How does Golding introduce his protagonist in the first chapter
- Pages: 5
- Word count: 1134
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The first character that is introduced in Lord of the Flies is Ralph. He is described at first only as “The boy with fair hair”. One of the first things Ralph does when he realizes that there aren’t any grown ups is stand on his head – “he stood on his head”. This shows that Ralph has a carefree attitude and is quite naive because he’s excited at the prospect of no adults and has not yet thought of the problems that this might arise from this. Ralph’s naivety is also shown by how optimistic he is about being rescued “He’ll be back all right”, this also shows that he trusts the civilized world.
Golding describes Ralph’s body as being of similar build as the body of a boxer “might make a boxer” but he also says that “there was a mildness about his mouth and eyes that proclaimed no devil” which shows although Ralph could be capable of violence that it is not in his nature. The fact that Ralph laughs when he hears Piggy’s name and then tells the others shows us that Ralph is not perfect and that he is just like any other twelve year old boy, this makes his character realistic and relatable. The fact that Ralph “giggled into the sand” also shows us that Ralph is not mean, just a bit immature.
Ralph then goes for a swim in the “incredible pool” which shows us that Ralph is very comfortable on the Island and just wants to have fun. Golding later describes Ralph saying that “there was a stillness” about him and as “the being” who blew the conch. Both of these descriptions show us that Ralph is not like the others, he’s special. Immediately when Ralph realizes that Jack is humiliated Ralph offers him the choir “the choir belong to you of course”. As well as being generous this shows us that Ralph is keen to keep everybody happy and tries to avoid conflict.
The fact that Ralph doesn’t realize how much he’s hurt Piggy shows us that Ralph is not a nasty person and did not try to hurt him. He is very logical telling Piggy not to come to explore the Island but after realizing he was wrong to tell other people about Piggy’s nickname he tells Piggy to collect names as a way of trying to make it up to him. This supports my earlier idea of Ralph attempting to keep everyone happy. Piggy is introduced first as “it” then “the voice” and then as being “very fat”. We do not know his name only his nickname “Piggy”.
This shows that his physical appearance has and always will define him. Unlike Ralph, Piggy senses the severity of the situation immediately and he thinks things through asking a lot of questions “What happened to it”. This shows his intelligence. When Piggy asks Ralph’s name Golding shows us that Piggy is also friendly. We can also see that he is far from physically fit because he has asthma and can’t keep up with Ralph. When Ralph goes swimming Piggy compliments him on his swimming ability saying “you can’t half swim” suggesting slight admiration towards Ralph.
We can see that Piggy is influenced by adults especially his Aunt and is not keen to disobey her even though she’d never find out “My auntie.. ” We then find out that Piggy’s parents have both died “My dad’s dead” “and my mum” this tells us that he has already dealt with mature situations in his life and that he has had to grow up faster. Piggy’s the one who thinks to call the others with the conch “We can use this to call the others”. This supports my earlier statement that Piggy is intelligent.
Although so far Piggy has been the mature and intelligent one, he also laughs when the conch “emitted a low, farting noise”. This reminds us that although Piggy doesn’t always act like it, he is also just a young boy. When Jack and his choir arrive it becomes apparent that Piggy won’t fit in with the boys firstly because everyone laughs at his nickname and don’t take him seriously and secondly because it’s obvious from the way he talks that Piggy comes from a working class background as opposed to the upper class background of the other boys making him an outsider.
Even though he is hurt by Ralph, Piggy craves his attention, wanting to go and explore with him even though it’s obvious that he couldn’t handle it. This suggests a childish side to Piggy and his need to look up to someone. Jack’s entry with the choir is by far the most dramatic. They are described by Golding first as “something dark and then as “the creature”. This foreshows that they are trouble and that there is something sinister about them. They later “perched like blackbirds” which is a bad omen, supporting the idea of these boys being trouble.
Jack is first introduced as “the boy who controlled them”. This immediately shows us that Jack has power over this group of boys and that he likes to be in control. Golding describes Jack as having “red hair” which is often connected with having a short temper and also as being “ugly without silliness”. Both of these descriptions make Jack sound threatening and frightening. Jack’s disgust at the idea of being called by his first name tells us that he believes that he is better than the others and should be treated with more respect. Golding tells us that Jack has “the voice of one who knew his own mind”.
This foreshows that he will end up doing what he wants to do despite of what he is told to do by Ralph. His aggressive way of speaking towards Piggy “Shut up, Fatty” tells us of his dislike towards Piggy and foreshows his violent behavior. The fact that Jack automatically thinks he should be chief “I ought to be chief” shows us that he is very arrogant and it also contrasts Ralph’s character who is voted to be chief without putting himself foreword. When he is not elected as chief Jack is humiliated “the freckles on Jack’s face disappeared under a blush of mortification”.
This shows us that as well as being arrogant Jack is also proud and it set’s up the rivalry between him and Ralph for the rest of the book. At the end of the chapter Jack is about to kill a pig but doesn’t because he understands “what an enormity the downward stroke would be” and he is not yet far enough removed from civilization to end a life. I believe this is where Golding first introduces Jack’s obsession with hunting because Jack’s ashamed that he hadn’t gone through with killing the pig and insists “Next time” he’ll do it.