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Discussion - Lord of the Flies > Lord of the Flies: Chapters 1-4

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message 1: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Lavoie All discussions from chapters one through four should be in this thread. Please no spoilers for any future chapters if you have read ahead.

As of posting this I have the first two chapters read, and the book is faster reading than I last remembered it.

What is everyone's initial thoughts, comments, or insights? Anything you want to point out from these chapters?

message 2: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Lavoie I guess I'll get the conversation started. :) I've been making a lot of notes in the book as I read, just things I'm observing, some of it for the first time.

Simon initially seems to be an outcast from the choir like Piggy is with the rest of the group. He is quiet and shy, and as Jack points out, he faints frequently, so right away readers see that he's smaller and weaker than the others. But I think he shows probably the most maturity of the group. Piggy compensates for his nickname by trying to act like an adult and calling for order, to counter what everyone thinks of him. Simon is naturally calm and seems to let the other think whatever. In chapter three you see him interacting with the younger children and getting fruit for them.

I also found it interesting in the first chapter how Piggy is assigned the job of getting everyone's names, but he isn't allowed to have his own. Instead he is called a name that he dislikes.


message 3: by Lindsay (last edited Feb 08, 2011 08:53AM) (new)

Lindsay (ferdlet_anne) | 3 comments I just finished the first four chapters. I'm a little out of practice with the marginal note-taking thing for now, so hopefully the more we read the more I'll actually have to say! ;-)

For now, I'm struck by how uncomfortable this book makes me. I've only read it once before, and the first time I was mostly concerned about the basic plot to really notice anything else about it. I'm noticing this time, though, the palpable tensions between character and character, as well as character and setting. Ralph vs. Jack, Ralph the productive leader vs. the rest of the boys and their somewhat carefree attitudes/actions (particularly the younger ones) toward their situation, Piggy vs. everyone else.

To add to Jen's comments on Piggy, I'm struck by the hypocrisy of the group's attitude toward him. They clearly despise him, but without him and his glasses, they wouldn't have the fire they so desperately need to be rescued. The fire seems to become their number one priority, which is made clearer in chapter 4 when Jack's choir lets it go out for the sake of pig hunting. Jack chooses food over the fire, and it ends disastrously for them all. Piggy is the true source of the fire, the thing they need more than meat, and he is hated despite this.

I'm also noticing the struggle between civilization and savagery that is evident in these first few chapters. The boys are clearly trying to attempt to maintain some sort of order among themselves, particularly with the conch shell and the physical absence yet mental/emotional presence of the adults in their lives, but in chapter 3 we discover that this attempt only goes so far. The littluns just want to play, and any plans made at the meetings don't actually come to fruition.

I feel like the dead fire scene in chapter 4 is almost some sort of crossing over point. The ship = rescue and return to civilization, which Jack's group rejects in favor of the savage hunt for the pig. I find this especially ironic, since Jack and the choir were probably the most kept together when they arrived overdressed and in neat lines onto the beach for the first time. The rest of the boys are obviously upset at their missed rescue opportunity, but all Jack can worry about is receiving credit for his kill.

message 4: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Lavoie Lindsay wrote: "I just finished the first four chapters. I'm a little out of practice with the marginal note-taking thing for now, so hopefully the more we read the more I'll actually have to say! ;-)

For now, I..."

Your comment about the irony between Jack and the choir and their change is interesting, Lindsay. I hadn't thought about that before, and I have to agree. I think part of their breakdown as a group has to do with Jack. They follow him strictly - with the exception of Simon - at first, and when he starts to fall to his base instincts, so do they.

Regarding your comment about the mental and emotional presence of the adults, in chapter 3 this is especially evident. Roger and Maurice destroy the sandcastles that Johnny, Percival and Henry are playing with, and when Percival gets sand in his eye and cries, Maurice feels like he should be getting in trouble. This follows up with Roger following Henry - which was a bit creepy with the intensity with which he watch him playing - and throwing rocks at him. He misses because of the "protection of parents and school and policement and the law" around him. Obviously they are not physically there, but the memory, while fading, is.

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