A group of boys have been stranded on an isolated tropical island, after escaping from their shot – down plane. A large disfigurement was created in the untouched jungle, symbolizing the first of man’s destruction on the island; it was not going to be the last.
The first characters we meet are Ralph and Piggy. Ralph who represents democracy and order, whilst Piggy represents intelligence and social order. They realize that the island is uninhibited and that civilization does not exist, and if it did it would be on their terms. This excites them and so they explore the island, until a conch is found. The Conch is symbolic of common sense and discipline. Its beauty strikes us when Ralph and Piggy find it, but it is forgotten as they put it to use to call the other survivors.
Leaders are elected and rules are set but for how long will they be kept? Friendships deteriorate as leadership is questioned. The rules of home dictate their initial behavior, as all the boys respond to how they have been nurtured.
Ralph is a twelve-year-old boy archetypal, very British boy, whose father is in the navy.
“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.”
At the beginning, Ralph is insulting and unfriendly to Piggy, to whom he feels superior and so acts like it. Ralph is excited about not having any grown ups around and shows his delight by standing on his head. At this stage, Ralph has no responsibilities and so is free to do as he wishes. He does not seem panicked or worried that they won’t be rescued as he has total faith that his father will save them.
Ralph is elected leader and is very reasonable. Also, because he attaches no importance to being a chorister or prefect, he can be intolerant of jack. Ralph is very dependent on piggy, however boring he finds him; it’s because of his logic and mature thoughts that attract them together.
Ralph enjoys having meetings; it reminds him that he is the leader and that he got elected and has responsibilities. Ralph is slowly realising that it is fun to have no grow up’s around, but they need to be rescued. Ralph and jack’s friendship starts to deteriorate, Ralph is being sensible whilst jack is only thinking about having fun. Ralph starts to feel despondent about ever convincing the boys of the importance of building shelters. He is impatient with the littlun’s and sought’s help from jack.
” You wouldn’t care to help with the shelters, I suppose?”
But there is no point as Ralph soon realizes.
Ralph and jack are really beginning to fight and this foreshadows future conflicts. Ralph is outraged and angry when they miss a ship, which could have rescued them.
When Ralph first arrived on the island he had no worries, it suited him being in charge but as time went on he became paranoid and scared. He carries civilized values, which enable him to be strong when he needs to be.
Jack is first seen marching the choir, he treats them with authority. He is arrogant and unpleasant, not what his singing uniform suggests.
“Inside the floating cloak he was tall, thin and bony: and his hair was red beneath the black cap. His face was crumpled and freckled, and ugly without silliness.”
Jack becomes in charge of the army, which he is content with, as he loves adventure. He is unsympathetic to Simon when he faints because of the heat; he see’s him as weak and is unimpressed.
When a pig is first spotted, Jack cannot bring himself to kill it and is angry with himself.
“I was choosing a place, Next time.”
His desire for violence, his bloodlust is still held in check by the rules of society. At the meetings, rules are set, Jack is excited and thinks the rules do not apply to him as he is a chapter chorister and head boy. Jack shows signs of belligerence when he argues with Ralph about the fire signal, he is becoming power hungry.
During the chapter Jack becomes solely concerned with hunting and cannot see the necessity of other things that can keep them alive.
“I’d like to catch a pig first” “He snatched up his spear and dashed it into the ground. The opaque, mad look came into his eyes again.”
Jack has become a hunter, he is slowly losing his human characteristics and becoming a predator.
Jack conceals his real identity when he paints his face. The mask enables him to deny who he is and frees him to behave as he wants. At one point he looks at his reflection……
“He looked in astonishment, no longer at himself but at an awesome stranger.”
Jack changes friends as well, him and Ralph have totally different ideas and priorities, whilst Piggy just annoys him. Jack becomes friends with Roger and they are evil together.
When Jack hears of their chance of rescue, he is not bothered and had to remember what rescue was, instead he is proud as they caught their first pig. Jack starts up a ritual chant, he is very much in control and is bloodthirsty. His personality is overcome by power and he loses his name, this is not the Jack we saw at the start of the book.
