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Essay Test Questions For Lord Of The Flies

Lord of the Flies Response Journal – Clark IB Year 1 

All responses are to be typed and clearly labeled.  Length is up to you – be thorough.  Each day the journals are due, a few of you will be selected to participate in a Socratic Circle to discuss that day’s journal and observations from the chapter.  Be prepared!

 

Pre-reading

1.  Read the William Golding essay “Why Boys Become Vicious”and the one entitled THE COMPACT OF CIVIL SOCIETIES about Hurricane Katrina [both found on my site], : do you believe, as Golding does, that “evil is born within us”? Why or Why not? Do you agree with his assertion the dangers of children “are more powerful than any bomb”? Use your own observations of life to consider the following: is your generation dangerous and destructive? Explain. For the Katrina essay: What conclusions can you draw about human behavior from the actions being described in the piece?  Do you think these conclusions are valid?  Explain.

 

2.  I’d like you to observe and analyze—but NOT judge—a clique or social group at RHS, one that you do not belong to or have ties with. The lunch room is probably the best place for this research, but you may also conduct your observations in the library, terrazzo, or in a classroom. Discuss what patterns you see: are there certain mannerisms, behavior codes or other specific qualities that characterize this group? Consider things like language, clothing preferences and group dynamics…is there a clear leader, a collective or is there constant jostling for control? If you know a person outside the context of the group, how do they behave differently when with that group? Note: Psychologists don’t reveal the identities of their subject matter; give your group a name (i.e., “The Jocks”) and label students anonymously (“Student A” and so forth.)

 

Chapter One-Sound of the Shell

 

1. When Piggy reveals the name the kids at school called him, he is placing his trust in Ralph not to tell anyone else. When did you realize that this trust in Ralph was a mistake? Were you surprised that Ralph mishandled Piggy’s trust?

 

2. When Jack and the choir arrive in their uniform cloaks with insignias, we are told, “Piggy, asked no names. He was intimidated by this uniformed superiority and the off-hand authority in Meridew’s voice.” What can you infer about Piggy’s character? Can this quote be a foreshadowing of things to come? If so what?

 

3. Shortly after revealing Piggy’s secret, we are told, “Ralph, looking with more understanding, saw that he [Piggy] was hurt and crushed. He hovered between the two courses of apology or further insult.” What can you infer about Ralph’s character? Why is this quote significant?

 

4. As Simon, write a letter home telling your parents about your new friends, Ralph and Jack.

 

5. As Piggy, write a letter to your Auntie describing what has happened to you and telling her how you feel about it.

 

Chapter Two-Fire on the Mountain

 

1. Because everyone is talking at once, Ralph says that they’ll have to have rules. “We’ll have to have ‘hands up’ like at school.” Shortly after, Jack says, “We’ll have rules…Lots of Rules! Then when anyone breaks em—.” The implication is that punishment for breaking rules will be severe. Write an entry in your journal describing this scene and explain what you think it reveals about Jack.

 

2. As Ralph is trying to convince the others that there is no beast on the island, we are told, “Ralph was annoyed and, for the moment, defeated. He felt himself facing something ungraspable.” Why is this moment important? Explore Ralph’s thoughts.

 

3. On the mountaintop, Jack and Ralph share the burden, glamour, and adventure of life on the island. In your opinion, in what ways are Jack and Ralph similar and in what ways are they different?

 

Chapter Three-Huts on the Beach

 

1. We are told that Jack and Ralph both come to hate each other. Write an explanation as to why they start to hate each other.

 

2. Jack appears to be obsessed by the idea of killing a pig, so much so that he puts it before more urgent needs. Have you ever felt that way or have you known anyone who has been obsessed by an idea? Write about that obsession and the power it had to dictate behavior.

 

3.  Ralph is frustrated and disappointed because, except for Simon, none of the others are much help. Do you think there is anything Ralph could do to get better results? Why or Why not?

 

Chapter Four-Painted Faces and Long Hair

 

1. Complete these lines of dialogue: DO NOT WRITE THE DIALOGUE IN YOUR RESPONSE

First Student: All these chapter titles seem to symbolize something.

