Thursday, 09 September 2021 06:12

LORD OF THE FLIES GRADE 12 NOTES - LITERATURE STUDY GUIDE

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OVERVIEW

Introduction

Lord of the Flies is about a group of boys who are stranded on an island. The novel is an allegory. An allegory is a story that has two meanings and is understood on two levels. On one level it tells a story about how the boys survive – how they organise themselves and find food and shelter.
On another level the boys represent different kinds of people in the world. The conflicts and power struggles that take place among the boys represent the wars, power struggles and cruelty found in the world.
In an allegory, the characters and events become symbols that represent other things in the world.

 1.The author

William Golding was born in England in 1911 and died in 1993. As well as being a writer, he was a teacher at an expensive boys’ school. His experience as a teacher showed him that children could be very cruel to one another.
He fought in the Second World War (1939-1945) and saw for himself the destruction and cruelty of war. These horrific events made William Golding believe that all human beings were capable of extreme evil. He also believed that it was only through the laws of society and personal self- control that people could stop themselves from acting out the evil in their natures. He expressed his belief in the dark side of human nature in this, his first novel, which he wrote in 1954.

 2.Background

This section outlines some of the things that would have influenced William Golding when he was writing Lord of the Flies.

 2.1 War

During the Second World War (1939-1945) more than 60-million people were killed and many cities were destroyed by bombs. The Holocaust and the dropping of the atom bomb were two of the worst events of that terrible war.

  • The Holocaust was the mass murder of about eleven million people by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party in Germany. Those murdered included Jews, gypsies, communists, homosexuals and the disabled.
  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the two Japanese cities on which America dropped atomic bombs. Those who weren’t killed immediately died in the following months from burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries and illnesses.
     

The use of atomic weapons horrified people. Many were very worried about the possibility of an atomic war that could destroy the world. It led to a tense period in international relations called the Cold War. This was not an actual war, but describes the bad relations between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted from the late 1940s until 1991. Although the United States and the Soviet Union never fought each other directly, each of them threatened to destroy the other with nuclear weapons.
William Golding was interested in what makes people violent and leads them to fight each other, especially when they are in very difficult situations. In Lord of the Flies he shows us how pointless war is. For example, the boys would have had a much better chance of living safely on the island if they had remained friendly with each other. But in the end, Jack destroys any chance of their being able to live on the island by setting it on fire. In this way, the fire becomes a symbol of the atom bomb, which was used at the end of the Second World War.

 2.2 Social attitudes

Some of the characters in the novel show negative attitudes towards others, who come from different backgrounds. This reflects attitudes the boys have learned from adults in their society. For example, the upper classes (people in higher income groups) may consider themselves superior and look down on people from the lower classes. In Lord of the Flies, Piggy is from a working-class family (low income group). Most of the other boys in the novel seem to be from richer, upper-class families. One example is Ralph, whose father is a military officer, and the choirboys, who came from a private school.
The officer who arrives at the end of the novel says that he expected British schoolboys to have behaved better. This suggests that he believes that Western civilisation makes the British superior to people from other cultures. This “superior” attitude is also shown in the language used in the novel.
For example, a “savage” is considered to be a person who is uneducated, wild, fierce, and cruel. Some Westerners regard all black people as “savages” and have no respect for them. When Piggy refers to Jack’s group as “painted niggers” he is probably talking the way he has heard many adults talk.

 3. Title

One of the names of Satan (the devil) in Hebrew is “Beelzebub”, which means “lord of the flies”. By using this name as the title of the novel, the author symbolises the evil that is found in the hearts of people who behave in cruel and savage ways.

 4. How the story is told

This section outlines the different elements in the novel that the writer uses to tell the story.

 4.1 Setting

In Lord of the Flies a group of boys ends up on a tropical island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean when the plane they are in is shot down. They find they are the only people on the island; there are no grown-ups at all.
There is a beach with a lagoon – a pool of salt water separated from the sea by a coral reef. Beyond the coral reef is the Pacific Ocean. Behind the beach are the jungle (forest) and a mountain of pink rock. Fruit such as bananas grows in the forest. There are butterflies, birds and wild pigs. The island is beautiful and the weather is extremely hot, so hot that at noon the coral reef looks as though it is floating.
lotf
There is a “scar” through the jungle caused by the passenger section of the aeroplane that crash-landed, destroying trees and other plants.
We are not told when the story takes place, but we do know it is in an imaginary future during a nuclear war in which atom bombs have destroyed most of Europe. According to Piggy, most of the adults have been killed. Perhaps the boys in the plane that was shot down were being flown to a safer place, away from the war.

Fact: 

  • During World War 2, many children were sent to smaller towns or rural areas which were less likely to be bombed.

 4.2 Characters

The central character, which is who the story is mostly about, is called the protagonist. The character that the protagonist opposes, or is in conflict with, is called the antagonist.
In Lord of the Flies, Ralph is the protagonist and Jack is the antagonist who opposes him.
Lord of the Flies is an allegory. This means that the story of the boys on the island symbolises something else in the real world. Each of the main characters has a different role to play in the story and represents a different theme relevant to the real world.

notes
Characterisation is the way in which the author reveals characters’ personalities. This is by describing their thoughts, feelings, expressions and actions. As you read the novel, look for evidence that shows the characters’ personalities and emotions, and how they change during the story.

 Main characters

This section outlines some of the key features of the main characters. As you read the novel, and this study guide, look for examples that show these features of the characters.

Ralph

Ralph is elected leader of the boys at the beginning of the story and tries to create a democratic and orderly society.
This character is charming and inspires the other boys to want to be like him. He is a productive and practical leader who cares for people. He has a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong, and prefers to think carefully before making a decision.
In the end his goodness is defeated by the evil around him.

  • Symbolises order, civilisation and democracy

Jack

Jack is the leader of the choir boys when they arrive on the island.
This character is arrogant and does not allow anybody to argue with him about his decisions. He has many negative qualities: he is a bully, wild, selfish and cruel. He likes to show off. He becomes a brutal and power-hungry dictator.

  • Symbolises savagery and violence

Piggy

Piggy is an outcast and is made fun of by the other boys.
He is an orphan who suffers from asthma (a condition that affects his breathing) and is not fit or athletic. He is intelligent, knowledgeable, inventive and has common sense. He is also cautious and timid, and avoids dangerous or risky activities.
Eventually he becomes the victim of the other boys’ brutality and a symbol of the fact that they have become totally uncivilised.

  • Symbolises civilisation, order and reason 

Simon

Simon is the boy who helps Ralph while the others just play. He is good, reliable and wise, although considered strange by others, especially because he often faints and has fits. He appreciates the beauty of nature and is not afraid of the dark; he likes to visit his secret place to think there. He is a visionary (a prophet or a person who can see a deeper truth).
This character realises what the “beast” really is, but the other boys do not understand him. In the end he, too, becomes a victim.

  • Symbolises goodness and wisdom and the way those values are destroyed when people become barbaric (savage) 

Roger

This character frightens and bullies the little boys. He also murders Piggy.
Roger is violent and brutal, and enjoys hurting other people. He is Jack’s right-hand man. He is secretive and says little in the beginning of the story

  • Symbolises evil and savagery 

Minor characters

  • Sam and Eric: Two boys who are twins and therefore treated as one person; basically decent, but not heroes; also called Sam ‘n Eric or Samneric
    Symbolise people who give in under pressure
  • The Biguns: The bigger boys, about 11 or 12 years old
    Symbolise people who support a leader who gives them power and material things
  • The Littluns: The small boys, about 5 or 6 years old
    Symbolise the ordinary, powerless people who suffer

 Make your own character charts

A character chart can help you to keep track of the evidence about a character as you revise the story. In your character chart:

  • Write the characteristics (features or qualities) of the character in the first column
  • Write the evidence for these characteristics in the second Include the chapter number for the evidence so it is easier to find again.

We have filled in Ralph’s character chart for you – so you can see how to do it in the other character charts.

e.g.       Character chart: Ralph       

Ralph is the protagonist (main character) in the novel.
Symbolises: Order, civilisation, and a democratic leader who cares for the people.

Characteristics

Evidence

1. Responsible and caring leader

  1. Ralph takes charge at the start, organising a search of the island and the signal fire. (Chapters 1, 2)
  2. He realises the boys need shelters for protection and to feel safe. (Chapter 3)
  3. He makes others feel confident. When he says, “...of course we shall be rescued,” he cheers up the boys and brings “light and happiness”. (Chapter 2)

2. A fair and democratic leader who wants the society on the island to be orderly while the boys wait for rescue.
Rescue and a return to civilisation mean everything to him.

  1. He makes a rule that the boy holding the conch has the right to speak and be heard, so everyone can share in making decisions. (Chapter 2)
  2. He insists that the signal fire is kept alight to show passing ships the boys are on the island so they can be rescued. (Chapter 5 and others)

3. Becomes more mature as time passes and learns more about himself.

  1. At the beginning of the novel he thought it would be fun to have no adults (he stood on his head in delight). He learns that life on the island is a struggle and that being a leader is difficult and a great responsibility. (Chapter 5)
  2. He realises that thinking is important and that Piggy is wiser than he is. (Chapter 5)
  3. At the end of the novel he is wiser and grieves for “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart” and the death of Piggy. (Chapter 12)

4. Shows a darker, more violent, side to his nature when he gets caught up in the excitement of hunting.

  1. He is proud and excited when he wounds the boar and afterwards wants to hurt Robert. (Chapter 7)
  2. Later he takes part in the dance in which Simon is attacked and killed. (Chapter 9)

5. Can be affected by stress and cannot always make a decision easily.

  1. After the death of Simon, his mind goes blank and Piggy helps him say what he means. (Chapter 10)
  2. When he is being hunted, he has to decide the best way to save himself without Piggy’s good ideas or an assembly where ideas can be debated. (Chapter 12)

 4.3 Structure and plot development

The events that happen in Lord of the Flies take place chronologically, which means they are described in the order in which they happen.

Exposition

  • The island is described and we meet Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, Roger, Samneric and the other (Chapter 1)

Rising action

  • A conflict develops between Ralph and Jack
  • The fear of the beast increases and affects the behaviour of the boys. No one listens to Simon’s explanation of the beast (Chapters 2-8)

Climax

  • This begins after Simon finds the “lord of the flies” (the pig’s head on the stick). He also finds the dead airman who was mistaken for the beast. When he hurries to tell the boys, he is killed
  • This is the turning point of the Now the conflict between Ralph and Jack becomes a war – the war between good and evil – leading to the death of Piggy and to Ralph having to run for his life. (Chapters 9-11)

Falling action

  • Sam and Eric betray Ralph’s hiding place and he is hunted
  • The tribe sets the forest alight to smoke Ralph out (Chapter 12)
     It’s not much of a rescue – the boys manage to escape from the island and their madness, but only to go back to the real world where a nuclear war is going on!
    But perhaps now they are wiser – they’ve learned from their experience … 

4.4  Themes

This section provides a summary of the themes in Lord of the Flies. More examples are given in the “Chapter by chapter” section of the guide.

Good and evil

  • The island on which the boys are stranded is so beautiful and unspoilt by people that it seems like a paradise – a perfect place to live. This reminds the reader of the Garden of Eden in the Bible before Adam and Eve were tempted by the devil (Satan) and brought evil into the world. It suggests that the boys will bring evil to the island.
  • People can be both good and evil. The struggle between good and evil is shown in the novel through contrasting characters. For example, Simon is good while Roger is evil, and the way in which some characters are tempted to act badly (for example, Jack becomes more brutal and cruel as the story goes on).
  • Goodness is related to friendship and helping oneanother. In the novel, civilisation and democracy represent values that are considered to be good, while corruption, savagery, violence and cruelty are evil.

Civilisation and savagery

  • For the boys, civilisation means their homes in Britain where they had food and shelter – not the wilderness of the island where they have to struggle for even their most basic needs. Ralph, in particular, wants to go back to civilisation and hopes that someone will see the smoke from the fire and rescue them 
  • Civilisation also relates to a society that is democratic (everyone has a right to speak), and where there is some law and order
  • Savagery is related to violence and William Golding’s message is one of non-violence.

Innocence and corruption

  • Innocence is linked to goodness, and being unaware of the bad side of human nature. It is the innocence of the boys that made the island at first seem like paradise. They want to have fun and adventure.
  • Gradually, it seems as if this innocence is lost. For example, Ralph seems hopeful at the beginning of the story, but he realises how hard it is to be a responsible, caring leader.  In Chapter 7, even he acts violently, when he attacks the boar. By the end of the novel he weeps “for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart” (Chapter 12).
  • Corruption refers to the temptation to act in a way that is not good. For example, refusing to act for the good of the group, or society as a whole, creates corruption.
  • Jack’s innocence seems to be corrupted by power as he becomes more violent and cruel. He is a leader, yet he abuses his power by punishing the boys who do not obey him 

Order and disorder

  • Order is related to democracy and civilisation. Some rules, or laws, are needed to help people work effectively together. For example, in meetings the conch is used in order to make sure that everyone does not talk at once.
  • However, there is a danger in having too much order and not allowing anybody the freedom to choose. For example, Jack makes a lot more rules than Ralph, but Jack’s rules are meant to make the boys do what he wants, not to look after them
  • Disorder is related to chaos and savegery

Leadership

  • There is a contrast between two types of leadership. These represent the struggle between democracy and dictatorship
  • Ralph is a responsible, caring leader who believes in democracy
  • Jack is a dictator – he wants to be in charge so he can tell others what to He enjoys the power that he has over the other boys.

Power

  • Power relates to authority: the right to give orders and make decisions on behalf of In a democracy the people who vote have power – they give their elected leader this authority.
  • Ralph is the leader who is first elected. However, later in the novel most of the boys choose to follow Jack instead of Ralph.
  • Jack abuses this power when he acts like a dictator
  • Physical strength and weapons also give people power – the power to harm others through violence, or the threat of violence. For example, Jack’s knife gives him the power to kill the pig.

Wisdom

  • Wisdom is a combination of knowledge, experience and good judgement. A wise person has the ability to see things in a clearer way than others do.
  • Both Simon and Piggy (whom Ralph describes as “wise” in Chapter 12) are wise
  • Yet, they are both killed. Perhaps William Golding is suggesting that if there were more wise leaders in the world there would be less war and violence

Fear

  • William Golding was interested in exploring what makes people violent, or makes them act in ways that are not rational and are not based on logic or reason. Fear, especially fear of something people do not understand, is one cause of violence
  • In the novel, not only the littluns, but also the older boys, are afraid of the unknown beast.  In Chapter 3 even Jack is uneasy in the forest.

4.5 Symbols

In Lord of the Flies William Golding uses many symbols. The symbols are linked to themes in the novel.
symbols in lotf

A symbols quiz

Write down in column B the themes that the symbols relate to. Choose the themes from the list below.
Themes: Good; evil; civilisation; savagery; fear; democracy; wisdom; innocence; corruption; authority; order 

No.

A: Symbols

B: Themes

1.

The pig’s head

 

2.

Conch

 

3.

Piggy’s glasses

 

4.

Fire

 

5.

The island – a paradise before the arrival of human beings

 

6.

The pig hunts

 
    [6]

Answers

No.

A: Symbols

B: Themes

1.

The pig’s head

Evil, fear ✓

2.

Conch

Order, authority, democracy ✓

3.

Piggy’s glasses

Wisdom ✓

4.

Fire

Civilisation and, later, savagery ✓

5.

The island – a paradise before the arrival of human beings

Innocence, good ✓

6.

The pig hunts

Savagery ✓

    [6]

 5. Style

This section explains some of the features of the way of writing used in the novel.

 5.1     The narrator

  • Lord of the Flies is written in the third person. The author describes what the different characters think and feel. It is not written from the point of view of only one character

 5.2     Diction and figurative language

  • William Golding writes vivid descriptions that show the contrast between the natural beauty of the island and the horror of what happens on it as a result of the boys’ activities. For example, compare the description of the secret place in the forest that Simon finds at the end of Chapter 3 with the horror of the pig’s head that he saw in Chapter 8.
  • William Golding uses figurative language in his descriptions. For example, in Chapter 8 a metaphor and a simile help us to imagine the horror of the pig’s head that Simon looks at:
    “The pile of guts was a black blob of flies that buzzed like a saw.”
    From the metaphor we imagine hundreds of flies feeding on the innards (guts) of the pig. The simile, and onomatopoeia, “buzzed like a saw” help us imagine the noise they make, which is as loud as an electric saw. These figures of speech emphasise how evil and disgusting the pig looks.
  • The word “buzzed” in the quote above is an example of onomatopoeia. “Buzzed” sounds like the noise flies It also sounds like the noise of an electric saw.

