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Lord of the Flies
Transcript of Lord of the Flies
PART 1 - Characterization
PART 2 - Symbolism
Ayana Murray, Emma Madorin, Katy Mullins & Stephanie Whitton
1. The human capacity for unrestrained passion
2. The demonic element in humans
3. A person of action as opposed to thought"
1. Throughout the course of the novel, Jack’s impulsive and often careless actions prove that his character represents human passion. We agree with the statement because most of Jack’s seemingly savage actions are a result of his unrestrained passion for hunting. He lets his feelings and desire to hunt overpower any rational thought or order, which would not happen if he were a more logical thinker like Piggy, for instance. Jack proves that without some form of order or civilization, this “passion”, whatever it may be for, can ruin lives and lead people to do terrible things.
Examples: his first concern is hunting over everything else, resorts to breaking off and creating his own tribe of hunters
2. By the end of the book, Jack (and therefore the rest of his tribe) have regressed themselves into completely primitive and animalistic assailants. We think one of the main goals of the story is to show that evil exists in all of us- it just takes someone like Jack, who puts passion before anything else, to bring it out in us. Jack isn’t inherently evil from the beginning; it takes time and a wearing-down of his sense of right and wrong to turn him into the “savage” he becomes, and this really demonstrates the human capability for evil. It is essentially saying that if left to our own devices, this “evil” will come out in all of us.
Examples: torture of other boys, trying to kill Ralph, getting pleasure from others’ pain
3. Jack, with a combination of his “unrestrained passion” and the evil element of human nature he displays, can definitely be described as a person of action as opposed to thought. In many cases he lets his automatic impulse take over and lead him to do something before thinking about the consequences. This statement is undoubtedly valid, and it’s a large part of what separates Jack from others like Ralph and Piggy. His spontaneous actions cause him to become even further un-civilized and speed his progression into savagery.
Examples: killed the sow without thinking about all of the babies
"Jack is the embodiment of irresponsible authority"
Jack does show an example of irresponsible authority, but we don’t think this statement is necessarily accurate. Under different circumstances, Jack proved to be a natural, effective leader. It’s only the lack of civilization and law that lead him to become the irresponsible dictator he is, which from a psychological standpoint is understandable given the situation.The fact that other characters like Piggy and Ralph stayed, for the most part, rational and clear-thinking shows that Jack was irresponsible and in this case should not have had the role of leader, but I don’t agree that he is the single embodiment of an irresponsible leader.
example: he was leader of the choir, Head Boy, seemed to be effective in these roles
"Jack has many sensual, animalistic characteristics suitable to his role"
Jack’s sensual and animalistic tendencies, as mentioned in earlier questions, are a large part of what leads him to become “savage”. These characteristics are absolutely suitable to his role as the totalitarian leader because of the way they allow him to be capable of drastic and inhumane actions. In his mind, his actions are justified, much like other similar leaders in history (Hitler, Stalin) feel the atrocities they commit can be justified. For Jack, his justification is keeping order and hunting as effectively as he can to ensure his own survival.
Examples: he often says hunting is the only way they’ll survive, savagery, torture, he has to be the only one in charge, has to get rid of Ralph, makes others worship him (totalitarianism)
"Piggy is the embodiment of the best and worst aspects of the weaker sort of intellectual"
"Piggy, the outside, acts as a parent to the other children"
"Piggy has an important role as scapegoat"
"Piggy represents the power of intelligence and accumulated knowledge. He alone has a clear conception of the problems and needs caused by the crash"
Piggy’s character and his fate are extremely unfortunate given that he does show such intellect and promise. He is rational, clear-thinking and resourceful, but the “weak” aspects of his character often overshadow this, especially for the other boys on the island. He is stifled by his physical and emotional vulnerability as well as his lack of natural leadership. We agree with the comment that he embodies the best and worst of intelligence- he has great thoughts and ideas, but is ineffective in communicating them because of the faults in his character.
examples: his needing glasses, his asthma, overweight, often has to fight to try to get others to listen (they don’t), his reliance on the conch
Piggy frequently takes a parent role on the island and tries to be the rational “real-word” voice in discussions. He truly has the others’ and his own best interest at heart, and wants to see them act in the most effective way possible while they work towards being rescued. Unlike Jack, he doesn’t let passion or instinct overpower common sense, and he tries to instill this in the other boys on many occasions.
