Lord Of The Flies, Chapter 1 Essay

This essay has a total of 1801 words and 7 pages.

Lord Of The Flies, Chapter 1

Write an analysis of the opening chapter of Lord of the Flies. How effective is it at
introducing the characters, concerns and language of the novel?



The first chapter of the novel, The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding is effective in
establishing the characters, concerns and language for the remainder of the book, as well
as introducing the main themes of the novel; that the problems in society are related to
the sinful nature of man and good verses evil. In Golding's first chapter, the main
characters are introduced, we see many ominous signs of what's to come through the authors
choice of language and the beginning of rivalries, issues and concerns are portrayed which
are to continue throughout the rest of the book. The microcosm on the Island is presented
from an early stage, as well as themes that emerge and remain important throughout the
novel.


Golding introduces the three main characters in the first chapter individually. Ralph, the
main protagonist, is tall with fair hair and is introduced first. His attitude when first
realising there are no grown-ups around is excitement, and he is looking forward to the
prospect of being free of adults. In stark contrast, the second character to be
introduced, Piggy, "was shorter than the fair boy and very fat". These two complete
opposites are introduced into the situation very early on, to show the differences and
varieties within society. Jack, the last main character to be introduced, is described by
Golding as "tall, thin and bony…. his face was crumpled and freckled, and ugly without
silliness." Jack is the only other character who is close in physical stature to Ralph,
and is from the onset described as a leader.


Ralph, from the second page, seems to have taken control of the situation on the island.
Golding reaches this conclusion of the boy effectively through his conversation with
Piggy; "This is an island…. That's a reef out to sea." These statements show Ralph to
have intelligence to make conclusions on his own accord, and we are able to see the
character can think for himself. Continuing through the first chapter, after the meeting
with the conch, we see Ralph as a natural leader, "there was a stillness about Ralph as he
sat that marked him out…. Ralph raised is hand for silence" throughout the clamour of
choosing a leader, we see Ralph is willing for others to get their say, yet he is still
able to have control over the situation and manages to leave the group in awe of him.
Throughout the first meeting, Ralph is perceived as someone who does good, such as calling
all the boys together, yet he is not so out of touch that he can't relate to the normal
temptations in life. These qualities Golding describes Ralph to have in this first
chapter, and incredibly important for the remainder of the novel.


It is no surprise that Piggy's nickname is such. When Golding introduces the character, he
has just come out of the bushes, after suffering from diarrhoea through eating too many
unripe berries. The author continually relates to the fact that the boy is fat, and in
many descriptions, Golding blatantly says this such as "The fat boy looked startled". As
we progress through the early pages, we learn more of Piggy's appearance through the
conversation between Piggy and Ralph. "I've been wearing specs since I was three". With
these continual descriptions, we are able to obtain a vivid and detailed image of this fat
boy. The specs that Piggy wears are a symbol of his intelligence that is to be superior to
the other boys. Individuals that wear glasses have always been considered to be
intelligent and smart, and Piggy is no exception to this. His constant attempts to unite
the group of boys under the "laws" of the conch are to try to establish the same society
of that in the "old counties" and of what they are used to. Piggy is not a natural leader
- he has the brains, but not the courage. We can see this when Golding describes the boys
reaction to the loud and bossy Jack: "He shrank to the other side of Ralph…and secure
from the other side of Ralph, he spoke timidly". Many of the characters, especially Jack
do not respond well to Piggy's intelligence: "You're talking too much…shut up fatty".
This is just one remark from Jack in response to one of Piggy's ideas. From this opening
chapter, we can start to see the intelligence behind this shy and reserved fat little boy,
and the trouble his brains might cause him in the novel to come.


Jack is probably the last important character to be introduced. Golding describes his
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