 5.3     Dialogue

  • The boys in Lord of the Flies talk like British schoolboys in the 1950s. For example, they use words like “Wacco” and “wizard”, meaning great or excellent (Chapter 1).
  • The way a character speaks can also show something about his or her social class. For example, Piggy’s incorrect grammar (“When we was coming down...” or “Them fruit ...”) reveals that he comes from a working-class family 

5.4 Tone and mood

  • The tone changes throughout the novel, but generally it is a tone of horror and fear. Here is a good example of the way the author creates a tone of horror:

“The flies had found the figure too. The life-like movement would scare them off for a moment so that they made a dark cloud round the head. Then as the blue material of the parachute collapsed the corpulent figure would bow forward, sighing, and the flies settle once more.” (Chapter 9)

  • Mood is the feeling a reader has when reading the novel, such as happiness, sadness, anger or indifference. How did Lord of the Flies make you feel?

CHAPTERS

Chapter by Chapter

Introduction

This section of the study guide contains:

  • A summary of what happens and who is involved – the main events and characters in the chapter
  • The main themes and symbols, and some examples of language use in the chapter
  • Activities with exam-type questions for you to test yourself, and answers to these activities.

pigs head

A summary of the main events

Use this table to see which chapter to turn to when revising a particular part of the story.

Chapter

What happens

Themes

Symbol

1. The Sound of the Shell

The boys’ first day on the island …

  • The boys are stranded on the island after a plane crash.
  • Ralph and Piggy find a conch.
  • Ralph is elected leader.

Innocence; order and disorder; leadership; civiliation and savagery; good and evil

  • The conch

2. Fire on the Mountain

Later that day …

  • The boys light a fire to attract a ship.
  • The forest catches fire.
  • A littlun disappears.

Order and disorder; leadership; fear

  • The conch
  • Fire

3. Huts on the Beach

Some days later …

  • Ralph thinks that having the signal fire and building shelters is important.
  • Jack thinks that hunting is more important.
  • The boys are frightened.

Civilisation and savagery; power; fear; good and evil

  • Fire

4. Painted Faces and Long Hair

More days later – the day that the ship passed by

  • Ralph sees a ship passing but the fire has gone out.
  • Jack has killed a pig, which they roast.
  • The boys have painted their faces. They dance, chanting: “Kill the pig...”

Innocence and corruption; good and evil; civilisation and savagery; leadership

  • Fire
  • Piggy’s glasses
  • The pig hunt

5. Beast from Water

The evening of the day that the ship passed by

  • Ralph calls an assembly to put things right. He says the signal fire must be kept alight.
  • The meeting ends in chaos.

Order and disorder; loss of innocence; power; leadership; fear; wisdom

  • The conch
  • The beast

6. Beast from Air

Later that night and the next morning …

  • A dead man wearing a parachute lands on the mountain. The wind makes him move as if he is alive.
  • Samneric think it is the beast. They tell the others.

Fear; power; order and disorder; civilisation and savagery; wisdom; good and evil

  • The conch
  • Fire
  • The beast

7. Shadows and Tall Trees

The same day: afternoon

  • The boys climb the mountain to investigate.
  • Ralph wounds a boar (a wild pig) and takes part in the savage dance.
  • Jack, Ralph and Roger run away after seeing the beast.

Fear; civilisation and savagery; wisdom; innocence and corruption

  • The beast
  • The pig hunt

8. Gift for the Darkness

Dawn, the next day …

  • Jack leaves and forms a new group.
  • They kill a sow (a female pig) and put its head on a stick as an offering to the “beast”.
  • Simon sees the pig’s head and realises the beast is the evil inside man.

Good and evil; civilisation and savagery; wisdom; power

  • The pig’s head
  • The conch
  • The pig hunt

Chapter

What happens

Themes

Symbol

9. A View to a Death

The same day: evening …

  • Simon climbs the mountain and sees the beast is the dead airman (pilot).
  • All the others are at Jack’s feast and do the dance.
  • Simon rushes to tell them his news and they kill him.

Good and evil; civilisation and savagery; innocence and corruption; fear

  • The beast

10. The Shell and the Glasses

The next day and night …

  • The only biguns left with Ralph are Piggy and Samneric. The others have joined Jack, who is now a dictator.
  • Jack raids Ralph’s shelter during the night and steals Piggy’s glasses.

Good and evil; civilisation and savagery; leadership

  • The conch
  • Fire
  • Piggy’s glasses

11. Castle Rock

Very early the next morning – the second day after Simon’s death

  • Piggy is almost blind without his glasses.
  • His group goes to the castle rock to get the glasses back.
  • The twins are captured.
  • Piggy is killed and Ralph runs for his life.

Good and evil; civilisation and savagery; power; fear

  • The conch
  • Piggy’s glasses
  • Fire

12. Cry of the Hunters

A short time later and the next morning

  • The twins give away Ralph’s hiding place and he is hunted.
  • The tribe sets the forest alight to smoke Ralph out.
  • Ralph meets the British officer who has spotted the island on fire.
  • The boys who are left will be rescued.

Fear; good and evil; civilisation and savagery; power; innocence; leadership

  • The conch
  • Fire
  • The beast

Chapter 1: The Sound of the Shell

sound of the shell

1. What happens in the chapter?

This is the boys’ first day on the island. There is a war raging and some boys are evacuated from England on an aeroplane. The plane that carried the boys was shot down and crashed on an uninhabited island.
Ralph meets Piggy at a lagoon on the beach, which is just a short distance from the site of the plane crash. When Ralph realises there are no adults on the island he is delighted, but Piggy is worried. Ralph finds the conch and Piggy, who recognises what it is, is quick to realise its importance. Ralph blows the conch and other boys, big and little, come from other parts of the island to join him on the beach.
The boys see the need to have a leader. Roger suggests they vote and Ralph is elected, much to Jack’s disappointment. To keep Jack happy, Ralph tells him that he will be in charge of the choir boys, who will be the hunters. Ralph also tells everyone about Piggy’s nickname. This upsets Piggy because he has told Ralph that he hates being called by that name.
Ralph, Jack and Simon explore the island and when they are on the peak (the highest point) of the mountain they realise that nobody lives on the island. They find a piglet (a young pig), but Jack cannot yet bring himself to kill it. Jack vows that next time “there would be no mercy”, he will not draw back from the gruesome act of killing. He will be brave enough to do it. Jack and Ralph seem to be friends and the island seems to be a paradise.

2. Who is involved?

Ralph

  • Ralph is good-natured: there is “a mildness about his mouth and eyes that proclaimed no devil”.
  • Ralph appears to be innocent: he stands on his head in delight because there are no adults on the island.
  • Ralph is insensitive (does not consider how someone else might feel) when he tells the others Piggy’s nickname. However, he shows that he is not always insensitive and can empathise with others, for example, when the boys vote for Ralph to be leader he realises Jack is disappointed and says he should be leader of the hunters.
  • Ralph is calm and makes the other boys feel confident as “there was a stillness ... that marked him out.”

Piggy

  • Piggy is intelligent, knowledgeable and has common sense – he knows that the adults at home have been killed and realises that the boys’ situation is a problem rather than fun. He also knows that the conch is valuable and can be used to call people to come together.
  • Piggy understands the need for some order and asks for the children’s names and tries to remember them.
  • Piggy is mocked by the other boys because he is overweight. This makes him feel separate from the others: “the boys were a closed circuit of sympathy with Piggy outside”.

Jack

  • The first time Jack is mentioned his shadow is compared to a bat and then we read that “something dark was fumbling along”. This gives us an uneasy feeling that will be developed later.
  • Jack is arrogant when he immediately says he should be chief.
  • Jack is authoritarian – it seems that the choir boys dare not disobey him and they vote for him to be chief “with dreary obedience”, without enthusiasm. The fact that he cannot kill the pig suggests that he is still influenced by the way he was brought up at home. He sees this inability to kill the pig as a weakness, not as kindness or respect for life.

Simon

  • Simon faints when he reaches the platform where Ralph is standing.
  •  Simon is sensitive to beauty, comparing the flower buds to candles. (Unlike Jack, who destroys them.)

Roger

  • Roger appears secretive and says little.

Samneric

  • Sam and Eric are identical twins. Together they are called Samneric and they are both enthusiastic about collecting firewood.

3. Themes

Innocence

  • In the beginning the boys are excited about being on the island, which seems to be a beautiful, unspoilt paradise, and “a kind of glamour was spread over them”.

Order and disorder

  • The boys obey the sound of the conch, which represents authority and also democracy, as they then vote for a leader. This is an example of how the boys start to create order out of the disorder of their arrival on the island.
  • Piggy also tries to bring order by collecting the boys’ names.

Leadership

  • Jack is the leader of the choir boys, he controls them.
  • Ralph shows leadership when he says they should explore the island.

Civilisation and savagery

  • Jack’s inability to use his knife to kill the pig suggests he is still influenced by civilisation.
  • The way Jack sticks the knife into a tree trunk is a hint of violence to come and suggests savagery.

Good and evil

  • At this time there is friendship among the boys, particularly between Jack and Ralph. But when the boys push a rock down the mountain, destroying the plants, this already shows how destructive humans are and is a sign of evil entering paradise.

4. Symbols

The conch

  • The conch symbolises order and authority, and the boys obey its call.
  • The title of the chapter, “The Sound of the Shell”, also points us to the themes of leadership, authority and democracy.

5. Diction and figurative language

The author’s use of metaphors, personifications and similes helps us to imagine the rock and the plants in the forest as living things, like people.

Metaphors

  • Metaphors are used to describe the beauty and peace of the island. For example: “The air was thick with butterflies, lifting, fluttering, settling
    ...” By describing the air as “thick”, as though it were a syrupy liquid, Golding helps us to see how many of these delicate, lovely butterflies filled the air.

Personification

  • Personification is when an author writes of a thing or animal as though it were a person. When the boys push the rock it becomes almost human: “The great rock loitered, poised on one toe, decided not to return ...”

Similes

  • Similes are used in the chapter. For example, when the rock falls, one of the boys shouts: “Like a bomb!” This suggests the loud noise and damage created by the moving rock. Another example of a simile is the plant creepers the boys struggle through as they climb the mountain which are “as thick as their thighs”.

Diction

Authors choose words that will maximise the effect of an idea. Golding first shows us the candle-flower bushes as beautiful, the way Simon sees them. Then he suddenly changes the tone by using the strong, harsh word “slash” and we realise how little Jack appreciates the beauty. What Jack does feels almost like a small murder, with the scent as the plant’s blood. In chapter one we read that the bushes were dark, evergreen and aromatic and the many buds were waxen green and folded up against the light. Jack slashed at one with his knife and the scent spilled over them.

Activity 1

Read the following extract and answer the questions below.
[The boys elect a chief.]

“A chief! A chief!”
“I ought to be chief,” said Jack with simple arrogance, “because I’m chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp.”
Another buzz.
“Well then,” said Jack, “I —” 5
He hesitated. The dark boy, Roger, stirred at last and spoke up. “Let’s have a vote.”
“Yes!”
“Vote for a chief!”
“Let’s vote—” 10
This toy of voting was almost as pleasing as the conch. Jack started to protest but the clamour changed from the general wish for a chief to an election by acclaim of Ralph himself. None of the boys could have found good reason for this; what intelligence had been shown was traceable to Piggy
while the most obvious leader was Jack. But there was a stillness about Ralph 15
as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch.
The being that had blown that, had sat waiting for them on the platform with the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart.
“Him with the shell.” 20
“Ralph! Ralph!”
“Let him be chief with the trumpet-thing.” Ralph raised a hand for silence.
“All right. Who wants Jack for chief?”
With dreary obedience the choir raised their hands. 25
“Who wants me?”
Every hand outside the choir except Piggy’s was raised immediately. Then Piggy, too, raised his hand grudgingly into the air.
Ralph counted.
“I’m chief then.” 30
The circle of boys broke into applause. Even the choir applauded; and the freckles on Jack’s face disappeared under a blush of mortification. He started up, then changed his mind and sat down again while the air rang. Ralph looked at him, eager to offer something. 

Questions

  • Why is it necessary for the boys to elect a chief? (2)
  • Refer to lines 2-3 (“ ‘I ought to … sing C sharp’”). In these lines Jack gives reasons why he should become chief. Do you consider these reasons to be acceptable? Discuss your views. (3)
  • Refer to line 11 “the conch”.
  • What is a conch? (2)
  • Earlier in this chapter, what happened when Ralph blew the conch? (1)
  • In Chapter 1, what does the conch represent? (2)
  • Refer to line 25 “With dreary obedience the choir …”
    What do you think these words suggest about Jack as a leader? (1)
  • At the end of Chapter 1 Jack is not able to kill the pig, although he would like to do so. What does this inability (being unable) to act show about him at this point in the novel? (1) [12]

Answers to Activity 1

  1. They need someone to make decisions about safety, food and rescue. ✓✓
    OR
    They need a leader to guide them and to make important decisions. ✓✓
  2. Yes, he would make a good leader. He has good leadership qualities as he was head boy at his school/leader of the choir.
    Both these positions give him leadership experience and confidence. ✓✓✓
    OR
    No, he would not make a good leader. Being able to sing well or to reach a certain note does not necessarily make one a good leader./ The ability to sing well is not going to help on the island. ✓✓✓
  3.                    
    1. It is a beautiful/valuable shell✓ When blown, the shell sounds like a horn. ✓
    2. The boys gathered together / The sound made the boys come to the place where Ralph was. ✓
    3. Order and authority✓
  4. It suggests that they only obey him because they feel they have to. ✓ They are not enthusiastic about him./ He leads in an authoritarian way. ✓
  5. For Jack, at this point at least, killing is inhumane/ unacceptable/too gory and bloody and he is not yet able to hunt. ✓  [12] 

Chapter 2: Fire on the Mountain

fire on the mountain

1. What happens in the chapter?

The events in this chapter happen later during the boys’ first day on the island. In Chapter two the boys still see the island as a good place with “that glamour, that strange invisible light of friendship, adventure and content”, but already bad things are happening.
Ralph calls a meeting. The meeting takes place after Ralph, Jack and Simon have explored the island. Ralph tells the meeting that they are on a deserted (uninhabited) island. He makes a rule that the person who holds the conch can speak and the others must listen. Ralph creates order by explaining the rules that will apply at their meetings.
Piggy, on the other hand, is worried that no one (their parents or any other adults) knows where they are. The knowledge that they are stuck on the island makes the boys feel afraid. Ralph tries to make them feel better. He says it is a “good island”, there is food and water. They will have fun on the island until the grown-ups come to fetch them. A little boy with a purple birthmark on his face says he is afraid of the “snake-thing”, a “beastie” he saw during the night. Ralph also says the boys must make a fire on the mountain so that the smoke will attract a ship that will rescue them.
Immediately the boys rush off excitedly and all work together to collect wood. They light a fire using Piggy’s glasses to reflect the sun on the wood but after the flames flare up “twenty feet in the air” they soon die out. Piggy is upset when no one listens to him although he has the conch and Jack tells him that the rules do not count on the mountain. Ralph disagrees and says they need more rules. Then Piggy sees that the fire has spread to the forest below and the little boy with the birthmark is missing. He is never seen again – he must have died in the fire.

2. Who is involved?

Ralph

  • Ralph displays leadership qualities and is mature and responsible as he wants to keep order. For example, when everyone speaks at once he makes a rule: “ ‘We’ll have to have “hands up” ... I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak.’ ”
  • Ralph is kind to the little one when he explains that “beasties” and snakes are found only in big countries. He can also be forceful, as we see when he shouts at Jack that there “isn’t a beast” and he also tells Jack they need more rules.
  • Ralph believes in decent (civilised) behaviour and makes a rule: “ ‘Where the conch is, that’s a meeting.’ ”
  • Jack and Ralph both like being the leader, but they do not know everything. They bothe felt embarssed when they did not know how to start a fire. A good leader is a person who can admit when he or she does not know something.

Jack

  • Jack can be intelligent, for example, he thinks of using Piggy’s glasses to light the fire.
  • Jack wants power and tries to take control, leading the boys in their rush up the mountain and ignoring Ralph.
  • Jack is disrespectful and looks down on Piggy. He speaks rudely to him, telling him to “Shut up!”

Piggy

  • Piggy is the most mature and sensible of the boys. He thinks the others are a “crowd of kids” when they rush off to make a fire without thinking first.
  • Piggy shows he is responsible and caring as only he realises that a little boy is missing. He is horrified by the thought that the boy might have been killed in the fire.

Simon

  • Simon is kind and fair. While others mock Piggy he defends him, telling Jack that Piggy helped because it was his glasses that lit the fire.

3. Themes

Order

  • Ralph makes the rule that only the boy who holds the conch may speak.

Leadership

  • Ralph is seen as the democratic leader, who wants to give everyone a chance to speak. Ralph loses control to Jack for a while but later stands up to him, saying, “Where the conch is, that’s a meeting. The same up here as down there.”

Fear

  • Fear is introduced to the island when the little boy talks of the “snake- thing” and the “beastie”.

Disorder

  • There is disorder because making the fire has not been thought through properly and it sets the forest alight. The chapter title, “Fire on the Mountain”, refers to this fire and its tragic result, the little boy who we think dies in the fire.

4. Symbols

The conch

  • The importance of the conch as a symbol of order increases, as it now also stands for a form of democracy because anyone who holds it has a turn to speak.

The fire

  • The fire symbolises two opposite things: returning to civilisation by attracting a ship and destruction, when the forest burns and the child dies.