Example: “you’re acting like a bunch of kids”, frequently seen helping littluns, brings the littluns’ concerns up in conversations, trying to remind people what’s logical, referencing the real world
We completely agree with the statement that Piggy is the scapegoat of the story. From the beginning he’s set up as an “underdog” character, and as the story goes along you, as the reader, find yourself pitying him while seeing the others look down on him. For Jack especially, Piggy is someone to blame his own faults and mistakes on. Piggy’s vulnerabilities and his role as the intelligent one allow this to happen. He doesn’t have a strong physical presence on the island and Jack knows he can’t fight back, so it’s easy to put him down and take advantage of him. All of his attributes and desire for justice, fairness and rescue conflict with Jack’s, which are dominated by hunting.
example: the Piggy nickname, making fun of his asthma and weight, Jack and Roger killing him, raiding the camp to take his glasses
We don’t agree that Piggy is the only one with a conception of the true problems and needs of the boys on the island, but he is the only one who has the logical way of thinking required to solve the problems. He does represent the power and importance of knowledge, and he is the only one who frequently voices his thoughts about what logically needs to be done. However, other characters like Ralph are also aware- with the exception of Jack, everyone on the island realizes the need for things like fire and its necessity for their rescue. Piggy is one of the only ones, though, that doesn’t let passion, actions, or other concerns take over his thoughts. He stands by his democratic, logical opinions until the very end, unlike many of the other characters who resort to savagery.
Example: at first all boys understand the need for fire and rescue, they all listen at assemblies, all agree with Ralph & Piggy's ideas
Ralph- leadership, order, civilization
Jack- animal instincts, passion, dictatorship, evil
Simon- spirituality, feelings, emotion, conscience
Piggy- logic, rationality, scientific intellect, physical vulnerability
Roger- sadism, greed, violence
Samneric- reliance, unity, dependance, manipulation
Littluns- innocence of youth, general population
"Ralph represents the capacity for rational thought and the ability to reason, although he lacks any high degree of intellect or insight. He is the natural leader."
You see proof of this when Ralph insists that they must keep the fire and smoke going even thought he finds himself forgetting why it is so important. You also see this through how the littluns still consider him a leader despite how he messes up which shows him as a natural leader. This comment could be considered invalid because Ralph does have trouble controlling everyone even though he is the leader. He also needs to be reminded about what is best for everyone and not just him. In our view, this comment is valid because the only two possible leaders on the island are Ralph and Jack but Jack rules by fear and is not a natural leader.
"Ralph is the embodiment of balance, common sense, responsibility, order, and reason."
When Ralph takes advice from both Piggy and Jack to make the best decision you see his common sense when he conceives the meeting place, fire, and the hut. You see his responsibility when he takes it upon himself to build the shelters after Simon leaves. Ralph demonstrates order when he intervenes in Jack and Piggy's fights. Ralph shows reason during the crisis when the parachutist or "beast" is seen when he keeps the boys minds of the thoughts of rescue instead of the fear of the beast. However, when Ralph loses Piggy and Simon and we see him hiding in a covert grieving over Piggy's death we notice he might not be as stable as we thought. This comment is valid to us because although he does seem unstable after Simon and Piggy's deaths, he is still in the process of grieving.
"Understanding the paradoxical love-hate relationship with Jack is central to understanding the novel."
