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Characters and Their Involvement in 'Lord of the Flies'

Ralph

Physical: Ralph has "fair hair" and is about twelve years old. Golding writes:

"You could see now that he might make a boxer, as far as width and heaviness of shoulders went, but there was a mildness about his mouth and eyes that proclaimed no devil."

Involvement: Ralph is somewhat charismatic and is chosen for chief, who makes it his job to lay down rules and try to organise a society. Throughout the novel he is always in conflict with Jack, who wants to be chief himself. Ralph and Piggy agree with each other’s ideas, but Ralph doesn’t realise how important Piggy really is to him until the very end of the novel. Although Ralph never reaches the understanding about the Beast that Simon does, he knows right from wrong.

Jack Merridew

Physical: Probably the same age as Ralph, maybe older, Jack has red hair (yes, this person << has black hair, deal with it) and is described this way:

"...he was thin and bony; and his hair was red beneath the black cap. His face was crumpled and freckled, and ugly without silliness. Out of this face stared two light blue eyes, frustrated now, and turning, or ready to turn, to anger."

Jack’s eyes are always used in the novel to depict his emotions, as they are above. When the boys land on the island they are all wearing their school uniforms, but Jack and his choir are wearing cloaks and caps. Oddly enough, Jack is one of the only boys whose last name is learned.

Involvement: Jack does not believe that the Beast exists and is the leader of anarchy on the island. From the start of the novel he does not like abiding by rules of any kind. He simply wants to hunt and have a good time. Not seeming to care about being rescued, Jack and his tribe are examples of the Beast running rampant.

In the beginning of the story Jack, still conditioned by the previous society he had been apart of, could not bear to kill a pig that was caught in the brush. As the plot progresses he becomes less and less attached to any societal norms. Near the end, he feels no shame about the deaths of Simon and Piggy, or his attempt to kill Ralph.

Piggy

Physical: Again, he is probably close in age to Jack and Ralph, but his physique is quite different. Piggy is shorter than Ralph, very fat—as the name suggests—wears glasses, and has asthma, which disables him to do any work on the island. Golding’s descriptions of Piggy are often very cruel. He once describes him as a "bag of fat." Piggy’s real name is never known and for some reason he doesn’t attempt to make it so. He often refers to his auntie who it is assumed he used to live with.

Involvement: Piggy is a key character in the novel. He is much like Ralph in that he knows right from wrong, but he differs in that he never strays from this knowledge as Ralph sometimes does. Always supporting Ralph, he is the most intelligent of the lot. Unfortunately, he is somewhat whiny and is constantly joshed by the boys—even Ralph—for his size, his inability to work, and his specs. Golding uses him to—among other things—show the reader that often times society singles out a person or group of people to look down upon so that they can feel superior and secure: "Piggy was once more the centre of social derision so that everyone felt cheerful and normal." In the end of the novel, Jack’s tribe kills Piggy and destroys the conch.

Simon

Physical: Simon’s first appearance has him fainting from the heat. Apparently shorter than Ralph, Simon is described by Golding:

"He was a small, skinny boy, his chin pointed, and his eyes so bright they had deceived Ralph into thinking him delightfully gay and wicked. The coarse mop of black hair was long and swung down, almost concealing a low, broad forehead... [he was] Always darkish in colour... "

Involvement: Simon is an introverted boy who cannot find it bearable to speak in front of the assembly. The boys all think that he’s "batty"; he likes to be by himself and sometimes does and says strange things. Simon is the only boy who discovers what the Beast truly is. He learns this during the "interview" with the Lord of the Flies. When he tries to tell the rest of the children he is mistaken as the Beast and beaten to death. Simon is often seen as a Christ figure in the novel.

Samneric

Physical: The two twins are so identical that they are given one name and cannot function without each other:

"They breathed together, they grinned together, they were chunky and vital. They raised wet lips at Ralph, for they seemed provided with not quite enough skin, so that their profiles were blurred and their mouths pulled open. "

Involvement: Samneric are often in charge of watching the signal fire. They too side with Ralph, but are captured in the end by Jack. Their loyalty doesn’t extend as far it should; they eventually confess to Jack where Ralph is hiding before he his hunted.

Roger

Physical: Roger is described:

"...a slight, furtive boy whom no one knew, who kept to himself with an inner intensity of avoidance and secrecy... the shock of black hair, down his nape and low on his forehead, seemed to suit his gloomy face and made what had seemed at first an unsociable remoteness into something forbidding."

Involvement: Roger is a sadist who revels in hurting and causing pain. He knocks over the littluns’ sand castles and throws stones at them. In the end it is he who pushes the boulder that kills Piggy. Becoming Jack’s right-hand man he is feared by Ralph during the hunt, carrying "death in his hands."

The Littluns

Physical: The so-called littluns are the boys who don’t play a large role in the novel. They are probably five or six years old.

Involvement: Although they do not always comprehend what is going on around them, the littluns are important people. They are the ones who first see the Beast and are in constant fear of it, especially during the night. They are the "rest of society" and often go with the flow and do what the bigguns are doing. Most of them end up joining Jack, not because they can differentiate between right and wrong, but because Jack provides them meat and protection from the Beast.

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