In chapter 1 of Lord of the Flies how does Golding use the three boys' responses to the candlebud bush to develop their characterization?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Simon admires the beauty of the strange bushes in the first chapter of Lord of the Flies:

Simon spoke first. "Like candles.  Candle bushes.  Candle buds" (30). 

Golding uses the boys' different responses to the interesting bush to further their characterization.  Simon's open admiration for the unique qualities of the fauna reveals that he appreciates the natural world for aesthetic reasons beyond utilitarian purposes.  Whereas Simon's evaluation is whimsical, Ralph's response to the candle buds is one of practicality.  He evaluates their usefulness to the tribe. The reader should note that the most destructive response of all three boys comes from Jack who slashes one of the buds with his his knife, dismissing the plant immediately because the boys "can't eat them" (30).  His response is really telling to the reader, because not only does it highlight Jack's potentially vicious nature, it also reveals Jack's viewpoint as a consumer--he is only interested in nature in terms of what it can provide for him.

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