Lord of the Flies analysis of chapter 1 The opening character is important and effective because it sets the scene for that character, and their situation. You can almost predict what that character will be like in the rest of the book by the few sentences that the author gives you. The opening character is also a vital piece of information, because it will make the reader want to read on. The first character that was introduced was Ralph. We can predict that he will become important in the rest of the book because he is the first on the island, and he removes his clothes, which is the first symbol of rebellion.
Ralph is introduced as being ‘the boy with fair hair’ (pg 7). One of the first things Ralph does is pull up his sock which symbolizes the idea that Ralph is still civilized and acts like he is still in a sophisticated society. Ralphs father was in the army, and made it a point to say that his father was going to rescue them. When Ralph was elected as chief, it was because he was oldest, and was said to have the physique of a boxer ‘he may make a boxer, as far as width and heaviness of shoulders went, but there was a mildness about his mouth and eyes that proclaimed no devil’ (pg 10).
Piggy was more of an adequate chief because he was the main idealist who spotted the conch, and the one who did most of the work. Piggy was also the democrat of the boys, he thought things through, he was equal, rational, and had a mindset of being rescued, and not wanting to be stuck on the island. Ralph is overjoyed that there are no grownups on the island, but Piggy can envision the consequences of the pilots death, and the fact that nobody was a mature adult, and they couldn’t make mature decisions.
Piggy was not elected chief because of his look and probably because of his name. ‘he was shorter than the fair boy and very fat’ (pg 7). Next to be introduced is Jack and his choir boys. They are introduced as aliens or beastie that appears later on in the book. ‘something dark was fumbling along….. Then the creature stepped from the mirage’ (pg 19). This sends an eerie feeling to the readers. Later on in the paragraph it talks about them ‘stepped from the mirage on to clear sand, and they saw that the darkness was……mostly clothing’ (pg 19).
The boys were in ‘two parallel lines’ (pg 19) and dressed in black cloaks that covered them from throat to ankle that was adorned with a long silver cross, and a square black cap with a silver badge. Their leader is a boy named Jack. Jack was ‘tall, thin, and bony’ (pg 20) with red hair that was hidden somewhat by the square black cap, and his face ‘was crumpled and freckled, and ugly without silliness…two light blue eyes’ (pg 20). Jack is very power hungry, and arrogantly assumes that he would be the chief of the boys because he was the ‘head boy’ (pg 22) of the choir, and because he could ‘sing C sharp’ (pg 22).
Jack is quite upset to find that Ralph was voted to be chief of the boys ‘ the freckles on Jack’s face disappeared under a blush of mortification’ (pg 23). Ralph put the choir boys under Jacks power, and thus began Jack and Ralphs friendship ‘Jack and Ralph smiled at each other with shy liking’ (pg 23). When the boys arrive on the uninhabited island, they find themselves surrounded by beautiful shrubs, trees, and beaches. They soon discover that they are the only humans on the island, and there are no adults on the island. ‘no grownups’ (Pg 8).
This shows Ralphs immaturity, and his excitement for freedom. However, when Ralph is voted chief, he knows that he needs to gather himself, and think about what they need to survive, and be rescued. The boys (Jack, Ralph, and Simon) explore the island to find out if the place they are in is in fact an island. They begin to have fun, and enjoy themselves while their sense of wanting to be rescued is dissipating. Ever since the beginning of the book, the boys have seemed to destroy the paradise of an island by the ‘long scar smashed into the jungle’ (pg 7) and they will most likely destroy it again.
The island that Golding is trying to envision is not as it seems as he uses destructive imagery like ‘decaying coconuts’ (pg 12), ‘coarse grass’ (pg 12), and ‘typhoon’ (pg 12). Golding uses a lot of symbols to demonstrate themes such as friendship, relationships, and violence throughout chapter one. The island is presented as a Garden of Eden. It has all of the necessary things to survive such as, fresh water, fruit, shade, trees to make shelter, and wood to make fire. The relationships between the boys are complicated during the beginning of the chapter.
In the first chapter the boys mostly want to be friends, but the relationship between Piggy and Jack is instant hatred which suggests that later on in the book Jack will probably turn on Piggy first. Jack is presented as a very violent person even when Ralph and Jack first meet ‘frustrated now and turning, or ready to turn, into anger’ (pg 20). When Jack fails at killing the pig, he slams his knife into a tree, and says that ‘next time there will be no mercy’ (pg 31). I think Golding chose to strand the boys on an island because there are no adults.
There are no rules, no boundaries to what they were allowed to do, no guidance, no civilization, no society. Golding presents the island ‘roughly boat shaped’ (pg 31). I think he did this to represent the boys going into a state of savagery, and the boys civilization going backwards. I also think he said this to represent the boys decreased chances of being rescued. The boat that they should be rescued in is slowly floating farther and farther away. I believe that the first chapter of any book provides insight to what will happen in the rest of the book.
The chapter one title ‘The Sound of the Shell’ foreshadows the fact that the conch is the only adult figure in the book, the fact that the sound of the conch gives everybody a sense of order and uniformity. Some of the themes that appear in chapter one, are often found in our everyday lives and it gives the reader an impression about what will happen in the rest of the book. After finishing chapter one, I am left with the sense of predicting what will happen to the boys, and if they will be rescued.