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Lord of the Flies – Themes in Chapter 2

Beast: Fear of a “beastie” on the island is first stemmed from a littlun with a distinctive marking, a “mulberry-coloured birthmark” on his face, who says the beast comes out at night and looks like a snake (this reminds us of the devil who appears in Genesis in the form of a snake. Therefore we associate it with evil, even the fact that it was seen in the dark helps us recognise that the beast is evil). Both Ralph and Jack, thinking these to be simply childish nightmares, comfort everyone that there is no beast.

Although they try to comfort everyone, they do not have any evidence to confront the small boy. So an element of doubt is introduced in their minds about the beast’s existence, a doubt which will not be trounced because no one can fight rational thinking. We know that the beast doesn’t really exist; however, it exists inside all the boys in metaphoric and symbolic terms, especially in Jack. Golding shows us that you can`t separate the evil inside you from the evil outside because evil is found everywhere.

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Government: Ralph continues to establish a democratic political foundation by using the conch to symbolise authority. The description of the children sitting in organized sections during assembly reflects a government meeting. Jack continues to support him, offering his choir to protect them against any beast; abiding by Ralph’s rules, he addresses the group only when he holds the conch in his hands.

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Intellectual: After the boys allow a fire to burn uncontrolled across the island, Piggy reprimands them with his voice of reason and rationality, pointing out the need for having the area of the fire to be cleared of debris so that they can control it. He recalls that one of them, the “mulberry birthmark boy”, is nowhere to be seen, suggesting that he has perhaps died in the fire. Also, it is a piece of Piggy, his glasses, which give them this power of fire, a symbolic trait often equated with the attainment of knowledge (i.e. the story of Prometheus, fire bearer, in Greek mythology).

We also see Piggy`s glasses as a symbol of clear sight, which indicates Piggy`s rational and scientific mind. Also, being used to light the fire, they are a symbol of civilization. Significantly, Piggy needs the glasses since, without adults, he is very vulnerable. He depends on civilization and adults to help him. When the glasses are broken, we notice that civilisation is beginning to break apart inside the boys.

Manifestation of the island: In Lord of the Flies, one finds the island to be a projection of the children`s nature. Here Golding gives hints of what is to come later. It is like Pathetic Fallacy; only the island is really changing with the change in the children` s character. This resembles the garden of Eden, which was ‘destroyed’ by Adam and Eve, just like the boys will destroy the island.

Death: On pg. 60, there is the first death. This is accidental. Later on, we see that the next one was semi-accidental and the third and last deliberate. After that, almost every event in the book is repeated several times (for example, the deaths, the throwing of stones and the dances). This is done to show the development of the boys towards savagery because every time the action is repeated, it becomes more serious than the previous time.

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Fun and Rescue: Fun: this is a word that will take eerie connotations later in the novel. It also means ignoring your responsibilities. Rescue: this means a return to civilization, something Jack doesn’t want because he feels outstanding when releasing his violence. While Ralph wants it very much and we see this through the fire. Also, in this chapter, the aspect of time is introduced by Piggy; this is a sign of civilisation, which goes side by side with the rescue.

Order and Disorder: There is a clash between order (Piggy) and disorder (Jack). This comes out through the hate of Piggy and Jack towards each other. Order: Piggy tries to control the group with rules about the fire and the list of names. Disorder: Jack causes disorder as he takes the crowd away from the chief to make a fire on the mountain and also when he says that on the mountain, the conch has no authority, therefore getting rid of all the rules which tied him down before. We also see that Jack is not ready to follow Ralph (therefore the rules Ralph made), overstepping his authority limit.

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Lord of the Flies - Themes in Chapter 2. (2021, Aug 16). Retrieved December 1, 2022, from