” I cut the pigs throat,” said jack proudly. ” Can I borrow yours Ralph to make a nick in the hilt?”
The perfect prefect becomes the perfect savage.
” He was a skinny, vivid little boy, with a glance coming up from under a hut of straight hair that hung down, black and course.”
Simon is one of the choristers. Although regarded as “Queer” and ” Batty” by the boys, Simon is friendly and helpful.
Simon is very aware of his surroundings, which is seen when he goes on the expedition with Ralph and Jack. He describes a certain bush as…
Showing his fragility and spiritually.
He is patient with the littlun’s and would rather pick fruit than kill and pig. Simon’s actions present him as an intrinsically good, peaceful and caring character, in contrast with others.
Simon is the only one who goes off on his own and does not seem to be afraid of the forest. He is intuitive, introspective and different from the others. The secret place that Simon finds displays the islands vibrancy and life.
“Holding his breath he cocked a critical ear at the sounds of the island.”
Simon is the outside the hunter mentality and the leader mentality. He exists in terms of his sensitivity to what is outside him. Like a clairvoyant, he repeatedly tells Ralph:
” You’ll get back to where you came from.”
He is positive in that aspect, however he feels the sand is a bad one and is evil. Although Simon is different and unafraid unlike most of the other boy’s, his mysterious nature makes him interesting and unusual.
During the first four chapters we see him close up and be on his own more than at the beginning when he went exploring and was helping the others. The changes were soul and gradual.
” His feet left prints in the soft soil and the creepers shivered throughout their lengths when he bumped them.”
” Simon turned away from them and went where the just perceptible path led him.”
The character of Piggy is firmly grounded in reality by his nickname, which immediately conjures up a physical image of him.
“He smeared the sweat from his cheeks and adjusted the spectacles on his nose.”
Piggy meets Ralph first, and immediately we see that they are very different people. Both their backgrounds determine this, but still they have to depend on each other. From what we know Piggy is an Orphan who lived with his aunt who owned a sweet shop. That explains his size.
” I used to get ever so many sweets. As many as I liked.”
However clumsy Piggy seems, he is actually very intelligent and when he found the conch, he engineered it so Ralph got the credit for it. He looks up to Ralph and has a lot of respect for him. He rejoices when Ralph smiles at something he said and misinterprets it as friendliness, whilst Ralph finds him boring and dull.
From the beginning, Piggy is seen as an outsider. He is ridiculed, sneered at and continually teased, whether it is his appearance or his asthma.
The group holds countless meetings when they arrive and Piggy becomes an interpreter. He is good-natured and is kind to the younger ones, he responds to how his aunt would.
“Acting like a crowd of kids” ” I bet it’s gone tea time.”
Piggy naively believes that if only they were to behave like grown-ups all would be well, and they would be saved. He becomes a mature figure who becomes uneasy and worried when the boy with the birthmark disappears.
Piggy is averse to most of the other boys, who he thinks are acting like little children, they are children but piggy see’s the responsibilities as the adult figure. When rules are laid down, piggy follows then and expects the others to as well, he always is desperate to hold onto the rules of society which are slowly deteriorating in the others.
The rules which Piggy had at home dictate his behavior on the island.
In conclusion to my essay, We see how young boys would react to being stranded on a deserted island with no adults, and no rules of society to dictate how they should behave. Through this essay we have seen the obvious changes in the boys characters and the consequences and effect on the other boys. I have studies the main four characters looking how they have influenced eachother and how they reacted to living on an lsland. Jack who’s arrogance made him become savage and bloodthirsty for power and meat.
Ralph who’s care free ways changed when he has elected chief. Piggy who left his naï¿½ve ways behind and spoke up for him self. Simon changed but very gradually and sutally. If they had stayed on the Island for much longer I am sure that Jack would have become more powerful as his tribe would fear him and so agree with everything he did. However Ralph would not have survived as Jack would not have allowed it. All these represent individuals and how they changed during the first four chapters of Lord of the flies.
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