What are some key themes in the chapters that develop in the novel The Lord of the Flies?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Here are some of the key themes from Lord of the Flies and corresponding chapters:

Environment/Nature:

  • Chapter One features a really telling moment when Ralph sheds his school uniform in the sticky jungle heat, as if he is casting off his ties to civilization.  The "green shadows from the palms and the forest [slid] over his skin" as if the jungle itself is making a claim to him (10).
  • Chapter One--Jack slashes the fragrant candle buds, revealing his destructive attitude toward nature.

Civilization:

  • Chapter Two:  Ralph introduces rules to the tribe and using the conch as a symbol of authority,
  • Chapter Five:  Ralph and Piggy long for an adult presence on the island to make everything all right again.
  • Chapter Eleven: Piggy debates the sanctity of rules and rescue before the savages crush him with a boulder.

Savagery:

  • Chapter Four:  Jack discovers the power of wearing the mask, feeling "liberated from shame and self-consciousness" (64).
  • Chapter Eleven: Golding's descriptions and details reinforce Jack's tribe's descent into savagery at Castle Rock.

Evil/the Beast:

  • Chapter Two introduces the concept of the 'beastie.'
  • Chapter Five:  The boys debate the presence of the beast on the island
  • Chapter Six: Samneric see the beast descend onto the mountain top.
  • Chapter Eight: Simon's conversation with the Lord of the Flies. 

Death:

  • Chapter 2:  The fire on the mountain claims the life of the boy with the birthmark.
  • Chapter 8: The hunters viciously kill the mother sow in the jungle and the Lord of the Flies emerges as a symbol of death.
  • Chapter 9: Simon is brutally murdered by the dancing mob of boys.
  • Chapter 11: Roger kills Piggy with the boulder.

 

 

Sources:

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