2 Contents (click to go straight to each chapter) IntroductionChapter OneChapter TwoChapter ThreeChapter Four
3 Unit introductionIn this unit we will be looking at the novel Lord of the Flies written by William Golding.There are three presentations in this unit and in each you will be completing a variety of activities to develop your knowledge and understanding of the characters, themes and language of the text.Before we begin looking at the novel itself, it will be useful to first explore the background to Lord of the Flies, finding out about William Golding and the context of his novel.The book divides naturally into three sections.Section one (Chapters 1–4) begins with the boys arriving on the island; their gathering together and the decisions they make. At this stage they are still aware of rules and regulations and right and wrong. They are playing games.In section two (Chapters 5–8) they become aware of a threat to their safety – the beast. The reader is aware of the dead airman. The boys’ world is becoming a miniature version of the adult world of destruction and evil.The third section (Chapters 9–12) deals with the anarchy which follows Simon’s murder but culminates when the boys meet the navy officer and are going back to the “real world”.
4 Historical and political background Lord of the Flies was written in the early 1950s.Do you know anything about this period?In the early 1950s Britain was living in in the aftermath of World War II. Following the war, the full extent of the horrific Nazi regime was being revealed.This was a time of political unrest – the USSR and the Western powers were engaged in The Cold War. This war (called a ‘cold’ war because there was no direct fighting) started because of a fear of the communist USSR dominating all of Eastern Europe and developing nuclear weaponry.Extension task: research life in post-war Britain.Useful weblinks:A popular slogan at the time was ‘Better Dead than Red’.The ‘Reds’ was a nickname for communists.
5 About the author Name: William Golding Dates: Born in 1911 in Cornwall, England. Died in 1993.Career: Published a book of poetry in 1934 and went on to work as a schoolmaster and then serve in the Royal Navy during World War II. Following the war, Golding began writing again and Lord of the Flies, his first novel, was published in 1954.Golding wrote twelve other novels, and a play. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988, and was knighted in 1983.Extension task: Find out more about William Golding’s life and other works.Useful weblinks:
6 Novel backgroundHaving witnessed the true horrors of war, Golding lost faith in the idea that humans are inherently good and innocent. He believed that even children could be evil and thought:Wouldn’t it be a good idea to write a story about someboys on an island showing how theywould really behave, being boys and notlittle saints as they usually are inchildren’s novels?Based on Golding’s idea for Lord of the Flies, what do you predict might happen in the novel?
7 Literary contextExtension task: Explore in more detail the four novels which influenced Lord of the Flies.
8 Chapter One summaryWorksheet One accompanies this slide.
9 SettingFrom reading Chapter One, what do we know about where and when Lord of the Flies is set?We are not told anything specific about the place and time of year in which events of the story happen. But what basic things do we know?There is a queen in England.The enemy are the “Reds”.Nuclear war has destroyed much of the world.They are on a tropical island with a coral base so it is probably in the Indian or Pacific oceans.Are we told anything else about the setting?Worksheet One accompanies this slide.These basic facts should prompt discussion about how the novel is set during/after wartime and how it reflects the period in which it was written.
10 Setting Golding does not provide a map for his readers to show us what the island is like. We learn about the setting as the boys move about the island exploring their newsurroundings.Draw your own map of the island, adding on all thesignificant places so far. You will be able to add to thismap as we read the novel.Worksheet Two accompanies this slide.
11 Ralph and PiggyRalph and Piggy are the first people we meet in the noveland are very different in background and character.We can see this in their contrasting reactions to beingstranded on the island:Ralph’s excitement suggests he isadventurousand fearless‘…the delight of a realised ambition overcame him…“No grown-ups!”’Piggy repeats himself, indicatinghe is veryanxious‘“They’re all dead,” said Piggy, “an’ this is an island. Nobody don’t know we’re here. Your dad don’t know, nobody don’t know…’’’Worksheet Three accompanies this slide.Possible quotes to show Piggy and Ralph’s feelings about their situation:Ralph – ‘…he dreamed pleasantly’; ‘Here at last was the imagined but never fully realised place leaping into life.’Piggy – says repeatedly “We got to do something”; reference made to ‘Piggy’s ill-omened talk’.Now select two more quotes which show us Piggy and Ralph’s feelings about their situation.How would you feel if you were stranded on an island?
