Xavier Marlowe-RogersSummer Reading Assignment: Lord of the FliesPart 1: New VocabularyMotif (noun): a single or repeated design or color (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary) “Here the beach was interrupted by the square motif of the landscape; a great platform of pink granite thrust up uncompromisingly through forest and terrace and sand and lagoon to make a raised jetty four feet high.” (page 12)Specious (adjective): having deceptive attraction or allure”Ralph had been deceived before now by the specious appearance of depth in a beach pool and he approached this one preparing to be disappointed.
” (page 12)Mirage (noun): an optical effect that is sometimes seen at sea, in the desert, or over a hot pavement, that may have the appearance of a pool of water or a mirror in which distant objects are seen inverted, and that is caused by the bending or reflection of rays of light by a layer of heated air of varying density”Sleep enveloped him like the swathing mirages that were wrestling with the brilliance of the lagoon.” (page 14)Effulgence (noun): radiant splendor; brilliance (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”With that word the heat seemed to increase till it became a threatening weight and the lagoon attacked them with a blinding effulgence.” (page 14)Enmity (noun): positive, active, and typically mutual hatred or ill-will (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”He trotted through the sand, enduring the sun’s enmity, crossed the platform, and found his scattered clothes.” (page 14)Ebullience (noun): the quality of lively or enthusiastic expression of thoughts or feelings (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”Then, with the martyred expression of a parent who has to keep up with the senseless ebullience of the children, he picked up the conch, turned toward the forest, and began to pick his way over the tumbled scar.” (page 38)Festoon (noun): a decorative chain or strip hanging between two points (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”Smoke was rising here and there among the creepers that festooned the dead or dying trees.
” (page 44)Pall (noun): a dark cloud of smoke, dust, etc. (Oxford Online Dictionary)”A pall stretched for miles away from the island.” (page 45)Tendril (noun): a leaf, stipule, or stem modified into a slender spirally coiling sensitive organ serving to attach a climbing plant to its support (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”Here was a loop of creeper with a tendril pendant from a node.” (page 48)Furtive (adjective): done in a quiet and secretive way to avoid being noticed (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”Jack himself shrank at this cry with a hiss of indrawn breath, and for a minute became less a hunter than a furtive thing, ape-like among the tangle of trees.” (page 49)Pallor (noun): deficiency of color especially in the face (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”By the trunk of a vast tree that grew pale flowers on its grey bark he checked, closed his eyes, and once more drew in the warm air; and this time his breath came short, there was even a passing pallor in his face, and then the surge of blood again.
” (page 49)Inscrutable (adjective): not readily investigated, interpreted, or understood (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”Jack lifted his head and stared at the inscrutable masses of creeper that lay across the trail.” (page 49)Declivity (noun): downward inclination, a descending slope (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”But Jack was pointing to the high declivities that led down from the mountain to the flatter part of the island.” (page 54)Aromatic (adjective): having a noticeable and pleasant smell (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”The whole space was walled with aromatic buses, and was a bowl of heat and light” (page 56)Myriad (noun): ten thousand, a great amount (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”Like a myriad of tiny teeth in a saw, the transparencies came scavenging over the beach.” (page 61)Croon (verb): to sing or speak in a gentle murmuring manner (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”He sat there, crooning to himself and throwing sand at an imaginary Percival.” (page 61)Frond (noun): a large leaf (especially of a palm or fern) usually with many divisions (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”A sudden breeze shook the fringe of palm trees, so that the fronds tossed and fluttered.” (page 62)Sinewy (adjective): with strong muscles and little fat (Cambridge Online Dictionary)”Beside the pool his sinewy body held up a mask that drew their eyes and appalled them.” (page 64)Ravenous (adjective): very eager or greedy for food, satisfaction, or gratification (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”He turned round and peered up at the mountain. Ralph continued to watch the ship, ravenously.
” (page 66)Errant (adjective): traveling or given to traveling (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”They were chanting, something to do with the bundle that the errant twins carried so carefully.” (page 68)Part 2: Character AnalysisPiggy:Piggy’s role in Lord of the Flies is being Ralph’s undesirable advisor. He lacks any qualities of a leader, but he is one of the only rational thinkers on the island. The small amount of civilization the boys were able to create on the island is due in part to Piggy, because Ralph’s decisions were often a result of Piggy’s intellect. As for his defining characteristics, Piggy is described as an overweight boy with terrible vision.