The snake-thing

  • The “snake-thing” the child is afraid of reminds us of the snake in the Garden of Eden. Together with the “beastie” it introduces both fear and the idea of evil to the island.

5. Diction and figurative language

The writer uses metaphors to help us to imagine and understand what he is describing. For example:

Metaphor

  • The child who talks of the “beastie” is described as “a shrimp of a boy”, which makes us think of him as extremely small and helpless.
  • At the very end of the chapter, the horror of the thought that this small boy has been trapped in the fire is increased by the metaphor, “the drum-roll continued”. Comparing the noise of the fire to the sound of a drum reminds us of the drum-rolls played at some funerals, and of soldiers’ drums. It is as though the island has declared war.

Simile

  • “A tree exploded in the fire like a bomb”. Like the metaphor of the drum- roll, this simile makes us think of war and danger.

Activity 2

Read the following extract and answer the questions below.
[The boys gather wood.]

Ralph and Jack looked at each other while society paused about them. The shameful knowledge grew in them and they did not know how to begin confession.
Ralph spoke first, crimson in the face. “Will you?”
He cleared his throat and went on. “Will you light the fire?”
Now the absurd situation was open, Jack blushed too. He began to mutter vaguely.
“You rub two sticks. You rub – “
He glanced at Ralph, who blurted out the last confession of incompetence.
“Has anyone got any matches?”
“You make a bow and spin the arrow,” said Roger. He rubbed his hands in mime. “Psss. Psss.”
A little air was moving over the mountain. Piggy came with it, in shorts and shirt, labouring cautiously out of the forest with the evening sunlight gleaming from his glasses. He held the conch under his arm.
Ralph shouted at him.
“Piggy! Have you got any matches?”
The other boys took up the cry till the mountain rang. Piggy shook his head and came to the pile.
“My! You’ve made a big heap, haven’t you?”
Jack pointed suddenly.

 Questions

1. Complete the following sentences by using the words provided in the list below. Write only the words next to the question number (1(a)- 1(d)).
The (a) … boys gather wood to light a (b) … fire to attract passing (c) … with its (d) … (4)

flames; stranded; lazy; blazing; smoke; ships; signal; aeroplanes 

2. To whom does “society” in line 1 refer? (1)
3. Refer to lines 1-3: “The shameful knowledge ... to begin confession.” Give TWO reasons why this knowledge is so “shameful”. (2)
4. In line 4 the writer mentions that Ralph turns “crimson in the face”. Which emotion causes Ralph to turn crimson? (1)
5. In line 14, “Psss. Psss.” is an example of... A apostrophe
B onomatopoeia C assonance
D oxymoron (1)
6. Give TWO of Piggy’s characteristics that we learn from the words “labouring cautiously” in line 16. (2)
7. Give TWO reasons why all the boys “took up the cry” (line 20). (2)
8. In your opinion, should starting a fire on the island have been the most important concern? Discuss your view. (2) [15]

 Answers to Activity 2

1.

(a) stranded ✓
(b) signal ✓
(c) ships ✓
(d) smoke ✓

2. The group of boys. ✓
3. (British) boys are expected to know such things/have basic survival skills. ✓ The boys thought they could survive without adults, but they fail to meet their first challenge. ✓         OR
    The boys did not know how to light the fire without matches. ✓
4. Embarrassment/shame/humiliation ✓
5. B/ onomatopoeia ✓
6. Piggy is (give any two of the following reasons):

1. a careful person. ✓
OR
2. He is not fit. ✓
OR
3. He moves with difficulty. ✓
OR
4. He does not take risks. ✓
OR
5. He wants to be part of the group. ✓

7. Give any two of the following answers:

  • They act as a group. ✓
    OR
    a) They are in a hurry to get the fire lit. ✓
    OR
    b) They are mocking Piggy. ✓

8.

  • Yes. In this way they would be rescued. ✓ The fire would provide light and warmth. ✓
    OR
    No. They were not being rescued immediately. Their priority should be to survive. ✓
    OR
    To establish how many boys are on the island. ✓
    OR
    They should think of food and shelter as their basic needs. ✓

Chapter 3: Huts on the Beach
huts on the beach

 1. What happens in the chapter?

Some days later Jack is obsessed with hunting the pigs, but has not yet been successful, while Ralph and Simon are trying to build shelters for the boys, which they find difficult. The other boys do not help with the shelters and Ralph is puzzled and frustrated that most of the boys have lost focus (they are not thinking about the important things).
Tension arises between Jack and Ralph because Jack thinks hunting is the priority but Ralph thinks keeping the signal fire burning and making shelters should come first. Ralph is upset because he and Simon are the only ones working – all the others are swimming and having fun. During their disagreement Jack shouts at Ralph, but both boys calm down.
Ralph says the boys are afraid and have nightmares: “As if it wasn’t a good island.” The littluns and the biguns are frightened when the beast is mentioned. Ralph continues to insist on the importance of the fire, while Jack is very excited about the idea of hunting. They think and feel very differently and neither understands the other; they are “two continents of experience and feeling, unable to communicate.”
Simon walks through the jungle. He is followed by the smaller boys, who are obviously intrigued by him. He helps the littluns by getting them fruit that is high up in the trees and out of their reach. When he is alone he wanders deep into the jungle until he finds an open but peaceful place. The plants create a little cabin in which he sits and looks out at a pair of butterflies dancing in the clearing. Later in the novel he makes this place his sanctuary (a quiet and safe place where he can get away from the others).

2. Who is involved?

Ralph

  • Ralph shows he is a responsible and caring leader by trying to provide shelters for the boys. He is aware of the boys’ fear and wants the shelters to give them homes.
  • Ralph wants to go back to civilisation and insists on keeping the fire burning.
  • Ralph shows a deeper understanding of human nature when, complaining that people do not help with the tasks, he thinks: “people were never quite what you thought they were”.

Jack

  • Jack is changing from the boy in Chapter 2 who could not kill the pig to a wilder, crueler person. For example:
  • Jack loves hunting so much that he becomes almost like an animal, “dog-like”, as he stalks his prey: “a furtive thing, ape-like ...” He even thinks it would be a good idea for him and his hunters to paint their faces so the pigs will not see them coming.
  • Jack has a “compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up”. While hunting provides an important source of food, Jack’s desire to hunt is more vicious than it needs to be. A compulsion is an irresistible urge or impluse.
  • Jack’s eyes indicate the wild and dangerous streak in him: while he is hunting his eyes are “bright blue ... and nearly mad”. When he tells Ralph about hunting: “The madness came into his eyes again.”

Simon

  • We are beginning to see that Simon is a truly good person. For example:
    1. Simon is the only boy who helps Ralph with the shelters, which shows that he is responsible and unselfish.
    2. Simon is very kind – he picks the best fruit for the littluns, which they cannot reach.
  • He is different from other boys and Ralph says, “He’s queer. He’s funny.” (Ralph uses the word queer here to mean strange or peculiar, not as an insulting word for gay people.)

3. Themes

Civilisation and savagery

  • Ralph wants to return to civilisation. This is shown by his focus on building shelters and on keeping the fire lit.
  • Jack is drawing away from the civilised world. This is seen when he “had to think a moment before he could remember what rescue was”. He is becoming more savage. He wants not only to hunt but also to kill.

Power

Although Ralph is the leader he has little power, apart from the authority of the conch, to control the boys and make them work together for the good of their little society.

Fear

  • Not only the littluns but also the older boys are afraid of the unknown beast. Even Jack is uneasy in the forest. Fear makes people act and feel in a way that is not based on rational or logical reasoning. For example, Jack admits that when he is hunting he feels as if “ ‘... you’re not hunting, but – being hunted, as if something’s behind you all the time in the jungle’ ”, although his common sense tells him that there is nothing behind him.

Good and evil

  • The struggle between good and evil is shown in the contrast between Simon, who acts as a good citizen (by doing his share of work in building the huts and helping the littluns pick fruit), and Jack, who is obsessed with killing.

4. Symbols

The fire

The fire that the boys make represents their desire to be rescued and return to civilisation. However, in this chapter, the smoke from the fire is pale. This suggests that they do not yet feel very strongly about going home, in some way they are enjoying their adventure.

5. Diction and figurative language

The writer uses metaphors to help us to imagine and understand what he is describing. For example:

Metaphors

  • The description of Jack and Ralph as “two continents of experience and feeling, unable to communicate” compares the two boys to different continents. The continents of the world are separated from one another by oceans and the people who live on them have completely different cultures and languages. Similarly, the two boys think and feel quite differently and cannot understand each other. The metaphor emphasises their difference and inability to communicate.

Similes

  • The simile at the start of the chapter, “He was down like a sprinter”, shows us how Jack looks when he is tracking a pig. A runner on the starting block bends down, his hands touching the ground, his head low, which is how Jack moved through the forest.

Note: The use of language in this chapter creates some vivid pictures in our minds. 
I like the description of Simon finding his hidden sanctuary: “he wormed his way into the centre of the mat” – as if he is a creature of the forest, a worm!

Activity 3

Read the following extract and answer the questions below.
[Jack returns from hunting and Ralph and Simon have been building shelters.]

Jack flushed. “We want meat.”
“Well, we haven’t got any yet. And we want shelters. Besides, the rest of your hunters came back hours ago. They’ve been swimming.”
“I went on,” said Jack. “I let them go. I had to go on. I –” 5
He tried to convey the compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up. “I went on. I thought, by myself –”
The madness came into his eyes again. “I thought I might kill.”
“But you didn’t.” 10
“I thought I might.”
Some hidden passion vibrated in Ralph’s voice. “But you haven’t yet.”
His invitation might have passed as casual, were it not for the undertone.
“You wouldn’t care to help with the shelters, I suppose?” 15
“We want meat –” “And we don’t get it.”
Now the antagonism was audible.
“But I shall! Next time! I’ve got to get a barb on this spear! We wounded a pig and the spear
fell out. If we could only make barbs –” 20
“We need shelters.”
Suddenly Jack shouted in rage. “Are you accusing –?”
“All I’m saying is we’ve worked dashed hard. That’s all.”
They were both red in the face and found looking at each other difficult. Ralph rolled on his 25
stomach and began to play with the grass.
“If it rains like when we dropped in we’ll need shelters all right. And then another thing. We need shelters because of the –”
He paused for a moment and they both pushed their anger away. Then he went on with the
safe, changed subject. 30
“You’ve noticed, haven’t you?”
Jack put down his spear and squatted. “Noticed what?”
“Well. They’re frightened.”
He rolled over and peered into Jack’s fierce, dirty face. 35
“I mean the way things are. They dream. You can hear ‘em. Have you been awake at night?” Jack shook his head.
“They talk and scream. The littluns. Even some of the others. As if –” “As if it wasn’t a good island.”
Astonished at the interruption, they looked up at Simon’s serious face. “As if,” said Simon, 40
“the beastie, the beastie or the snake-thing, was real. Remember?”
The two older boys flinched when they heard the shameful syllable. Snakes were not mentioned now, were not mentionable. 

Questions

1. Why does Ralph complain about the fact that Jack’s hunters “came back hours ago” and have been swimming? (Line 4) (2)
2. What do you think causes the “madness” that comes into Jack’s eyes? (Line 8) (2)
3. Complete Jack’s sentence beginning “Are you accusing – ” (Line 23) Begin your answer: “Are you accusing me of ... (2)
4. Briefly sum up the cause of the conflict between Ralph and Jack in this extract. (2)
5. “Then he went on with the safe, changed subject.” (Lines 29-30)

a) What is the “safe, changed subject” that is discussed? (1)
b) Why is it “safe”? (2)

6. We are told that “snakes” is a “shameful syllable” and that: “Snakes were not mentioned now, were not mentionable.” (Lines 42-43) What event that happened earlier makes the boys feel that way? (2)
7. Jack’s obssession with hunting shows that he is adapting well to his environment. Do you agree? Give a reason for your answer. (2) [15]

Answers to Activity 3

  1. Ralph and Simon have been building shelters without any help, ✓ while others were having fun. ✓
  2. Jack is obsessed with his love of hunting ✓ and the desire to kill. ✓
  3. “Are you accusing me of being lazy ✓ OR …of not doing my share of the work. ✓
  4. Ralph wants to make island life as civilised as possible by building shelters, ✓ but Jack wants to hunt as he loves hunting – and killing. ✓
  5.          
    1. They change the subject to the fear the boys are feeling✓
    2. It avoids the conflict that is arising between them ✓ over the fact that Jack wants to hunt while Ralph wants to build shelters✓
  6. They feel this way because it reminds them of the little boy (the one with a birthmark) who probably died in the fire, ✓ as he was afraid of the “snakes”. ✓
  7. This is an open-ended question, which means there is no ‘right’ or wrong’ answer, but your reason must be based on the novel. Here are some examples:
    Yes. The boys have been living on fruit and Jack realises that they need meat as well. ✓✓
    OR
    No. Jack is gradually growing savage and is only thrilled by the thought of violence and blood. ✓✓

Chapter 4: Painted Faces and Long Hair
kill the pig

1. What happens in the chapter?

More days later – the day that the ship passed by… The boys are used to life on the island, but at night many are afraid. Talk about the beast continues among the boys. They are dirty, their hair is long and most are almost naked. The littluns develop stomach ailments and diarrhoea because they eat too much fruit. Sometimes the small boys are harassed by the bigger ones, but for them life has settled down to a routine of playing, searching for fruit and food and sleeping.
Three littluns are building sand castles and Roger, followed by Maurice, destroys the castles. Maurice is a follower and copies Roger, but he leaves when Percival cries because Little Johnny kicked sand into his eyes. Maurice’s upbringing still influences him – he can still feel bad when someone is hurt. Roger follows little Henry and throws stones around him, but deliberately avoids hitting him as he, too, is still influenced by what he was taught at home. Henry enjoys trapping and having power over the tiny sea creatures. All three boys show unkindness. Jack arrives and he and the big boys smear coloured clay on their faces (so that the pig will not see them) before they go hunting.
Piggy, Ralph and Simon are on the beach when Ralph sees a ship far out at sea. The boys become very excited. Ralph rushes up the mountain followed by the others. He is deeply upset because the fire has gone out and they have lost a chance to be rescued. He is also furious with Jack, whose hunters were supposed to be watching the fire.
Jack’s obsession with the desire to kill a pig grows, so he continues his hunt. He and the hunters, feeling very pleased with themselves, arrive carrying a dead pig. Ralph is furious and confronts Jack about the fire going out and the others are upset when they learn that a ship passed by without seeing them. Jack hits Piggy and one lens of his glasses breaks.
Jack also refuses to give Piggy any meat, so Simon gives his meat to Piggy. Eventually Jack apologises to Ralph. The boys eat roast pig and then dance around Maurice chanting, “ ‘Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in.’ ” Ralph, who has been watching them, announces that he is calling a meeting.

The chapter title, refers to the way Jack is forgetting his civilised upbringing and to the way his character is changing. The long hairsuggests that the boys have been on the island for long enough for their hair to grow.
The boys have been on the island for a while and we can see the effects on them. They have not been able to create a successful life without the help of civilisation and the authority of adults.
The power struggle continues. Jack’s successful hunt could make the boys feel more loyal to him than to Ralph, but the dignity of Ralph’s silence about the fact that the fire has gone out makes his authority stronger.

2. Who Is Involved?

Roger

  • Roger is mean and deliberately destroys the littluns’ castles. He also throws stones at Henry.
  • The memory of the behaviour he was taught at home stops Roger from aiming to hit Henry, but he enjoys confusing him.

Ralph

  • Ralph can be insensitive: he is impatient with Piggy and isn’t very kind to him.
  • Ralph usually controls his feelings, but rescue means everything to him and in his disappointment he becomes enraged with Jack and the hunters.
  • Ralph does not know what to feel: his anger and pride make him want to refuse the meat, but his hunger makes him eat it.
  • Ralph gets his authority back by keeping silent and not moving. As a result the others are forced to build the fire somewhere else and they realise that Ralph cannot be bullied and is still the leader.
  • Ralph realises that somehow what has happened has made it impossible for him and Jack to be friends again: “Not even Ralph knew how a link between him and Jack had been snapped and fastened elsewhere.” 

It seems as if the crisis over the fire finally destroys any friendship between Ralph and Jack.

Jack

  • When Jack paints his face, he changes his identity and is freed from the rules of his upbringing: “the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness”. (Here “mask” means the paint.)
  • Jack only apologises to Ralph to make the hunters admire him, not because he is really sorry. He is being manipulative.
  • Although killing and blood excite him Jack is not yet completely hardened – when he boasts about cutting the pig’s throat, his body jerks: “twitched”. This shows that the memory of killing a living creature makes him feel uncomfortable, although he does not admit it or even realise it.
  • It seems that Jack enjoys being cruel, as he mocks Piggy and refuses to give him any meat.

Piggy

  • Piggy is a little lazy, using his asthma and fatness as an excuse for not helping with tasks that need physical work.
  • Piggy is so disappointed at losing the chance of being rescued that he criticises Jack, which is not like him, he is usually too cautious and afraid to do that.

