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Lord of The Flies in the Language Classroom—Evil or Human Nature
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Lord of The Flies in the Language Classroom—Evil or Human Nature



There are three sections in this article. The first section is the introduction of this novel and the author. ...

There are three sections in this article. The first section is the introduction of this novel and the author.
The second section focuses on the critics of Lord of the Flies, especially in the evil and human nature, and at the third section is the application of using Lord of the Flies as the teaching material, and to investigate its effects on adolescents’ language learning and cultivate their positive attitude and characteristic development.



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Lord of The Flies in the Language Classroom—Evil or Human Nature Lord of The Flies in the Language Classroom—Evil or Human Nature Presentation Transcript

  • Lord of the Flies in the Language Classroom— Evil or Human Nature Presenter: Cindy Chia-Hui Shen Advisor: Dr. Chang, Chi-Min
    • I. Introduction
    • II. Introduction of Lord of the Flies and the author William Golding
    • III. The investigation of human nature in Lord of the Flies
    • IV. Pedagogical implication and application in the language classroom
    • Reference
  • I. Introduction
    • Recently, the use of English picture books in teaching in a foreign language has drawn a great deal of attention from researchers, who suggest that children can naturally acquire novel words from reading storybooks (Blok, 1999; Brett, Rothlein, & Hurley, 1996; Dickinson & Smith, 1994; Huang, 2001; Lin, 2003; Nantz, 2002; Tyan & Shen, 2006) .
    • As for the adolescents, discovering the connections between their own personal stories and reading stories of human experience can help them define themselves within a larger world.
  • I. Introduction
    • William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is a story about two groups of young children in completely opposite way and the main theme of the novel is about the “reciprocal relationship” between the “good” and the “evil,” just like William Blake’ poem ‘Song of Innocence and Experience.’ Students can discover these connections by thinking about their own stories.
  • II. Introduction of Lord of the Flies and the author William Golding
    • Lord of the flies is a fable, a story with a moral. It also contains elements of allegory; on one level it is an adventure story of boys on an island, and on another level it shows us that evil resides within ourselves. The struggle between Ralph and Jack represents the struggle between democracy and totalitarianism, two opposing ways of organizing society.
    • During the Second World War, Golding served with the Royal Navy and was profoundly affected by his experiences. After the war he taught at a boys’ school in Salisbury. Years later he said that writing the book was ‘like lamenting the lost childhood of the world.’
    • In 1962 he retired from teaching to become a full time writer. He was inspired to write Lord of the Flies because he found the students he taught during his 20 years as a schoolteacher to be ripe material for probing the mind of a child .
    • In addition, R. M. Ballantyne’s Coral Island (1857), an adventure novel about shipwrecked boys that Golding had read as child, provided him with plot ideas that he eventually incorporated into Lord of the Flies .
  • III. The investigation of human nature in Lord of the Flies
    • Traditionally there have been three different conceptions of human nature : the classical , the Christian and the modern view . The classical view identifies man’s rational faculties with good, sees the mind as immortal and the reason as identical with God while regarding his sensual desires and appetites as evil (Niebuhr 6-7). Evil is the defeat of reason by the body, which forces man to act in accordance with the animal passions.
  • III. The investigation of human nature in Lord of the Flies
    • Lord of the Flies is an adolescent literature mainly discussing the transformation of one’s external physical appearance and also mental state and behavior . This novel further demonstrates the psychological struggles when human beings are looking for the instincts and the primitive parts in their minds .
    • In moral philosophy, evil is described as the absence of good that ought to be found in one man and in the actions he performs.
  • III. The investigation of human nature in Lord of the Flies
    • It can be said that Golding describes the moral of the book in relation to the scientific mechanics of society.
    • The boys on the island view this ideal in the form of the “beastie.” The “beastie” is an unseen figure on the island, which is symbolized of the dead parachutist. This fear, however, represents the potential evil found in humans.
    • In addition, Kinkead-Weeks (1984) identifies three explanations of evil in Golding’s novel.
    • First are Piggy and Ralph. They believe in “ the essential goodness of people and the island. If things ‘break up,’ it is the fault of individuals who deviate because there is something wrong among them.”
    • Jack, on the other hand, thinks “ evil and destruction are live forces .” In a world of power, there are powers at work ( Beast, Devil, or God ) which are stronger than men, but these powers can be propitiated by ritual, ceremony and sacrifice.”
    • Finally, there is Simon who declares that the first and the second explanations are simultaneously right and wrong. “There is evil , but it is not either outside men or confined to certain men, it is inside of everyone ” (Kinkead-Weeks 45) .