He is almost friendless on the island, and his nickname reflects bullying that must have happened to him in the past, and continues to happen on the island. Despite being uncharismatic, Piggy is very intelligent and thinks very practically, which makes him a good advisor to Ralph. He is disliked by other boys on the island for all of these qualities, from being overweight and uncleanly to being a smart mouth. A quote from the novel that exemplifies Piggy’s personality and outlook on life is, “‘Life,’ said piggy expansively, ‘is scientific, that’s what it is. In a year or two when the war’s over they’ll be traveling to Mars and back.
I know there isn’t no beast – not with claws and all that, I mean – but I know there isn’t no fear, either.'” (Ch. 5 P. 84) This quote shows that Piggy thinks about everything realistically and scientifically, which explains why he doesn’t believe in an actual beast. However, he is insightful enough to understand that there is that fear and darkness within the boys on the island which is causing all the conflict and turmoil that happens on the island.Ralph: Ralph is the protagonist of Lord of the Flies and has the most important role. He is the elected leader of all the boys on the island, and carries the symbol of leadership, the conch.
It was Ralph who first gathered all the boys together on the island, and tried to begin civilizing the island. Ralph remains true to his morals, and eventually loses many members of the tribe, who go to follow Jack and his savage ways. Ralph is a much more desirable character at the beginning of the novel, and is generally liked by everybody. He is kind and charismatic, which is the main reason the boys elect him leader at the beginning over Jack. He proves to have good leadership qualities, as well as being intelligent in understanding priorities on the island. His ability to carry out his will is compromised by others on the island who share different beliefs in him, or are too complacent to do what they’re told to improve life on the island. Maybe the most significant quote relating to Ralph in the novel is, “Ralph had stopped smiling and was pointing into the lagoon. Something creamy lay among the ferny weeds.
‘A stone.’ ‘No. A shell'” (Ch. 1, P. 14) This quote is so important because it is in the beginning of the book when Ralph finds the iconic conch shell, which gives him power and respect in the beginning of the story, allowing him to display his character as a leader.Simon: Simon is a very isolated character in Lord of the Flies. He is different and does not interact much with the older boys.
He is naturally very kind, and he envisions things that none of the other boys can. Simon sticks with Ralph’s side throughout the novel, since he knows that Ralph’s approach to peace and survival on the island is much more equitable than Jack’s. The younger boys on the island also follow him around, because he helps them and looks after them in ways such as reaching fruit for them in the tall trees. Simon finds a place on the island away from all the other boys, where he likes to go to isolate himself. Later in the novel he finds the pig skull on the stake stuck in the ground that is referred to as the “Lord of the Flies”. The Lord of the Flies speaks to Simon as a voice in his head, saying that evil, which is symbolized by many objects in the book such as the beast and the sow’s head, will always have control on the island and Simon will never be able to escape it.
This foreshadows the next chapter in the story, where Simon is killed after the delusional boys think he is the beast after his shadowy figure comes out of the forest to try and explain that they feared the beast for nothing, and that it was just a dead soldier and his parachute. His death shows that the beast is actually the evil living inside of all of the boys, and how evilness and savagery can often overwhelm goodness and civilization. A quote from the novel that demonstrates Simon’s mindfulness says, “Simon, walking in front of Ralph, felt a flicker of incredulity – a beast with claws that scratched, that sat on a mountain-top, that left no tracks and yet was not fast enough to catch Samneric. However Simon thought of the beast, there rose before his inward sight the picture of a human, at once heroic and sick.” (Ch. 6 P. 103).
This quote shows that he is wise enough to understand that there is no giant, living, clawed, beast, but instead an internal darkness that lives within all humans, that is being evoked due to the circumstances the boys face on the island.Jack: Jack is the main antagonist in Lord of the Flies. He is the leader of a group of choir boys, who on the island become “hunters”. He loses the vote for leader to Ralph, and at first these two start out as friends and explore the island. Jack’s opinions on what should be priorities on the island are much different than Ralph’s which causes the two to constantly fight.This ultimately leads to Jack starting his own tribe on the island. Soon nearly everyone on the island joins his tribe out of fear for the beast.