Jack and Ralph are together for better or for worst and they have a lot in common because of the pressure that is put on them to lead the other boys. At the same time, this pressure can cause to get irritated with each other. They know they need each other for the best "civilization" and they're relationship is a lot like a sibling relationship. Like siblings, they are very competitive and try to overtake each other but say they are "just joking". For example, when Jack, Ralph, and Simon climb the mountain to scope out the island they get along well but when they argue over things it shows the hate part of the relationship. On the other hand, the fact that the love-hate relationship in Ralph's mind invalidates this fact because it was always hate from Jack's point of view. He always wanted the power and was mad that Ralph was chosen as chief. An example of this is when Jack claims Ralph is not a good leader (pg 139). We find this comment invalid because even though the paradoxical relationship is important, it is not key to understanding the novel because it never was a love hate relationship for Jack as he never likes Ralph.
"Ralph is the most interesting character because he is a curious mixture of strengths and weaknesses"
Ralph is very interesting because he has uncommon strengths and weaknesses. For example, he is very courageous when searching for the beast at castle rock but when they go to the mountain he is too scared to go and see the "beast". He is also interesting because his downfall is his politeness. It is what causes Jack to start his own tribe. People could argue this because there are so many other interesting characters. Simon, for example, draws you in and makes you want to learn more about him right from the beginning when he sneaks off on his own. He is also a very interesting character because he stays innocent and pure until his death despite the pressure and circumstances on the island. We think this quote is valid because Ralph is the main character so you are immediately pulled to him and you want to learn more about him.
"Simon is the embodiment of inner strength, intuition, soul, and conscience."
This quote could be considered valid because of Simon's thoughts and actions throughout the novel. Simon shows intuition when he knows what the "beast" is before anyone else and he tells Ralph he will get back alright. He represents soul because the boys could be considered soul-less after they kill Simon. Simon embodies conscience throughout the novel in many different ways. For example, how he never hurt another boy and was very in-touch with the environment. He has a goodness about him that none of the other boys have. However, this comment could be invalidated. For example you could argue Simon does not have the inner strength because he hallucinates a pig head talking to him. In my opinion, part of the statement is valid. We agree with the intuition, soul, and conscience but not the inner strength part because he was always considered one of the weaker boys.
"Simon is the philosopher, the mystic, who unfortunately unable to communicate his insights"
Simon shows that he is the philosopher and mystic in the novel by talking to the beast and with his insight. He tries to understand all the other characters. Simon knows the Lord of the Flies is the evil inside of them and that when the boys thought they saw the "beast" it was really just a parachutist. Unfortunately, the boys mistake him for the beast and kill him before he can tell them what he knows. However, you could argue that he is not the philosopher or the mystic because he is a littlun and does not understand everything. He is sometimes able to communicate his insights, but only to one or two people (Piggy and Ralph). We find this comment valid because in the end Simon is unable to tell the other boys about what the "beast" truly is before his death.
"Simon's private sitting place is an important key to our understanding of him."
When Simon is by himself in his own space, we see how connected he is to the environment and it shows how he has a goodness in him that the other boys do not have which is key to understanding his character. However, you could argue that it is not important to his character as we still see the aspects of his character from his actions throughout the novel. In our opinion, his space is important, but not key. We still learn everything about Simon without his own space but it gives us a better understanding of his connection with the environment.
"Simon is an epileptic which is an important part of his character in the novel."
Simon having epilepsy is important to his character because it could provide a reason as to why he hallucinated and saw and spoke to the Lord of the Flies. It is important that he spoke to the Lord of the Flies because it allows him to see the truth of the "beast". On the other hand, the fact that he has epilepsy is never really mentioned and was forgettable.
"Simon is the true hero of the novel. (What is his mission? Why does he fail? Why is his death ironic? And appropriate?)"
Simon's mission is to alert the other boys about how the beast is truly inside them and what they saw was in reality a parachutist. However, he fails because the boys mistake him for the beast and kill him. This is ironic because while on his way to tell the boys what the beast really is, they think he is the beast and kill him. It is an appropriate death because it symbolizes the end of goodness on the island and everything that happens after Simon's death (Piggy's death, hunting Ralph) shows how the boys have let their civilization go. Simon is considered the hero of the story and is often called the Christ figure in the novel. He has insight that no one else has and is the true hero as he is the only truly good person on the island. You could argue that he is not the hero in the story as he is never able to communicate his insights with the other boys. Without the insight Simon has the boys turn to evil and into savages. We do think Simon is the true hero of the story because of the goodness he has within him despite the fact he could not communicate with the other boys before they murdered him.