Simon

  • Simon feels deeply: when he sees there is no smoke from the fire he cries out “as though he had hurt himself”. When the ship disappears, he cries, “smearing the water from his cheeks”.
  • Simon is kind and generous, giving his meat to Piggy when Jack refuses to give Piggy any. He also picks up Piggy’s glasses after Jack hits him.

3. Themes

Innocence and corruption

  • In this chapter we see the boys move further away from civilised and decent behaviour. It seems as if they are losing their innocence and becoming corrupt.

Good and evil

  • Simon’s kindness and generosity contrast with the cruelty and violence shown by the hunters. The hunters enjoyed killing the pig and seeing the blood.
  • Even the little boys enjoy hurting others (Johnny) or controlling living beings (Henry) when no adults are there to teach or discipline them.

Civilisation and savagery

  • The painted faces help Jack and the boys to forget the rules and morals they were taught at home. The words they chant while bringing the pig back from the hunt: “ ‘Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.’ ” And later: “ ‘Bash her in.’ ”, show how far they are moving away from decent behaviour and closer towards savagery.

Leadership

  • The different leadership styles of Ralph and Jack are shown again. Ralph controls his anger and uses silence to assert his authority. Jack loses control of his temper when he is criticised and turns to violence when he hits Piggy.

4. Symbols

Fire

  • The fire, which could bring rescue, goes out, indicating that the boys are moving further away from civilisation.

Piggy’s glasses

  • The glasses show Piggy’s intelligence and belief in reason. When they are broken this suggests how unthinking the boys are becoming; they are beginning to act without thinking about the results of what they do.

The pig hunt:

  • The pig hunt is a symbol of the desire to kill; of the violence and savagery that is taking over.

5. Diction and figurative language

The writer uses metaphors to help us to imagine and understand what he is describing. For example:

Metaphor

  • After the fire has been lit, Piggy takes his glasses back and “Before these fantastically attractive flowers of violet and red and yellow, unkindness melted away.” Here are two examples of metaphor in one sentence: the fire is compared to flowers, and unkindness is compared to a block of ice that melts in the warmth of the fire. The two metaphors don’t quite match, as flowers are not hot and cannot make something melt. This is called a mixed metaphor, and can be confusing. But in this case it works because it also makes one think of a bad mood melting away when one sees something beautiful. Which is what happened to Piggy and the other boys: “They became a circle of boys round a camp fire and even Piggy and Ralph were half-drawn in.”

Simile

  • “When the sun sank, darkness dropped on the island like an extinguisher
    ...” This suggests a fire extinguisher putting out the light from the sun. This simile makes us understand how suddenly the darkness came, and that is a bit frightening, because people sometimes talk about life being “extinguished”.

Activity 4

Read the following extract and answer the questions below.
(Note: stars next to a word in the extract tells you that the meaning of the word is given at the end of the extract.)
[A ship has passed the island.]

The fire was dead. They saw that straight away; saw what they had really known down on the beach when the smoke of home had beckoned. The fire was right out, smokeless and dead; the watchers were gone. A pile of unused fuel lay ready.
Ralph turned to the sea. The horizon stretched, impersonal once more, barren* of all but the faintest trace of smoke. Ralph ran stumbling along the rocks, saved himself on the edge of the pink cliff, and screamed at the ship.
“Come back! Come back!”
He ran backwards and forwards along the cliff, his face always to the sea, and his voice rose insanely.
“Come back! Come back!”
Simon and Maurice arrived. Ralph looked at them with unwinking eyes. Simon turned away, smearing the water from his cheeks. Ralph reached inside himself for the worst word he knew.
“They let the bloody fire go out.”
He looked down the unfriendly side of the mountain. Piggy arrived, out of breath and whimpering like a littlun. Ralph clenched his fists and went very red. The intentness of his gaze, the bitterness of his voice, pointed for him.
“There they are.”
A procession had appeared, far down among the pink stones that lay near the water’s edge. Some of the boys wore black caps but otherwise they were almost naked. They lifted sticks in the air together whenever they came to an easy patch. They were chanting, something to do with the bundle that the errant** twins carried so carefully. Ralph picked out Jack easily, even at that distance, tall, red-haired, and inevitably leading the procession. 

* barren = bare **errant = naughty

 Questions

1. Refer to line 2: “the smoke of home had beckoned.”

(a) What is being referred to in these words? (1)
(b) Explain why the smoke is described as “the smoke of home”. (1)

2. Refer to lines lines 9-10: “his voice rose insanely. ‘Come back! Come back!’ ” What is Ralph feeling at this point in the novel? Explain why he feels this way. (2)
3. Choose the correct answer from the choices given below. Write down only the question number and the number of the answer you choose. (1)
“Ralph clenched his fist and went very red.” (Lines 16-17) This shows us that Ralph:

A) is embarrassed because Simon is crying.
B) is angry with Jack and the hunters for allowing the fire to go out.
C) is upset because the ship passed them by.
D) is very sunburnt.

4. Why do the boys paint their faces before the pig hunt? State TWO reasons. (2)
5. Give two reasons why, in your opinion, the event described in this extract makes Ralph feel closer to Piggy. (2) [9]

  1.                
    1. The smoke from the ship that the boys saw✓
    2. If the people on the ship had seen the smoke from the fire on the island they would have come to investigate and the boys would have been rescued and taken home ✓ OR The boys think that the ship is from Britain/could have taken them home. ✓
  2. He is feeling very upset/desperate/unhappy/angry. ✓ He wants to be rescued and is very upset because the ship is passing by without anyone knowing that the boys are on the island. ✓ OR They have lost the chance of going home because their fire was out. ✓✓
  3. B ✓
  4. They want to avoid being seen by the pigs. ✓ The painted faces help Jack and the boys to forget the rules and morals they were taught. ✓
  5. You must give two reasons. There are different opinions you can give in answer to this question. Here are some examples:
    Ralph and Piggy now have a common enemy. ✓ OR Jack is the enemy of both Piggy and Ralph. ✓ OR Jack undermines (tries to destroy) Ralph’s leadership and humiliates Piggy. ✓ OR They both hate the way Jack neglects what they have to do to be rescued and return to civilisation. ✓✓

Chapter 5: Beast from Water

1. What happens in the chapter?

The evening of the day that the ship passed by Ralph is upset by everything that happened on the mountain and realises it is very difficult to be a leader. He goes for a walk by himself to decide what needs to be done to bring more order to the island. He wishes he was as clever as Piggy, who thinks in an original way. He decides he must call an assembly “to put things straight”, even though the sun is setting and it is getting dark. Ralph compares the way things have gone wrong to how hopeful he felt when the three boys first explored the island.
At the assembly Ralph lists the things that have gone wrong on the island:

  • The water shells are not kept filled;
  • No-one helped him and Simon to build the third hut;
  • The area is dirty because people go to the toilet wherever they want; and
  • The signal fire is not kept alight.

Ralph makes a new rule that the only fire allowed is the signal fire on the mountain, and the boys must take their food there to cook it. The boys protest against this rule.
Ralph changes the subject by talking about the boys’ fears. He says they have to discuss the beast and “decide there’s nothing in it”. A littlun claims he saw a beast during the night, but it seems it was only Simon. Then little Percival says the beast comes out of the sea. Simon suggests the beast is “only us” but is not able to explain what he means. Jack makes a bold statement that if there is a beast he and his hunters will pursue it and kill it.
Jack challenges Ralph’s leadership, shouting Ralph down when he tries to restore order, saying rules are rubbish. The boys are easily worked up by Jack and do not behave properly, causing the meeting to break up in disorder. In the end they go off to play and scream with laughter or fear. Ralph is depressed and wants to give up as chief, but Piggy and Simon persuade him not to. The three boys wish there were adults to take control.

2. Who is involved?

Ralph

  • Ralph is growing in insight and understanding, for example:
    1. He realises the importance of thinking wisely, but has difficulty in making decisions quickly and needs to think about them first: “The trouble was, if you were a chief you had to think, you had to be wise.”
    2.  He recognises that he cannot think as clearly as Piggy does: “I can’t think. Not like Piggy.” However, he decides to call an assembly and plans the speech he will make “point by point”.
  • Ralph is also losing hope: “The world, that understandable and lawful world, was slipping away. Once there was this and that; and now – and the ship had gone.” The chaos of the meeting makes him feel as if the world has gone mad. At the end of the chapter he will not risk blowing the conch because he is scared the boys will ignore it.
  • Ralph is so disheartened (he has lost his confidence) that he wants to give up being the chief.

Piggy

  • Piggy thinks reason and science can solve all problems and does not believe in the beast. He is so angry about the boys’ talk of the beast and of ghosts that he asks: “ ‘What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?’ ”
  • Piggy believes in civilised behaviour and measures the behaviour of the boys against the behaviour he was taught by adults. He is horrified and asks: “ ‘What’s grown-ups going to say?’ ”
  • Like Ralph, Piggy longs for adults to take charge and restore order.
  • Piggy shows insight when he suggests that what they have to fear could be people. (Later we see Piggy is correct.) He also realises that Jack hates him and hates Ralph for being the leader.

At this stage in the story Ralph is losing his authority. Jack is gaining control, by appealing to the boys’ emotions rather than to reason and logic.
Yes, it seems that disorder is becoming stronger than order, but Ralph remains the leader for a while longer.

Simon

  • Simon is brave to speak at the meeting because he hates speaking in public but he believes he must tell the other boys what he believes about the beast.
  • Simon is unusually wise for such a young child. He shows this when he says of the beast, “maybe it’s only us”. He is trying to say that evil does not come from outside, it is in people, it is “mankind’s essential illness”.

Jack

  • Jack insults Piggy and Ralph.
  • When Jack challenges Ralph’s authority, shouting, “ ‘Bollocks to the rules!’ ”, he shows that he does not care about the rules of a fair society.
  • Jack knows how to manipulate the boys and takes advantage of their fears and emotions so that they are more impressed with his challenges than with Ralph’s reasoning.
  • Jack shows off and boasts about his ability as a hunter, which is more exciting and interesting to the boys than Ralph’s attempt to establish order and be rescued.

Maurice

Maurice cleverly stops the littluns crying by clowning around, falling clumsily to make them laugh. At this time he still understands the importance of restoring order.

3. Themes

Order and disorder

  • As Ralph says, “Things are breaking up.” By the end of the chapter rules and Ralph’s authority and the conch are ignored, even though Ralph was elected democratically. The meeting ends in chaos under Jack’s influence and the boys are beyond Ralph’s control.

Loss of innocence

  • Ralph’s earlier hope and optimism are being destroyed by his experiences.

Power

  • Jack wants power, but Ralph wishes there were adults to take over and put the situation right. Jack’s ability to control the boys and his power to influence them is growing.

Leadership

  • Ralph tries to use reason and logic to persuade the boys to do what he suggests. Jack, on the other hand, appeals to the boys’ feelings and emotions. His emotional methods of persuasion are more effective.

Fear

  • The boys are particularly afraid of the beast when it is dark and especially when Percival says it comes out of the sea. One cannot see what monsters there might be in the sea. The chapter title, “Beast from Water”, refers to this fear of the unknown. Even Jack feels uneasy in the forest at times, although he says there is no beast. Piggy, with good reason, thinks it is people who should be feared. Only Ralph and Simon are not afraid.

Wisdom

  • Simon thinks the beast is the evil in the nature of the boys themselves.

4. Symbols

The conch

  • The conch, which is a symbol of authority, order and democracy, is losing its effectiveness. Ralph will not blow it to call the boys back as they might ignore it: “Then we’ve had it. We’ll be like animals.”

The beast

  • The “beast” that Percival says comes out of the water fills the boys, especially the littluns, with terror. Only Simon sees that it is not an actual creature, but the evil that lies inside the human heart.

5. Diction and figurative language

The writer uses personification and metaphors to help us to imagine and understand what he is describing. For example:

Personification

  •  A sinister (threatening harm or evil) mood, or feeling, is created by descriptions like: “Two grey trunks rubbed each other with an evil squeaking that no one had noticed by day.” To suggest that the noise the tree trunks make is “evil” is personification, as being evil requires a mind and will, and is associated with people rather than plants. A similar example is given in the same paragraph, “a flurry of wind made the palms talk”.

Metaphors

  • There are very interesting metaphors in this chapter. One example is, “he was a silent effigy of sorrow”. Here Percival, before he begins to howl, is compared to a statue representing sorrow.

 Note: The beast from the water is a reference to the Bible - the Book of Revelations, Chapter 13, Verse 1, which describes such a creature a s a symbol of an evil power: "And i saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name."

Activity 5

Read the following extract and answer the questions below.
[Ralph, Simon and Piggy are alone after the meeting “to put things right” has broken up in disorder.]

“I ought to give up being chief. Hear ‘em.” “Oh lord! Oh no!”
Piggy gripped Ralph’s arm.
“If Jack was chief he’d have all hunting and no fire. We’d be here till we died.” 5
His voice ran up to a squeak. “Who’s that sitting there?” “Me. Simon.”
“Fat lot of good we are,” said Ralph. “Three blind mice. I’ll give up.”
“If you give up,” said Piggy, in an appalled whisper, “what ’ud happen 10
to me?” “Nothing.”
“He hates me. I dunno why. If he could do what he wanted – you’re all right, he respects you. Besides – you’d hit him.”
“You were having a nice fight with him just now.” 15
“I had the conch,” said Piggy simply. “I had a right to speak.” Simon stirred in the dark.
“Go on being chief.”
“You shut up, young Simon! Why couldn’t you say there wasn’t a beast?”
“I’m scared of him,” said Piggy, “and that’s why I know him. If you’re 20
scared of someone you hate him but you can’t stop thinking about him. You kid yourself he’s all right really, an’ then when you see him again; it’s like asthma an’ you can’t breathe. I tell you what.
He hates you too, Ralph –”
“Me? Why me?” 25
“I dunno. You got him over the fire; an’ you’re chief an’ he isn’t.” “But he’s, he’s, Jack Merridew!”
“I been in bed so much I done some thinking. I know about people. I know about me. And him. He can’t hurt you: but if you stand out of the
way he’d hurt the next thing. And that’s me.” 30
“Piggy’s right, Ralph. There’s you and Jack. Go on being chief.”
“We’re all drifting and things are going rotten. At home there was always a grownup. Please, sir; please, miss; and then you got an answer. How I wish!”
“I wish my auntie was here.” 35
“I wish my father Oh, what’s the use?”
[Chapter 5] 

Questions

1. Match the names in COLUMN 1 to the descriptions in COLUMN 2. Write down only the question number (1(a) – 1(c)) and the letter (A – D) of your answer. (3)

1a Piggy

A realises that the beast is the evil inside people

1b Jack

B has common sense and does not think there is a beast

1c Simon

C says the beast is a monster from the sea

 

D says he will hunt and kill the beast

2. Is the following statement TRUE or FALSE? Write “true” or “false” and give a reason for your answer. Ralph did not want to go on being chief because he was tired of the responsibility. (2)
3. Explain why Piggy says if they had no fire they would stay on the island until they died. (2)
4. Why do you think Jack hates Piggy? Give TWO reasons for your opinion. (2)
5. In your OWN WORDS explain the reasons Piggy gives for saying that Jack hates Ralph. (2)
6. “ ‘I had the conch,’ said Piggy simply. ‘I had a right to speak.’ “ (Line 14) What theme is referred to in these words? Give a reason for your answer. (2)
7. Before this extract, earlier in Chapter 5, the boys had a meeting. Why did Ralph call the meeting? (2) After the meeting has broken up, why does Ralph refuse to blow the conch to call the boys back? (2) [17]

Answers to Activity 5

  1. 1a = B; ✓ 1b -= D; ✓ 1c = A ✓
  2. It is false. Ralph realises he has lost his authority over the boys and that he is unable to bring order back to the island, ✓ which means he is not able to lead the boys as a chief should. ✓
  3. Without a fire they will not be able to attract attention from a passing ship, ✓ and so they will not be rescued and will have to stay on the island forever. ✓
  4. Jack probably hates Piggy because he is weak and unattractive looking.✓✓
    OR
    Jack is probably jealous of the way Ralph relies on Piggy and accepts his advice. ✓✓
    OR
    Jack is a bully and has no respect for people who cannot stand up for themselves. ✓✓
  5. Piggy says Jack hates Ralph because he is jealous as he wants to be the chief. ✓ Jack also hates Ralph for putting him in the wrong for letting the fire go out when a ship was passing, and he had to apologise. ✓
  6. The theme is democracy ✓ OR order ✓ OR civilisation, as this is what the conch symbolises. The person who holds it has the right to speak. ✓
  7. Ralph wants to try to restore order ✓ and put things right that have gone wrong. ✓
  8. Ralph is afraid that the boys will not come. ✓ He has lost his authority. ✓

Chapter 6: Beast from Air
beast from air

1. What happens in this chapter?

The events in this chapter take place later that night and the next morning. We are reminded that a war is going on in the outside, adult world when a plane is shot down and the dead pilot lands on the mountain. As the wind blows, his parachute lifts him up and down. Samneric are on duty to watch the fire that night. They fall sleep and the fire nearly goes out. At dawn the next day they find the ashes and manage to blow them so the flame flares again and they can build the fire. The twins see a shape (of the dead pilot) moving on the mountain. They are terrified and run to tell Ralph they have seen the beast. They exaggerate what they have seen and terror spreads among all the boys. Immediately, without thinking it through, Jack wants to hunt the beast and tries to take charge. Ralph gets the boys on his side when he reminds them that they want to be rescued, and he takes control again.
They set out to investigate the unexplored part of the island, with Jack leading the way at first. Piggy stays behind to look after the littluns. At castle rock Ralph goes ahead into the unknown area. Jack follows him and the others join them. The boys have fun rolling down the big rocks and do not want to leave, but Ralph insists they go on. He is determined to keep the signal fire going and the boys obey unwillingly.

