Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding
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What is the significance of three significant quotations in Lord of the Flies?

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In chapter 1, Piggy and Ralph discuss the fact that they are alone and without adults:

Ralph looked through him. Here at last was the imagined but neverfully realized place leaping into real life. Ralph’s lips parted in a delighted smile and Piggy, taking this smile to himself as a mark of recognition, laughed with pleasure.

This quote demonstrates Ralph's delight at the typical 12-year-old dream of being away from parents. A tropical island sounds like it has limitless potential. This theme of childhood ambition doesn't strike Piggy the same way. Piggy misreads Ralph's pleasure as acceptance. Therefore this quotation also shows readers some first glimpses of Piggy's character. This continues to be the case for the majority of the book, Piggy regularly misreads others.

In chapter 4, Jack catches a pig when he was supposed to be making sure the fire produced smoke. It just so happened that a ship passed by while Jack was out hunting. Jack believes that he was doing the right thing by providing meat, but Ralph believes he just wasted their opportuity for rescue:

“There was a ship. Out there. You said you’d keep the fire going and you let it out!” He took a step toward Jack, who turned and faced him.

This moment begins a growing divide between the two leaders of the group. One elected, the other followed, these two will continue to see differently on almost every issue. Instead of working to compromise, the two drift further apart. This situation has connotations for all groups of people.

In chapter 3, Ralph shows growing concern over the lack of concern and care that the other boys have toward helping with sanitation, building, and creating their new society:

“People don’t help much.”

He wanted to explain how people were never quite what you thought they were.

This too has implications for all people groups. Whether in a school, a volunteer group, a church, a political organization, or a place of work, there are those who are motivated and those who aren't. Ralph is dealing with this aspect of human nature and it frustrates him.

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