"Roger represents the worst human tendencies with his cruel and brutal behaviour."
Proof of this quote in the novel is when Roger is first throwing stones at the young boy on the beach, and then later in the novel he is very quick to release the giant rock that kills Piggy, without thought. However, when Roger is throwing rocks at the young boy, he does not actually hit him. This also disproves the quote, but only a little bit. This is a valid comment because Roger is very brutal, he is the first to join Jack and become a savage since he already was one.
"Roger is 'the hangman'."
Proof of this quote in the novel is when we see Roger by Jack's side. Also when they say they tied up a boy in the camp, they said Roger is going to give him a beating. To disprove this, Roger is also on watch a lot, which means Jack must not think too highly of him. We think there is a lot of truth in the statement because his character is portrayed as the hangman/savage. Other than Jack he is the most terrifying.
"Samneric represent the average man with elements of goodness who is ineffectual and weak in the face of adversity."
To prove this statement, Samneric are generally good people but do get carried away like most people do. For example when the boys were killing the "beast" or Simon and they got involved although lied about it later. They are weak in the eyes of adversity when they give in and join Jack's tribe later on. However, they could be considered more than the average man because they stay with Ralph's group longer than all the other boys whereas an average man would have most likely joined Jack's tribe earlier on. We think they do represent the typical man in a regular place, but not on the island.
1. At the beginning of the novel, the island is a paradise for the boys, they are excited for the adventure and freedom. However, through the course of the novel the island slowly turns into a hell for the boys. The island gets this double-edged meaning at different times for different boys. For example, Piggy knew the island was not a paradise from the beginning and wants to start making shelters and fire whereas Jack still loves the island at the end of the novel. The island starts to acquire its double-edged meaning when the boy with the birthmark on his face dies in the forest fire. Though, for most boys I think the island truly becomes a hell when Jack leaves the group to create his own tribe. This starts fights between the boys and even results in deaths.
2. In the beginning of the Lord of the Flies, the fire is a symbol of rescue. The boys keep the fire going to create smoke which they hope will signal a ship or plane. The island also symbolizes refuge when they use it to cook food and for heat. However, the fire also symbolizes death when they use it to cook the pigs and eventually to try and kill Ralph. The fire also kills the little boy with the birthmark on his face which give the fire a double-edged meaning.
3. In the Lord of the Flies the boys slowly turn from civilization to savagery as they switch to survival mode. The boys all start out with a sort of democracy where they all vote and call assemblies, they all work together and cooperate as best as they can. Later on in the story as the boys have less hope of getting rescued, they turn into savages, wearing face paint and carrying spears. We think most of the boys completely turn into savages when they kill Simon and gives the boys a double-edged meaning.
4. At first the pigs mean food, but as the novel progresses they begin to symbolize evil. At the start of the Lord of the Flies the pigs are a source of food for the boys but later on when the boys in Jack's tribe kill a pig and offer its head to the beast, it starts to be a symbol for evil. We think it really symbolizes evil when the pig head talks to Simon telling him how the evil is within all the boys and acquires its double-edged meaning.
5. In the beginning of this book the huts were built for protection and shelter from the weather and wind. However, by the end of the novel, it turns into a desperate refuge for the boys from Ralph's group to hide from Jack's group. We would say the huts start to have a double-edged meaning when Jack's tribe splits off from the other boys and raid the huts.
I) THE CONCH
The conch represents leadership and democracy. This relates to the novel as a whole because everyone respects it up until the moment it smashes, and as readers we realize that all the democracy and rationality the boys had was shattered along with it and Piggy.
II) PIGGY'S GLASSES
Piggy’s glasses are symbols for clarity and rational thinking. The boys make fire with them – in fact it is essential for them to have the glasses. When Jack takes them, Piggy is weakened along with Ralph’s tribe, as Piggy is sightless and they have no fire.
