detail in the Symbols, Imagery, and Allegory section, but in talking about Piggy it’s important to note that, in this way, he is the character most needed on the island. Without his glasses, the boys never would have been able to start a fire." (1)

Simon is of course my favorite character. He's the innocent, the teacher, the Christ figure. Simon is physically weak, but he is also stringer than the rest because of his innate goodness and ability to be compassionate. He shares with the others at his won expense; he insightful, he's prophetic, and in the end he's crucified.

"The most interesting part of this gruesome, tragic death is that the boys think Simon is the beast when they kill him. How ironic is it that Simon said the beast was “only us,” and is then later pegged as in fact being the beast himself? The kicker is that, of all the boys, Simon is the least beast-like. The question is whether being non-beasty makes him more or less human." (2)

Good and evil; the best summary on this topic is found right here on gradesaver; the link is provided as number (3)

"Is evil innate within the human spirit, or is it an influence from an external source? What role do societal rules and institutions play in the existence of human evil? Does the capacity for evil vary from person to person, or does it depend on the circumstances each individual faces? These questions are at the heart of Lord of the Flies which, through detailed depictions of the boys' different responses to their situation, presents a complex articulation of humanity's potential for evil.

It is important to note that Golding's novel rejects supernatural or religious accounts of the origin of human evil. While the boys fear the "beast" as an embodiment of evil similar to the Christian concept of Satan, the novel emphasizes that this interpretation is not only mistaken but also, ironically, the motivation for the boys' increasingly cruel and violent behavior. It is their irrational fear of the beast that informs the boys' paranoia and leads to the fatal schism between Jack and Ralph and their respective followers, and this is what prevents them from recognizing and addressing their responsibility for their own impulses. Rather, as The Lord of the Flies communicates to Simon in the forest glade, the "beast" is an internal force, present in every individual, and is thus incapable of being truly defeated. That the most ethical characters on the island-Simon and Ralph-each come to recognize his own capacity for evil indicates the novel's emphasis on evil's universality among humans.

Even so, the novel is not entirely pessimistic about the human capacity for good. While evil impulses may lurk in every human psyche, the intensity of these impulses-and the ability to control them-appear to vary from individual to individual. Through the different characters, the novel presents a continuum of evil, ranging from Jack and Roger, who are eager to engage in violence and cruelty, to Ralph and Simon, who struggle to contain their brutal instincts. We may note that the characters who struggle most successfully against their evil instincts do so by appealing to ethical or social codes of behavior. For example, Ralph and Piggy demand the return of Piggy's glasses because it is the "right thing to do." Golding suggests that while evil may be present in us all, it can be successfully suppressed by the social norms that are imposed on our behavior from without or by the moral norms we decide are inherently "good," which we can internalize within our wills.

The ambiguous and deeply ironic conclusion of Lord of the Flies, however, calls into question society's role in shaping human evil. The naval officer, who repeats Jack's rhetoric of nationalism and militarism, is engaged in a bloody war that is responsible for the boys' aircraft crash on the island and that is mirrored by the civil war among the survivors. In this sense, much of the evil on the island is a result not of the boys' distance from society, but of their internalization of the norms and ideals of that society-norms and ideals that justify and even thrive on war. Are the boys corrupted by the internal pressures of an essentially violent human nature, or have they been corrupted by the environment of war they were raised in? Lord of the Flies offers no clear solution to this question, provoking readers to contemplate the complex relationships among society, morality, and human nature." (3)


(1) http://www.shmoop.com/lord-of-the-flies/piggy.html (2) http://www.shmoop.com/lord-of-the-flies/simon.html (3) http://www.gradesaver.com/lord-of-the-flies/study-guide/major-themes/