Notes on Characters from Lord of the Flies

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Lord of the Flies Major Characters

Jack Merridew: Even at the onset, Jack appears to be an ominous figure; the lead singer in the school choir, he holds a certain power over the other choirboys as they walk towards the beach to follow the first sound of the conch. He does allow them to rest despite the heat and fatigue of wearing full black uniform gowns and caps while they walk in two parallel lines toward the conch. Only when Simon faints does he show sympathy. Described as 'tall, thin, and bony...his hair was red beneath the black cap. His face was...freckled, and ugly without silliness' (Chapter 1 pg. 19). It is Jack who leads the boys' turn to savagery, or at least gives it a certain order. He is Ralph's chief nemesis; it is he who has brought with him a knife and who gradually becomes obsessed with hunting and killing the pigs on the island. It is these behaviors which later lead to the murders of Simon, Piggy and nearly that of Ralph had grown-ups not come to the boys' rescue at the very last moment.

Piggy: Considered to be the intellectual of the group, he is grossly overweight (leading to the nickname 'Piggy') and he wears coke-bottle glasses, without which he cannot see. He initially discovers the conch sitting at the bottom of the lagoon and suggests that Ralph use it to call everyone. He is always left to babysit the littluns when the boys go off on adventures, told by Ralph that he "isn't good for this sort of thing." Obviously made fun of in school, he often feels left out and isolated early on in the story although increasingly as Jack and Ralph drift apart, Piggy's voice of reason and insight come to fill the gap, and he and Ralph become good friends. Even though he is ridiculed, his glasses are still crucial to the boys' survival: both for keeping the signal fire lit (for Ralph) and for roasting the meat they have hunted (for Jack). As a result, he becomes an object stuck between these two forces. Later, blinded when his glasses are stolen, he is slain when Roger drops a rock on him from above. After landing on the beach below, Piggy's dead body, true to his name, "twitched a bit, like a pig's after it has been killed." (Chapter 11 pg. 165).

Ralph: His body described as 'golden', it is Ralph who establishes a mock-democratic government for the group in order for them to be rescued, and to maintain peace and order. But due to the opposition of Jack, Ralph's chief goals of maintaining a signal fire to alert passing ships of their presence, building the shelters and holding assemblies end up in the dust as nearly all of the boys, over time, join Jack's 'tribe', whose chief focus is to hunt, kill and eat the wild pigs of the island. Ralph is the one boy at the close of the novel who is not a hunter. Having been pursued ruthlessly by Jack and his tribe, Ralph begins weeping on the beach before his grown-up rescuers. The naval officer shows disapproval at the destructive state of things on the island, which Ralph laments that he had done everything he could do to be a good leader.

Roger: He is a sullen figure, one of the original members of Jack's choir. It is he who begins throwing rocks at the littluns as they build sand castles on the beach, watching their reactions intently. Later he drops the boulder at Castle Rock, killing Piggy. Roger accompanies Ralph and Jack when climbing up to the mountain where the beast lives. He rams a stick 'right up [the] ass' of a sow, killing her in a vulgar manner then pretends to be the beast in their hunting ritual the night that Simon is killed. In the tribe, he has become the center of much wickedness, becoming the torturer of Samneric. He is assigned the duty of making 'a stick sharpened at both ends', on which, it is assumed, they'll put Ralph's head.

Sam and Eric (Samneric): These two twins are described as one entity, one brother often finishing the other's sentence. They are frightened off of the mountain when attending to the signal fire, mistaking a dead pilot to be the beast. Later, Ralph has an odd dream that they are fighting one another, wrestling. Having resisted joining Jack's tribe, they are finally seized, tied up and tortured, forced to serve Jack. Samneric betray Ralph's trust and tell Jack where his hiding place is, which the hunters soon run to attack.

Simon: A curious figure and originally a member of the choir, the only one who resists becoming a hunter. The other boys think that he is 'batty'. Simon always comes to the boys' aid whenever someone needs his help, such as when he picks up Piggy's glasses for him, offers meat to Piggy when Jack refuses to give him any, gives the hungry littluns fruit to eat which they could not reach and gives words of comfort to the worried Ralph. Simon is martyr-like in his selflessness. As he goes to notify the others that there is no beast on the mountain, he is killed, as the others mistake him for the beast. Very much a Jesus figure, he is murdered by the very ones he had wanted to help.