2. Who is involved?

Samneric

  • The twins are unable to do anything separately and are treated as one in any activity: “By custom now one conch did for both twins, for their substantial unity was recognized.”

Ralph

  • In the power struggle with Jack, when Jack refuses to obey the rule about the conch Ralph takes control of the situation with his common-sense reasons and his appeal to the boys’ desire to be rescued.
  • Ralph shows his courage, strength of character and sense of duty when, in spite of his “personal hell” of fear, he goes ahead first to the unknown part of the island – castle rock: “Something deep in Ralph spoke for him. ‘I’m chief. I’ll go.’ ”
  • Ralph shows his determination to continue the task of finding the beast and relighting the signal fire when he insists that they go on, because the hope of rescue is “all we’ve got’ ”.

Jack

  • Jack is selfish and acts on his desire to lead the hunt without thinking about what is sensible or practical.
  • When Jack joins Ralph at castle rock it is because he wants to share the “glory” and not because he is worried about Ralph’s safety.

Piggy

  • In spite of Piggy’s belief in science and reason, the twins’ sighting of the beast upsets him and he is worried about being left unprotected with the “littluns”.
  •  Piggy is so tense during the power struggle between Ralph and Jack that he has an asthma attack.

Simon

  • Simon’s wisdom and ability to reason make him doubt there is a beast: “with claws that scratched, that sat on a mountain-top, that left no tracks and yet was not fast enough to catch Samneric”.
  • Simon’s insight gives him a picture of the beast as “the picture of a human at once heroic and sick”. In other words, the beast is a part of human nature that will show itself if it is not controlled by the laws of society. This shows us Simon as a visionary (a prophet or a person who can see a deeper truth) and a mystic (a person who gains deeper knowledge through meditation or deep thought. Think here of how Simon likes to be alone in his secret place.)
  • Simon knows he is an outsider, and when Ralph smiles at him he is “happy to be accepted”, although, moments later, Ralph forgets about him.

3. Themes

Fear

  • Different characters react to fear in different ways. Everyone except Simon is terrified and most, including Piggy, put their own safety first. Jack uses their fear as an opportunity to seize power. Ralph controls his fear and puts his duties as leader first; he also admits to himself that “he did not really expect to meet any beast”.

Power

  • The power struggle between Ralph and Jack reflects the struggle between good and evil.

Goodness, order, civilisation

  • Ralph stands for goodness in his concern for the safety of the littluns and for order and civilisation in his determination to keep the signal fire burning.

Disorder and savagery

  • Jack stands for disorder and savagery, not only in his obsession with hunting but also in his warlike instincts. On first seeing the castle rock, he exclaims: “What a place for a fort!”

Wisdom

  • Only Simon realises that the beast is the evil within human beings.

Good and evil

  • Simon’s vision of “a human at once heroic and sick” reveals both the good and the evil in human beings. Perhaps we could see Ralph as “heroic” and Jack as “sick”, in the sense of being evil.

4. Symbols

The beast

  • The boys go in search of the beast, the symbol of evil.
  • Only Simon realises that the beast is inside them.
  • The title of this chapter, “Beast from Air”, refers to the airman who landed on the island. It also echoes the “beast of the earth” in Revelations chapter 13. This was a false prophet, just as the airman is a false beast – not a beast at all, but a broken body returning to the earth from which it came.

The conch

  • The conch is a symbol of order, authority and democracy.
  • The conch is ignored by Jack, who shouts: “We don’t need the conch any more.” This symbolises the breakdown of order and democracy in the boys’ society.

The fire

  • Ralph is determined to keep it alight; here it represents civilisation.

The “beast” keeps changing its identity.
Yes, first they call it a “beastie” and “snake-things”, then it is Simon in the forest at night, then the beast of the sea, and now, the airman.
It is as though a beast is always with us, but we do not understand what it is.

5. Diction and figurative language

The writer uses irony and metaphors to help us to imagine and understand what he is describing. For example:

Irony

  • The dead airman, shot down in the adults’ war, makes Ralph’s and Piggy’s longing for grown-ups to restore order very ironic as war is perhaps the greatest disorder in human society. What they think of as representing order in fact represents the opposite.

Metaphors

  • “Soon the darkness was full of claws, full of the awful unknown and menace.” Language like this creates a tone and mood of fear. The darkness is compared here to something with claws, like Samneric’s description of the “beast”.
  • When Ralph looks at the enormous ocean it is described by a metaphor that compares it to a “leviathan”, a huge sea monster that, in earlier times, was believed to refer to Satan. This reminds us of the “beast from sea” in chapter five. 

Activity 6

Read the following extract and answer the questions below.
[The beast is being described.]

The figure fell and crumpled among the blue flowers of the mountain- side, but now there was a gentle breeze at this height too and the parachute flopped and banged and pulled. So the figure, with feet that dragged behind it, slid up the mountain. Yard by yard, puff by puff, the breeze hauled the figure through the blue flowers, over the boulders and red stones, till it lay huddled among the shattered rocks of the mountain-top. Here the breeze was fitful and allowed the strings of the parachute to tangle and festoon: and the figure sat, its helmeted head between its knees, held by a complication of lines. When the breeze blew the lines would strain taut and some accident of this pull lifted the head and chest upright so that the figure seemed to peer across the brow of the mountain. Then, each time the wind dropped, the lines would slacken and the figure bow forward again, sinking its head between its knees. So as the stars moved across the sky, the figure sat on the mountain-top and bowed and sank and bowed again.

 Questions

1. Match the names in COLUMN 1 to the descriptions in COLUMN 2. Write down only the question number (1(a)-1(c)) and the letter (A-D) of your answer. (3)

COLUMN 1

COLUMN 2

(a)         Littluns

(b)         Samneric

(c)         Roger

A think that the dead airman is the beast

B hunted for meat

C often fainted

D afraid of the beastie

2.

(a) To what does “the figure” in the extract refer? (1)
(b) How does the figure end up on the island? State TWO points. (2)
(c) Who discovers the figure on the mountain top later? (1)

3. Refer to line 6 (“Here the breeze was fitful...”).

(a) Why does the writer describe the breeze in this way? (1)
(b) What does the breeze do to the figure? (1)

4. The figure lands close to where the fire normally is.

(a) How does this affect the boys’ plans? State THREE things. (3)
(b) How do Jack and Ralph differ in their views of the importance of the fire? (2)  [14]

Answers to Activity 6

  1.                    
    1. D ✓
    2. A ✓
    3. B ✓
  2.                    
    1. The figure is a dead airman (pilot) ✓ OR the body of a pilot/airman. ✓
    2. There was an air battle and the plane was shot down ✓ and the pilot must have been ✓ OR The pilot floated down/fell down to the island ✓ and was pushed on to the island by the wind. ✓
    3. Samneric (Sam and Eric) the twins discover the body ✓
  3.                            
    1. This shows that the breeze is not steady ✓ OR the breeze is not always the same ✓ OR the breeze blows lightly or strongly OR the breeze comes and goes✓
    2. The wind blowing into the parachute moves the body up and down ✓ OR the wind makes the body seem alive✓
  4.                              
    1. They are afraid to go up the mountain. ✓ They must now move the fire down to the beach. ✓ Their chances of rescue are reduced as the smoke will be less visible✓
    2. Ralph thinks the fire will bring rescue ✓ but Jack thinks hunting/finding meat is more important✓

Chapter 7: Shadows and Tall Trees
shadows and tall trees

1. What happens in the chapter?

The events in this chapter take place on the same day in the afternoon. The boys keep walking up the mountain to see if they can find the beast. Ralph wishes he were neat and clean in his comfortable home. Faced by the huge ocean, Ralph feels it is impossible that they will ever be rescued, but Simon tells him he will go home again; they smile at each other in friendship.
A boar (wild pig) appears and Ralph wounds it with his spear. He is thrilled by this and by the respect the boys show him, but Jack blames him for the wound on his arm from the boar’s tusks (horns). Full of excitement, Ralph joins enthusiastically in the dance of “Kill the pig” and Robert, acting the part of the pig, is hurt by the boys, who are all violently over-excited. Jack suggests that next time they must use a littlun in their dance. He cannot curb his violent tendencies. It is getting late, but they go on with their journey up the mountain.
Ralph worries about Piggy and the littluns, who have been left alone, and Simon runs back to the beach to tell them where the older boys are going. The others continue to climb. Then, as the route becomes more dangerous and it is getting darker, the boys do not want to go on. However, Jack decides to climb higher and challenges Ralph, mocking him for being afraid. Ralph asks Jack why he hates him, but gets no response. Roger joins the two as they climb higher while the rest go back. Then Jack goes on alone but is soon back, terrified, saying he has seen the beast. Ralph and Roger climb up and see the hunched (bent over) figure of the pilot, which, to them, looks like a beast. Terrified, the three run away down the mountain. 

The tension increases again in this chapter as the bigger boys actually see something that to them looks like a beast!
Finding something like that on a dark, windy night must have been so scary! No wonder even Jack and Ralph ran away.

2. Who is involved?

In Chapter 7 it seems as if the emotions of all the boys except Simon are becoming more intense and their thinking is becoming less logical. Jack and Ralph put themselves in danger in order to compete to be heroes. Ralph suddenly becomes like the others when he attacks the boar. Although they are older than Samneric, Jack and Ralph also panic when they see the airman.

Ralph

  • In this chapter we see two sides of Ralph. At the start he wishes he could be clean and neat again and daydreams about his home (the civilised side); then we see his pride when he wounds the boar (the uncivilised side).
  • After that Ralph loses his self-discipline and moral sense and is caught up in the “Kill the pig” dance, joining in the attack on Robert. “Ralph too was fighting to get near, to get a handful of that brown, vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering.” This shows us how easily people who are usually good can be caught up in mob hysteria and become violent. (Think of what we still see happening today.)
  • Fortunately, Ralph’s better self returns and he shows his caring side when he worries about Piggy alone with the littluns.
  • Ralph shows his common sense when he realises it is too dark to continue the dangerous climb, but when Jack returns, terrified, after seeing the airman, Ralph silences the “inner voice of reason”. The three climb higher before running away in terror when they see the shape “like a great ape” apparently moving.

Jack

  • When Jack says, “Kill a littlun” the boys think he is joking, but as readers we are not so sure. In the dance he grabs Robert by the hair and waves his knife at him: his violence is only just under control.
  • Jack continues to challenge Ralph and suggests he is a coward. We see his anger whenever he feels he is not in the lead. However, in spite of his boasting, his courage fails and he is terrified when he sees the beast.

Simon

  • We see Simon as a visionary when he tells Ralph he will go home.
  • Simon is happy to go back to Piggy on his own as he has no fear of the beast.

Roger

  • Roger says very little and almost never shows any feelings. This makes him mysterious and perhaps we should feel uneasy about him.
  • The only feeling Roger shows is fear, when he runs away with the other two boys at the end of the chapter.

3. Themes

Fear

  • The beast now has a physical form (the dead airman that looks to the boys like a strange creature) that is confirmed by three of the big boys; they now all believe there is something real to fear.

Savagery

  • Robert could have been killed in the “Kill the pig” dance in which all the boys were wildly excited and attacked him. Violence and savagery are increasing: the boys suggest a drum and fire for their dance and a real pig or even a person to attack.
  • The title of the chapter “Shadows and Tall Trees”, refers not only to the trees and shadows that the boys move through, but also suggests the darkness (shadows/darkness/evil and savagery) growing in the boys’ hearts.

Civilisation

  • Ralph wants the comfort and order of home – but we also see how easily civilised behaviour can change.

Wisdom

  • The only boy to show wisdom is Simon, who tells Ralph he will go home, and who returns to the beach without fear.

Innocence and corruption

  • Even Ralph, the responsible and caring leader, can give way to the beast inside of himself and behave violently. It seems as if his innocence has been corrupted.

4. Symbols

The beast

  • The sight of the unfortunate dead man confirms the boys’ fear that there is a beast on the island. At the same time, the power of the beast inside the boys, particularly Jack, is increasing.

The pig hunt

  • This is a symbol of savagery; we see this in the dance in which Robert could have been killed.

5. Diction and figurative language

The writer uses irony and metaphors to help us to imagine and understand what he is describing. For example:

Irony

  • It is ironic that Ralph, who starts off longing for home, should take part in the savage behaviour during the dance, which is the opposite of his orderly and gentle life at home.

Metaphor

  • Jack is described by the metaphor of a “stain in the darkness”. A stain is a mark that stands out on something, so Jack’s body is a dark shape showing up against the slightly less dark night. However, a stain is usually considered to be a bad thing that spoils whatever it marks. This suggests the evil within Jack that spoils the paradise of the island.

It is ironic that the beast that the boys fear is the most helpless of things -  a dead body; but they do not know yet that what they see is dead. The wind makes it move so they believe it is alive.

Activity 7

Read the following extract and answer the questions below.
[Jack, Roger and Ralph climb the mountain to find the beast.]

Roger and Ralph moved on, this time leaving Jack in the rear, for all his brave words.
They came to the flat top where the rock was hard to hands and knees.
A creature that bulged. 5
Ralph put his hand in the cold, soft ashes of the fire and smothered a cry. His hand and shoulder were twitching from the unlooked-for contact. Green lights of nausea appeared for a moment and ate into the darkness. Roger lay behind him and Jack’s mouth was at his ear.
“Over there, where there used to be a gap in the rock. A sort of 10
hump – see?”
Ashes blew into Ralph’s face from the dead fire. He could not see the gap or anything else, because the green lights were opening again and growing, and the top of the mountain was sliding sideways.
Once more, from a distance, he heard Jack’s whisper. 15
“Scared?”
Not scared so much as paralysed; hung up here immovable on the top of a diminishing, moving mountain. Jack slid away from him, Roger bumped, fumbled with a hiss of breath, and passed onwards.
He heard them whispering. 20
“Can you see anything?” “There – ”
In front of them, only three or four yards away, was a rock-like hump where no rock should be. Ralph could hear a tiny chattering noise
coming from somewhere – perhaps from his own mouth. He bound 25
himself together with his will, fused his fear and loathing into a hatred, and stood up. He took two leaden steps forward.
Behind them the sliver of moon had drawn clear of the horizon.
Before them, something like a great ape was sitting asleep with its
head between its knees. Then the wind roared in the forest, there was 30
confusion in the darkness and the creature lifted its head, holding toward them the ruin of a face. 

Questions

1. Use the words in the box below to complete the following sentences. Write down only the letter given in the space and beside it write the correct word. (4)
Ralph felt very .............(a) when he wounded a (b) . He then joined in the game of “Kill the pig” and hit (c) with a spear and wanted to (d) him.

proud         beast          sad          Robert          hurt
comfort          Jack          boar          afraid          kill 

2. Choose the correct word to complete the sentence below. Write down only the number of the question and beside it the letter of the correct answer.
The person who runs back to tell Piggy that the boys are going to climb up the mountain is ...

