Curriculum Vital

The Education Umbrella Guide to Lord of the Flies
Scheme of work

This 12-week scheme of work (or 'sow') is part of the Education Umbrella Guide to Lord of the Flies, which features a chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character profiles and analysis of the themes and objects.

Questions? Comments? Contact Ross: rgrainger@educationumbrella.com

Week one
Chapter one – ‘The Sound of the Shell’

Pre-read questions

Imagine you and your classmates wash up on a desert island. You have no provisions, no modern conveniences; only yourselves and your clothes.

  1. Would you feel more or less confident if you discovered there were no adults with you?
  2. Do you think you’d have more chance of surviving if you were all boys, all girls, or a mix?
  3. What would you do to increase your chances of being rescued?

1) Read chapter one (approximately 55 minutes reading time in total).

Reading options

We recommend a mixture of reading, including but not limited to:

  • teacher reading aloud;
  • pupil reading aloud half a page to a page;
  • pupils reading specific parts in scenes involving a lot of dialogue;
  • pupils reading to themselves;

Pause at the following points and ask the questions:

  1. Bottom of page 13 (‘The shouting in the forest was nearer’). Who are the two boys? (Ralph and Piggy) How do they differ? (One is tall and athletic, the other is fat and awkward) How have they ended up where they are? (The plane they were travelling in crashed) What do they find? (A shell, or conch) Are there any grown-ups? (No – the pilot died during the crash)
  2. End of second paragraph on page 22 (‘He went back to the platform’). What happens after Ralph blows the conch? (The boys scattered around the island are drawn to the sound of the shell) Who is the leader of ‘the choir’? (Jack Merridew) What do the boys do after assembling? (They have an election to determine who will be chief) Who wins the vote? (Ralph) What will become of Jack’s choir (They will be the hunters) Which boys go on the exploration? (Ralph, Jack and Simon)
  3. End of chapter. How do the boys feel during their exploration? (Happy and boisterous) What do they discover about the geography of their surroundings? (They are on an island rich in flora and fauna) Who has the chance to kill the piglet? Why does he not take it? (Jack – because he, like the others, is afraid of committing such a sudden and dramatic act of violence)

2) Writing Complete exercise one: Week one, comprehension exercise (PDF)

Lord of the Flies is about the frontier between civilisation and savagery. Use a dictionary and a thesaurus to complete the first page of the ‘Civilisation or Savagery’ table: Civilisation or Savagery (PDF)

As a class, discuss which aspects of your world can be classed as ‘civilisation’ (e.g., schools, courts, transportation, agriculture) and which are examples of ‘savagery’ (e.g., rape, murder, child abuse). In other words, what makes a society civilised or savage?

As you discuss, add examples to the blank table on the reverse side of the hand-out.

Of the examples listed, which do we see in chapter one of the novel? (Civilisation: democracy, order, organisation, leadership / Savagery: rudeness (Ralph to Piggy; Jack to Simon), discarding of clothing, authoritarianism (Jack as leader of the choir)

Keep the hand-out with you and add to it as you read the novel.

3) Speaking

Role play

Pupils work in groups of four. Pupils play the role of either Ralph, Simon, Jack or Piggy.

Ralph calls an assembly to report on what he and his team found during their exploration of the island. Simon and Jack add their own input. Piggy asks relevant questions, e.g., ‘Are there really no grown-ups?’ ‘What will we eat?’

Topics to include: the geography of the island; available food; the failed attempt to kill the piglet; rules they will have to establish in order to survive; possible dangers, etc.

Guide to Lord of the Flies: Chapter one - The Sound of the Shell: Summary and analysis

Week two
Chapter two – ‘Fire on the Mountain’

1) Listening 

With books closed pupils listen to the audiobook of chapter two up to the final complete paragraph of page 33 (‘Apparently no one had found anything.’) As they listen they complete the listening exercise: Chapter two listening exercise (PDF)

Which ideas from the role play you did in week one appear in the meeting?

