What are important quotes in William Golding's Lord of the Flies? Why are they important? What do they reveal? How do they change our understanding?

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kcoleman2016 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Unfortunately, I only have a digital version. I know the first one is from Chapter 1, and I believe the Simon quotation is from around Chapter 8? The final quotation is one of the last passages of the novel. Good luck!

kcoleman2016's profile pic

kcoleman2016 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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So what I'll do to help you get started is I'll identify a few quotations. Each of these contributes to the novel in many ways, but I'll answer one of your four prompt questions for each quotation. That should give you someplace to start with and some good information on which to build your own responses!

"Aren't there any grownups at all?"
"I don't think so."
The fair boy said this solemnly; but then the delight of a realized ambition overcame him. In the middle of the scar he stood on his head and grinned at the reversed fat boy.
"No grownups!"

  • Why do you feel this passage is worthy of discussion? 

This passage is the introduction into many of the major elements of the novel. The reader has a clearer understanding of the setting, which arises simultaneously with the boys' understanding. These two boys are major characters whose development significantly impacts the plot. One driving conflict of the plot is based in the absence of adults, as revealed here. 

Roger stooped, picked up a stone, aimed, and threw it at Henry — threw it to miss. The stone, that token of preposterous time, bounded five yards to Henry's right and fell in the water. Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law.

  • How does this passage impact the story? 

This passage illustrates the themes of human nature and civilization. Roger's inner, savage nature desperately wants to throw the rock at Henry, but he remains in conflict with the values and mores of a civilization that technically cannot influence here. However, he cannot shake the urge to conform to its demands. 

There isn't anyone to help you. Only me. And I'm the Beast... Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!... You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close, close! I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are the way they are?

  • What does it reveal about a character or theme in the book? 

Simon is the only boy who has the ability to think abstractly enough to comprehend that the true Beast is not a monster but the unrestrained savage nature of the boys that has been released on the island. Simon, hallucinating this conversation, is the only one who understands the horror of the island and the boys. 

His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.

  • How does this impact your understanding of the book? 

The dark diction of this conclusion lends itself to a depressing and crushing tone that leaves no room for hope nor optimism. I understand what Golding's perspective on humanity was. 

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