Lord of the Flies Essay

Here is an essay question specific to Lord of the Flies. Go here to BBC Bitesize to work through some activities that will help you produce a 5 paragraph essay.


At the start of the novel, we are told:

“Ralph and Jack smiled at each other with shy liking”

Yet by the end, they are mortal enemies. What happens to ruin their friendship?


Why are Samneric important? Why did Golding create this double character?

Here are a few ideas:

  • they seem to stand for loyalty
  • they work hard
  • they are keen to keep the fire going
  • they are supporters of Ralph.

They are also used to help the build up of fear. In “Beast from the Air”: “Neither of the boys screamed but ….” And then when they have run back to the shelters, they report back what they have seen. Samneric are the last to change sides, to defect to Jack and the camp of fun. When they do, it is because they are forced to. The twins are a source of information for Ralph:

  • Jack’s plans
  • a stick to be sharpened at both ends

Here is a description of Samnericwhen they first respond to the conch being blown – “The two boys, bullet headed and with hair like tow….”

In “Fire on the Mountain”- “Now the twins, with unsuspected intelligence….”

In “Beast from the Air”, when Samneric are re-kindling the fire and are terrified at the noise of the parachute in the wind.

Their imaginations run wild in their description of the beast – and this confirms the terror, leading to a “real hunt”.

After the killing of Simon, the twins still operate with some sort of conscience. They do not wish to admit to being involved -”Yes. We were very tired,” repeated Sam, “so we left early.”

The twins are helpful, loyal or scared in the novel but there is more to them as:

  • They show understanding of Jack and his followers when they talk of his being painted.
  • They show understanding of what Roger has become: “He’s a terror.”



If you studied Lord of the Flies you should be revising the novel in the holidays. A good place to start would be to look at Golding’s characters – although remember that at whatever level you are studying a simple description of a character is not much help. You will want to show understanding of:
· how a character develops and changes
· how the writer uses a character to aid the development of the plot
and linked to this
· how a character relates to the other key characters in the novel.

Let’s start with Roger. Golding has something special in mind for this character. There is a great deal to think about:
what happens to Roger during the course of the story? You will notice that it was actually Roger who suggested that there should be a vote for Chief … and he becomes the ‘hangman’ in the story, over whom hangs a threatening pall of death. In the chapter “Castle Rock”, you will find:
“High overhead, Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever.”
We know the awful consequence of this. Roger becomes a threatening, violent presence. When the twins are captured, he shows that he enjoys or, at least, knows about violence:
“That’s not the way.” Roger shows Jack how to prod the twins effectively. When Jack is hunting Ralph, it is Roger who puts the pressure on the twins
“If you’re fooling us…”
Immediately after this, there came a gasp, and a squeal of pain.’
There are other pieces of evidence that suggest that Roger is someone different, and it is worth looking for these near the beginning of the novel. There are also clues as to how Roger develops:
· in the first description of him that we are given:
“There was a slight, furtive boy whom no one knew, who kept to himself with an inner intensity of avoidance and secrecy.” What else can you find out about Roger? What effect has the island experience had on him?

Level One NCEA questions on an extended text

Over the holidays Year 11 students should be revising their work on extended texts if they have studied one.

In the exam you might be asked about:

  1. how a character changes and develops
  2. a character’s role in the text
  3. how the ideas in the text are presented.

There will be questions about other aspects of the text but we will start with character and theme. For instance, if you chose to answer a question on a character’s role in the text you could use Simon if you studied Lord of the Flies. You could discuss:

  • Simon’s part in the plot
  • how Simon is different from the other boys
  • Simon’s strengths and weaknesses
  • the ways in which William Golding uses Simon to convey his ideas.

To write a good answer you need to understand what the question requires.

For each question, go through the brief but vital process of checking that you have understood what it requires you to do. This process has two parts:

  1. Check that you understand what the key words are. You could underline or highlight them.
  2. Put the question in your own words, making sure that you do not distort or change its meaning. A good way to practise this is to imagine that you are explaining it to someone else.

You could use the following prompts:

‘This question is asking me to write about …’

‘In answering this question, I will have to focus on …’