2) Review

  1. What rule do the boys establish? (Only the boy holding the conch can speak)
  2. What upsetting possibility do they contemplate? (That nobody knows where they are)
  3. What do the boys compare their situation to? (Three adventure stories – Treasure Island, Swallows and Amazons and The Coral Island)

Read to page 43, to the end of ‘They gazed intently at the dense blue of the horizon, as if the little silhouette might appear there at any moment.’

What if anything can you add to your ‘Civilisation or Savagery’ table? (Civilisation: the ability to make fire, as well as fire itself; rules; symbolism; the Queen; the Royal Navy / Savagery: hunting (to satisfy a desire to kill rather than for food), fears and phobias; pyromania; aggression)

3) Review

  1. What is contradictory about Jack’s opinion of the ‘beast’? (He says it doesn’t exist, but then adds to the young boys’ fears by saying that he and his hunters will kill it.)
  2. What new rule does Piggy help establish? (‘Wherever the conch is, that’s a meeting.’)
  3. Who defends Piggy against Jack’s insults? (Simon, by pointing out that they used Piggy’s glasses to start the fire.)
  4. Who will maintain the fire? (Jack’s hunters.)

4) Analysis

Do you think Ralph’s insistence, on page 36, that ‘there isn’t a beast!’ manages to assuage the boys' fears?

Is Ralph right to dismiss the possibility of snakes existing on the island? What other well known story involves a snake causing trouble?

5) Read Genesis 3. What do the two stories have in common? 

Genesis 3 King James Version (PDF)

6) Read the rest of chapter two.

Choose one quote (that is, something a character says) to summarise the chapter and indeed the novel thus far. (If pupils have grasped the overriding concept, they ought to be drawn to Jack’s claim, on page 42, ‘We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English; and the English are best at everything. So we’ve got to do the right things.’ If nobody chooses this, draw pupils’ attention to it. Discuss Jack’s hypocrisy (he frequently ignores the conch-speaking rule) and the idea of the English being ‘the best at everything.’)

Find two more uses of the word ‘savage’ in the final section you read. (Page 44) Who or what else is becoming savage? Give examples. (Jack – he becomes increasingly rude and aggressive.)

What is the most troubling sign that the boys nascent society is disintegrating? (The disappearance of the boy with the birthmark on his face.)

7) Speaking and writing

Split the class into three or four groups, or as many as necessary to ensure that there are enough pupils to play the roles of Ralph, Jack, Piggy, Simon, Roger and Maurice and one or two youngsters.

Write a one-page script in which Ralph attempts to rectify the situation and establish new rules following the wildfire and the disappearance of one of the youngsters. Every character must speak at least two lines.

Give each group a safe object to represent the conch and a pair of empty glasses for the pupil playing Piggy.

Guide to Lord of the Flies: Chapter two - Fire on the Mountain: Summary and analysis

Week three
Chapter three – ‘Huts on the Beach’

1) Read the first two pages of the chapter, to the end of the top line on page 50 (‘… died away in the distance.’) Ask for a volunteer to play Jack. As you read, pause at each action to allow the person playing Jack to mime it. Note: do not attempt to recreate Jack’s near-nakedness; the pupil can remain in uniform.

2) Read to the break near the bottom of page 56. Have pupils take turns reading the parts of Ralph and Jack. As they read, have pupils contemplate the question ‘Whose side is Simon on?’

Review

  1. Why does Jack want to hunt?
  2. Why does Ralph want to build shelters?
  3. What do Jack and Ralph think of Simon?

3) Writing and speaking

Choose Ralph or Jack. Write a 200-word speech explaining why either hunting pigs or building shelters is the most important task. The piece should be a mixture of quotes from the novel and your own ideas. Then, deliver it in character as if you were addressing an assembly.

4) Read the remainder of the chapter.

What does the final section reveal about Simon? How do his actions relate to his remark earlier in the chapter ‘As if this wasn’t a good island’?