Second Student: Well, I see that the titles of chapters one and two are symbols, but I do not see anything being represented in the chapter titles for three and four.

Third Student: In chapter three, the “Huts on the Beach” may represent civilization.

You: In that case, chapter four, “Painted Faces and Long Hair,” must represent…

 

2. If you understand why Roger and Maurice purposely destroyed the sand castles of the younger boys and threw sand in Percival’s eyes, tell your friend who cannot understand why the boys did what they did.

 

3. Some readers think that in this chapter we see Jack turning into a savage. Why do you suppose they say that?

 

Chapter Five-Beast from the Water

 

1. Ralph realizes that a good leader must also be able to think: “if you were a chief you had to think, you had to be wise.” Due to Ralph’s insight into the value of thinking, his opinion of Piggy changes: “for all his ludicrous body, [Piggy] had brains.” Relate a time when your opinion about someone close to you changed because of some new depth of understanding or insight on your part.

 

2. Simon tries to identify the beast the children fear, but he “became inarticulate in his effort to express mankind’s essential illness.” He says, “What I mean is∫maybe it’s only us.” No one listens to him, and the meeting deteriorates without achieving Ralph’s objectives, that of building huts and maintaining a fire. Help Simon, who has trouble speaking in the meeting, by writing a letter from him to Ralph explaining the nature of the beast the children fear.

 

3. Ralph considers giving up being chief. Piggy says to Ralph, “If you give up, what’d happen to me?” Piggy needs his alliance with Ralph to protect himself from Jack. Consider how you would feel if you were Ralph, and an unpopular classmate needed your help to keep from being hurt by the other students. How would you handle the situation? Was the situation handled well?

 


 

Chapter Six-Beast from the Air

 

1. Complete this dialogue:

First Student: Piggy is a wimp. All he does is clean his glasses and cling to Ralph.

Second Student: Yeah, but he does seem to know more than the other boys.

Third Student: This book is full of symbolism. Maybe Piggy’s glasses symbolize something.

You: I think you’re right. Piggy’s glasses could be a symbol for …

 

2. On the trek to find the beast, Simon reflects on his inability “to speak at an assembly…without that dreadful feeling of the pressure of personality.” What does he mean by this? What is Simon scared of?

 

Chapter Seven-Shadows and Tall Trees

 

1.Complete this dialogue:

First Friend: Boy, Jack is all talk. He is really a coward.

Second Friend: I don’t think Jack is a coward. He did go looking for the beast alone in the dark. Ralph is the one who is afraid.

You: There is a difference between feeling afraid and being a coward.  Both Jack and Ralph …

 

2. Ralph and Jack struggle for power. Ralph wants to wait until morning to continue looking for the beast, but Jack wants to keep looking. Ralph asks Jack, “ ‘Why do you hate me?’ The boys stirred uneasily, as though something indecent had been said. The silence lengthened.” Write an entry in your diary describing how you felt witnessing this painful exchange between Ralph and Jack. Comment on who you think is the stronger leader at this point in the story.

 

3. In this chapter, Ralph succumbs to the excitement of the hunt. Robert pretends to be a pig, and the group pokes him with sticks and chants, “Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!” Ralph, a character who has in the past behaved in a civilized manner, participates in this violent ritual. What is your opinion concerning the believability of Ralph’s involvement in the “pig” hunt?

 

Chapter Eight-Gift for the Darkness

 

1. At first, none of the boys follow Jack when he claims that he will not participate anymore.” Write a letter to a friend describing this scene and explain why Jack’s hunters fail to support him when he calls for a vote to remove Ralph as chief. How would you rate Jack’s maturity level at this point in the story?

 

2.  Jack comes to invite the others to join his hunting party. He is naked, except for the paint on his face. “He was safe from shame or self-consciousness behind the mask of his paint…” In our world, some people hide behind sunglasses or behave differently when talking on the phone. Some drivers, who are usually nice people in their everyday lives, become very aggressive on the road. Why do you think humans might behave differently when their identities are hidden?

