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Lord of the Flies: Introductory Notes

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Basic introductory materials for the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

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Lord of the Flies: Introductory Notes

  1. 1. 1954
  2. 2. William Golding was born on September 19, 1911 in England.
  3. 3. Golding served in World War II and fought in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day.
  4. 4. This experience had a profound effect on his view of humanity and the evils of which it was capable.
  5. 5. His first and greatest success as a writer came with Lord of the Flies.
  6. 6. The Premise of the Novel
  7. 7. Set in the mid 1940’s when Europe engulfed in war...
  8. 8. ...a plane carrying British school boys is mistaken for a military craft and shot down.
  9. 9. Only the boys survive the crash, landing on a deserted island and trying to form a society and govern themselves.
  10. 10. Genres
  11. 11. Allegory A story in which the various characters, objects, or events represent or symbolize larger, abstract ideas and concepts
  12. 12. Adventure Novel a story in which an exciting undertaking involving risk and physical danger forms the main storyline
  13. 13. Setting
  14. 14. Point ofView
  15. 15. The story is delivered by way of an omniscient third-person narrator.
  16. 16. This narrator conveys the events of the novel without judgement or interference and has access to the characters’ inner thoughts— focusing primarily on Ralph, but also follows Jack and Simon in certain episodes.
  17. 17. Major Characters
  18. 18. Ralph: the charismatic, handsome, fit, level- headed protagonist; the elected leader who values fairness; not without his own flaws and weaknesses.
  19. 19. Piggy: Ralph’s “lieutenant”; intellectual, rational, scientific but can be whiny.
  20. 20. Simon: a shy, sensitive boy; works for the good of the group; his sense of morality is not imposed by the group but is innate and born of a connectedness to nature.
  21. 21. Jack: the novel’s antagonist; grows increasingly savage, selfish, and power-hungry as the novel progresses.
  22. 22. Roger: Jack’s sadistic “lieutenant”
  23. 23. Samneric:Twins named Sam and Eric who are referred to as one entity.They represent the general masses of people.They are basically good citizens who work for the good of the whole community, but can fall victim to the manipulations and coercion of the wicked.
  24. 24. Thematic Concerns explored by the novel:
  25. 25. Civilization
  26. 26. Human Nature
  27. 27. Spirituality & Religion
  28. 28. Savagery
  29. 29. The novel is rife with symbolism.
  30. 30. The Conch a symbol of order and civility
  31. 31. Piggy’s Glasses a symbol of intellect, science, and rational thought
  32. 32. Fire Signal a measure of the boys’ connection to civility
  33. 33. The Beast the darkness, savagery, and evil that exists within each human heart
  34. 34. Lord of the Flies a man-made Satan-like figure who allows us to surrender to the evil within
  35. 35. Biblical Imagery
  36. 36. While the novel does not directly parallel any specific tale or portion of the Bible, the novel is rife with biblical imagery.
  37. 37. The Edenic Paradise Island
  38. 38. The Snake-Like Creeper-Thing Beastie
  39. 39. Naked and Unashamed
  40. 40. The Christ-like Simon
  41. 41. The Meaning of the Title
  42. 42. Beel’zebub, a Biblical nickname for Satan, is the Hebrew for “Lord of the flies”
  43. 43. Some quotes by William Golding about writing the book:
  44. 44. “It was simply what seemed sensible for me to write after the war when everyone was thanking God they weren’t Nazis. I’d seen enough to realize that every single one of us could be Nazis.”
  45. 45. “The theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature.”
  46. 46. fin.

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