Can you think of another famous example of a mysterious character retiring to a garden in order to meditate? (Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, or Mount of Olives, as recorded in Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46 and Mark 14:32-42. This tells us that Simon is a prophetic character.)

Guide to Lord of the Flies: Chapter three - Huts on the Beach: Summary and analysis

Week four
Chapter four – ‘Painted Faces and Long Hair’

What does the chapter title tell us about the development of the boys – does it indicate an increase or decline in civilisation?

1) Read to the end of the second paragraph on page 63 (‘…presently Percival was crying again.’)

Identify the following:

  1. A simile (comparison using ‘like’ or ‘as’):
  2. A synonym of ‘threaten’:
  3. A synonym of ‘collective’:
  4. An adverb that means ‘soon’:
  5. An example of creeping incivility in one of the older boys:

2) Read to the break on page 67.

Reread the final paragraph on page 64. Why does Roger throw stones at Henry ‘to miss’? How does this contrast with his discussion with Jack that follows this scene?

3) Analysis

He capered towards Bill, and the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness.

Recall the earlier evocation of the Garden of Eden. How does this line about Jack compare to Adam and Eve’s sense of shame? What is happening to Jack?

4) Read to the end of the middle paragraph of page 77 (‘…different sides of a high barrier.’)

‘The stone, that symbol of preposterous time…’

What lines of chapter four support this assertion? What lines suggest that time is necessary for human stability?

Find the line in the section you have just read that summarises the two competing worlds amongst the boys. (There was the brilliant world of hunting, tactics, fierce exhilaration, skill; and there was the world of longing and baffled common-sense.) (Page 75)

5) Read the remainder of the chapter.

Put pupils in groups of three. Each group discusses one of the following questions:

  1. Do you think Jack really wants to be rescued? Why or why not?
  2. How does Simon show that he is an angelic figure? What are the ‘passions that beat about Simon with awful wings’? In which of the two aforementioned worlds does Simon exist?
  3. How does Ralph enhance and undermine his authority?

Pupils then switch to form groups of As, Bs and Cs, and summarise their discussion to their new partners.

6) Speaking

Imagine you are Ralph. Prepare your speech for the assembly you have just called. What has happened? What needs to change? Deliver your speech to your class without using notes.

7) Writing

Imagine you are Jack. Write 300 words describing your successful hunting of the pig. How did you prepare? What was your hunting strategy? How did you cook the meat? Before you write list eight key words to include. (Examples include: pig, spear, barb, blood, beat, circle, cut, bash, meat)

Homework

Add to your ‘Civilisation or Savagery’ table.

Guide to Lord of the Flies: Chapter four - Painted Faces and Long Hair: Summary and analysis

Week five
Chapter five – ‘Beast from Water’

1) Read to the bottom of page 87, ‘… And then—’

Discuss

Ralph is about to give his theory about why things are ‘breaking up’. What do you think his theory is?

2) Read to ‘… and he shrank away defenceless to his seat’ near the bottom of page 96.

Discuss

What rule does Ralph have difficulty maintaining during the meeting?

3) Speaking and writing

Imagine you are Simon. Write 100 words on ‘the beast’? What is ‘mankind’s essential illness’? Deliver your speech to the class.

4) Read to the end of the chapter.

Discuss

Why does the assembly break up?

5) Comprehension

Complete the comprehension exercise: Who says it? (PDF)

6) Writing

How in chapter five does the beast go from being a figment of the boys’ imagination to something almost tangible? Which boys believe in it? Which boys don’t believe in it? Who is in between? What does each boys’ (dis)belief say about his character? Write 300 words.

Homework

Research St Anthony. Who was he? Why is it ironic that Percival’s address features his name?

Guide to Lord of the Flies: Chapter five - Beast From Water: Summary and analysis

Week six
Chapter six ‘Beast from Air’ and chapter seven ‘Shadows and Tall Trees’

1) Read to the middle of page 104 (‘… and bowed and sank and bowed again.’)