(a) Sam
(b) Simon
(c) Robert (1)

3. Refer to line 1. Why did Jack walk behind Ralph and Roger in spite of “all his brave words”? (2)
4. What was the tragic result of the earlier fire that had left ashes on the mountain? (2)
5. Refer to lines 15-16. What figure of speech is used in the words “a hiss of breath”? Choose the correct answer and write only the letter (A-D) next to the question number. (1)

A simile
B personification
C onomatopoeia
D alliteration

6. Refer to line 22. (“He took two leaden steps forward.”)

(a) Name the figure of speech used in this line. (1)
(b) Explain how this figure of speech helps us to understand the way Ralph is moving. (1)

7. “Before them, something like a great ape was sitting asleep with its head between its knees.” (lines 23-24)

(a) To what do the words “something like a great ape” refer? (1)
(b) Explain why it “lifted its head” when the wind blew. (1)

8. How does Ralph show a new feeling of friendship for Simon and why does he feel this way? (2)
9. What is surprising about Ralph’s behaviour during the “Kill the pig” dance? (1)
10. Why is Simon not afraid to go alone in the growing dark to tell Piggy what has happened? (1) [18]

  1.                    
    1. proud ✓
    2. boar ✓
    3. Robert ✓
    4. hurt✓
  2. b (Simon) ✓
  3. Although Jack mocked Ralph for being afraid, he himself is so terrified of the “beast” ✓ he saw that he is not eager to see it again.) ✓
  4. The littlun with a mark on his face has never been seen again ✓ and probably burned to death in the fire.) ✓
  5. C ✓
  6.                          
    1. It is a metaphor ) ✓
    2. Lead is heavy and can be hard to ✓ This metaphor tells us that he walked slowly and heavily. ✓ OR He was not happy about moving forward. ✓
  7.                      
    1. To the body of the dead airman/pilot. ✓
    2. When the wind blew it lifted the parachute ✓ which then pulled the body up as if it were sitting up✓
  8. The two smile at each other because Simon has assured Ralph that he will get home. ✓✓
  9. He takes part in the attack on Robert, wanting to hurt him. ✓
  10. He has no fear of the beast because he knows it is not a live animal or a monster. ✓

Chapter 8: Gift for the Darkness

1. What happens in the chapter?

The events in this chapter take place at dawn, the next day. Ralph tells Piggy about the beast, which is in the exact place the fire had been, so they can’t light a fire there. Jack is furious when Ralph calls his hunters “Boys armed with sticks”. Jack takes the conch and calls a meeting at which he criticises Ralph and tries to have him voted out as leader. Jack is unsuccessful and angry, and rushes off in tears. Piggy is happy to see Jack go. Ralph feels they can do nothing to improve their situation, but Simon says all they can do is go up the mountain to see just what the beast is.
Piggy says they should light a signal fire on the beach. They discover many of the bigger boys have followed Jack. The boys felt guilty about supporting Jack openly but sneaked off after him later. Jack and his followers hunt and kill a sow (female pig) with extreme cruelty. They leave the sow’s head on a stake as a peace offering for the beast. Simon has slipped off to his secret place in the forest and sees the boys do this.
After this, Jack and his hunters, “Demonic figures with faces of white and red and green” burst in on Ralph’s group and steal burning branches from
the fire on the beach. Jack, hoping the rest will join his group, invites them to feast on roast pork. Before he leaves Maurice and Robert announce: “The chief has spoken.” At the same time, in the forest, Simon is still looking at the pig’s head and imagines the beast is speaking to him. It warns him not to interfere or the other boys will kill him. Simon falls unconscious (he has a fit).

The conflict between Ralph and Jack has reached a crisis point.
Jack’s behaviour takes the story to a new level of horror.

2. Who is involved?

Ralph

  • Ralph has lost hope of being rescued. He does not think that smoke from a fire on the beach, as Piggy suggests, will easily be seen from a ship at sea.
  • Ralph is also worried that he might become like the others and not care about being rescued.
  • Ralph speaks to the boys who have stayed with him but finds it difficult to concentrate as he tries to persuade them that they must keep the signal fire going on the beach.

Jack

  • The last democratic thing Jack does is blow the conch to call a meeting to try to remove Ralph as leader. When he fails he feels humiliated and furious and leaves, crying.
  •  When Jack returns with his new followers he has taken off all his clothes, the last signs of his civilised upbringing, and he feels “...safe from shame or self-consciousness behind the mask of his paint”. (The “mask” hides any last traces of the way he was brought up and gives him a new identity.)
  • Leaving the pig’s head as an offering to the beast, as if the beast was a god, shows that Jack has lost all sense of civilised values. Jack now steals what he wants – the fire – without any guilt. Jack tries to tempt Ralph’s group to join him with the promise of a feast with fun and roast meat.
  • Jack sees himself as an all-powerful leader and, like a typical dictator, has trained his followers to say, “The chief has spoken!” (Hitler’s Nazis had to say, “Heil (hail) Hitler!”)
  • During the pig hunt Jack is happy because he enjoys using his skill and having meat to eat, but even more because he enjoys the power and cruelty of killing.
  • Jack is also cunning and chooses to attack a sow that is helpless as she is feeding her babies, rather than a boar, which is dangerous.
  • Jack’s evil is increasing at a great rate.

Piggy

  • Piggy’s rational mind makes it hard for him to believe Ralph has seen the beast, but, when he is convinced of its reality he is frightened.
  • Piggy shows his understanding of people when he warns Ralph that insulting Jack and his hunters is dangerous.
  • When Jack leaves Piggy is delighted and feels they are better off without him. He is so pleased he even helps collect wood.
  • Piggy shows common sense by saying they could make the fire on the beach. But he loves food and is tempted by the thought of eating meat at Jack’s feast.

Simon

  • Simon shows great courage by standing up to speak at the meeting.
  • Simon makes the only intelligent suggestion: to go up the mountain to see what the beast really is. Mocked and ignored, he slips away to his secret place and imagines that the pig’s head (the “Lord of the Flies”) is talking to him.
  • The pig’s head tells Simon, “I am the Beast”.
  • The head spells out to Simon the choices he has: he can go back to the boys and accept things the way they are, or be killed by Jack and his group as they (the beast and the boys together – in other words the evil inside them) are going to have “fun”. “Fun” here means being violent and savage.

Roger

  • Until now Roger has been rather a mysterious character, but his disgusting cruelty to the sow shows him to be a sadist – someone who takes pleasure in causing pain and suffering.
  • Roger even spears a helpless piglet.

3. Themes

Good and evil

  • This chapter shows the boys splitting into two groups (good and evil): Ralph, Simon, Piggy, Samneric and the littluns on the one hand, and Jack and the rest of the biguns on the other.
  • The evil inside Jack and his group, particularly Roger, is controlling their behaviour and they care only about the “fun” of violence, savagery and killing – and about having meat to eat and satisfying their desires and needs.
  • The chapter title, “Gift for the Darkness”, refers to the pig’s head on a stick, which Jack said was a gift for the beast. “Darkness” refers to evil.

Civilisation and savagery

  • Ralph and Piggy still believe in civilised values and want to return home.
  • For Jack and his group all civilised behaviour has gone. They even get rid of their clothes. Clothes are a sign of civilisation and taking the clothes off is a sign of the loss of civilisation.

Wisdom

  • Simon shows great wisdom. In his meeting with the pig’s head he shows the depth of his insight, his basic goodness and his courage.

Power

  • Jack obtains the power he wants so much when he becomes leader of nearly all the big boys.

4. Symbols

The pig’s head

The description of the pig’s head makes its symbolism clear. It is surrounded by flies and is therefore the “Lord of the Flies” – the title of the novel. One of the names of Satan is Beelzebub, which means “lord of the flies”. It symbolises the evil that is found in people that makes them behave with cruelty and savagery; this is revealed to us in Simon’s encounter with the pig’s head.

The conch

The conch, the symbol of order and democracy, is not taken by Jack when he steals the fire, showing that he does not care about civilised behaviour and that democracy will have no place when he is dictator.

The pig hunt

The pig hunt is vividly described, letting us see the bloodlust (the uncontrollable wish to kill or hurt others), cruelty and savagery of the boys.

5. Diction and figurative language

Again the writer uses similes and metaphors to help us to imagine and understand what he is describing. For example:

Simile

A simile is used in this description of Jack when he is hunting: “He was happy and wore the damp darkness of the forest like his old clothes.” Old clothes are comfortable and familiar and we feel at home and at ease in them. This simile tells us that this is how Jack feels in the forest, emphasising his love of hunting.

Metaphor

“… their voices had been the song of angels” – is a metaphor and it is also ironic. It suggests that one might expect angelic behaviour from choir-boys, but these boys, far from being angelic, have turned into bloody and savage hunters.

Activity 8

Read the following extract and answer the questions below.
[Piggy suggests an alternative place for the fire.]

Simon whispered his answer. “What else is there to do?”
His speech made, he allowed Piggy to lift the conch out of his hands. Then he retired and sat as far away from the others as possible.
Piggy was speaking now with more assurance and with what, if the circumstances had not been so serious, the others would have recognised as pleasure.
“I said we could all do without a certain person. Now I say we got to decide on what can be done. And I think I could tell you what Ralph’s going to say next. The most important thing on the island is the smoke and you can’t have no smoke without a fire.”
Ralph made a restless movement.
”No go, Piggy. We’ve got no fire. That thing sits up there – we’ll have to stay here.”
Piggy lifted the conch as though to add power to his next words. ”We got no fire on the mountain. But what’s wrong with a fire down here? A fire could be built on them rocks. On the sand, even. We’d make smoke just the same.”
”That’s right!” “Smoke!”
‘’By the bathing-pool!’’
The boys began to babble.

 Questions

1. Refer to lines 3-11 (“His speech made … without a fire”). Identify and discuss the theme of the novel revealed in these lines. (4)
2. Refer to line 8 (“I said we … a certain person”). Explain how Piggy’s behaviour has changed now that this “certain person” is absent. (3)
3. In your view, who is the better leader, Jack or Ralph? Motivate your answer. (3)
4. Chapter 8 is entitled “Gift for the Darkness”.

(a) What is this “Gift”? (1)
(b) Discuss what the offering of this “Gift” tells you about the boys at this stage in the novel. (3)[14]

Answers to Activity 8

  1. The theme is the importance of democracy. ✓ The conch symbolises democracy ✓ and the boy holding it has the right to speak. ✓ It ensures order during the meeting as we see the boys passing the conch to those who wish to speak. ✓
    OR
    The theme is the need for rules/laws in society. ✓ The boys have decided on the rule that only the one holding the conch is allowed to speak, ✓ while the others must listen. ✓ The rule ensures that there is order during meetings. ✓ This is what the boys are doing in these lines.
    OR
    The theme is leadership. ✓ Piggy has the intelligence of a good leader, yet he is unpopular. ✓ Now that Jack has gone he has the confidence to speak up. ✓ He comes up with the idea of making the fire on the beach. ✓
  2.  Piggy is clever and has good ideas ✓ but Jack intimidates him/does not allow him to express them. ✓ Without Jack he feels free/confident to share his ideas with the others. ✓
  3. Here are some examples of answers to this question:
    Jack leads the hunt and provides meat. ✓ The boys with him have fun. ✓ They go hunting, hold feasts and do not have to follow rules, ✓ but Jack remains in charge. He is a natural leader. ✓ Eventually the boys fear him. ✓
    OR
    Ralph is a democratic leader who cares about all the boys and is kind/shows respect for them/protects them. ✓ He believes that getting food and having fun on the island are not the most important things. ✓ Being rescued is his main concern.✓
  4.                            
    1. The gift is a pig’s head (that has been placed on a sharpened stick/stake). ✓
    2. The boys are no longer innocent. They have become cruel/ savage/primitive/barbaric. ✓ They are eager to kill. ✓ They are filled with bloodlust. ✓
      They feel they have to make a sacrifice to the powers of darkness/the beast. ✓

Chapter 9: A View to a Death
a view of death

1. What happens in the chapter?

The events in this chapter take place on the same day, in the evening. When Simon wakes after his fit he climbs the mountain; his mood is gloomy after his meeting with the pig’s head, but he repeats his earlier words: “What else is there to do?” He climbs to where Ralph saw the beast and finds it is the rotting body of the airman. He frees the body, loosening the strings of the parachute that held it down and made it move with the wind. Simon sees the boys on the beach below and goes down in the dark to tell them the truth about the beast: that it is quite harmless.
Ralph and Piggy realise the rest of the boys have left to join Jack’s feast. The temptation of meat is too great and they join them. Jack behaves like a king or god, giving orders that are obeyed immediately: “Jack, painted and garlanded, sat there like an idol.” The word “garlanded” means that Jack had flowers around his neck, like an idol who is worshipped.
Ralph and Piggy are given meat and then Jack asks who is going to join his tribe. Ralph and Jack confront each other over who is the chief. The approaching storm makes Ralph’s talk of shelters attractive to the boys, but Jack distracts them from their fear of thunder and lightning by starting the “Kill the pig” dance. The boys become a mindless, frenzied (crazy) mob as Simon, exhausted, crawls into the circle, trying to tell them his news, and is mistaken (or seen as a substitute) for the beast. The hysterical boys have become like a mob of wild animals and Simon is beaten and torn to death by the “tearing of teeth and claws”. The next morning his small body is washed gently out to sea. (The boys do not really have claws, but the word suggests their animal-like behaviour.) During a storm that same evening the body of the airman is blown off the face of the mountain and lands on the beach. This frightens the boys, who run away into the darkness.
This chapter, which tells of Simon’s death, forms the climax of the novel and is the turning point.
After this point the situation deteriorates quickly and there is open war between Jack and his group and the other boys.

2. Who is involved?

Simon

  • Simon shows great courage in climbing the mountain alone to investigate the beast. His climb is a search for truth.
  • We see Simon’s compassion and strength of character when he frees the rotting body that is so awful to look at it has made him vomit.
  • Simon shows more courage by ignoring the warning of his vision and going down to tell the boys that the beast is only a harmless, dead man, so they can be freed from their fear. He can be said to have sacrificed his life to bring them the truth.
  • The chapter title, “A View to a Death”, refers to Simon’s view from the mountain of Jack’s group on the beach, at the place where Simon will die. The chapter title foreshadows Simon’s death. In literature, foreshadows means to give a hint about something that will happen later in the story.

Ralph

  • Ralph wisely understands why the boys have joined Jack: it is not only for meat but also for “pretending to be a tribe, and putting on war-paint”. (The boys feel secure because they are part of a tribe.)
  • Ralph tries to stand up to Jack but, when the dance begins, he joins in with the group, which makes him feel safer during the violent storm: “They were glad to touch the brown backs of the fence that hemmed in the terror and made it governable.” Ralph becomes part of the mob. The word “brown backs” refers to the backs of the other boys.

Piggy

  • Piggy loves food and uses the weak excuse of making sure nothing goes wrong to persuade Ralph to go to the feast.
  • Because of his knowledge of people Piggy urges Ralph to leave when he realises there is going to be trouble.

Jack

  • Power has corrupted Jack and he behaves like a typical dictator, demanding total obedience and service from his tribe.
  • Jack’s contempt for any laws except his own is shown when he tells Ralph the conch does not count on his part of the island.
  • Ironically, Jack has now become the evil beast to be feared.

The Littluns

  • The littluns, who are innocent, soon start imitating the dance of Jack’s tribe.

3. Themes

Good and evil

  • In this chapter we see evil triumphing. It is hard to resist being drawn into it as it seems to have good things to offer – food and belonging, in this instance. Even Piggy and Ralph give in to temptation.
  • From the vicious murder of Simon it seems that evil and violence have defeated goodness.

Civilisation and savagery

  • Savagery seems to replace civilisation when Piggy and Ralph join the dance.

Innocence and corruption

  • Jack has been corrupted by power. Innocence has vanished from the island.

Fear

  • Jack, like all dictators, uses fear to control his people. It is the beast inside him that is to be feared.

4. Symbols

The beast

  • The real beast is the dead airman and it is not a threat at all. But the boys do not know that. When Simon comes out of the jungle the boys attack and murder him believing they are freeing themselves from “the beast” of whom they have been so scared.

5. Diction and figurative language

This chapter contains very dramatic descriptions of the storm and the killing of Simon. The writer builds up an atmosphere of danger and evil by linking the approach of the storm to the growing violence and evil on the island. The beginning of the dance is made more dramatic by the thunder and lightning, as if nature was pointing out the horror of the violence.

Metaphor and simile

  • Golding uses vivid description to help us imagine the storm:
    The dark sky was shattered by a blue-white scar. An instant later the noise was on them like the blow of a gigantic whip.
  • In a metaphor the lightning is compared to the scar of a wound that has torn the sky apart, “shattered” it. “Shattered” makes us picture something being violently broken. A simile describes the noise of the thunder: it is so loud it hurts the ears the way a big whip would hurt your body if it struck you with force. The metaphor and simile help us to see and hear the fierceness of the storm.

Personification

  • Nature itself seems to mourn (grieve over) Simon’s death, as the sea shows up the delicate beauty of his little body:
    The water rose farther and dressed Simon’s coarse hair with brightness. The line of his cheek silvered and the turn of his shoulder became sculptured (carved) marble. We are filled with sadness.

Irony

  •  There is a lot of irony in this chapter, the greatest irony being that the one truly good person is murdered as if he were the beast, when he is coming to tell the truth about the beast. Another irony is the way the boys are terrified when the wind blows the parachute and airman on to the beach and then out to sea; in fact the object they have (wrongly) feared is leaving the island.

Mood and tone

  • At the beginning of Chapter 9 the author uses colour to suggest a mood of despair and horror, for example:
    Colours drained from water and trees and pink surfaces of rock, and white and brown clouds brooded. Nothing prospered but the flies who blackened their lord and made the spilt guts look like a heap of glistening coal.
    Note also in this quotation the personification – “clouds brooded”, metaphor – the pig is the “lord” of the flies, and simile – “like a heap of glistening coal”.
  • This description contrasts with the description of Simon’s body being washed into the sea at the end of the chapter.
    Softly, surrounded by a fringe of inquisitive bright creatures, itself a silver shape beneath the steadfast constellations, Simon’s dead body moved out towards the open sea.
  • The tone here is gentler and the reader imagines the brightness of the stars (“constellations”). There is a sense that Simon has finally found peace away from all the madness of the island. His goodness and gentleness is also, finally, appreciated and cared for, by the “fringe of inquisitive bright creatures” that surround him as his body moves out to sea. 

