Quotes from ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding

Read the review for the book

This book has some really beautiful language and it is always nice to see that someone has worked so hard on a book that even the fillers are much more than just words.

The two boys, bullet-headed and with hair like tow, flung themselves down and lay grinning and panting at Ralph like dogs. They were twins, and the eye was shocked and incredulous at such cheery duplication. 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.

While descriptions of all the people on the island is quite vivid, nothing comes close to this description of the twins, Sam and Eric, who are so entwined that they are referred to as Samneric for the rest of the book. Always together, always just as cheerful and always bringing a dash of innocence to the story.

“Let’s vote–”
This toy of voting was almost as pleasing as the conch. Jack started to protest but the clamor changed from the general wish for a chief to an election by acclaim of Ralph himself. None of the boys could have found good reason for this; what intelligence had been shown was traceable to Piggy while the most obvious leader was Jack. But there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch. The being that had blown that, had sat waiting for them on the platform with the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart.

These are kids and they don’t know yet, the power of symbolism. So, when Ralph unwittingly benefits from a symbol (the conch, that when blown by Ralph will allow the boys to find each other), it’s quite clear why. However, by stressing on this aspect, Golding makes it absolutely certain that even in this world of children, there are deeper, darker forces at play.

Every point of the mountain held up trees–flowers and trees. Now the forest stirred, roared, flailed. The nearer acres of rock flowers fluttered and for half a minute the breeze blew cool on their faces.
Ralph spread his arms.
“All ours.”

A realization of pure, unfettered freedom and an empowering sense of ownership. Never has it been described so well in just two words.

Once more, amid the breeze, the shouting, the slanting sunlight on the high mountain, was shed that glamour, that strange invisible light of friendship, adventure, and content.
“Almost too heavy.”
Jack grinned back.

Friendship comes to claim the rivals and ensconces itself in the innocent grin of a boy, purged of jealousy.

The sun in the west was a drop of burning gold that slid nearer and nearer the sill of the world. All at once they were aware of the evening as the end of light and warmth.

You realize the value of water only when the river goes dry. So was the case with the boys when the warmth of the day came to an abrupt end.

Roger stooped, picked up a stone, aimed, and threw it at Henry– threw it to miss. The stone, that token of preposterous time, bounced five yards to Henry’s right and fell in the water. Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. Roger’s arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins.

Damn. So damn true.

Simon stayed where he was, a small brown image, concealed by the leaves. Even if he shut his eyes the sow’s head still remained like an after-image. The half-shut eyes were dim with the infinite cynicism of adult life. They assured Simon that everything was a bad business.
“I know that.”
Simon discovered that he had spoken aloud. He opened his eyes quickly and there was the head grinning bemusedly in the strange daylight, ignoring the flies, the spilled guts, even ignoring the indignity of being spiked on a stick.

The infinite cynicism of adult life. Wow.

If it were light, shame would burn them at admitting these things. But the night was dark.

In the silence of the night and in the heart of darkness, your conscience goes to sleep.

Lord of the Flies Facebook Cover

And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.

There’s another line that follows, that I’ve not put here as it would give away the end. That line will make you weep.

2 comments

  1. I like that you ended with a cliff-hanger. Now one is compelled to read the book.

    Like

    1. I didn’t think of that at all! Nice. I’m an unwitting genius. smug

      Like

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