Jack’s main desire is to have absolute power on the island, and will do anything to get it. He represents primitive humans’ violent and savage instincts, as many of the boys on the island fall back to that after being deserted for so long. An important thing to notice about Jack is that the more and more barbaric he becomes, the more people follow him and begin to embrace his ways. One part of the book that really exemplifies how sinister Jack is is after the wild boar chase in chapter seven, where afterwards they playfully reenact it with a member of the hunting group, and end up nearly beating him to death.
The boys feel only slight remorse for this act of savagery, and Robert, the boy who was attacked, suggests they use an actual boar in the game next time. Then Jack, in an attempt at humor, says “Use a littlun.” (Ch. 7 P.
115). Though Jack says this jokingly and evokes laughter, it is clear that there was seriousness behind that statement and that he wouldn’t hesitate to kill for his pleasure.Roger: Roger’s role in Lord of the Flies is the sadistic boy who hurts others for no other reason than for his own personal enjoyment.
He begins the novel as a standoff-ish sort of boy, but like most of the boys, evolved into someone much worse as the story progresses. He is categorized as a “bigun” and finds joy in disturbing the littluns. As Jack creates his tribe, Roger becomes his killer and torturer, who has no problem hurting those who go against Jack. A significant quote from the novel involving Roger comes on page 62, where Roger is throwing stones at a younger boy. “Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life.
Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. Roger’s arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins.” (Ch.4 P. 62) This is a very important quote because it shows how near the beginning of the story, Roger is still pretty malicious but won’t go anywhere near even hitting a little boy with a rock because he still has some civilness in him. As time progresses in the book, his morals fade to the point of savagery where he has no problem harming or killing anyone at any time.Part 3: Symbol AnalysisConch Shell The conch shell symbolizes leadership, order, and civilization in Lord of the Flies. In the beginning when Ralph finds it, he blows into it and calls all the boys to order on the island.
It is used to call assemblies in which only the person holding the conch may talk. Throughout the story, the authority of Ralph and his conch shell over the boys declines as the feelings of fear, distrust, and panic increase. As many of the boys grow more and more savage and drift away from civilization, the conch is fittingly destroyed by one of these boys, Roger, who is perhaps the most violent and uncivilized person on the island. “The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist.” (Ch. 11 P. 181). The destruction of the conch in this scene is overlooked, as most attention is focused on the death of Piggy who was also killed by the boulder.
However the destruction of the conch is just as important, as it symbolizes the end of order and rescue on the island, as almost all of the boys have turned to savagery.Spectacles At first, Piggy’s glasses (spectacles) symbolize intelligence, civilization, and knowledge. This is well exemplified in the beginning of the novel, as the glasses are used to light the signal fire at the top of the mountain, showing that civilization exists among the boys on the island. “Ralph moved the lenses back and forth, this way and that, till a glossy white image of the declining sun lay on a piece of rotten wood… The flame, nearly invisible at first in that bright sunlight enveloped a small twig, grew, and was enriched with color and reached up to a branch which exploded with a sharp crack. The flame flapped higher and the boys broke into a cheer.” (Ch.
2 P. 41). They also symbolize knowledge, particularly with the character who wears them. In the beginning of the novel, Piggy is described as an intelligent, overweight boy with bad eyesight, hence the need for his glasses. He is generally disliked by most of the boys on the island. However he proves useful with his knowledge and insightfulness, as well as recognizing the need for organization on the island.
The spectacles more or less symbolize Piggy himself, as his glasses allow him to see and remain the brains behind the struggling group of boys. However, later in the novel Piggy’s spectacles are smashed, leaving Piggy and the entire idea of knowledge and civilization useless as well, as they are destroyed around the time of Jack and his companions turning further and further towards savagery. Essentially, when the spectacles are present in the novel, so is knowledge and civilization, but when they are destroyed, both of these cease to exist.The Beast The beast is a figurative, intangible symbol on the island that represents growing fear and evil among all of the boys. About halfway through the novel, many of the younger boys start claiming they’ve scene a large, clawed, and gruesome beast on the island, which materializes this growing fear and distance from reality.