Activity 9

Read the following extract and answer the questions below.
[Ralph and Piggy join Jack’s party to feast on roast meat on the beach.]

Evening was come, not with calm beauty but with the threat of violence. Jack spoke.
“Give me a drink.”
Henry brought him a shell and he drank, watching Piggy and Ralph over the jagged
rim. 5
Power lay in the brown swell of his forearms: authority sat on his shoulder and chattered in his ear like an ape.
“All sit down.”
The boys ranged themselves in rows on the grass before him but Ralph and Piggy stayed a foot lower, standing on the soft sand. Jack ignored them for the moment, 10
turned his mask down to the seated boys and pointed at them with the spear. “Who is going to join my tribe?”
Ralph made a sudden movement that became a stumble. Some of the boys turned toward him.
“I gave you food,” said Jack, “and my hunters will protect you from the beast. Who 15
will join my tribe?”
“I’m chief,” said Ralph, “because you chose me. And we were going to keep the fire going. Now you run after food – ”
“You ran yourself !” shouted Jack. “Look at that bone in your hands!”
Ralph went crimson. 20
“I said you were hunters. That was your job.” Jack ignored him again.
“Who’ll join my tribe and have fun?”
“I’m chief,” said Ralph tremulously. “And what about the fire? And I’ve got the conch –” 25
“You haven’t got it with you,” said Jack, sneering. “You left it behind. See, clever? And the conch doesn’t count at this end of the island –”
All at once the thunder struck. Instead of the dull boom there was a point of impact in the explosion.
“The conch counts here too,” said Ralph, “and all over the island.” 30
“What are you going to do about it then?”
Ralph examined the ranks of boys. There was no help in them and he looked away, confused and sweating. Piggy whispered.
“The fire – rescue.”
“Who’ll join my tribe?” 35
“I will.”
“Me.”
“I will.”
“I’ll blow the conch,” said Ralph breathlessly, “and call an assembly.”
“We shan’t hear it.” 40
Piggy touched Ralph’s wrist.
“Come away. There’s going to be trouble. And we’ve had our meat.”
There was a blink of bright light beyond the forest and the thunder exploded again... 

Questions

1. Refer to line 1. To what does the “threat of violence” refer? (1)
2. Refer to lines 2-3. Jack does not ask for a drink but gives an order. What does this tell us about the kind of leader he is? Give a reason for your answer. (2)
3. Why does Ralph turn crimson (red) when Jack reminds Ralph that he is eating the food he, Jack, has provided? (2)
4. This extract shows the conflict between Jack and Ralph and their two different methods of leadership. Explain how the conflict between the two boys can be described as a conflict between democracy and dictatorship. (4)
5. Do you think that Piggy’s advice to “Come away” (line 40) is good advice? Give a reason for your opinion. (2)
6. Why do Ralph and Piggy join the “kill the pig” dance? (1)
7. Briefly relate the events that lead to Simon’s death. (3)  [15]

Answers to Activity 9

  1. Simon will be attacked by the group of boys and killed. ✓
  2. He is authoritarian/a dictator. ✓ He feels he has the right to do or have whatever he wants and expects instant obedience from others. ✓
  3. Ralph turns red (blushes) because he is embarrassed. ✓ He is critical of Jack for putting hunting before the need for rescue yet he is eating the food that came from Jack’s hunt.✓
  4. Ralph represents democracy; he regards the conch as the symbol of his authority. ✓ The conch stands for democracy as whoever holds it has a turn to speak. ✓ In a democracy the opinions of all the people should be heard. ✓
    Jack is a dictator and does not consider any one else’s views but wants total control over his followers. ✓
  5. Yes. Ralph does not leave when Piggy advises it ✓ and so he is involved in the dance during which Simon is killed. ✓
  6. They feel safer being with the group during the frightening storm. ✓
  7. The boys are celebrating/holding a feast after killing the pig ✓ when Simon crawls out of the forest to tell the boys the truth about the ✓ Simon is mistaken for the beast and beaten to death. ✓

Chapter 10: The Shell and the Glasses
piggy

1. What happens in the chapter?

The events in this chapter take place the next day and night. Piggy and Samneric are the only biguns left in Ralph’s group. Ralph is full of guilt at having joined the mob that killed Simon and he calls it murder. Piggy, who remained outside the dance, will not face this truth and insists that Simon’s death was an accident and even blames Simon himself. Ralph then says he too was outside the dance. Samneric arrive with some wood and also claim they were not involved. None of them can face their guilt and shame.
On the other hand, Jack, now called “The Chief”, tells his uneasy followers that they did not kill the beast and that it will return. This way he removes their guilt and holds on to his power by making sure they are still afraid of the beast, from which he will protect them. He is being manipulative. He has moved his tribe to the castle rock, which can be defended by pushing rocks down on the narrow entrance. He now punishes harshly anyone who displeases him.
On the beach Ralph and the other three cannot collect enough wood to keep the fire going at night, although they would like its comfort in the dark. They are woken up by Jack, Roger and Maurice who attack them and steal Piggy’s glasses so they can light their fires. However, they do not bother to take the conch.

2. Who is involved?

Ralph

  • Ralph is horrified by the killing of Simon and his own part in it, but then lies and says he was not involved. We see how he has been corrupted in spite of his basically good values.
  • Ralph shows insight when he says that he is frightened “of us”. Ralph comforts himself at night by imagining going home, but at the same time the outside world is fading from his memory as he struggles to remember the war against the “Reds” (Communist Russia). His concentration has also been affected by life on the island and he again struggles to express what he needs to say about the signal fire.

Piggy

  • What happened to Simon is too dreadful for Piggy to admit.
  • Piggy was the only one of his group who did not participate in the killing.
  • As always, Piggy is aware of how adults might judge the boys and insists that he and Ralph pretend they were not at the dance: “We never done nothing. We never saw nothing.”
  • Piggy does not help collect wood because of his asthma – or his laziness?
  • When his glasses are stolen Piggy is very distressed as without them he is almost blind and is helpless.

Jack

  • Jack lies about Simon’s death to maintain his power and authority; the only sign of any guilt he might feel is when he moves uncomfortably (“squirmed”) and looks down when it is first mentioned.
  • Jack uses fear and cruelty to ensure obedience from his tribe and a boy, Wilfred, is tied up and beaten.
  • Like all leaders who seize power illegally, Jack is afraid of an attack from others who might do the same to him and places guards at the entrance to the castle rock, using the big rocks as weapons.
  • Jack lies about the beast not being dead as fear of the beast will keep his tribe loyal.
  • Jack has no morals left and steals Piggy’s glasses in a violent night raid.

Roger

  • Roger does not seem to give a thought to the horrific killing of Simon.
  • As we have seen before, Roger is a sadist and when he hears of Wilfred’s punishment he realises that “the possibilities of irresponsible authority” will give him opportunities to enjoy more cruelty.
  • Roger also approves of Jack as a “proper Chief” because he is warlike and is prepared to use weapons, like the big rocks, against his enemies.

3. Themes

Good and evil

  • The forces of evil in the person of Jack and his followers are winning against the good. Simon is dead, Ralph has lost his leadership position and Piggy is made helpless when his glasses are stolen.

Civilisation and savagery

  • Savagery is winning over civilised values. Jack is now always half naked and painted and rules by means of fear and cruelty. The author is now calling Jack and his group “savages”.

Leadership

  • Jack is a dictator and Ralph, the democratically elected leader, has no authority over most of the boys. Democracy has been replaced by dictatorship. The chapter also shows how bad leaders can manipulate others by using fear (of harsh punishment) and suspicion.

4. Symbols

Many of the symbols have changed their significance (meaning) as the situation on the island worsens.

The conch

  • The conch has lost its authority. Democracy has lost and Jack does not even bother to take the conch when he steals the glasses. He has no interest in democracy and any laws will be his own.

Fire

  • For Ralph fire now means not only rescue but also comfort in the dark. For Jack it is only a means of cooking food and adding excitement to the dance.

Piggy’s glasses

  • Without his glasses Piggy is helpless: he will no longer give his good advice. In Jack’s possession the glasses mean nothing more than a way to light a fire. His rule is based on power and fulfilling his desires, not on reason or thoughtfulness.
  • The chapter title, “The Shell and the Glasses”, refers to the loss of both democracy (the conch being left behind like something that has no value) and intelligent thought (Piggy’s glasses being stolen).

5. Diction and figurative language

The writer uses sarcasm and humour to help us to imagine and understand what he is describing. For example:

Sarcasm

  • The author uses sarcasm when he states: “Memory of the dance that none of them had attended shook all four boys convulsively.” He is writing about the fact that they deny being involved in Simon’s death. Sarcasm is an ironic expression, or tone. Here we know that the opposite of what is stated is true – of course the boys attended the dance!
  • One of the few touches of humour in the novel comes when the boys boast of how they fought their attackers and we realise they were actually fighting one another in the dark.

Activity 10

Read the following extract and answer the questions below.
[Jack and his tribe have attacked Ralph’s group.]

They hauled Piggy clear of the wreckage and leaned him against a tree.
The night was cool and purged of immediate terror. Piggy’s breathing was a little easier.
“Did you get hurt, Piggy?” “Not much.”
“That was Jack and his hunters,” said Ralph bitterly. “Why can’t they leave us alone?”
“We gave them something to think about,” said Sam. Honesty compelled him to go on. “At least you did. I got mixed up with myself in a corner.”
“I gave one of ’em what for,” said Ralph, “I smashed him up all right. He won’t want to come and fight us again in a hurry.”
“So did I,” said Eric. “When I woke up one was kicking me in the face. I got an awful bloody face, I think, Ralph. But I did him in the end.”
“What did you do?”
“I got my knee up,” said Eric with simple pride, “and I hit him with it in the pills. You should have heard him holler! He won’t come back in a hurry either. So we didn’t do too badly.”
Ralph moved suddenly in the dark; but then he heard Eric working at his mouth.
“What’s the matter?”
“Jus’ a tooth loose.” 

Questions

1. What is the “wreckage” referred to in line 1? (1)
2. In line 3 it is mentioned that Piggy’s breathing is “easier”. Give TWO possible reasons why Piggy was breathing with difficulty earlier. (2)
3. Is the following statement TRUE or FALSE? Write “true” or “false” and give a reason for your answer. The person that Ralph is referring to in lines 12-13 is one of the attackers. (2)
4. Give TWO reasons why the boys have separated into two groups at this stage. (2)
5. Explain why Jack’s tribe does not take the conch. (2) [9]

Answers to Activity 10

  1. The remains of the hut that collapsed during the fight. ✓
  2. You must give two reasons. Here are a few options:
    1. He was agitated✓ OR
    2. He was upset✓ OR
    3. He was scared about the fight✓ OR
    4. He had an asthma attack✓
  3. False. It is Eric. ✓ In the dark and confusion Ralph thought he was hitting an attacker, but in fact he was hitting Eric. ✓
  4. Jack wanted to be the leader. ✓
    Jack was angry because nobody voted for him. ✓
  5. For two marks, you need to give two of reasons:
    • The conch is a symbol of democracy✓ OR
    • Jack does not believe in democracy✓ OR
    • The conch seems to ‘belong’ to Ralph, as he found it

Chapter 11: Castle Rock
castlerock

 1. What happens in the chapter?

The events in this chapter take place on the second day after Simon’s death very early in the morning. Ralph, Piggy and Samneric gather by the dead fire but cannot find a spark. Ralph says they will never be rescued without a fire and that he would have given Jack fire if he had asked for it. Without his glasses Piggy is almost blind and he wants to go to Jack and tell him to give him back his glasses because “what’s right’s right”. Ralph wishes he could clean himself up and look respectable, even though the tribe will be painted.
As they approach Castle Rock they are challenged by Roger from the rock above the entrance and they hear war cries. Jack’s tribe, all of them painted, appear when Ralph blows the conch and Roger throws stones at him. Then Jack appears behind him with his hunters and their kill. Ralph confronts (challenges) Jack and demands Piggy’s glasses. When Ralph calls him a thief, Jack attacks. Ralph tries to reason with him and Jack responds by ordering his tribe to seize Samneric and tie them up. Ralph tries to make the boys see sense, but the tribe prepares to charge at him. Roger pushes a large rock over the edge and it hits Piggy, sending him flying through the air and on to the rocks in the sea below. The waves wash his body out to sea. The conch breaks into pieces and the tribe advances on Ralph, throwing their spears. Ralph runs for his life and hides in the dense (thick) forest.

2. Who is involved?

Ralph

  • Ralph wants to behave in a civilised way and would like to look the way he did before the crash. He tells Eric he and his three followers will not paint their faces: “because we aren’t savages”.
  • Ralph shows his sense of fairness and order when he says: “We’d have given them fire if they’d asked.”
  • Perhaps because Ralph is so stressed he again has a problem with concentration and he struggles to remember why they need smoke.
  • Ralph faces up to Jack without fear but loses his temper when Jack will not give back the glasses. He then tries to maintain civilised behaviour by reasoning (unsuccessfully) with Jack; he is still motivated by very English ideas about fair play and “playing the game”. But when he is attacked he defends himself and fights back bravely until he is forced to flee for his life.

Piggy

  • Piggy is helpless and cannot find his way without his glasses; he turns to Ralph as the elected leader to help him get them back.
  • Piggy is kind when Ralph has a problem remembering, saying: “ ‘You’re Chief, Ralph. You remember everything.’ ”
  • Piggy wants to appeal to Jack’s sense of morality. He naively (innocently) thinks Jack might listen to him. (He is wise in many ways, but not when he still expects Jack to respect what is right or worry about what the adults would say.)
  • When Piggy walks he is terrified as he cannot see where he is being led, but he finds the courage to blow the conch and try to persuade Jack and the tribe to be: “ ‘sensible like Ralph is’ ”.
  • Piggy’s death is cruel and unnecessary.

Jack

  • Jack has lost all sense of morality and, like a true dictator, will force others to obey him, for instance, when he orders Samneric to be tied up.
  • Jack will try to destroy whoever opposes him.
  • Jack feels no guilt or pity when Piggy is killed but tries to kill Ralph too.
  • Jack has become the embodiment (a perfect example) of evil.

Roger

  • Roger throws stones to torment Ralph’s group and, when the tribe is getting ready to charge, seizes the opportunity to fulfil his desire for blood by pushing down the rock which kills Piggy.
  • We see Roger’s sadism again as he moves towards Samneric, who are still tied up, obviously looking forward to torturing them.

Samneric

  • The twins Sam and Eric (Samneric) are aware of the “liberation into savagery that the concealing paint brought” and they would like to paint their faces too, and enjoy the freedom from law and order that this “disguise” would give them.
  • However, so far as the twins remain loyal to Ralph; they are the only biguns who are loyal, apart from Piggy.
  • Sam and Eric still show the innocence of well-brought-up English schoolboys in their polite protests when they are being tied up: “ ‘Oh, I say!’ ‘– Honestly!’ ”

3. Themes

Good and evil; civilisation and savagery

  • With the death of Piggy, the capture of Samneric and the attack on Ralph, goodness and civilisation seem to have lost the battle against evil and savagery; Jack and his savages have won this battle.

Power

  • By the end of the chapter Ralph has been robbed of all power and Jack, helped by Roger, has total power over everyone. Jack makes his own laws to suit himself and anyone who does not obey him is punished or destroyed.

Fear

  • Jack has become the beast to be feared, proving that what Simon said about the beast being the evil inside human beings was true.

4. Symbols

The conch

  • A symbol of democracy and lawful authority, the conch is described as “fragile” and “delicate”, showing how easily civilisation can be destroyed. It is smashed to pieces when Piggy falls, symbolising the final destruction of democracy and proper law and order on the island.

Piggy’s glasses

  • The glasses are the source of fire and the symbol of insight and intelligence, and they are the cause of the final confrontation between Jack and Ralph. When Jack has them they become nothing more than a tool to light a cooking fire.

Fire

  • The only fire left on the island is for cooking; the tribe has no interest in rescue.

4. Diction and figurative language

The writer uses less figurative language in this chapter as it mostly contains action and conflict. Here are examples of metaphors and dialogue:

Metaphors

  • Perhaps the most striking metaphor is the one used to describe Roger: “The hangman’s horror clung to him.” A hangman is the person who hangs people who have been sentenced to death. The hangman is regarded with horror because of his dreadful job and his identity is often kept secret because otherwise people would avoid contact with him. After Roger has killed Piggy even Jack has some of the same feeling of horror for Roger and does not argue with him: “The Chief said no more to him ...”

Dialogue

  • The writer’s use of dialogue indicates the nature and background of the characters. Phrases such as “playing the game” (meaning to be fair), “Oh, I say!” and “Honestly!” (see notes on Ralph and Samneric) are typical of well-behaved boys from the middle/upper class in England in the 1950s. Even on the island some of the boys are still influenced by the behaviour/manners they were taught at home.
    • However, Piggy crudely (insultingly) calls the tribe “a pack of painted niggers”, language which shocks us today. He is using language that he has heard racist and prejudiced adults use. 

Activity 11

Read the following extract and answer the questions below.
[Ralph and Piggy prepare to go to Castle Rock.]

