Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Bit o’ Background on Golding William Golding Born September...

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Transcript of Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Bit o’ Background on Golding William Golding Born September...

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Bit o’ Background on GoldingWilliam Golding

Born September 19, 1911Studies science at Oxford—mainly to please his fatherGets sick of science and switches to English!Joins the British Navy during WWII. Faces battleships, submarines, and aircraft. The war severely sours his view on the human condition, and his literature reflects that.Lord of the Flies appears in 1954Golding wins the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982.

Important literary elements to watch for…

One GIGANTIC theme, according to Golding himself, is the “attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature.”Basically, Golding’s claim is that without structure and limits, man is inherently savage, or evil.There are other themes as well,

but you will have to find them yourself!

Why so dark, Will?Based on previous information, why would Golding write the penultimate pessimistic novel?

WWII and the present state of the world, of course! Golding was surrounded with death and dismemberment for nearly five years of his life. That tends to mess with someone’s head. Golding has said of his time in WWII “One had one’s nose rubbed in the human condition.”

And in this frame of mind, Golding was determined to create a perfectly opposite world devised by authors like Thoreau in the 19th century, who pictured a utopian society where a better world was something that could be attained, even in an anarchical society.

Five symbols to watch…Golding is a master of SYMBOLISM. Nearly

everything on the island serves a deeper literary purpose. We’ll figure all of this out as well. 1. Piggy’s specs (glasses)2. The conch (seashell)3. Jack’s mask4. The signal fire5. The severed head on a stick (no more details until later…duh duh DUHHHHH)

Plot introduction…Set in the not-too-distant future during a war that involves atomic bombsTheir plane is shot down during a violent storm. All adults are killed, many children survive and are stranded on the island.

The storm washes the plane away. The strip of land torn up and burned by the crash is called “the scar.”

Themes to Keep in MindThe end of innocenceDarkness/evil in the human heartNeed for social orderPowerFear of the unknownLoss of identityForesight ( or lack of)Loss of identify

Point of ViewThe novel is told from an omniscient point of viewMuch of the novel is told through Ralph, and Piggy, and occasionally Simon’s eyes? What effect might this have?

MoodNotice how the author creates a specific mood for the scenesThere is a great deal of description about the weather, vegetation, sounds, etc… note that these descriptions often reflect what is going on with the boys

I want to be on that island!!!Think about it…no adults, no adult rules, a beautiful tropical paradise! How could go anything go wrong?

Oh, but it will. The island will become a mess of savagery, brutality, bloodshed, and pure, unadulterated evil.

Character introductionRalph

Somewhat charismatic “Fair-haired”“You could see now that he might make a boxer, as far as width and heaviness of shoulders went, but there was a mildness about his mouth and eyes that proclaimed no devil.”Pay close attention to his conflicts with Jack throughout the novelHe is chosen to be chief, therefore must create and maintain the rulesHe understands right from wrong, but will he stick to that understanding throughout the novel?

Jack MerridewSame age or slightly older than Ralph“he was thin and bony; and his hair was red beneath the black cap. His face was crumpled and freckled, and ugly without silliness. Out of this face stared two light blue eyes, frustrated now, and turning, or ready to turn, to anger”

From the beginning, Jack dislikes following rulesCares only for good times and huntingWatch his character development closely, keeping in mind that he is still attached to society’s rules at the start of the novel…


One of the most memorable characters of the novel, Piggy’s physique and intelligence make him an outcast.Same age as Jack and Ralph, but he is very fat, he is the only child with glasses, and he has asthma.Somewhat whiny, and physically cannot work. This, combined with his unique physique, sets him up for ridicule.As you read, try to determine Golding’s message about human nature that lies in the way the children treat Piggy.He also knows right from wrong, but he will NEVER stray from that path.


Quiet, shy boy. Very important to several themes of the novel.“He was a small, skinny boy, his chin pointed, and his eyes so bright they had deceived Ralph into thinking him delightfully gay and wicked. The coarse mop of black hair was long and swung down, almost concealing a low, broad forehead... [he was] Always darkish in color…”

Introverted…doesn’t like crowds. Says odd things at odd times…the other kids think he’s batty.He makes the most important discovery of the novel, so pay attention to Simon!


“a slight, furtive boy whom no one knew, who kept to himself with an Inner intensity of avoidance and secrecy... the shock of black hair, down his nape and low on his forehead, seemed to suit his gloomy face and made what had seemed at first an unsociable remoteness into something forbidding”

Roger is sadistic; he enjoys inflicting pain. He and Jack have a close relationship, born from darkness and anarchy.


“They breathed together, they grinned together, they were chunky and vital. They raised wet lips at Ralph, for they seemed provided with not quite enough skin, so that their profiles were blurred and their mouths pulled open.”

The twins are so identical and inseparable that they are given one name.Their loyalty is integral to Ralph’s survival, but how far can their loyalty stretch?

The Littluns

The ages of these boys range from 4-6. They don’t play a large role in the plot of the novel, but they are HUGE when it comes to symbolizing society.They are the ones who first see the Beast and are in constant fear of it, especially during the night.They are the “rest of society” and often go with the flow and do what the bigguns are doing.