The beast also tears the boys apart, as there is a split between who believe it is real and not real. Some of the less intelligent and younger boys do believe that the beast is real, and is a threat to their survival on the island. Other more intelligent intellectuals such as Simon and Piggy see it as a growing fear and darkness inside the boys on the island. Simon attempts to convey this idea during an assembly in which the boys are arguing about the beast, by saying, “What I mean is … maybe it’s only us.” (Ch. 5, P. 89) The other boys laugh uncontrollably when they hear this absurd idea, and eventually the argument resumes about how to deal with the beast.
There proves to be no real breast, but Piggy and Simon’s claims appear to be true, as eventually the growing evil and darkness within most of the boys on the island results in them turning to savage and violent ways, resulting in gruesome deaths for several boys including Piggy and Simon.Part 4: Writing AssignmentScene: Election of Chief Point of View: Jack As the choir and I begin to understand our surroundings and the current circumstances, there is a loud blaring of a trumpet in the distance. As there seem to be no grown ups around, I take charge of the boys and we all instinctively follow the sound. We finally reach a flat clearing after maneuvering ourselves through hundreds of yards of thick brush, where other boys too, are trickling in. I order my boys, dressed in identical choir cloaks, to halt as I look for the one who blew the trumpet. There seems to be no grown ups around, meaning the blowing of the horn must have been from one of the boys. I approach one of the boys, the good looking, seemingly charismatic one who appears to be standing above the others.
I loudly enquire, “Where’s the man with the trumpet?” The boy replies saying that there is no trumpet, and only himself. I squint into the sun to face him, and see a creamy conch shell held in his lap, which must have been responsible for the sound. I begin to inundate him with questions.
“Isn’t there a ship then? Isn’t there a man here?” His replies are rather frustrating and I begin to grow with impatience. He tells me there is no ship and no adults, and that they are having a meeting that I should join in on. I begrudgingly agree, and allow my choir to sit down after my repeated attempts to make them stand still. I direct my attention to a short, overweight boy with wide round spectacles, who appears to be taking names from all of the other boys.
I ask again, hoping for a different response. “Aren’t there any grownups?” Same response, “No.” “Then we’ll have to look after ourselves”, I reply, attempting to make sense of the situation. The fat boy impatiently speaks up, explaining that this is why Ralph called for the meeting, and they are hearing everyone’s names.
Johnny, Sam, Eric, Ralph, all seem to be children’s names. The annoying fat boy speaks for me, saying that I will go by Jack instead of Merridew, which he must have concluded as my name from overhearing the pleaing choir who were begging to sit down. I don’t like this boy. Why should I have to be Jack? I begin to protest but again, he starts talking. “You’re talking too much! Shut up, Fatty.
“, I exclaim. This brings a few laughs from the crowd of boys, who must have been thinking the same thing about this know-it-all. Ralph does not appear to be laughing. “He’s not Fatty, his real name’s Piggy”, he cried. This brings even more laughter from the group of boys, and Piggy’s face turns bright red.
As the commotion settles down, we decide that in order to function most effectively on the island, we must first have chief. I should obviously be chief, as I have all of the authoritative qualities of a leader, with the survival instincts to help us all survive on this island.I am also the leader of the choir with the best singing voice. I convey this opinion to the boys. “I out to be chief, because I’m chapter chorister and the head boy. I can sing C sharp.
” Just when all appears to be in order for me to step up and become chief, a dark skinned boy suggests that we have a vote instead. Of course, do whatever it takes to prevent the wealthiest, most qualified boy to take the job. This of course is only a minor set back, as I am clearly more mentally and physically able for the chief position than Ralph, who seems to be the other candidate. Ralph exclaims, “Who wants Jack for chief?” Strangely, no one’s hand was raised. Idiots. I even have to glare at the choir for them to finally raise their hands in obedience to vote for me. All other hands remain down. “Who wants me?”, declares Ralph, a grin growing on his face as he sees how many hands stayed down for my vote.
All hands, minus those of the choir rose. Idiots, this boy is not intuitive enough to take any significant action or allow us any freedom! “I’m chief then”, Ralph triumphantly states. He must feel some remorse for me, as he offers me a lower position of leadership to remain in charge of the choir. I reluctantly accept, and decide that we will be the hunters, and order them to remove their togs, now as their formal leader. Who knows, maybe someday I will be leader of the tribe.