Lord of the Flies: Study Guide
Chapter 1: The Sound of the Shell (pages 7-31)
VOCABULARY—Define the following from Ch 1 & 2:
1. Identify the following characters. Comment on all aspects (including age, race, role on island, social/family background, appearance, personality).Some may not come up until Ch. 2, so fill them in as you go.
Sam and Eric-
“The Little ‘Uns”-
2. How did the boys happen to come to the island?
3. What do the boys have that is the symbol of authority in the new society they form? (What does the person in charge hold?)
4. Who wants to be chief? Who is ACTUALLY chosen to be chief and how?
5. What does the reader think of Jack as he slashes the green candle buds? How does he deal with the world?
6. Why does Jack hesitate when he lifts his knife to kill the piglet, and what does he promise will happen next time he meets a pig?
7. Piggy is an outsider from the beginning. Are you surprised that Piggy is treated like this? Do you see him as someone to be made fun of?
8. Although this island is beautiful,, some of the words used suggest a darker side: “The coconuts are decaying and skull-like.” Why does the author use such descriptions in a beautiful setting?
Look at the things that influence the boys’ choices. Give a mark up to 10 (highest importance) for how important you think it is, and a mark up to 10 for how important the boys think it is.
Piggy has shown intelligence.
Jack is an obvious leader.
Ralph is good-looking.
Ralph blew the conch.
Ralph is holding the conch.
9. Given the ideas in this table, do you think they have made the right choices? Why or why not?
10. Using the following chart, compare and contrast Jack and Ralph and how they treat others:
Attitude towards other people.
Way of talking and behaving.
Chapter 2 : Fire on the Mountain (pages 32-47)
1. What ground rules do the boys set for when they meet in a large group? Why do you think such rules are necessary?
2. When the boys are telling the others about the island and the fact that there are no adults, what does Ralph say to set everyone’s fears at ease? (p 34)
3. Ralph had ulterior (other, unstated) motives when he told the group they would be rescued. What were they? Why would he tell the group this?
4. Describe Jack’s behavior during the meeting. What does this suggest about his views towards rules and obeying them?
5. How does Piggy contribute to building a fire? What does Jack say about this?
6. Ralph thinks the group needs rules and Jack agrees. Do you think that rules are absolutely necessary for the boys’ survival? Why or why not?
7. Piggy goes on a tirade when he finally gets everyone to listen to him. What are some of the points he brings up (list at least 2)? Do you think his points are valid (reasonable)? Why or why not?
8. What happens to the fire? Is it anyone’s fault? Are their reactions appropriate?
9. What strengths does Ralph have as a leader? What weaknesses does Ralph show?
Chapter 3: Huts on the Beach (pages 48-57)
VOCABULARY—Define the following from Ch 3 & 4:
1. How much time do you think has passed between chapters 2 and 3? How do you know (what details does the author give)?
2. What is Jack’s new “compulsion”? What does Ralph feel about it? Why?
3. Who is helping Ralph? What does Jack think of Ralph’s helper?
4. Which do you think is the more important priority, hunting or building shelters? Can you find more than one reason for building shelters as soon as possible?
5. List some of the images Golding (the author) uses to describe the jungle. Is the jungle a threatening or beautiful place?
6. How does Simon get along with the little ‘uns? Where does he go to be alone? How is his view of the island different from Ralph’s and Jack’s?
Chapter 4 : Painted Faces and Long Hair (pages 58-75)
1. What strange occurrence was happening at Midday (noon)?
2. After Maurice and Roger destroy the little ‘uns’ castles, Roger stalks the young boy named Henry. When he begins to throw stones, why does he just throw them near him instead of directly at him? What does Golding suggest about being civilized and the civilization on the island at the time? What could happen in the future?
3. What does Jack do to his appearance? Why?
4. What does Jack lead the others to do? Where are Ralph, Piggy, and Simon at the time?
5. What has happened to the boys’ hair? What does this indicate?
6. Why does Piggy continue to be an outsider?
7. What do the boys see that gives them hope? What happens to crush the hope?
8. After this point, Ralph goes searching for the group. What has happened to the group? The fire?
9. When Jack retells the events of the story, how do you think Ralph, Piggy, and Simon feel? Explain.
10.What does the dance/chant that the boys do remind you of?