They went towards the platform.
“Blow the conch,” said Piggy. “Blow as loud as you can.”
The forest re-echoed; and birds lifted, crying out of the tree-tops, as on that first morning ages ago. Both ways the beach was deserted. Some littluns came from the shelters. Ralph sat down on the polished trunk and the three others stood before him. He nodded, and Samneric sat down on the right. Ralph pushed the conch into Piggy’s hands. He held the shining thing carefully and blinked at Ralph.
“Go on, then.”
“I just take the conch to say this. I can’t see no more and I got to get my glasses back. Awful things has been done on this island. I voted for you for chief. He’s the only one who ever got anything done. So now you speak, Ralph, and tell us what – Or else –”
Piggy broke off, snivelling. Ralph took back the conch as he sat down.

 Questions

1. Refer to line 2 (“Blow the conch... as you can”).

(a) Briefly describe the events that lead to the conch being blown at this point in the novel. (2)
(b) Why is the blowing of the conch so important to Piggy? State TWO points. (2)

2. Match the names in COLUMN 1 to the descriptions in COLUMN 2. Write down only the question number (2(a)-2(c)) and the letter (A-D) of your answer. (3)

COLUMN 1

COLUMN 2

(a)    Sam and Eric

A lazy and disloyal

(b)    Roger

B loyal to Ralph

(c)    Piggy and Simon

C savage and violent

 

D identical twins

3. Refer to lines 6-7 (“Ralph pushed the conch into Piggy’s hands”).

(a) What does the word “pushed” show about Ralph’s feelings? (1)
(b) Explain why Ralph feels this way. (1)

4. Refer to line 11 (“Awful things has been done on this island”).
What does this sentence suggest about the behaviour of some of the boys. State TWO points. (2) 
5. Refer to lines 12-13 (“So now you speak, Ralph, and tell us what – Or else – ” ).

(a) Why is Piggy’s sentence incomplete? (1)
(b) What do you think Piggy was going to say before he suddenly stopped? (2)
Complete the sentence he begins:
“Or else …
(c) Do you agree with Piggy that it was time for Ralph to take a stand and speak up? Explain your answer. (2)

6. Do you think Piggy is right to criticise Ralph’s leadership? Discuss your view. (2) [18]

Answers to Activity 11

  1.                                             
    1. Jack and his tribe came during the night and raided Ralph’s group and stole Piggy’s glasses. ✓
    2. For (b) you can give any TWO of the points below.
      Piggy wants them to have a meeting. ✓ OR He wants to get his glasses back because he cannot see/is almost blind. ✓ OR He wants to draw attention to the terrible things that have happened on the island. ✓
  2.                                  
    1. D ✓
    2. C ✓
    3. B ✓
  3.                                    
    1. He is irritated/impatient/at his wits’ end. ✓
    2. To get one mark you only need to give one of these points:
      Piggy is harassing him. ✓ OR Piggy never stops complaining about his lost glasses. ✓ OR He feels he is losing control to Jack/failing as a leader. ✓
  4. They have become savage/barbaric/animalistic/cruel/bloodthirsty. ✓
    OR
    They have lost all sense of civilisation. ✓
    OR
    They have become murderers/killed Simon. ✓
  5.                          
    1. He is overcome with emotion/angry/upset/about to cry. ✓
    2. “Or else Jack will come and kill us.” ✓
      OR
      “Or else I will leave and join Jack’s tribe.” ✓
    3.  Yes. Ralph is the elected leader of the boys. He is responsible for representing them/protecting them from Jack. ✓
      OR
      No. Piggy must have an opportunity to speak up for himself. ✓
    4. The answers below are examples only, you may have other reasons for your opinion.
      Yes. Piggy has to think of his own safety as Ralph does not know what to do. ✓
      OR
      No. Piggy voted for Ralph as leader and should accept his decisions. ✓

Chapter 12:  Cry of the Hunters

cry of the hunters 

1. What happens in the chapter?

The events in this chapter occur a short time later and the next morning. The last chapter contains the resolution of the novel, with the arrival of the English naval officer bringing rescue and an end to the conflict between Ralph and Jack and his tribe.
Ralph, bruised and cut by Jack’s spear, hides in the forest. He decides to go back to Jack’s beach. Moving through the forest he finds the pig’s skull, hideous on its stick. “A sick fear and rage swept him” and, grabbing the stick, he knocks it to the ground. At the Castle Rock he sees that the guards are Samneric. He manages to talk to them and they warn him that he will be hunted down the next day. Shame and fear make it difficult for them to answer Ralph’s question about what the tribe plans to do to Ralph, but eventually the twins admit: “They’re going to do you (kill you).” They give him some meat and tell him to leave quickly. Ralph tells them he will hide in the thicket (a clump of bushes or trees) nearby.
The next morning the hunt begins. Ralph hears a twin answering Jack and realises that Samneric have given away his hiding place. Two large rocks are pushed over on to the thicket. A “savage” comes close to him and Ralph stabs him with the stick that had held the pig’s skull. Then Jack sets fire to the forest to smoke Ralph out. Ralph meets another “savage” and stabs him too.
Then he runs, “with the swiftness of fear” through the burning forest, with the tribe chasing after him. He wishes he had time to think about his choices: should he climb a tree (and be trapped) or try to burst through the line of “savages” (but where would he go?). He misses Piggy, who could “talk sense” and advise him, and the “dignity” of the conch that made possible “solemn assembly for debate”.
While he is hiding a “savage” sees him in the undergrowth. He screams and hits the “savage”, then flees as the others come after him. In the meantime the fire is spreading quickly. He stumbles, falls and rolls on to the beach. He looks up to see a British naval officer who, from his cutter (a type of boat), saw the island on fire.
The officer looks at the filthy, wounded, boy who tells him two boys have been killed. (It seems that Ralph has forgotten the third, the littlun with the birth mark.) The officer looks at the group of painted “little boys” and another “little boy” with red hair and spectacles at his waist. He is surprised that British boys have not managed better.
Ralph weeps bitterly “for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy”. Rescue has come at last.

2. Who is involved?

Ralph

  • Ralph uses violence when his life is in danger. Here he uses his spear three times, but does not seem to have killed any of the “savages”. On the third occasion he remembers Roger’s spear, which is sharpened at both ends, and, driven by the fear, anger and his instinct to survive, he screams “snarling, bloody”, like a trapped animal.
  • Ralph’s basic decency makes him unwilling to believe that Jack and his savages, having killed Simon and Piggy, intend to kill him, but he also realises that “Jack ... would never let him alone; never.” Horrified and terrified by the thought, he shouts aloud, “ ‘No. They’re not as bad as that. It was an accident.’ ” But, in fact, they are “as bad as that”.
  • Although Ralph is usually sensible and realistic, when he sees the hideous pig’s skull he feels as though it has some sort of life or evil spirit in it and he hits it: “A sick fear and rage swept him.”
  • Ralph feels very hurt when he realises that Samneric have become part of the tribe: “Words could not express the dull pain of these things.” He is in despair because there is no chance of rescue, and “Piggy was dead and the conch smashed to powder”.
  • Ralph likes to think before he makes a decision, but in his dangerous situation he has no time to think carefully about what to do and he is forced to decide quickly whether he should hide or run.
  • When he meets the officer Ralph finds it impossible to explain the situation on the island as he is overwhelmed by the way the island paradise has become a place of death and horror.
  • Ralph feels deeply and, overcome by grief, he weeps bitterly. What he has learnt about the evil in mankind makes him very sad and he mourns the death of Piggy, whom he has come to realise was a “wise friend”.

Jack

  • We do not meet Jack face to face in most of this chapter but we hear his voice and see the results of his lust (desire) for total power and his hatred of Ralph. Jack will stop at nothing to kill Ralph, not even setting the whole island on fire.
  • Jack is increasingly cruel in his treatment of anyone who displeases him and does not hesitate to use Roger to torture Samneric to force them to join his tribe and, later, to tell him where Ralph is hiding.
  • Although intelligent in some ways, Jack is not wise and he is unable to imagine the consequences (what will happen as a result) of his actions: the fire is destroying the island and their source of food.
  • But when the officer arrives, he sees Jack as “a little boy”. Perhaps by now we may have forgotten, but Jack is only 12 years old.
  • Facing an adult from the “civilised” world, all of Jack’s bravado (confidence) vanishes; he starts to say he, not Ralph, is the chief, but thinks it better to keep quiet. Perhaps Jack thinks that someone is going to be blamed for what has happened on the island. He is no longer the all-powerful dictator but a little boy afraid of getting into trouble.

Samneric

  • When the twins are captured they are tortured by Roger and forced to join the tribe.
  • Although they have abandoned Ralph and are now disloyal to him, they feel ashamed. The twins do not want him to be killed and warn him of the plan to hunt him; they also give him some meat.
  • The next day Samneric give away Ralph’s hiding place, again after being punished by Jack or Roger, whom they describe as “a terror”. It is easy to condemn them as weak, but does any one of us know how we would behave if we were hurt or tortured? Remember, too, that the twins are younger than Ralph and Jack – the twins are not even 12 years old.

The tribe

  • They obey Jack willingly and enjoy the excitement of hunting humans. The chapter title, “The Cry of the Hunters”, refers to the way they hunt Ralph, shouting and crying out: “The ululation spread from shore to shore.”
  • When faced with an adult, however, they become “little boys” once more, no longer frightening but “standing on the beach making no noise at all”. When Ralph cries, they begin to sob too.

The naval officer

  • He doesn’t understand the seriousness of the situation on the island and, seeing the boys in their war paint, he says, “Fun and games.” Ironically, “fun” was what the beast had promised Simon. By “fun” the beast meant evil and cruelty, not harmless games.
  • However, the officer’s uniform reminds us that he is taking part in one of the most deadly of adult “games” – war.
  • The naval officer disapproves of the disorder he finds and, when Ralph cannot tell him how many boys there are he says: “ ‘I should have thought that a pack of British boys – you’re all British, aren’t you? – would have been able to put up a better show than that –’ ” He shows not only his arrogance in thinking that the British would behave better than other people, but also his failure to understand the evil events that have taken place. He compares the boys’ situation to that in a 19th- century children’s book called Coral Island, in which a group of boys stranded on an island behave like gentlemen and bring “civilisation” to the island, showing his ignorance of what the boys are really like.

3. Themes

Fear

  • Ralph is afraid for his life. He has real, physical reasons to be afraid.

Good and evil

  • The evil of Jack and the tribe seems to have no limits as they hunt Ralph down. It comes to an end when they meet an adult and remember society’s laws, which they have broken and forgotten.

Civilisation and savagery

  • Faced with the reality of the adult world the “savages” return to being “little boys”.
  • Even Jack is afraid of punishment for breaking the laws of adult society and does not say that he was the leader.
  • But again, what is the “civilisation” the boys will return to? The adult war is being fought with weapons far greater than the boys’ sharpened sticks, and with far more “savage” results – nuclear war.

Power

  • The boys will lose all their power in the adult world, and the adults who hold the power are using it to wage a nuclear war that could put an end to all life.

Do you think they would ever have realised how bad their behaviour was if an adult had not appeared on the scene to remind them?
Who knows … it’s like the officer came just in time to restore order before they all got killed.

Innocence

  • All the boys have lost the innocence that at first had made the island seem like a paradise to them.
  • When Ralph weeps “for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy”, he has realised the evil that lies in the hearts of many people, even himself.

Leadership

  • Ralph says that he was a leader on the island.
  • Jack does not say he was a leader on the island. Jack will not take responsibility for the evil that he has caused, he acts like a coward, not a true leader.

4. Symbols

The conch

  • Since the conch was destroyed, order and democracy have disappeared from the island.
  •  Ralph misses the “dignity” and order the conch represented.

Fire

  • Fire here is both destructive and the means of the boys’ rescue.

The beast

  • Ralph, who did not believe in the presence of a physical beast, now knows that the real best is the “darkness of man’s heart”.

5. Diction and figurative language

The writer uses irony to help us to understand the resolution of the novel. For example:

Irony

The resolution (conclusion) of the novel, is filled with irony. Some examples are:

  • The fire: It is ironic that in their attempt to destroy Ralph the members of the tribe set fire to the island. Firstly, they are destroying their food supply; secondly, Jack had mocked the idea of the rescue fire, yet it is his fire that brings them rescue.
  • Rescue: Being rescued was Ralph and Piggy’s main aim but, when rescue comes, the boys will be going back to a world torn apart by a nuclear war. Ralph’s home, which he misses so much, quite possibly no longer exists.
  • The officer: He compares the boys’ situation to that described in Coral Island, a fantasy (imagined story) that is the opposite of the reality of this island.

Activity 12

Read the following extract and answer the questions below.
[Ralph meets a naval officer on the beach.]

 He staggered to his feet, tensed for more terrors, and looked up at a huge peaked cap. It was a white-topped cap, and above the green shade of the peak was a crown, an anchor, gold foliage. He saw white drill, epaulettes, a revolver, a row of gilt buttons down the front of a uniform.

A naval officer stood on the sand, looking down at Ralph in wary astonishment. On the beach behind him was a cutter, her bows hauled up and held by two ratings. In the stern-sheets another rating held a sub-machine gun.
The ululation faltered and died away.
The officer looked at Ralph doubtfully for a moment, then took his hand away from the butt of the revolver.
“Hullo.”
Squirming a little, conscious of his filthy appearance, Ralph answered shyly.
“Hullo.”
The officer nodded, as if a question had been answered. “Are there any adults – any grown-ups with you?”
Dumbly, Ralph shook his head. He turned a half-pace on the sand. A semicircle of little boys, their bodies streaked with coloured clay, sharp sticks in their hands, were standing on the beach making no noise at all.
“Fun and games,” said the officer.

 Questions

1. Is the following statement TRUE or FALSE? Using your own words, give a reason for your answer.
“The naval officer is on the island because he saw the signal fire.” (2)
2. The officer thinks the boys are playing a game.
Briefly describe what is actually happening on the island when the officer arrives. State TWO points. (2)
3. Refer to lines 2-4 (“It was a ... of a uniform”).
The writer describes the officer’s uniform in great detail.
How does the appearance of the officer differ from that of the boys? (2)
4. Refer to the words “wary astonishment” in lines 5-6.
Using your own words, explain what these two words show about the officer’s feelings about Ralph. State TWO things. (2)
5. Choose the correct answer to complete the following sentence: In line 6 the word “cutter” means...

A boat
B helicopter
C tank
D ship (1)

6. Refer to lines 10-16 (“The officer looked... had been answered”).

(a) Quote ONE word from the extract to show that Ralph is feeling uncomfortable. (1)
(b) Explain why it is so important to the officer to have the “question” in his mind answered.
State TWO points. (2)

7. Just before the events in the extract Ralph thinks of the boys as “savages”. Why does he now see them as “little boys”? (1)
8. The officer is disappointed because the boys cannot tell him how many of them there are.
Why does he expect them to be more organised? (1)
9. The games on the island often get out of control.
Do you think the boys’ violent behaviour can be excused? Explain your answer. (2)
10. Consider the novel as a whole.
Do you think evil wins in the end? Discuss your view. (2)
11. What does the novel as a whole convey about Ralph’s character? (3)
12. Is the following statement TRUE or FALSE? Sam ‘n Eric remain loyal to Jack throughout the novel. Give a reason for your answer. (2) [23]

Answers to Activity 12

  1. False. He is on the island because he saw that the island was on fire. ✓
  2. The boys/Jack and his tribe are hunting Ralph. ✓ They want to kill him/ they set the island on fire to smoke him out. ✓
  3.  The boys are half-naked/have painted faces/are very dirty. ✓ The officer is very neatly dressed. ✓ OR
    The boys are savage/represent chaos while the officer represents discipline/civilisation/order. ✓
  4.  He does not know whether he can trust him/he is a little afraid of him.✓
    He is surprised/shocked/apprehensive/amazed to find him here. ✓
  5. A / boat ✓
  6.                
    1. “Squirming”/“shyly” ✓
    2. He realises that the boy can understand the language/English (“The question” in his mind was probably whether the boys could understand English) and therefore he can let his guard down/relax/take his hand off his gun. ✓
  7. He is no longer scared of them/they no longer pose a threat to him/the presence of an adult immediately brings civilisation/order/discipline.✓
  8. They are British boys. ✓
  9. No. They come from civilised homes and are supposed to know better. ✓
    OR
    Yes. ✓ They are still very young and there has been no adult supervision. ✓
  10. No. ✓ The officer arrives just in time and the boys are returned to civilisation. Hope is restored. ✓
    OR
    Yes. ✓ Two boys have been killed and the boys have lost their innocence. ✓
  11. Ralph is calm. ✓
    OR
    He has a powerful presence/is charismatic. ✓
    OR
    He is mature/responsible. ✓
    OR
    At a stage he loses his confidence, he cannot think what to do next and he relies on Piggy. ✓
    OR
    He gets nervous when he has to make decisions quickly. ✓
  12. False. ✓ They warn Ralph of Jack’s intention to kill him./They provide Ralph with meat./They are forced to join Jack’s tribe. ✓
Last modified on Thursday, 09 September 2021 07:38