Lord of the Flies


Key Quotes

1. “There was the brilliant world of hunting, tactics, fierce exhilaration, skill; and there was the world of longing and baffled common-sense.”—chapter 4

This line articulates the two worlds inhabited by the boys on the island. Jack leads the former, while Ralph represents the latter. They are, in a sense, opposed to one another. Jack’s group seeks mainly glory through survival, whereas Ralph’s group seeks salvation by means of a kind of reason. Neither world is fully prepared for the obstacles that arise within it. Jack’s hunters lack the ability to control themselves and keep themselves from harm. Ralph’s group lacks the ability to give the boys a reason to live nobly.

2. “The three boys stood in the darkness, striving unsuccessfully to convey the majesty of adult life.”—chapter 5

The three boys are Ralph, Piggy, and Simon. They are the only three who do not follow Jack after Jack assumes power over the other boys by declaring his intention to hunt the beast and kill it. Ralph, Piggy, and Simon have all shown some elements of maturity: Ralph in his somewhat sensible leadership; Piggy in his respect for order; Simon in his quiet, reflective solitude and hermitage. Yet the “majesty of adult life” that they need to lead the others is undermined by Jack’s juvenile approach toward their plight: To him it is an adventure, one in which violence is of little concern; one in which rules need not apply, and in which anarchy and bloodshed are merely a step away. Unlike the three boys verging on maturity and reason, Jack has tapped into the one thing needed to control the mob: emotion.

3. “They were black and iridescent green and without number; and in front of Simon, the Lord of the Flies hung on his stick and grinned. At last Simon gave up and looked back; saw the white teeth and dim eyes, the blood—and his gaze was held by that ancient, inescapable recognition.”—chapter 8

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Essays About Lord of the Flies