III) THE PIG
The pig stands for innocence and slaughter – which is a bit of an oxymoron – but truthful because at first we see them as an innocent source of food, but as Jack and his followers become more savage and bloodthirsty, the pigs are dealt with in more gruesome, unnecessary ways, symbolizing slaughter.
IV) THE BEAST
The beast represents fear and control over the boys, influencing and weakening them. The beast is the one thing they all fear equally on the island, as it also symbolizes the unknown. The beast controls the fear that Jack uses to gain power, and adds another tension on the island. However the beast is not just ‘the lord of the flies’, it is also the boys themselves.
V) STICK SHARPENED AT BOTH ENDS
The stick sharpened at both ends represents the extremes that are happening. In words, it means death and savagery, but it keeps us thinking: “what do they mean by this?” which is exactly what inflicts fear upon Ralph. They sharpened the stick at both ends and struck it into the ground and put the pig’s head onto it, they threatened Ralph with it – so is it possible they mean more than just death? Perhaps they meant to put Ralph’s head onto the stick, as a prize for the beast and as a trophy for Jack.
VI) THE ISLAND
The island is shaped as a scar, which could stand for a mark that would be left on the boys after the disaster. It also represents a dramatic change from paradise to hell, as Ralph starts to realize.
VII) THE CHAPTER'S HEADINGS
The chapter headings are important to the novel because they tend to foreshadow or summarize the entire chapter. They are basically like riddles to the chapters. Authors have to put a lot of thought into the chapter titles because it should give off the right vibes. It is like song titles, the musicians have to think about what their songs represent, are they dark? Cheerful? Sad? That is why they are important.
VIII) PERCIVAL WEMYS MADISON
He stands for this strange type of realization of what has been lost or left behind on the island. He forgets his name at the end, when they are standing beneath the navy soldier’s influence.
IX) THE LORD OF THE FLIES
The lord of the flies is a symbol for evil, and to sum it all up, he is the evil inside of everyone. He represents temptation, as well and he is depicted as the devil it seems. The fact that he is a decomposing, gangrene pig’s head that the boys put on a stick, just proves that he is the sinister inside them all and as evil was taking over the island. Jack’s tribe put the pig’s head on that stick (which became the lord of the flies) for the beast as they started to turn savage. That is a huge connection that was not passed over. Also, we started to notice how the kids who did not give into that evil and savagery were dying; Piggy, Simon. And Ralph would have joined the dead as well, if the fire hadn’t hailed the ship. Just like the chapter headings, it was a very well thought title for this novel, very dark and confusing until you look deeper into the book and you start to connect little details and realize that it is not as confusing as it seems.
The Island: Paradise ---> Hell
The Fire: Rescue ---> Death
The Boys: Civilization ---> Savagery
The Pigs: Food ---> Evil
The Huts: Shelter ---> Desperate Refuge
Blood- This changes Jack, transforming him from the boy too scared to kill a pig to a savage that will kill anything in his way.
Dung- This symbolizes Jack because "dung" is what is left after all the good things have been extracted-which is what Jack appears to be. He used to be good (or human) but his time on the island extracts that and leaves behind a savage, bloodthirsty boy.
Mask- This symbolizes Jack because without the mask Jack is still an innocent boy, but with it he is still a savage killer.
Pig's Meat- This represents Piggy because the savages, or hunters, hunt and kill pigs and in the end of the novel, they also kill Piggy
Glasses- The glasses represent Piggy because they symbolize intelligence and clarity both of which traits Piggy carries. It also represents his emotions which are very breakable like glasses.
Conch- The conch represents Ralph because the conch symbolizes leadership, authority, and democracy. The ties to Ralph because he is the chief on the island and wants to maintain democracy.
Fire- The represents Ralph because if he has the help of others he is strong and helpful but if he does not have any help he will fade and die just like a fire if it is not tended to.
Bees and Butterflies- These represent Simon because they are pure and innocent and so is Simon until he dies in the end. They also represent how for the second half of the book Simon is in his own "dreamland".