Is there any sarcasm in chapter 3-6 of Golding's Lord of the Flies?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During interchanges between Jack and Ralph as well as among Piggy and Ralph or Jack there are sometimes sarcastic remarks that are made in Golding's Lord of the Flies

  • With the denotation of sarcasm as a cutting or contemptuous remark, here are some examples:

1.  In Chapter Three Ralph and Jack face each other on the beack, "astonished at the rub of feeling" after they hurl sarcastic comments at each other.  (a) Ralph is concerned about the rescue fire while Jack speaks of the pigs who seek shade on the mountain, saying that they could sneak up on one.  Indignant, Ralph says, "I was talking about smoke!  Don't you want to be rescued?  All you can talk about is pig, pig, pig!"

2. In Chapter Four, Piggy suggests to Ralph that they could make a sundial as a clock. Sarcastically, Ralph responds,

"And an airplane, and a TV set," said Ralph sourly, "and a steam engine."

But, Piggy does not catch the sarcasm and answers that they would have to have many metal things for this.  But, he continues, they do have sticks for the sundial:  "Then we should know what the time was." Again, Ralph bites back, "A fat lot of good that would be."

3.  In Chapter Six, as the boys assemble and discuss the beast, Jack sarcastically chides Piggy's call to order,

Conch! Conch!” shouted Jack. “We don’t need the conch anymore. We know who ought to say things. What good did Simon do speaking, or Bill, or Walter? It’s time some people knew they’ve got to keep quiet and leave deciding things to the rest of us.”

4. In Chapter Six, as the boys set out to explore the island to investigate the possibility of the beast, Ralph becomes frustrated with Jack and Roger who heave and push at a large granite rock. He bitingly says,

"We want smoke and you go wasting your time.  You roll rocks."

  • With the denotation of sarcasm as an ironic criticism or reproach, here are other examples:

1.  While Ralph berates Jack for worrying about the pigs, Piggy chimes in with "People don't help much" when he means that people are not quite what one believes them.

2.  When the ship does go by in Chapter Four,  but Jack has let the rescue fire go out, Piggy lashes out,

"You and your blood, Jack Merridew!  You and your hunting!...."

3.  In Chapter Six, the twins make fun of Ralph's anger,

"Wasn't he waxy?"


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Lord of the Flies

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