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 are some examples of foreshadowing in Lord of the Flies?

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Foreshadowing is used in Lord of the Flies to create suspense and tension and can be seen early in the book when the narration focuses on Piggy's frailty.

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A major example of foreshadowing in the book occurs in chapter 5 at the meeting where the boys vote to determine whether or not they believe there is a beast on the island.  The boys are arguing about whether or not the beast might exist.  The little boys are sure there is a beast and claim to have seen one.  Some of the boys think the beast lives in the water.  The older boys are hesitant to believe in a beast.  Ralph claims there is no such thing, though secretly he fears there might be a beast.  Piggy says there is no such thing as a beast; he knows it's illogical.  Simon is hesitant to declare what he thinks largely because he doesn't quite know how to articulate what he's thinking.  He asks, "What's the dirtiest thing there is?"  He's referring to the evil inside of each of them.  This foreshadows what Simon will come to be able to articulate later when he has his conversation with the Lord of the Flies in chapter 8.  Another example of foreshadowing in this same scene is when Piggy tells Ralph that he's afraid of Jack.  He says that Jack hates him and that Jack hates Ralph, too, but Jack has some respect for Ralph. However, Piggy goes on to say, if Ralph were out of the way, Jack would hurt him (Piggy).  This foreshadows Piggy's death in chapter 11 when Ralph has become so ineffectual that he is essentially out of the way.

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What are examples of figurative language used in the first two chapters of Lord of the Flies?

The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon. Though he had taken off his school sweater and trailed it now from one hand, his grey shirt stuck to him and his hair was plastered to his forehead.

This is how Lord of the Flies begins, and already we can see a few different examples of figurative language. There is a rhyme in "fair hair," evoking the sing-song quality of a fable. There are multiple examples of alliteration in which the first letter is repeated: in "few feet," "school sweater," and "shirt stuck."

Golding uses lots of imagery in the text, especially when first describing the setting in the first chapter:

The beach between the palm terrace and the water was a thin stick, endless apparently, for to Ralph’s left the perspectives of palm and beach and water drew to a point at infinity; and always, almost visible, was the heat.

He uses a metaphor in calling the water a "thin stick," and helps us picture the endlessness through use of the word "infinity." He shows us how hot it is by saying the heat was "almost visible":

“How does he know we’re here?”

Ralph lolled in the water. Sleep enveloped him like the swathing mirages that were wrestling with the brilliance of the lagoon.

“How does he know we’re here?”

Because, thought Ralph, because, because. The roar from the reef became very distant.

Metaphors and similes are both comparisons, but similes use the words "like" or "as." The above section contains a simile and imagery of the sleepy feeling overcoming Ralph. There is also repetition. Ralph's repetition of "because" shows a child-like quality and shows that he has nothing to follow the "because." He just repeats the word in his head because he has no real reason for why his father would know they are there. This is also shown through Piggy needing to repeat the question, since Ralph does not give any answer out loud:

Clouds of birds rose from the treetops, and something squealed and ran in the undergrowth.

In the above sentence, we see examples of metaphor, alliteration, and foreshadowing. The squealing creature is a pig, as we will soon find out that pigs inhabit the island and can be hunted. The pigs will play a larger role in the story:

“We’ll have rules!” he cried excitedly. “Lots of rules! Then when anyone
breaks ’em–”





This use of onomatopoeia highlights the characters as children. Instead of directly saying what they will do to anyone who breaks the rules, they use sound effects, presumably acting out what will happen.

“Acting like a crowd of kids!”

This simile is also an example of irony because the characters are in fact kids. This also shows us that the boys are expected to act more mature—and while some of them try to, overall they are still children.

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What are examples of figurative language used in the first two chapters of Lord of the Flies?

Allusions are a brief, indirect reference to something with historical, cultural, or political significance. Throughout Chapter 1, Golding alludes to the novels Treasure Island, Swallows and Amazons, and Coral Island when the boys hold an assembly.

Alliteration is the succession of a number of words with the same first consonant sound occurring in a series. Golding utilizes alliteration in Chapter 2 when he describes the fire on the mountain. Golding writes the following:

"To keep a clean flag of flame flying on the mountain was the immediate end and no one looked further" (57).