    • It is Simon’s explanation that Golding obviously favors.
    • Golding is trying to tell us that evil is stronger than good and even is the best thing to have evil in humans.
    • The whole novel is about the struggle of good and evil which take the roles of symbols. Ralph takes part in one of the hunts (122-126) which serves as “ a revelation of his own darker side ; he discovers in himself the excitements, the ‘fright and apprehension and pride’ the others have known” (Kinkead-Weeks 41) .
    • The island represents the isolation of human beings a frightening and mysterious state.
    • The novel leads us to see the darkness of human nature, even though it is a release from adults’ control and the main characters are young children. They seem to be forced to become mature and behave as adults, and this island is symbolized as a small society, in which there is a hierarchical relationship within them. These children not only kill animals, but also kill their partners. The bloody things are the results of violence and war.
    • “ Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”
    • This expresses the increasing intensity of the boys’ savagery . The paradoxical concepts of morality and evil , and rules and savages among human beings make us start to think the identification of ourselves.
    • Ultimately, their fragile democracy is replaced by a tribal community based on fright and superstition .
    • At the end of the book, the paradisal place has become a burning inferno. Ralph, the protagonist, echoes Golding’s own grief when he weeps “for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart…” (223) .
  • IV. Pedagogical implication and application in the language classroom
    • In the L1 learning environment , there have been lots of teachers use adolescent literature as one of the reading materials in class.
    • For example, a high school teacher named Arver (2007) sets up a virtual world to augment students’ reading of Lord of the Flies . Students in her class interact as additional characters , discuss , and solve problems based on the circumstances of the story, and complete classroom assignments within a virtue environment.
    • Helen and Tuomas (2002) suggested that teachers can discuss with colleagues how drama can be used in the teaching of English as a foreign language. Students can be encouraged to dramatize William Golding’s Lord of the Flies .
    • Sunderman (1999) suggested that teachers can divide students into several groups to have collaborative works .
    • Teachers can pose questions for students to grapple with and debate. The process of students talking, analyzing, quoting passages, evaluating, and questioning were much more important than the answers.
    • For example, the theme of the day could be “ conflict” and the discussion questions could be ‘What conflicts arise in this novel?’ ‘What cause the conflicts to arise?’ ‘Are the conflicts resolved?’ ‘If yes, how are they resolved?’ ‘Are the boys’ conflicts similar to the conflicts you encounter?’
    • Group discussion for an initial brainstorming session and then students can debate Ralph’s strength as a leader vs. Jack’s leadership qualities .
    • Ralph is strong, mature, and confident, and he acts and speaks with self-assurance and consideration for others; his first priority is to be rescued.
    • On the other hand, Jack is immature, selfish, careless, and motivated by blood lust. His priorities are hunting and sustaining his image and position among the boys.
    • Students can analyze Ralph’s inner struggle , i.e., to have fun on the island or to work to be rescued.
    • They can further debate who was responsible for Simon’s death.
    • Piggy’s death symbolizes the total destruction of culture, civilization, and reason by evil and violence.
    • Teacher can further guide them to think the inter-relationship between person vs. person , person vs. nature , and person vs. self .
    • In terms of evil and human nature , we can describe the religious imagery in Lord of the Flies : the forces of good and evil, a fall from grace, a savior, and eventual redemption.
    • And we can ask students to dramatize the distinctive character traits and the human quality of each major character
    • ( Ralph : practical; represents desire for common sense, responsibility, desire for normal, civilized life, embodiment of fears suffered by man, savagery of man; Jack : red-haired, authoritative, natural leader, Satanic, animalistic; Piggy , knowledgeable, rational, logical, parental, scapegoat, wise, chubby, inactive; Simon : epileptic, kind, bashful, visionary, Christ-like, e.g.,
    • “ Ralph stirred uneasily. Simon, sitting between the twins and Piggy, wiped his mouth and shoved his piece of meat over the rocks to Piggy, who grabbed it. The twins giggled and Simon lowered his face in shame.”  
    • This quotation reveals that Simon is kind and sincere.
    • Teachers can guide students how to write their own scripts through group discussion.
    • Finally, readers and instructors can find a rich education resource pack of drama scripts, character analysis, and reading comprehension questions, and questions for discussion written by Cadbury (2008) on the Pilot Theatre website.
