Chapter 1: “The Sound of the Shell”
1. Examine the characters of Ralph, Jack, or Piggy in terms of what they possess that link them with their past lives, and what their emerging roles on the island are. Is there any indication which of these characters may be advancing more rapidly toward savagery than the others? Support your conclusion.
2. What is the symbolism of the conch? Why does it seem to have so much power? What characteristics does it have in common with what it appears to symbolize?
Chapter 2: “Fire on the Mountain”
1. What is the significance of the boys’ first attempt at the fire? How does the result foreshadow events to come? What is the result of the fire? Why are the creeper vines significant? How does the fire’s result mirror the boy with the mulberry-colored birthmark’s fear?
2. What is the meaning of the beast that makes its first appearance in this chapter? Discuss how it is portrayed, and the others’ reaction to it. Does this foreshadow its later significance? How does the beast become real to the boys?
Chapter 3: “Huts on the Beach”
1. Trace the path of Jack’s success as a hunter and Ralph’s
growing ineffectiveness as a leader. Compare their emerging viewpoints in their argument together on the beach. What does this say about the two boys and their roles as civilized young men?
2. What divisions are becoming apparent among the boys on the island? Trace the characters and who they are allied to at this point. Discuss these alliances and why they are occurring.
Chapter 4: “Painted Faces and Long Hair”
1. Examine Simon’s actions in this chapter and compare them to Roger’s. Both boys are outsiders like Piggy, yet seem to be accepted. Based upon these observations, present an argument for whom they will eventually ally themselves and explain why.
2. What is the significance of the camouflage paint that Jack puts on? How does it affect his personality? Why will it make him a better hunter? In what ways does it hide his personality? In what ways does it reveal his personality? Discuss its symbolic meaning as well as the others’ reactions to it.
Chapter 5: “Beast From Water”
1. Trace the references to the beast in the novel thus far. Parallel that with the diminishing sense of order on the island and the boys’ gradual embracing of Jack’s savagery. What is the true nature of the beast on the island that Simon is unable to verbally define?
2. Discuss how and why Jack disrupts the meeting. What is at the core of the power struggle between he and Ralph? What techniques of anarchy and...
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Below you will find five outstanding thesis statements for “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. All five incorporate at least one of the themes in “Lord of the Flies” and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements offer a short summary of “Lord of the Flies” in terms of the different elements that could be important in an essay. You are free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from Lord of the Flies by William Golding, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: The Role of Adults in “Lord of the Flies”
The vast majority of Lord of the Flies takes place without adults. When the boys are stranded on the island, they are left to their own devices and it is not until the novel's end that an adult appears to rescue them. Despite the absence of actual adults, the boys are constantly referring to adults (see quotes, below) and they believe that they are attempting to construct an adult world. Write an analytic essay in which you discuss the symbolic importance of adults for the boys. Consider the possibility that the boys' efforts to imitate the adult world are destined to fail because they are simply not developmentally—cognitively or emotionally– ready to tackle adult challenges. A good place to start on this essay would be to examine the formation and eventual dissolution of the government and tentative society in “Lord of the Flies” (here is more information on that topic) You may wish to offer a close reading of one or more passages that address the role or idea of adults directly for this essay.Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: Society-Building in Lord of the Flies
When the boys find themselves stranded on a remote island, they quickly begin the project of building a rough approximation of society and attempt to create a utopia in Lord of the Flies by William Golding. A society, of course, is characterized by rules, roles, and activities that identify the group of people of which it is comprised. For this essay on Lord of the Flies, analyze the society building process using a step-by-step approach. At first, there is so much hope and excitement, but everything quickly falls apart: Why? Be sure to examine the passages around pages 45-50, where it appears that nothing is happening. These lapses of activity are just as important as the violence that will follow them. Identify the main obstacle to the boys' society building efforts and explain whether you think there was any single moment where they could have saved their project from disaster.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: The Dynamics of Power in “Lord of the Flies”
One of the elements of society that the boys attempt to imitate early in their society-building project is that of establishing a hierarchy in which there is a designated leader whose job it is to inspire and guide his followers. While Ralph is elected as the “official” leader of the boys, Jack occupies a leadership role as well, given that it is he who is in charge of procuring food for the boys. Yet these two boys clash with one another because they perceive each as a threat to the other's power. Write an essay in which you explain the dynamics of power in Lord of the Flies. Be sure to acknowledge and discuss the role of the “little-uns” within the hierarchy of power the boys have established. If appropriate, you may also wish to offer some observations in this essay that make connections between the power dynamics among the boys and the power dynamics that characterize the almost invisible yet critically important backdrop of the novel—the war.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4: Devolving Into Violence
When one is a member of a relatively stable society, it is fairly simple to declare that one would never engage in the kinds of violence that are observed in unstable societies. The reader of Lord of the Flies may be shocked by the way in which the boys' individually and collectively become violent. They become so unimaginably violent so quickly that it is difficult to understand how sweet boys could be so cruel. Write an argumentative or expository essay in which you explain why and how this devolution into extreme, base violence occurred. You may choose to incorporate theories from psychology and sociology, if appropriate. Be sure to address two important motifs: (1) the frequent insistence on the importance of rules (and their inadequacy to protect the boys from their own violence) and (2) the regular references to savages and animals.
Thesis Statement/Essay Topic #5: Indeterminate Endings
At the end of the novel, the boys are rescued and their ordeal has ended. Yet there is something about the novel that is inconclusive and indeterminate: what happens to the boys when they return home? Can they reintegrate to a normal, stable society and readjust? This essay prompt requires some imaginative guess work in which you take on the role of the author. Explain what you think happens to the boys—either individually, as a group, or both—when they leave the island. Finally, offer some ideas about the reasons why Golding elected to conclude his novel in this way.
* Here is an excellent article on the role of government in the society in Lord of the Flies that will guide you no matter which of these topic you decide to use *
* If you're looking for an idea for a comparison essay on Lord of the Flies, here is an excellent example comparing the novel to Animal Farm by George Orwell