An onomatopoeia is a word, which mimics the natural sound of a thing and imitates the thing it describes. Golding utilizes several onomatopoeias throughout the first two chapters of Lord of the Flies:

  • "Sche-aa-ow!" (Golding, 13).
  • "Whizzoh!" (Golding, 14).
  • "Whee-aa-oo!" (Golding, 37).

Personification is a literary device in which an inanimate object, idea, or animal is given human attributes and characteristics:

"He turned over, holding his nose, and a golden light danced and shattered just over his face" (Golding, 15).

"With that word the heat seemed to increase till it became a threatening weight and the lagoon attacked them with a blinding effulgence" (Golding, 17).

"He trotted through the sand, enduring the sun’s enmity, crossed the platform and found his scattered clothes" (Golding, 17).

Symbolism is the use of symbols to signify an alternate, deeper meaning in an object throughout literature. One of Golding's most significant symbols throughout the novel is the conch. In Chapter 1, Ralph and Piggy find a conch in the lagoon and use it to call the other boys together. During their assemblies, the conch is passed between each boy wishing to speak. The conch symbolizes civilization, order, and structure throughout the novel.

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What are examples of figurative language used in the first two chapters of Lord of the Flies?

Written as a figurative work itself, the allegory Lord of the Flies contains many examples of evocative literary language in the first two chapters.

Metaphor - an unstated comparison between two unlike things or people.

  • In the opening paragraph of the novel, the path of the crashed airplane is called a "long scar smashed into the jungle," and it has made "a bath of heat."
  • A bird is called "a vision of red and yellow" that flies upward.
  • The leaves of the palm trees along the shore are "green feathers," and they make "a green roof."
  • As Ralph realizes that he is on a beautiful Eden-like island, he emits "bass strings of delight." Here, he thinks is "coral island"--a comparison to Ballantyne's novel.
  • The beach stops at one point where "a great plaform of pink granite" rises.

Simile - a stated comparison between unlike things or people.

  • The bird that is startled by Ralph and Piggy screams with a "witch-like cry."
  • Ralph pulls off his shirt and stands amid the "skull-like coconuts."
  • The lagoon that the boys discover is "as still as a mountain lake."
  • The boys from the choir arrive and are "panting like dogs."
  • As Ralph lolls in the water, "Sleep enveloped him like the swathing mirages...."
  • One boy describes a fearful "beastie," a "snake-like thing."

Personification - The attribution of human qualities to that which is non-human

  • In the above description of Ralph lolling in the water, the mirages "were wrestling with the brillance of the lagoon."
  • Broken pieces of the plane are described as having been "dragged out to sea."
  • The huge ledge of pink granite "thrust up uncompromisingly through forest..."
  • As Ralph dives and swims, "a golden light danced..."

Imagery - Language that appeals to the senses.

  • Much color imagery is used as Ralph's body is "golden," "the white surf" hits a "coral reef," the sea is a "dark blue," "shadowy green and purple." The granite rocks are "pink" and the conch is significantly a "fading pink." One little boy has a "mulberry-colored birthmark.


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What is an example of foreshadowing and prediction in Lord of the Flies by William Golding?

An example of foreshadowing is when Ralph decides to call the fat boy “Piggy.”

Piggy’s name foreshadows several things.  It indicates that the boys will have little faith in, or respect for, the intelligent boy.  He asks Ralph to call him anything but the mean name kids used to call him.

“I don’t care what they call me,” he said confidentially, “so long as they don’t call me what they used to call me at school.” (ch 1, p. 12)

Piggy tries to trust Ralph, but Ralph betrays him.  He rarely listens to Piggy’s advice, and certainly does not respect him.  In the long run, this foreshadows Piggy’s own death.  After all, the boys on the island are obsessed with pigs.  They hunt and kill pigs early on.

They found a piglet caught in a curtain of creepers, throwing itself at the elastic traces in all the madness of extreme terror. Its voice was thin, needle-sharp and insistent; The three boys rushed forward and Jack drew his knife again with a flourish. (ch 1, p. 40-41)

The pig is a symbol of the savagery the boys are descending into.  Therefore Piggy’s name is no coincidence.  It is an early indication that he is doomed, and so are the boys.

