Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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What are 7 absolute phrases in the novel Lord of the Flies?

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1. Ralph:  "Seems to me we ought to have chief to decide things" (22).  Early on in the novel, the boys' focus really was on being organized, creating rules and leadership for the benefit of the entire group.

2. "This is our island. It's a good island. Until the grownups come to fetch us we'll have fun" (35). This quote is really indicative of the boys' expectations at the beginning of their grand adventure; they sincerely to have an amazing time, playing and being free.  Ralph and the others expect their adventure to be innocent fun like something out of a story book.

3. "'Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!' said [the Lord of the Flies]." Simon's suspicion that perhaps the beast is the boys themselves is confirmed by the Lord of the Flies, who mocks him for his perception and the fact that the boys will never believe him.

4. Ralph:  "The fire is the most important thing on the island" (80). Ralph's focus is on getting rescued, and the fire is the means to an end.  He becomes frustrated that Jack's obsession with hunting has jeopardized their chances of rescue.

5. "Mankind's essential illness" (89) When Simon tries to explain his beliefs about the beast, the boys all laugh at him, but deep down he understands that the evil on the island stems from the boys themselves.

6. "Kill the Beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!" (152) Jack's vicious 'dance' chant is an emblematic cry of savagery on the island.  The dance works the boys into a murderous frenzy, resulting in Simon's horrible murder.

7. "A stick sharpened at both ends" (190) This phrase occurs at multiple points throughout the novel and in the context of Roger and Jack's brutality.  Originally used to impale the sow's head on a spear, the "stick sharpened at both ends" becomes a deadly warning to Ralph who fears sharing the same fate as the sow.

 

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In The Lord of the Flies, the boys frequently deliver pronouncements or issue commands, although they also express uncertainty about their difficult situation. As the action progresses, some boys become more self-assured, speaking stridently or shouting, while others show hesitation or even retreat into profound doubt. William Golding often expresses the action through a specific boy’s thoughts, which enhances the reader’s sense of being on the island amongst them.

  1. One of the most important absolutes is expressed in exactly those words, when Ralph says, “The fire is the most important thing on the island.” Although the other boys soon disregard his words, he is proven right when the out-of-control fire threatens them all.
  2. Another statement shows the boys’ concern. Piggy correctly evaluates their incommunicado situation: “Nobody don't know we're here....”
  3. Similarly, showing his loss of hope, another of Ralph’s statements fortunately proves to be untrue: “We'll never be rescued.”
  4. When Piggy plans what he will say to get his glasses back, he includes a moral absolute: “I'll say, not because you're strong, but because what's right's right."
  5. As society implodes, consensus ceases to exist just like the broken shell, “the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist." Along with this action comes Piggy’s death.
  6. With his friend’s death, Ralph collapses and faces reality. The description of his action is followed by the emotional content, the reason for his tears, “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy.”
  7. Near the end, as Jack and his followers turn into savages, he also shows that he has lost his grip by stating, “Kill the beast!” In naming the beast as something real to be attacked, he shows that he does not understand that it is their own projection.
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