Lord of the Flies: This is the name given to the inner beast, to which only Simon ever actually speaks. As Simon's waits for the beast's arrival near the bloody sow's head on the stake (buzzing with flies), The Lord of the Flies speaks to him, warning him not to get in its way or else he shall be killed by the boys. The Lord of the Flies name comes from the sow's head and the countless flies buzzing about it, which soon move from the sow's head to swarm around the head of Simon as the Lord of the Flies tells him, "I'm a part of you." In biblical texts, the Lord of the Flies is the title of Beelzebub (a direct translation of his name), a demon of Hell and cohort of Satan.

Auntie: Though never appearing in person, Piggy refers to her constantly in conversation, especially early on. Auntie is a prominent adult figure in his life and Piggy recalls and clings to things she had told him such as not running on account of his asthma. She kept a candy store and gave Piggy as many sweets as he wanted to eat. However, as the children's link to the world of grown-ups is increasingly severed, her name is mentioned less and less.

Bill: One of the choirboys. Bill is a follower of Jack who later becomes a hunter.

Henry: A littlun who, with Percival and Johnny, is attacked with rocks by Roger and Maurice while they are building sand castles near the beach. He is the oldest of the three littluns.

Johnny: He is the first of the boys to reach the beach on the first day, answering the conch's call. He is a 'littlun' aged about six years, Johnny is subject to torment by Roger and Maurice later on in the book while building sand castles.

Littluns: This is the general term used to describe the smaller boys, who far outnumber the 'biguns'. Though an ever-present element of the boys' society, due to their young ages they are hardly mentioned as taking part in the events of the island. It is for them Ralph shows concern for building the shelters, because at night the littluns 'talk and scream.' Concern for them gradually is forgotten as later, Jack jokingly says instead of hunting a pig, ''Use a littlun,'...' (Chapter 7 pg. 104). When the group has split up, in hearing Piggy's words that 'a few littluns' were left with them, Ralph replies, ''They don't count.'' By the close of the book their existence is hardly acknowledged at all.

Maurice: Similar to the hostile Roger but less cruel, Maurice is very much a follower. Originally a choirboy as well, he takes part with Roger in throwing rocks at the littluns while building their sand castles. He remains loyal to Jack, going with him when the split occurs from Ralph's 'society'. Only at one point does he invoke the name of his parents, when, fearing the beast during the assembly, he recalls that his ''Daddy said they haven't found all the animals in the sea yet.'' (Chapter 5 pg. 79)

Mulberry Birthmark Boy: A littlun, he is the first to invoke the name of the "beast" and spread fear among the boys. After the first signal fire on the mountain is not contained and burns wildly across the island, he is not seen again. Though it is never actually stated, it is assumed that he has died in the fire.

Percival Wemys Madison: This littlun would always give a full introduction of himself: 'Percival Wemys Madison. The Vicarage. Harcourt St. Anthony, Hants, telephone....' complete with address. He is one of the three attacked by rocks thrown by Roger and Maurice when building sand castles. By the end, when finally rescued by the grown-ups all he can say is 'I'm-- I'm--' before realizing he has forgotten his civilized identity.

Phil: A littlun who speaks about fears of the beast at night. It is discovered that he, sleep-walking in the forest, mistook Simon to be the beast, which calms the boys' for a short while.

Ralph's Dad: Ralph speaks of him much in the beginning, mirroring Piggy's talk of 'Auntie.' As his father is a Navy man, Ralph believes his dad will come to the rescue when he 'gets leave' from the service. In the end, Naval officers do finally come to the boys' rescue (though it is not said if Ralph's father is among them).

Robert: He is another choirboy and another follower to Jack. It is he who is set to guard the entrance to Castle Rock when Jack begins to establish his tribe. He is later replaced by Roger when Ralph, Piggy and Samneric come to Castle Rock.

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