The Lord of the Flies is an account of a group of B_ _ _ _ _ _ schoolboys who are stranded on a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ island and whose behavior degenerates into s_ _ _ _ _ _ _ as they leave the effects of c _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ further and further behind.
The author W _ _ _ _ _ _ G _ _ _ _ _ _ gives the reader clues as to its origin. At the second a_ _ _ _ _ _ _ of boys on the island when R _ _ _ _ exclaims:
‘It’s like in a book!’
At once there was a clamour.
‘Swallows and Amazons-‘
‘Coral Island – ‘(p.34)
The last mentioned book appears on the very last page. Showing his complete misunderstanding and misreading of what has happened on the island, the British naval officer remarks:
‘I know. J _ _ _ _ g _ _ _ s_ _ _. Like the C _ _ _ _ I _ _ _ _ _.’ (p.192)
Coral Island was written by R. M. Ballantyne in 1854, exactly one hundred years before Golding’s novel. It tells of three boys, Jack, 18, Ralph, 15 and Peterkin, 14, who are wrecked alone on a coral island. Under the guidance of Jack, they transform it into a tropical paradise, despite sharks, cannibals and pirates – who represent the evil in their world. The boys come through the experience better for the adventure and the savages are converted to Christianity in the final chapter.
What connections can you see between the two books?
The conclusion to Coral Island reads:
‘That night, as we sat on the taffrail gazing out upon the wide sea and up into the starry firmament, a thrill of joy, strangely mixed with sadness, passed through our hearts; for we were at length ‘homeward bound’, and were gradually leaving far behind us the beautiful, bright green coral islands of the Pacific Ocean.’
The Lord of the Flies concludes:
‘Ralph…had a fleeting picture of the strange glamour that had once invested the beaches. But the island was scorched up like dead wood-Simon was dead-and Jack had…The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body…Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy. (p.192)
What do you think the title The Lord of the Flies symbolizes?
Coral Island is all but forgotten. It represents the attitudes of the time which have changed since colonialism has been discredited, the British Empire has fallen and two World Wars have disturbed our peace.
The Lord of the Flies represents the attitude of the twentieth century, largely a reversal of the attitudes of Coral Island.
Note a list of things that disturbed you in The Lord of the Flies.
The Lord of the Flies – general questions.
1. Who does the ‘conch’ symbolize?
2. The aim of the society was encapsulated by Ralph: ‘This is our island. It’s a good island. Until the grown ups come to fetch us we’ll have fun.’ (p.34) Write a few sentences to show how this aim was discredited by the events that followed…
I hope you enjoyed these questions and thought further about the novel.