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What are the uses of foreshadowing throughout the novel Lord of the Flies?

Golding uses foreshadowing throughout the book Lord of the Flies, and the foreshadowing serves to create greater suspense. Readers get hints about bad things that might happen for one reason or another, so there is this sense of impending doom throughout large parts of the novel. Readers can see character doom being foreshadowed as early as chapter 1. Golding makes it clear that Piggy is weak and sickly. He might be smart, but he is frail. Piggy admits to Ralph that he can't run because of his asthma, and he doesn't see well without his glasses. These are things that are going to make it difficult for Piggy to survive on the island. Readers are already being given hints that Piggy isn't likely to survive.

By the time chapter 5 is completed, even Piggy believes it is possible that he might die on the island. He and Ralph are speaking to each other, and Piggy mentions that Jack hates both of them; however, Piggy admits that he is a much easier target than Ralph. Piggy also mentions that as long as Ralph is around, Piggy feels that he is safe. This foreshadows a couple of things. It reinforces the foreshadowing of Piggy's death, but it also foreshadows Ralph's eventual complete loss of power. Ralph doesn't stand aside as Piggy suggests, but that doesn't matter. Jack finds a way around Ralph by making him completely powerless.

I know about people. I know about me. And him. He can’t hurt you: but if you stand out of the way he’d hurt the next thing. And that’s me.

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What are some examples of symbolism William Golding's Lord of the Flies?

One use of symbolism in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is the conch shell.  Piggy in particular is excited by the discovery of the shell, and begins treating it as special object of inordinate value.  Discovering further that blowing on the shell summons all the boys, it soon becomes associated with, and used for calling them to assembly, as noted when Piggy suggests, “We can use this to call the others. . .They’ll come when they hear us—” As the story progresses, the shell’s importance grows as a symbol of power.  When the boys decide that one of them needs to be a leader, and with Jack staking his claim based upon his position of “chapter chorister and head boy,” attention turns to Ralph.  This scene is heavy with symbolism, as the mere idea of engaging in a democratic process symbolizes for the boys their increased sense of importance in their new home.  As Golding writes of the moment, “This toy of voting was almost as pleasing as the conch.”

The symbolic meaning of the conch shell, however, remains among the most prominent in the novel, as in that scene in which the boys consider electing a leader, and begin to look towards Ralph for that role:

 “. . .there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch.  The being that had blown that, had sat waiting for them on the platform with the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart.”

 And, again, the importance of the shell is emphasized, as when a small boy, a timid little six-year-old, approaches Ralph and Piggy and the sacred conch shell: “Piggy knelt by him, one hand on the great shell . . .”

Another prominent symbol is “the Beast.”  Dismissed by Ralph as a myth, this mysterious “snake-like” creature takes on ever-greater importance.  As the boys continue to debate its existence, “the beast” assumes the proportions of a “boogie man,” representing the great, unseen threat that lurks in the darkness of the jungle – or, perhaps, the depths of the sea.  Ralph continues to insist that no such creature exists.  In trying to quell what he sees as irrational fears, he states:

“The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.  There aren’t any beasts to be afraid of on this island.”

Ultimately, of course, “the beast” is revealed as a metaphor for both fear of the unknown, and for the darkness the boys discover that lies within them.  As “the Lord of the Flies” threatens Simon, “There isn’t anyone to help you.  Only me.  And I’m the Beast.”  It is Simon who had earlier suggested that “Maybe, it’s only us.”  As the growing rift between factions threatens their survival, it become apparent that Simon was right.

Another symbol is Piggy’s glasses, which come to represent the sole technological instrument essential for survival.  As reliance on technology can be a great disadvantage under the right circumstances, Piggy’s constant need to clean his glasses repeatedly emphasizes his weakness and vulnerability, as when Golding writes, “Piggy’s glasses were misted again—this time with humiliation.”

Eventually, the glasses would prove useful in efforts at starting a fire.  The breaking of the glasses, however, will illuminate Piggy’s fragile character, and Jack’s later capture of the glasses cements the threat to Ralph and Piggy.

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