Lord of the Flies Development

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How Do the Main Characters in Lord of the Flies Develop in the First Six Chapters?

In Lord of the Flies, William Golding experiments with what could happen to a group of young of boys left in new surroundings with no adults present. The main characters of this novel are quickly established and are the oldest or tallest of the boys. All the characters change and develop enormously over the period of time when they have to adjust to living on the island.

The reader is introduced to Ralph first, as the ‘boy with fair hair'. Ralph enjoys standing on his head and shows how impulsive he is when he dives straight into the water. This suggests that he has little common sense and so may be irresponsible. He also appears to be a daydreamer and is convinced that his father will rescue him so does not face the reality of what has actually happened.

‘how does he know were here?'…because, thought Ralph because because.'

Ralphs' father being in the navy could mean that Ralph has had a privileged upbringing which might be why he feels superior to Piggy and doesn't think much of him. This is shown when Ralph orders Piggy to ‘get my clothes', and when he broke his promise by telling the boys his nickname was Piggy. Ralph had possession of the conch, used it to bring the boys together and had a good physique (tall, blonde, ‘built like a boxer'), so he easily earned the respect of the boys and was immediately accepted.

‘There was a stillness about Ralph that marked him out…his size and attractive appearance, most obscurely the conch'

The first thing Ralph says as leader is ‘I can't decide what to do straight of…'. He does not display authority or apply a task to anyone, so the boys have to find their own things to do, so he does not seem to have the qualities to make a good leader. However, the fact that his main priority is to get rescued and build shelters to survive, and that he tries to keep the island civilised shows that his ‘common sense' is developing. Similar to most other boys, Ralph enjoyed the absence of adults on the island and the island itself. Everyone wanted to have fun, but Ralph also wanted to be rescued so understood the importance of the fire. By the third chapter Ralph feels depressed because he cannot convince the boys of the necessity of the shelters. The decline in order, Jack beginning to gain more power, no-one following the rules or helping with the shelters and fire, the continual rivalry of Jack and the savagery in Jack himself are factors which contribute to Ralph changing. He begins to appreciate Piggy more and appraises what he says according to how practical it is. He also wishes for help from the adults as this quotation shows.

‘If only they can send us something grown up…a sign or something'

Piggy is the character who seems to change the least in the story. He remains an outcast but he does have some influence on the boys for a while through Ralph, who uses several of his ideas, for example the shelters.

‘‘The first thing we ought to have made were shelters down there buy the beach''

In chapter one it is obvious that Piggy cannot do anything by himself because he depends on his aunt who has spoilt him. This becomes apparent when Piggy frequently says ‘my aunt says….'. He is very intelligent but no-one, except perhaps Ralph later on in the story, realises this. Instead, the first thing they see is his fatness, glasses and asthma which make him appear weak and an easy target for mocking. As a result of this mocking Piggy stays civilised because no-one allows him to join in

‘{Jack}…we don't want you'

Piggy always showed the maturity of an adult, for example when he describes the boys as ‘acting like a bunch of kids'. He also found it hard to understand the beastie because he always explained life using science, but in his mind nothing was able to rationalise the beastie. Golding emphasises the fact that he doesn't change much, by making him stay the same physically...
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