12 Ralph profile Character Appearance Confident, Tall, blonde seems to be agood leader.Tall, blondehair, athletic.BackgroundWorksheet Four accompanies this slide.Students might like to return to the character profiles and add to them after reading each chapter.Father aNaval officer.Relationships with othersPiggy and others look up tohim, friendly with Jack.
13 Piggy profile Character Appearance Intelligent and sensible – teaches Ralphhow to blow theconch, suggestsmaking a listof names.Fat, asthmaticand short-sighted.BackgroundWorksheet Five accompanies this slide.Orphan, liveswith aunt.Differentaccentto others.Relationships with othersFears Jack, is taunted by others because of nickname.
14 Foreshadowing What is foreshadowing? It is a technique of suggesting to the reader that something will happen later in the story.This is usually something bad, and therefore foreshadowing creates a sense of tension and anticipation.At the end of Chapter One, Jack has failed to kill the pig:‘He snatched his knife out of the sheath and slammed it into a tree trunk. Next time there would be no mercy. He looked round fiercely, daring them to contradict.’Worksheet Six accompanies this slide.This event foreshadows Jack’s increasingly savage behaviour throughout the novel, beginning when he first succeeds in killing a pig. Students might like to refer back to their predictions and see if they were right.What does this tell us about Jack?What could this event be foreshadowing?
15 Jack profile Character Appearance Bossy and Thin, red hair rude – ordersthe choir about.Thin, red hairand freckles,meanexpression.BackgroundWorksheet Seven accompanies this slide.Leader of thechoirboys.Relationships with othersDominates the choir. LikesRalph but takes an immediatedislike to Piggy.
16 Choosing a leaderWhat qualities do you think a good leader should have?Ralph is elected as leader on the island.Why do the boys choose him?Would Jack or Piggy make better leaders?Now you can cast your vote!Worksheet Eight accompanies this slide.This is a good opportunity for group discussion and oral assessment – you might want to encourage students to explain their choice, exploring the pros and cons of each character’s potential as a leader, e.g. Piggy is intelligent and indeed ends up aiding Ralph in his decisions, but he does not have the strength of character to make a leader and is not well respected.
17 Chapter Two summaryWorksheet Nine accompanies this slide.
18 Piggy By Chapter Two we can already see tensions developing between the boys, particularly Jack and Piggy.What is Piggy’s attitude towards the behaviour of the other boys?What do you think his role will be on the island?Acting like a crowd of kids!Worksheet Nine accompanies this slide.Piggy’s position as an outsider is talked about more in Chapter Four.Piggy thinks Jack and the others are behaving irresponsibly – he condemns their activities as childish, though of course they are all children so their behaviour is perfectly normal.Piggy’s role is being established here as that of an outsider. He is very mature for his age and cannot relate to the other boys. He is the ‘adult figure’ on the island.Other figures from literature/films who are outsiders include Zero (from Louis Sachar’s Holes), Jane Eyre and Lennie (from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men).Piggy is established as something of an outsider because of his appearance and sensible outlook.Can you think of any other figures from books or films who don’t fit in?
19 The beast It is in Chapter Two that we first hear of the beast. Read again the passage which begins ‘He wants to knowwhat you’re going to do about the snake-thing’ and ends‘The assembly was silent.’Do you think a beast really exists?On the next slide match the characters to their reactions when they are told ofthe beast, and considerwhat their reactionsreveal about them.
