How does Golding use dialogue in creating characterisation in Lord of the Flies?ie, Piggy- we know he comes from a low family background because his language is not good.

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susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout Golding's Lord of the Flies, we can get a better understanding of the characters by the way they interact with each other.  These interactions are often conveyed through dialogue.  In the opening chapter, we see Piggy and Ralph talking.  Piggy is the one who openly admires Ralph.  He keeps asking Ralph to "Wait a minute!" But Ralph responds to Piggy with indifference.  Ralph is not interested in talking to Piggy; he is interested in having fun on the island:  "No grownups!" When Piggy asks for Ralph's name, Ralph does not ask for Piggy's name in return.  Through this initial dialogue, we learn that Piggy is intelligent, but not popular.  Ralph, however, is athletic, enthusiastic, and somewhat immature.  As the novel progresses, we see that Ralph changes in his opinion of Piggy.

Perhaps a more subtle use of dialogue is exemplified in the first expedition of the island.  Ralph, Jack, and Simon go on this expedition.  Simon notices the candlebuds.

Like candles. Candle bushes. Candle buds.

Ralph, the pragmatic one, has no use for them:

You couldn't light them. They just look like candles.

But Jack is even more disdainful of them:

Green candles.  We can't eat them. Come on.

Here we learn quite a bit about each character.  Simon appreciates nature for its own sake.  He likes the smell of the candlebuds.  Ralph, though, is concerned with what can be used.  If the candlebuds cannot be used, he is not interested.  Jack, though, is more interested in immediate gratification, sensual pleasures.  He is not interested in the candlebuds if he cannot eat them.  This response foreshadows Jack's later zeal for hunting pigs.


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Lord of the Flies

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