Language and Culture
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Piggy does not want anyone to take his glasses, and he is obsessed with following the rule that the person holding the conch is allowed to speak. Why is Piggy so concerned about these things? What do the glasses and the conch have in common? Jack volunteers himself and his hunters to keep the fire going: "Ralph, I'll split up the choir—my hunters, that is—into groups, and we'll be responsible for keeping the fire going." In some ways, this can be understood as an example of Jack’s contributing to the larger group. However, knowing that Jack is something of a rival to Ralph and how he treats Piggy, how else might Jack's volunteering of his hunters be interpreted? There is a set of twins on the island named Sam and Eric. However, when describing them, Golding regularly refers to them as "Samneric." How does this way of describing the twins relate to their behavior and the way that readers understand their characters? What examples of their behavior help readers see that Samneric is really the appropriate way to refer to them? As the boys set out to search for the Beast, Ralph allows Jack to lead the way, and he sinks to the back of the pack, "thankful to have escaped responsibility for a time." What does this moment lead you to infer about Ralph and his feelings about being the group’s leader? What does this moment foreshadow? While part of the party searching for the Beast, Simon realizes that the notion of the Beast that the other boys have does not make sense. A Beast sitting atop a mountain with claws, a Beast who did not leave tracks, could have easily caught the twins. Simon has a different picture of the Beast: "there rose before his inward sight the picture of a human at once heroic and sick." How does this picture relate to the Beast that Samneric saw? How does it relate to what Simon said earlier about the beast being "only us"?
1. Read the following excerpt from Ralph, Jack, and Simon’s exploration of the island: Here they paused and examined the bushes round them curiously. Simon spoke first. "Like candles. Candle bushes. Candle buds." The bushes were dark evergreen and aromatic and the many buds were waxen green and folded up against the light. Jack slashed at one with his knife and the scent spilled over them. “Candle buds." "You couldn't light them," said Ralph. "They just look like candles." "Green candles," said Jack contemptuously. "We can't eat them. Come on." What does this moment tell you about the personalities of these three boys? Answer: they are curious, jack had a knife, and Ralph is realistic thinker. 2. After exploring the island, Ralph's top priority is starting a signal fire so that the boys can be rescued by a passing ship. How do the others react to Ralph’s insistence that they start a fire? What does this demonstrate about Ralph's leadership abilities? Answer: the boys become excited about making a signal fire. Ralph is a good leader. He is able to fill the boys with a sense of hope. 3. How does Piggy feel about the focus on starting a fire? How do Piggy's thoughts affect your view of Ralph's leadership abilities? Answer: The signal fire burns on the mountain, and later on the beach, to attract the notice of passing ships that might be able to rescue the boys. As a result, the signal fire becomes a barometer of the boys’ connection to civilization.