20 The beast Worksheet Ten accompanies this slide. Filling in the grid requires understanding of the plot but also speculation and inference about the characters. This is encouraging students to get into ‘point, example, explain’ (PEE) mode.
21 The conch In Chapter One Ralph blows the conch to bring everyone together. In Chapter Two he decides that anyone who wishes to speak in assembly must first be holding the conch:‘“I’ll give the conch to the next personto speak. He can hold it when he’sspeaking … And he won’t be interrupted.”’What does the conch represent, or stand for?Because of its two important functions on the island, the conch is more than simply just a shell. As the item which is used to call assembly and determine who can speak, the conch is powerful. It is symbolic of authority and democracy on the island.Worksheet Eleven accompanies this slide.
22 Democracy What is a ‘democracy’? A democracy is a society in which everyone is entitled to a say, and decisions are reached by majority rule. Fairness and freedom of speech are key aspects of a democracy.Think about Ralph’s decisions as chief, and the way in which he was elected as leader in the first place.Would you say that the ‘society’ on the island is a democratic society?If Jack had been voted as leader, do you think he would try to rule the island in a fair and democratic way?Worksheet Eleven accompanies this slide.
23 Language in Lord of the Flies Worksheet Eleven accompanies this slide.
24 Language In Chapter One, Ralph examines his surroundings: Imagery is used to create a picture in the reader’s head of a beautiful island, full of many colours.The palm trees seem like peoplelazing in the sun, giving us a senseof how peaceful the island is.The shore was fledged with palm trees. These stood or leaned or reclined against the light and their green feathers were a hundred feet up in the air … The lagoon was still as a mountain lake – blue of all shades and shadowy green and purple.Simile is used to emphasizejust how calm and serenethe lagoon is.A metaphor is used to make usthink of the leaves as light and soft.Worksheet Twelve accompanies this slide.What impression of the island do you get from this description?
25 LanguageIn Chapter One we get an impression of the island as beautiful and calm, but there is also a dark side to the island. This is suggested in Chapter Two by the possible presence of a beast on the island and also by the raging fire.Here is part of Golding’s description of the fire:‘Small flames stirred at the bole of a tree and crawled away through leaves and brushwood, dividing and increasing. One patch touched a tree trunk and scrambled up like a bright squirrel.’Language devices used are personification (crawled) and simile (like a squirrel).Golding uses these effects to make the reader picture the wildness, power and almost cunning nature of the fire, which takes on a life of its own on the island.Can you identify the language devices that Golding has used here?What is the effect of Golding describing the fire in this way?
26 Which language device?You may wish to discuss the effect of each language device with the class as you progress through the quiz.
27 Chapter Three summaryWorksheet Thirteen accompanies this slide.
28 Conflict Worksheet Thirteen accompanies this slide. The different shades of red are intended to reflect the build up of anger between the two boys.
29 LeadershipJack and Ralph have very different priorities and are both strong-minded characters who fight to get their points across.Who do you agree with? Should the fire and shelter really be the main priority as Ralph says, or is hunting and having fun just as important, as Jack believes?Up to this point in the story, do you think Ralph has been a successful leader?This task allows for personal reflection as well as an understanding of the text to back up a point of view.Think of three strengths and three weaknesses of Ralph’s leadership so far. Use evidence from thetext to support your points.
30 Ralph’s strengths and weaknesses Tries to be fair anddemocratic, for examplewhen he made Jackleader of the hunters.Often struggles tomake decisions andneeds Piggy’s help.Sometimes loses histemper. As the leader heshould remain calm.Responsible – remainsfocused on the rescuemission.Worksheet Fourteen accompanies this slide.This task allows for personal reflection as well as an understanding of the text to back up a point of view.Single-minded – ignoresthe importance of huntingbecause he is sofocused on the fire.Works hard – is buildingshelters for everyone.
