Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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What are the different responses to the "candle buds" from Ralph, Jack, and Simon in William Golding's Lord of the Flies?

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William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies is set on a tropical island full of lush greenery. The characters are all English schoolboys who have crash-landed on the island when their plane was shot down in a skirmish during World War II. 

In chapter one, three of the main characters of the novel--Jack, Ralph, and Simon--go to the top of the mountain and do some exploring on the first morning after their landing. During their exploration, they discover some distinctive bushes. 

The bushes were dark evergreen and aromatic and the many buds were waxen green and folded up against the light.

Simon speaks first and uses figurative language to call what he sees "candle buds"; he clearly appreciates the beauty and fragility of the buds. Jack is the next to respond to the bushes. He slashes at them with his knife and contemptuously dismisses them because they cannot provide them any food. Ralph also dismisses them, saying that they may look like candles but they cannot be lit. Clearly he lacks the imagination to see the buds figuratively, as Simon did.

The boys' reactions to these bushes is symbolic of how they respond to the events which will happen during the novel. 

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