11. What does Jack do to Piggy? How does Piggy react and why?
12. Who sticks up for Piggy and why?
13. What does Simon do that infuriates Jack?
14. What does Jack expect from the other boys now that he has killed the pig?
15. What does Ralph do then that violates the power in the group?
Chapter 5: Beasts from Water (pages 76-94)
VOCABULARY—Define the following from Ch 5 & 6:
1. Ralph’s Values are changing. What does Ralph feel about his changed appearance?
2. What was the general mood at the beginning of the meeting?
3. What do you lean about the assemblies that they’ve had before? How have people behaved during them? What has happened to the decisions they agreed upon? How are the boys responding to Ralph’s leadership?
4. What are some of the points Ralph brings up at the meeting? What points do you agree with that Ralph thinks are important? What points do you disagree with?
5. Piggy mocks the idea of ghosts and beasts; they have no place in Piggy’s world of grown-ups and common sense. However, he does say that people can make other people afraid. What do you think he has in mind?
6. Where does Percival suggest the beast lives?
7. What does Simon try to tell the boys? Golding uses the phrase, “mankind’s essential illness.” (p 89). What do you think he means by this?
8. Ralph thinks it was a mistake to call the meeting so late. What do you think? Explain.
9. How does Jack respond to Ralph and this meeting?
10. Why does Piggy have a greater understanding of people than Ralph does?
11. Who are described as the three blind mice? Why is this a good description of these boys?
12. Why do you think things are breaking apart on the island? Who or what is responsible?
Chapter 6: Beasts from the Air (pages 95-108)
1. What is the sign which comes down from the world of grownups? Who saw it land?
2. What do Sam and Eric tell the boys they have seen while they tend the fire? What is it actually?
3. Jack says it is time to leave the decision-making up to the people who are most capable. What do you think he means by this? Do you agree with him?
4. Can control (of the boys) be gained at this point? What should be done to gain the control of the group? If not, what should be Ralph’s next plan?
5. Does Simon believe Sam and Eric’s story? How does he imagine the beast?
6. What doe the boys do about the beast from the air?
7. How do Ralph and Jack differ in their reactions as they climb the new hill?
8. How do you explain the phrase “something flittered there in front of his mind like a bat’s wing” when Ralph yelled at the boys for rolling the rock into the sea? What does this mean/suggest?
9. Why didn’t Ralph feel pain when he struck the skin off his knuckles?
Chapter 7: Shadows and Tall Trees (pages 109-123)
VOCABULARY—Define the following from Ch 7 &8:
1. Why do you think Simon says “You’ll get back all right”? What does he seem to be implying about his own future? How does Ralph react to this?
2. Ralph has learned to take Piggy seriously, but he dismisses Simon. Can you think of any reasons for this?
3. What is Ralph’s daydream about his childhood? Why do you think Golding included this description?
4. How can you tell that Ralph’s life hasn’t been easy?
5. How does Ralph react when the boar comes charging down the path? What does the demonstration of his hunting skills suggest?
6. Why does Simon go off alone?
7. What do Ralph, Roger, and Jack find at the top of the mountain/hill? Do they realize what they have found?
8. Why is the action of the story increasingly taking place in the near darkness or in the deep night when only the moon and the stars give a little light?
Chapter 8 : Gift for the Darkness (pages 124-144)
1. What choices do the boys have, once they confirm with their own eyes that there is indeed a beast?
2. What does Simon suggest? What is the group’s reaction to this?
3. How can you tell at the next meeting that Jack has grown very antagonistic toward Ralph?
4. How does Ralph’s waning confidence in himself show in his words and actions?
5. Although he is not able to get the boys to vote Ralph out of office as chief, Jack manages to overthrow Ralph’s authority anyway. How? Why do you think this happens?