31 Simon Ralph and Jack clash over most things but do seem to agree over their opinion of Simon, whom they deem “funny”.What are your impressions of Simon from Chapter Three? Do you agree with Ralph and Jack that he is strange?Look again at the description of Simon in his secret den in the jungle. How does Simon’s attitude towards nature differ to that of the other boys?Golding’s description of Simon’s den is effective because it appeals to a number of senses, enabling the reader to really picture the scene.Worksheet Fifteen accompanies this slide.While the other boys are focused on activities which harm the island environment – hunting, making fire – Simon is absorbed in the beautiful nature of the island and seems to have an affinity with his surroundings.Sensory imagery used in description:Sounds – roar of bees, sound of birds, crying of gulls, deep sea breaking.Smells – scent of ripeness, dark aromatic bushes, scent of white flowers in the air.Sights – honey coloured sunlight, climber with red and yellow sprays, gaudy butterflies, bright fantastic birds, green candle-like buds, white flowers glimmering under the light.Pick out some examples of this sensory imagery.
32 Relationships with others Simon profileCharacterAppearanceKind and helpful.Introverted –doesn’t like tospeak inassemblies.Likes nature.Small, physicallyfrail, black hairand bright eyes.BackgroundWorksheet Sixteen accompanies this slide.Choirboy.Relationships with othersLoyal towards Piggy and Ralph.Looked on as strange by theother boys.
33 Chapter Four summaryWorksheet Seventeen accompanies this slide.
34 RogerRead again from ‘Roger stooped, picked up a stone and threw it at Henry’ to ‘Then Henry lost interest in stones…’.What does this passage tell us about the character of Roger?Why does Roger not actually intend to hit Henry?Worksheet Seventeen accompanies this slide.Roger does not intend to hit Henry because of the ‘hand of civilization’. Notions about what is accepted as right and wrong still influence Roger’s behaviour at this point. This incident foreshadows the murder of Piggy, at which point Roger’s behaviour is no longer dictated by civilization.Roger’s behaviour here foreshadows later events. What could Golding be trying to prepare his readers for?
35 Relationships with others Roger profileCharacterAppearanceQuiet and secretive.Cruel – enjoyspicking on thelittluns.Black hair, gloomy face.BackgroundWorksheet Eighteen accompanies this slide.Is a choirboy.Relationships with othersAllied with Jack.
37 Chapter Four questions In this chapter we again see Ralph and Jack in conflict with one another. Why does this happen?How does Simon come to Piggy’s aid in this chapter? What do his actions reveal about him?How does Jack feel about having killed the pig? Is it purely excitement and pride he feels?Ralph blames Jack for letting the fire go out and is distressed because it means the rescue signal cannot be seen. Jack only cares about hunting.Simon retrieves Piggy’s glasses which Jack has taken, and gives Piggy his own meat when Jack denies Piggy any food. This reveals a genuine kindness and lack of interest in the relationships on the island – his actions are for the greater good, not as a way of annoying Jack. All this is evidence of Simon’s truly good spirit.Jack’s mixed feelings: grinning/grimaced distastefully; says he cut the pig’s throat with pride, yet twitches when he speaks. Shows he is excited but also a little shocked at what he has done. He is not entirely without conscience yet.
38 Changing appearancesThe title of Chapter Four – ‘Painted Faces and Long Hair’is a reference to the way the appearances of the boyshave altered since they have been on the island.In what ways do the boys look different to when they first arrived on the island?Jack’s appearance has changed most dramatically.How does he feel when he wears his ‘mask’?How do the changes in Jack’s physical appearance reflect his character?Worksheet Nineteen accompanies this slide.The boys’ clothes have become scruffy and their hair long. The changing appearances of the boys reflects the way they are becoming more detached from civilization.Piggy’s hair remains the same and it is compared to that of a balding man. This highlights how he is different to the other boys and is also a nod towards his adult nature.Jack is excited when he paints his face – the mask encourages the savage nature within him and makes him feel braver. He can use the mask to hide his behaviour behind – he is ‘liberated from shame and self-consciousness’.