Chapter 1 "The Sound of the Shell" Notes from Lord of the Flies

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Lord of the Flies Chapter 1 "The Sound of the Shell"

A plane carrying a British school group has crashed into a tropical island, presumably shot down as World War II wages on in the outside world. Ralph, one of the survivors, climbs with Piggy through the debris and undergrowth onto the open beach. After a brief introduction, the two engage in a discussion to determine what to do next. Ralph is, at first impression, mild in responding to Piggy, who is overweight and bears a large set of spectacles on his face. His personality appears to be paranoid and wimpy. He was raised by his aunt (whose name he regularly invokes, "My auntie says that..." etc) and regularly speaks of how he was the subject of ridicule in school where he earned his nickname, saying with fear: "'I don't care what [you] call me so long as...[it's not] what they used to call me in school....They used to call me Piggy!'"Chapter 1, pg. 11. He talks incessantly to the point of annoyance, explaining some of his social problems. In contrast, Ralph has a "golden body" and is in fact quite handsome. His father is a commander in the navy and Ralph believes he will come to their rescue when he gets leave.

The two walk a bit and come upon a lagoon in which Piggy sees a conch; Ralph retrieves it with use of a broken palm sapling and Piggy suddenly proclaims that they can use it to call the other survivors by blowing through it. Ralph blows through one end under Piggy's direction and, sure enough, one by one, other children soon appear on the beach.

Topic Tracking: Intellectual 1

First to come is Johnny, one of the group of smaller children, which come to be known as the "littluns,". Next are the twins, Sam and Eric (Samneric) who speak almost in unison. Last to appear along the beach: "[There was] something dark...fumbling along....The creature was a party of boys, marching approximately in...two parallel lines...." Chapter 1, pg. 18. This is the school's choir group with Jack Merridew, the choirmaster, in lead. They appear in full uniform complete with black robes, crosses and caps. One of the choir, Simon, is faint and passes out. Jack relents only at the last moment to allow them all to rest and break formation. Among this choir are the boys, Roger and Maurice. With the assemblage of the boys complete, Ralph and Jack discuss their situation. Rules are established and a "chief," is democratically elected by all the boys, with a show of hands choosing Ralph. Jack however is assigned the duty of leading the choir which serves the function of "an army...or hunters." His cold, unwavering demeanor and talent for giving orders suit him well for such a responsibility.

Topic Tracking: Government 1
Topic Tracking: Religion 1

Ralph decides that it is necessary to venture out and explore the island with a small group, choosing himself, Jack and Simon. Piggy protests loudly but Ralph dismisses him saying, "'You're no good on a job like this.'" Chapter 1, pg. 22 while Jacks tries to act menacing, driving his knife into a tree trunk. Walking past the lagoon where the conch was found, they begin to climb the large mountain, which juts out from one side of the island near the coast. Rising through the undergrowth and creepers which wind their way all around the island, the three boys finally reach a section partway up which is quite rocky with pink granite. Here they stop to shove off a large boulder down the slope, which lands crashing far below with a sound "like a bomb." Continuing upwards in ascent they reach the mount's summit. They see the whole of their island and a coral reef partly circling them out in the sea; also visible is the crash site of their plane and the lagoon from where the had started walking. Jack and Ralph engage in most of the dialogue while Simon stares on smiling until he mentions that he is hungry. On this note they start back down. Along the way, Jack attempts to catch a piglet they come upon tangled in the creepers. The piglet manages to escape from Jack's hands after he hesitates to thrust the knife into its throat. Afterwards he makes excuses and proclaims he will not fail again, even though the three, as they head back to the others, shirk at the thought of the pig's blood spilling out over his hands, preferring instead to eat fruit from the trees lining their path.

Topic Tracking: Pig 1

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