6. How does Piggy change after Jack leaves? Why?
7. Describe the killing of the sow. Do you think it is a good idea? Why or why not?
8. Describe Simon’s strange encounter with the Lord of the Flies. What does it “say” to Simon. What does it look like?
9. What is truly the Beast?
Chapter 9 : A view to a Death (pages 145-154)
VOCABULARY—Define the following from Ch 9, 10, & 11:
1 What does Simon find when he finally reaches the beast? How does he feel when he makes this discovery?
2. Why do you think Simon released the tangled parachute lines? What does this show you about him?
3. Ralph teases Piggy by squirting water toward his glasses. How would Piggy usually react? How does he react this time? What do you think has caused this change?
4. When Ralph and Piggy come upon Jack’s party, what is it that “breaks’ the ice”? Who serves the function of being a “scapegoat” (who is blamed)?
5. Describe the dance on the sand during the storm. In your mind, what color best describes the dance?
6. Who crawls out of the forest?
7. How does the mood of the chapter change when the rain stops?
8. Do you think that Simon is brave? Some of the others have shown courage. Is Simon’s courage the same as theirs?
9. Why was Simon’s message to the others so important for them to understand?
Chapter 10 : The Shell and the Glasses (pages 155-168)
1. How does Ralph feel the morning after Simon is killed?
2. Eventually, how do Ralph, Piggy, Sam, and Eric deal with their consciences? Did they show typical reactions to guilt?
3. In the following chart, compare Jack’s leadership style to Ralph’s:
4. Why does Jack have Wilfred beaten? How do Robert and Roger feel about it?
5. Ralph tries to motivate Sam and Eric to keep the fire going, but he finds he can’t remember what it is that is good about the fire. Why not? What do you think is happening to him?
6. Why does Jack’s group attack the four boys in their hut?
7. During the attack, it seemed to Ralph that there were “a dozen others.” Why? How many were there, really? Who was Ralph actually fighting with?
Chapter 11 : Castle Rock (pages 169-182)
1. The four boys left on the beach after Piggy’s glasses have been stolen don’t want to be “savages” like Jack and his group. How do they plan to be different?
2. Whose idea is it to go to Jack and demand Piggy’s glasses? Is this surprising that he wants to go? Do you think it’s a good idea?
3. What is the irony in Piggy’s question, “What more can (Jack) do than he has?” (p 171)
4. Piggy grabs the conch and talks about the alternative the boys have. What comparisons does he make? Does this apply to the world beyond the island? Could he have added anything to make his argument more convincing?
5. What happens when Ralph’s band arrives at Castle Rock? Should Ralph have foreseen this outcome?
6. What happens to Piggy?
7. How do Jack’s savages treat Sam and Eric?
8. What is the significance of the fact that Roger “edged past the chief, only just avoiding pushing him with his shoulder”?
9. Are any of the boys still governed by those old ideas of right and wrong?
Chapter 12 : Cry of the Hunter (pages 183-202)
1. How does Ralph manage to survive once the hunt for him begins?
2. What is Ralph’s reaction when he encounters the skull of the Lord of the Flies? Does it make him feel better?
3. Drive by fear and hunger, Ralph manages to make contact with Sam and Eric who are standing guard at Castle Rock. Of what do they warn him?
4. In what way does the tribe try to hunt down Ralph?
5. How do Jack’s boys find out where to find Ralph?
6. Once Ralph starts running from his pursuers, he knows he must decide quickly what to do. What are his alternatives? What would YOU do?
7. What do you think would have happened at this point if there were adults around?
8. What is the “better show” the navy officer thought the boys should have made?
9. What is ironic about the fact that the adult who saves the band of boys from their own savagery is a naval commander?
10. Why does Ralph cry at the end of the book? How do the other boys respond?
11. What kind of world are the boys returning to (what is going on at the time)? Is it very different from the world they are leaving?
Post-Reading: Reflection Questions
1. What comment do think Golding is trying to make on human nature with this book?
2. What comment (if any) is Golding trying to make about society?
3. What is a possible theme for this book?
4. What is your favorite quote from the book? (give page number) What does it mean (refer to)? Why is this your favorite?