Friday, December 19, 2014

Blog #23: Lord of the Flies

Minimum Words: 400
Minimum Text References and Citations: 3 (Including works outside of The Lord of the Flies)
Due Date: Tuesday, December 22 at midnight. Actually, it can be done any time before the end of break.
Note: You are very welcome to include references to other works, including books, stories, videos, music, and other things.

Helpful links: Sample Reader's Notebook from CIS Literature* | Critical Lens notecards | Reader's Notebook Instructions Spark Notes

This notebook entry is supposed to be 100% dictated by your own analysis and relationship to the text. If you can, try to do this without looking at the suggested questions below. However, for those of you who need a little push to begin this voyage, please feel free to consider the following questions or statements: 

  • Who is the protagonist in the novel? Who is the antagonist? How does the opposition of these two characters help develop the drama and the unfolding of the tale?
  • What connections can you make with law, morals, and ethics? Consider the readings we did in class.
  • Do you agree or disagree with what Golding seems to be teaching through this novel?
  • What does it mean to be good? What makes a person good? How are these traits or qualities reflected in the characters in Lord of the Flies?
  • How does fear or savagery or the unknown control the boys? How do characters leverage these feelings or concepts to control others?
  • What connections can you make to Plato's Republic and the idea of justice or the creation of a perfectly just society? How does The Lord of the Flies contrast or compare with the ideas at play in The Republic?
Suggested topics from Spark Notes:
* The sample reader's notebook above is done by a senior in high school with a lot of experience writing these notebooks. It is also over 600 words longer than the entry you are expected to create. No pressure.

1. Of all the characters, it is Piggy who most often has useful ideas and sees the correct way for the boys to organize themselves. Yet the other boys rarely listen to him and frequently abuse him. Why do you think this is the case? In what ways does Golding use Piggy to advance the novel’s themes?
2. What, if anything, might the dead parachutist symbolize? Does he symbolize something other than what the beast and the Lord of the Flies symbolize?
3. The sow’s head and the conch shell each wield a certain kind of power over the boys. In what ways do these objects’ powers differ? In what way is Lord of the Fliesa novel about power? About the power of symbols? About the power of a person to use symbols to control a group?
4. What role do the littluns play in the novel? In one respect, they serve as gauges of the older boys’ moral positions, for we see whether an older boy is kind or cruel based on how he treats the littluns. But are the littluns important in and of themselves? What might they represent?
You can also use the prompts from the previous blog post to help in your analysis.

Please cite page numbers and specific passages from the novel to support your inferences and conclusions. We will be using these questions and your conclusions, questions, and insights to spark classroom discussion on Wednesday.

Example citation:
Scout says that "Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it" (Lee 4). She seems to be trying to emphasize not just the age of the town, but also the slowness of the town, the values of the people, and the way that summer heat made everything drag on.

This isn’t the first time we see one of the Price women choosing materialism over God, despite Nathan’s harsh beatings and warnings. On page 363, Rachel reaches for her mirror instead of for her Bible, explaining “[ . . . ] it didn’t seem worth saving at that moment, so help me God. It had to be my mirror.” Whether this shows rebellion or just the simplistic mindset of a 15-year-old teenage girl, I’m not sure. Perhaps she was, in her own, small way, rebelling from Nathan. But maybe she just wanted to make sure that no matter where she went in Africa, she would always know the state of her appearance. That seems pretty likely.

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