The setting takes place sometime during or right after the Second World War. The writer mentions the nuclear bomb and that the plane that the boys were on was shot down, witch gives us the idea that a war is going on. The boys are stranded on an island, witch at first at first impression looks like paradise, hot climate, masses of fruit, comfortably safe bathing areas, and nice sandy beaches. The Island also consists of a forest and a mountain. The environment on the island changes during the novel, at first the island is fertile, but when the boys divide into two groups and the rivalry starts, the whole island burns down, burning the fertile ground to ashes. The “savages” burn the whole island in their desperate hunt for Ralph, but in the end the whole island is set on fire. Maybe the writer is trying to tell us something about this whole incident, how society will develop?
Ralph is a 12 year old boy. He is blond, tall and relatively handsome. In his dreams and thoughts he dreams about a cottage, not a very luxurious cottage, witch indicates that he is not that wealth. On the island Ralph takes on the role as the leader. Although he is not the brightest boy on the island he is more sensible that the other boys. He believes is democracy and that everybody should have their opinion heard. He believes in order and justice, and his main goal as leader is to get rescued, by keeping the fire on the mountain maintained, the fire must always be burning. He has most support among the “littleuns” while Jack and his hunters have a more negatively attitude towards Ralph being the leader.
Jack Merridew has red hair and freckles, he is the same type as Ralph, a leader. He is not elected to leader and therefore has some kind of anger towards Ralph. He has leadership in his blood, from being the leader of the choir boys, who eventually become “the hunters”. He don’t obey the orders that Ralph gives and only care about hunting and himself. He also lets the fire be extinguished one day, that really upsets Ralph, this disagreement evolves into something much greater and eventually Jack establishes a new tribe, known as “the savages”. Jacks goal is the get rid of the other tribe and survive on the island, with no intentions of getting rescued. In the end he and his tribe is trying to eliminate Ralph. We get the impression that Jack is pure evil, and capable of killing a human being.
Piggy is overweight, wears glasses and has asthma. His is the most intelligent boy on the island, but his opinions and ideas is getting totally ignored, only Ralph listens to them sometimes. He is the mock victim number one on the island, due to his physical condition and the specs. He tries hard to become a part of the society, but constantly failing. He also together with Ralph believes in order and democracy. His specs plays a very important role in the novel, they hold the key to rescue, fire! Towards the end of the book Piggy is killed by Jack and his savages.
Simon is not as old as the flock of 10-13 year olds on the island, but is neither as young as the “littleuns”. He is thin and wears a uniform, and has no bad intentions. He is very optimistic, and though the whole novel he constantly believe that they will get rescued. He also talks to “the lord of the flies”, the pigs head represent evil while Simon represents the good. Later he is killed during the dance after the feast by the other boys, by mistake. He also suffers from epilepsy witch in earlier periods of time was mistaken to be a gift to connect with the gods.
The Jack versus Ralph conflict is the main conflict of the novel, Ralph who represents order and democracy while Jack is the front man for savagery and anarchy. Ralph has the theory of being saved if they keep the fire burning, while Jack want to hunt and have fun. The conflict starts with the election of a leader, witch Ralph wins, leaving Jack bitter and angry at Ralph. After a while Jack gets more support and eventually he establishes a new tribe, making the rivalry complete. The two boys have different views on how a society should be run, democracy versus anarchy. Jack is also a lot more selfish than Ralph is, Ralph wants what’s best for everyone, on the contrary Jack want to lead, lead alone.
Piggy and Jack also has a conflict between themselves, Jack constantly mocking piggy, and even does damage to piggy physically. Piggy despite Jack and the feelings are mutual. But Piggy has something Jack want, the specs. Jack steals Piggy’s specs, and piggy wants them back. Piggy and Ralph is going to Castle Rock to get the specs back but in argument Piggy gets killed by Jack and his savages.
Good vs bad – Ralph and his tribe represent the good and democracy while the bad is represented by the savages, two fighting parts, fighting for domination over the island.
Piggy versus the boys – Piggy is constantly being mocked and picked on by the other boys, due to the fact that he is overweight, wears specs and has “asthma” or “ass-marr” as Ralph calls it.
Boys versus nature – the nature seem very intimidating at first, but as the novel develops and the hunt is necessary their fare for the nature fades away, hunting becomes natural. Therefore the conflict between the boys and the nature develops.
Boys versus the beast – at first the beast was the most frightening thing they could ever imagine, but after a while they knew that they had to kill it. They killed the sow and put its head on a pole.
Central themes of the novel can be, of course fear:
· fear of the unknown.
· Society is also an important theme, Golding writes about how society should and should not be run, democracy versus anarchy.
· Another important point is power, and how some people handle power, in this case Jack did not handle the power to well.
· The evil inside a human being, how a human is capable of doing evil thing, such as killing another human.
The island – In the beginning of the novel, when Jack and Ralph explore the island, when they stand on the highest mountain they can see that the island is shaped like a boat. Meaning that they are all in the same boat, they can not avoid each other, they must cooperate to survive.
The boys - a symbol of man kind, in different stages of life and different personalities, who we can recognize over selves with. The strong takes care of the weak, the evil abuses the good, the wise helps the dumb. They symbols human in an isolated world.
The Choir – Comes marching into the lagoon, like an army in the beginning, with great respect for Jack. Later the choir develops into an own society, with Jack as leader, with the choir boys as hunters.
Sow head – it’s the sacrifice that Jack and the hunters give to the beast, to leave them alone. The head speaks to Simon, and tells him to get away because the boys don’t need him, or else they will kill him.
The Flies – The flies swarm around the sows head and around the dead parachute guy. They swarm around the dead and eats from it. Exactly the same that happens to Simon, they surround him and pokes on him with spears, and killing him. The flies symbolizes the boys.
The Fire – This can be a symbol that everything is over, erasing history, erasing everything that the boys have done on the island.
The Rescue – a parallel to the deliberation after the second world war. After the war many people were dead and a lot was destroyed, the same happened on the island, but people got rescued in both cases.