The Lord of the Flies
1. Why do you think the boys chose Ralph as their leader?
2. Was Ralph a good leader? Why/why not?
3. What did Ralph mean when he became an outcast and said: ‘cos I had some sense.’ (p.176)
4. Was Piggy right when he said, unimpressed by the behaviour of the kids – ‘Like kids!’ (p.37)
5. Was Ralph’s description of Piggy as the ‘true, wise friend…’ (p.192) a correct one?
6. Piggy declared: ‘I know there isn’t no beast!’ (p.80). Was he right?
7. Why do you think it’s Simon who talks to the Lord of the Flies?
8. Simon is the boy who confronts both of the beasts – the dead pilot and the LOTF. Why do the boys kill him when he tries to explain his discoveries?
9. The writer, Golding, describes Simon as a ‘saint’. ‘…someone who voluntarily embraces this beast, goes…and tries to get rid of him and goes to give the good news to the ordinary bestial man on the beach and gets killed for it.’ Do you see Simon as a ‘saint’?
William Golding uses the image of the sea at key stages in the book to represent the solar system, the cosmos. For example, when Simon’s noble mission, to enlighten the boys, fails, and he is killed, he floats out to sea and becomes at one with the noble forces of the universe.
10. Ralph represents man the preserver, Jack soon represents man the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
11. What are some of the things Jack does early in the novel?
12. Why did the other boys, even though accepting Ralph as chief, soon see Jack as ‘the most obvious leader’ (p.22)
13. One by one, the creative insight of Simon, the scientific thinking of Piggy and the moral authority of Ralph, all give way to the brute force of Jack and the boys who blindly follow him. Is this a comment on society as a whole? Why?
14. In this context, what do ‘rocks’ symbolise?
THE AUTHOR’S IDEAL
Golding has said his purpose in Lord of the Flies was ‘to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature’. Each of the four main characters has his insight into human nature in his own, individual way.
…smears his face with clay and peers into the water at his reflection. He looked in astonishment, no longer at himself but at an awesome stranger. (p.61)
In front of …. the Lord of the Flies hung on his stick and grinned. At last ..gave up and looked back…and his gaze was held by that ancient, inescapable recognition. (p.132)
‘With filthy matted hair, and unwiped nose, … wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.’
‘Which is better – to be a pack of painted niggers like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is?...Which is better – to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?’ (p.171)
Who do you measure yourself against – Jack, Ralph, Piggy or Simon?
Golding has demonstrated a choice for society – between order and disorder – between brute force and the rule of law – between surrendering to our baser instincts and being ‘rescued’. Do you think society has heeded this message? Explain.