  • IV. Pedagogical implication and application in the language classroom
    • After reading Golding’s Lord of the Flies and some critics and application of this novel, I think I will read this novel for my EFL young learners in the near future. My teaching objectives will be presented as follows:
    • There are three main themes discussed in class, i.e., the loss of innocence , the presence of evil in mankind , the fear of the unknown and the instinct of humans to struggle for power and control .
    • Students will explore these major themes and, in turn, interpret the questions that correspond to the themes through their study of the literary techniques.
    • Moreover, through participation in group performance, such as role-play or drama performance, and personal writing assignments as their reading journals, students will learn to recognize and analyze Golding’s use of plot, theme, characterization, foreshadowing, symbolism, irony and satire . Students will use these literary elements as the foundation for formulating reasonable responses to the questions raised by the major themes presented in the novel.
    • Most important, the activities, such as teamwork and practice in public speaking for developing confidence and self-esteem, will broaden their views and minds toward the diversified human characteristics in one society.
    • Last but not least, daily lessons will also focus on building core knowledge of literary terms and concepts in order to provide students with the necessary skills on which to build their interpretations and opinions.
    • Incorporating “ mini-lessons ” into the unit plan that illustrate the core content of the English Language Arts curriculum provides a scaffolding for students to build on in order to formulate personal responses founded in the principles of literary writing and expression .
  • Reference
    • Arver, C. M. “Are You Willing to Have Your Students Join Ralph, Jack, and Piggy?” English Journal (High school edition) 97.1 (2007): 37- 42.
    • Atkins, J. “Two Views of Life: William Golding and Graham Greene.” Studies in the Literary Imagination 13.1 (1980): 81-97.
    • Blok, H. “Reading to young children in educational settings: A meta-analysis of recent research.” Language Learning 49 (1999): 343-371.
    • Brett, A., Rothlein, L., & Hurley, M. “Vocabulary acquisition form listening to stories and explanations of target words.” The Elementary School Journal 96 (1996): 415-422.
    • Cadbury, H. “Pilot Theatre’s Resource Pack for Lord of the Flies .” York Theatre Royal. 28 Sept. 2008. <http://www.pilot-theatre.com>.
    • Dickinson, D. K., & Tabors, P. O. (Eds.). Building literacy with language: Young children learning at home and school . Baltimore: Brookes, 2001.
    • Elliott, R. (1990). “Encouraging reader-response to literature in ESL situations.” ELT Journal 44.3 (1990): 191-198.
    • Golding, W. Lord of the flies. New York: The Penguin Group, 2006.
    • Helen, L., & Tuomas, H. “From Page to Stage: Lord of the Flies .” Forum 40.1 (2002): 12-15.
    • Huang, C. C. “An investigation of ESP students’ vocabulary knowledge and
    • reading comprehension.” Selected Papers from the Tenth International Symposium on English Teaching (pp. 435-445). Taipei, Taiwan: Crane, 2001.
    • Kinkead-Weekes, Mark & Ian Gregor. William Golding: A Critical Study . Faber and Faber: Boston, 1984.
    • Larry, R. J. “In Case You Teach English: Case Studies in the English Classroom.” ERIC DOCUMENT Reproductive Service ED427324.
    • Lin, H. L. (2003). Integrating English children’s picture books with teaching children English as a foreign language in a 9-year joint curricula plan for elementary and junior high schools. English Teaching & Learning 27 (2003): 15-30.
    • Nantz, L. Q. “Developing a literature-based elementary ELT curriculum for Taiwan.” In Proceedings of the Eleventh International Symposium on English Teaching (pp. 484-493). Taipei: Crane Publishing Company, 2002.
    • Niebuhr, Reinhold. The Nature and Destiny of Man . V.1. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1964.
    • Olsen, K. Understanding “Lord of the Flies”: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents . Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002. ERIC DOCUMENT Reproductive Service ED 479863.
    • Sunderman, W. L. “Reading, Living, and Loving Lord of the Flies .” English Journal (High school edition) 89.2 (1999): 49-54.
    • Tyan, N. C., & Shen, Y. P. “An action research: how a primary school teacher uses English picture story books to facilitate students’ English learning.” In Proceedings of the Twelfth International Symposium on English Teaching (pp. 561-569). Taipei: Crane Publishing Company, 2003.
    • Williams, R. C. Lord of the Flies: An Ethnological Study of Dominance Ordering in a Group of Human Adolescence . Denver, Colorado: Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, 1975. ERIC DOCUMENT Reproductive Service ED14751.
    • Xiao-Chun, G.. “ Lord of the flies : A survey of evil humanity.” Sino-US English Teaching 4.12 (2007): 61-65.
  • Thank You! Willemspark School, Netherlands