Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

1. Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read, and explain how the narrative fulfills the author's purpose (based on your well-informed interpretation of same).

A group of schoolboys are being evacuated by plane from Britain during wartime. The plane is shot down over a deserted tropical island. Ralph and Piggy, two of the schoolboys who survived the crash gather themselves and use a conch shell to summon the other survivors. The surviving schoolboys elect Ralph as their leader and Ralph appoints Jack to be in charge of hunting for food. Ralph, Jack, and another boy, Simon, set off on an expedition to explore the island. Upon their return Ralph declares that their best hope of rescue is to light a signal fire to attract the attention of passing ships. The boys are able to start a small fire using Piggy’s glasses but quickly become distracted and the fire engulfs a section of the forest. One of the youngest of the boys disappears, presumably having burned in the fire. The boys are enjoying their lives without grown-ups and spend much of their time playing. Ralph complains that they should maintain the fire and the hunters continue to fail to catch a wild pig leading Jack to become increasingly preoccupied with hunting.
A ship appears on the horizon one day and, to the horror of Piggy and Ralph, the singal fire had gone out. The hunter were in charge of keeping the signal fire burning and a furious Ralph prepares to confront Jack, but when they return they are hefting their first kill, a wild pig. The hunters are in a form of bloodlust, in a weird sort of frenzy, and when Piggy begins to criticize Jack for allowing the fire to go out Jack hits Piggy across the face. To end it all Ralph blows the conch shell and demands a meeting, in the meeting he delivers a speech that, he hopes, will restore order. It quickly becomes clear that the smaller of the boys have become afraid and more and more boys believe that a terrible beast or monster lives on the island.
Not long after the meeting, an aerial dogfight takes place over the island. Unnoticed by the boys a single dead pilot parachuted down to earth. Sam and Eric, the two responsible for watching the fire wake up to see the enormous silhouette of the parachute and hear strange flapping noises. They believe it to be the island beast, and rush back to the camp in terror and report that the beast attacked them. The boys organize a hunting expedition to search for the monster. Jack and Ralph travel up the mountain and find the silhouette of the parachute from a distance and think it is a huge deformed ape. Later during a camp meeting, Jack calls Ralph a coward and says that he should be removed from his leadership position but other boys refuse to vote him out of power. Jack leaves and calls others to join him. Ralph rallies the remaining boys to rebuild the fire, this time on the beach. The group builds the fire but before it is completed most of the boys slip away to join Jack.
Jack declares himself the leader of the new tribe of hunters and organizes another hunt to start with a violent, ritual slaughter of a pig. The hunters put the pig’s head on a spike and offer it to beast. A somewhat dehydrated Simon has a vision where the head is speaking to him. Simon heads down the mountain and sees the dead parachutist, and realizes that there actually is no beast. Simon heads back to camp but the boys kill him with their bare hands.
The following morning Ralph and Piggy discuss what they have done. Jack and his hunters attack them and steal Piggy’s glasses. Ralph travels to Jack’s stronghold to reason with him but it quickly turns violent. During the battle one of the boys rolls a boulder down the mountain killing Piggy and shattering the conch shell. Ralph hides for the rest of the night and the following day while he is hunted like an animal. The hunters light the island on fire to smoke Ralph out. Ralph makes a final attempt to escape running along the beach but he eventually collapses from exhaustion at the feet of a British naval officer. The burning jungle had attracted the navy ship to the island. Overwhelmed by the bloodthirsty kids the officer asks Ralph to explain and the kids break down crying.

2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. Avoid cliches.

The theme of the novel is that human nature is innately harsh and at times savage. So the only monster in life is the monster of human nature we have inside of us.

3. Describe the author's tone.

The tone fits the plot of the story. A serious tone that feels slightly somber. As the story progresses and one by one characters begin to die the tone becomes more and more somber and gloomy culminating with the death of Piggy.

4. Describe a minimum of ten literary elements/techniques you observed that strengthened your understanding of the author's purpose, the text's theme and/or your sense of the tone. For each, please include textual support to help illustrate the point for your readers. (Please include edition and page numbers for easy reference.)

· Symbolism – “ -the beast- “ (pg 98) The kids live on the island in fear of a beast when in reality the beast is their savagery.
· Conflict – “You let the fire go out.” (pg 70) Jack and Ralph are in conflict the whole time on the island with Jack representing the more savage human nature and Ralph the good.
· Sibilace – “Hssss” (pg 34) Sibilance and onomatopoeia add to the descriptive nature
· Allegory – I am not entirely sure if the novel fits the definition of an allegory but it seems like it does. Each character represents a human emotion or condition the moral is that “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
· Apostrophe – “Pig’s head on a stick” (pg 143) Simon talks to the Lord of the Flies at one point, who is actually nothing more than a dead pilot and a pig’s head.
· Connotation – “The Lord of the Flies” (pg 143) The Lord of the Flies suggests more in then novel than just a bunch of flies but a devil like character or idea.
· Allusion – “The Lord of the Flies” (pg 143) The “Lord of the flies” is a reference to the devil
· Diction – “Sucks to your ass-mar” (pg 13) This shows that the characters are still only kids, a fact that, at points, needs reminding.
· Archetype – “The boy with fair hair…” (pg 1) It seems like each of the kids are an archetype. Piggy = the nerd, Ralph = good looking leader, Jack = harsh opponent
· Irony – “…one terrified mind…” (pg 98) We, as the audience, know that the beast is nothing more than a dead pilot but the kids still fear it.

1. Describe two examples of direct characterization and two examples of indirect characterization.  Why does the author use both approaches, and to what end (i.e., what is your lasting impression of the character as a result)?


“The boy with fair hair…” (pg 1)
“He was shorter than the fair boy and very fat.” (pg 1)


“Shut up fatty.” (pg 21)
“I ought to be chief, said Jack with simple arrogance.” (pg 22)

The author uses direct characterization to create a simple physical picture of each character and indirect characterization to elaborate on the ideas and character of each character.

2. Does the author's syntax and/or diction change when s/he focuses on character?  How?  Example(s)?

Yes, as with most authors the wording becomes more descriptive when the story is focused on the characters. However, unlike other authors, Golding focuses a lot on a singular characteristic of each character.

3. Is the protagonist static or dynamic?  Flat or round?  Explain.

The protagonists of the story would be considered generally static and flat with each character representing a different characteristic. Each kid is a characteristic that normally would be given to a round character.

4. After reading the book did you come away feeling like you'd met a person or read a character?  Analyze one textual example that illustrates your reaction.

I still feel like I read a character because it is hard for me to believe that children can behave that violently only after less than a week or two removed from civilization.

“A naval officer stood on the sand, looking down at Ralph in wary astonishment.” (pg 200)

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