 

3.  Simon believes the Lord of the Flies is talking to him. “Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!” said the head. “You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are?” The Lord of the Flies seems to be telling Simon that the evil, the beast, is part of the boys. Describe the evil that is part of Jack, Piggy, and Ralph, and people in general.

 

Chapter Nine- A View to a Death

 

1.  Jack encourages his followers to dance and chant, “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!” In your opinion, what is the purpose of the dancing and chanting? To overcome fear? Secure Jack’s position as chief? Something else?

 

2.  ----- awakens in the clearing after his seizure. He says “What else is there to do?” Then ----- makes his way to the body of the dead pilot. Some critics believe the author is saying that the only way to defeat evil is to face it. Do you believe this to be true? What does this say about -----?

 

3.  Ralph and Piggy join in with the others and kill -----. Write a letter from Ralph to ----- family trying to console them and explain how ----- died. Explain your participation in the killing, also.

 

 

Chapter Ten-The Shell and the Glass

 

1.  Ralph tries to talk to Piggy about ----- murder to make himself feel better about it, but Piggy refuses to admit that they contributed to ----- death. Describe the circumstances of the crime and why you think the criminal refused to admit any guilt.

 

2.  Jack is a chief now and holds meeting, but these meetings are very different from the assemblies Ralph called with the conch. Which of these two leaders do you think is the strongest? If you were chief, how would you conduct the meetings?

 

3.  Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric all decide to let the fire go out at night because it is too difficult for them to keep it going twenty-four hours a day.  Jack’s original plan was just to steal some fire to have a pig roast. When there was no fire, though, Jack takes -----. Because of the decision not to maintain the fire, ----- suffers a paralyzing loss. Describe this incident and explore the characters feelings.

 

Chapter Eleven-Castle Rock

 

1.  While Ralph and Jack are fighting, Piggy says to Ralph, “remember what we came for. The fire. My specs.” Piggy reminds Ralph to protect him because Piggy is extremely vulnerable without his glasses. Explain to a classmate who does not understand  why Ralph seems to keep forgetting Piggy and the fire.

 

2.  ----- “with a sense of delirious abandonment” releases the lever sending the boulder over the cliff and kills -----. Jack breaks the stunned silence by threatening Ralph and then hurling a spear at Ralph. For what reasons were you or were you not surprised by ----- killing ----- and Jack’s attack on Ralph?  Throughout this novel, the boys enjoy teasing and ridiculing Piggy. Relate an incident you may have witnessed where teasing goes too far and causes someone real physical or emotional harm. Why do you suppose teasing frequently escalates to violence?

 

Chapter Twelve-Cry of the Hunters

 

1.  “Ralph put his head down on his forearms and accepted this new fact like a wound. Samneric were part of the tribe now.” Ralph feels betrayed by Samneric. Write a letter from Samneric to Ralph explaining why they are now part of Jack’s tribe.

 

2.  At the end of the story, after Ralph knows he is rescued, he begins to sob with “great, shuddering spasms of grief.” Why do you suppose Ralph cries after the danger is over? How do you think you might react in a similar circumstance?

 

3.  The officer on the beach says, “I should have thought that a pack of British boys—you’re all British, aren’t you?—would have been able to put up a better show than that—I mean––” This speech implies that the officer is disappointed in the behavior of the boys on this island. Yet, ironically he is an officer on a ship fighting in a terrible adult war. Discuss the parallels between adults during war and the children on the island.

 

1. Of all the characters, it is Piggy who most often has useful ideas and sees the correct way for the boys to organize themselves. Yet the other boys rarely listen to him and frequently abuse him. Why do you think this is the case? In what ways does Golding use Piggy to advance the novel’s themes?

2. What, if anything, might the dead parachutist symbolize? Does he symbolize something other than what the beast and the Lord of the Flies symbolize?

3. The sow’s head and the conch shell each wield a certain kind of power over the boys. In what ways do these objects’ powers differ? In what way is Lord of the Flies a novel about power? About the power of symbols? About the power of a person to use symbols to control a group?

4. What role do the littluns play in the novel? In one respect, they serve as gauges of the older boys’ moral positions, for we see whether an older boy is kind or cruel based on how he treats the littluns. But are the littluns important in and of themselves? What might they represent?

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