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Lord of the Flies
By William Golding
Critical Thinking/Interpretive Study Guide
Chapter 1: The Sound of the Shell
1. How do the boys end up on the island?
They are in some kind of plane crash, though the details are not all clear.
2. Who is “the voice” referred to on page 7? What does the voice represent?
Piggy is “the voice” and represents the voice of reason
3. How does the reaction of the fair-haired boy differ from the fat boy’s at the realization that there are no adults around?
Fat Boy: startled that no adults are around, suggests that the pilot may still be alive. Wants to get things organized and make a list of survivors, have a meeting
Fair-Haired Boy: Happy and excited about having no adults around, only wants to play
4. Golding’s choice of vocabulary when describing Ralph (black shoes, kicked, fiercely, ripped off, skull-like coconuts, sliding over the skin, snake-like clasp) sets what kind of tone? What could it be foreshadowing?
Evil tone, foreshadows a shady character
5. How old is Ralph?
12 years and a few months
6. What do you like about the book so far? What are you struggling with?
Answers vary. Ideas?
7. On the bottom of page 8, Piggy says, “It wasn’t half dangerous…” Again on page 13, he says twice, “You can’t half swim.” What does Piggy mean by “half”?
Double negative. For example, “It wasn’t half dangerous” means that it really was dangerous.
8. Describe Piggy.
Fat, wears glasses, asthma. Brighter and more mature than Ralph, but kind of a wimp
9. Find the examples of personification on page 15, in describing light and breezes.
Breezes “crept,” the breeze seemed to “whisper,” the light “slid over their bodies or moved like bright, winged things”
10. What gives the conch value?
Piggy’s declaration gives the conch value, he saw its power to summon the group
11. In what sense do Ralph and Piggy complement one another while dealing with the conch?
Piggy has the idea and knows how to blow it. Only Ralph has the physical strength to actually blow it.
12. What do you think the meaning of the word “dumb” in the statement “boys were making their way toward the platform through the hot, dumb sand” could be?
Dumb=senseless, unfeeling, uncommunicative. Other ideas?
13. Why did the boys gather as Ralph blew the conch?
1st evidence of authority since the crash. The conch is like the megaphones used by the men who apparently evacuated the boys from their school. A symbol of authority!
14. Describe Sam and Eric.
Identical twins, so identical they seem to comprise a single person.
15. Reread the description of the choir leader, on page 20. Discuss Golding’s use of color and imagery, and what it may foreshadow.
Golding describes the choir leader darkly and severely. Skeleton-like, tall, thin, bony, crumpled, ugly. Red hair, black cape, angry. Red and black as a symbol of evil. Devil-like. Foreshadows the boy’s mean character.
16. What about Jack Merridew indicates that he is used to commanding?
Refuses to let the choir rest or remove uniforms, even though they were hot. No sympathy for fainted Simon. Keeps choir in order. Tells Piggy to, “Shut up, Fatty!”
17. Why is Ralph chosen over Piggy and Jack to be the leader?
Ralph is chosen for his size and attractive appearance, and he has the conch. Even though Piggy is smarter and Jack is more of a commander.
18. What is the first mission for the boys?
To find out if they are on an island. Ralph goes on an expedition with Jack and Simon. Piggy is left behind.
19. What “unknown force” has...
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