What are four examples of diction in chapters 11 and 12 of Lord of the Flies?

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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapters 11 and 12, the climax and denouement of Lord of the Flies, Golding skillfully uses diction for characterization, mood, and tone. Diction refers to the author's choice of words and the style in which he puts the words together.

Piggy's word choices and grammar characterize him as a person from a less-educated or less elite class of English people. It seems that as Piggy gets more emotional, his grammar gets worse. For example, he says, "I can't see no more and I got to get my glasses back. Awful things has been done on this island." Later, he states, "There's them on this island as would laugh at anything." His particularly substandard diction compared to the other boys further sets him apart as the one who does not fit in.

At the end of the novel when the naval officer appears, his diction is much more refined and typical of adult speech: "I should have thought that a pack of British boys—you're all British, aren't you?—would have been able to put up a better show than that." He also uses a colloquialism that elite British speakers use: "Jolly good show."

In addition to using diction in dialogue, Golding uses it to good purpose in narration. When he writes, "Silence and pause; but in the silence a curious air-noise close by Ralph's head," Golding omits verbs and writes in sentence fragments in order to convey the mood of things happening quickly and unexpectedly. Describing the scene of Piggy's death, he uses simple, nontechnical terms that represent the way a young boy would describe the sight: "His head opened and stuff came out and turned red." These descriptions help create the mood of confusion and horror Golding wants to build.

In the penultimate paragraph of the book, Golding's diction takes on a somber and poignant tone: "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." Here Golding conveys in simple yet powerful language the deepest themes of the book while allowing readers to experience the intense emotions that reprise Ralph's journey. 

Throughout the novel, but notably in chapters 11 and 12, Golding makes use of varying diction to help represent characters, to convey a mood, and to communicate a tone—all of which work together to create a powerful experience for the reader.

mrerick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a tough question to answer considering diction is in part defined as the sound and pattern of speech, but we can also focus on word choice.

1.  I like Golding's paragraph prior to the trip to Castle Rock.  "The green light was gentle about them and teh conch lay at Ralph's feet, fragile and white.  A single drop of water that had excaped Piggy's finders now flased on the delicate curve like a star."  Our attention is drawn to how easily broken the power of the conch can be.

2.  Just before Roger drops the boulder on Piggy, Golding gives us some excellent atmosphere.  "The storm of sound beat at them, an incantation of hatred.  High overhead, Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever."  This slow build up to the death of Piggy provides us with a ton of background noise in our own heads.

3.  After Piggy is struck, a very simple sentence shows us how quickly the power on the island has switched into the savages hands.  "...the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist."

4.  Finally, before Ralph finds himself completely hunted, he contemplates his precarious situation.  "He knelt among the shadows and felt his isolation bitterly.  They were savages it was true; but they were human, and the ambushing fears of the deep night wer coming on."

There are more examples in the novel because of Golding's wordiness, but these will help you out.

user812877 | Student


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