Review

What has happened? A pilot has been shot down and parachuted onto the island. His parachute gets caught in some branches, leaving him swaying in the breeze.

2) Read to the break at the top of page 107. Have pupils take turns reading the parts of Sam and Eric.

Discuss

Whose side are Sam and Eric on? Does the fact that they are twin brothers have any influence over their loyalty?

3) Read to ‘We’d better take spears’ in the middle of page 112.

Discuss

Why does Ralph hold the conch aloft rather than blow it? He is still afraid that the others might ignore it.

How does Jack further demonstrate his contempt for civilisation? He says that it doesn’t matter if nobody stays to look after the littluns. He claims that the conch is unnecessary because some people don’t deserve to speak.

4) Read to the end of the chapter. As you read, consider the following questions:

  • Does Simon believe in the beast?
  • Does Ralph believe in the beast?
  • What does Jack begin plotting as he and Ralph explore the area known as ‘the castle’? What might be the implications of this?

5) Writing devices

Complete the worksheet on writing devices: Writing devices exercise (PDF)

6) Read to the break on page 123 (the end of Ralph’s daydream).

Discuss

What effect does the decline in cleanliness and personal hygiene have on the boys’ society?

7) Speaking

What is Simon’s prediction? Imagine he were to prophesise the other boys’ fortunes. What would they be? Work in pairs. Take turns playing Simon and the other boys (Jack, Piggy, Roger, Maurice, Percival, Sam & Eric). Simon prophesises each boy’s future, and the other boy replies in character.

8) Read to the break on page 126.

Discuss

How does Ralph feel after the boar escapes? How does this feeling transfer into the boys’ play afterwards?

9) Read to the end of the chapter.

Before you begin, review the power struggle between Jack and Ralph. How vulnerable is Ralph’s position as chief?

Devise a way to measure who has the upper hand during the remainder of chapter six. For example, you could make masks to represent each boy and stick them on the middle of your whiteboard. As each boy attempts to trump or undermine the other, ask the class whether you should raise or lower each mask. Or, ask each pupil to make a mask and colour it themselves based on the novel (Jack’s face is painted; Ralph’s is merely dirty; both boys have long hair, etc.). As they read, the pupils raise or lower the masks on their desks to indicate the swing of power.

Guide to Lord of the Flies: Chapter six - Beast From Air: Summary and analysis

Guide to Lord of the Flies: Chapter seven - Shadows and Tall Trees: Summary and analysis

Week seven
Chapter eight – ‘Gift for the Darkness’

1) Review

Complete the chronology exercise to review the important events. Either print the sheet, cut out the boxes and have pupils arrange them, or have students write 1, 2, 3, etc. beside the appropriate box.

Chronology of events review exercise (PDF)

2) Pre-read speaking and writing

Imagine you are Jack. You call a meeting to attempt to oust Ralph from his role as chief. What evidence would you use against him? Write a brief speech, then deliver it to the class.

3) Read to the break on 140.

Discuss

In your pre-read activity did you make any of the same remarks that Jack makes in his attempted coup?

Why does Jack lose the vote?

4) Read to the break on page 145.

Discuss

Where has Simon gone? Why do you think he suggested earlier that the boys climb the mountain?

Can you think of another well known story involving an emotional feast, a mysterious character who prophesises something ominous before leaving and a traitor in the group?

5) Read to the break on page 146.

Discuss

‘He knelt down and the arrow of the sun fell on him.’

How does this line suggest that Simon is a prophetic character?

Which lines of the same passage portend imminent pain and suffering?

6) Read to the break on page 151.

Recall the earlier exercise on similes, analogies and metaphor. The hunt scene is meant as a metaphor for sexual violence. Which lines of the passage support this? How does the weather complement the boys’ emotions?

Why does Jack put the severed head on a stick? Can you think of any groups that offer animal sacrifices to appease a god or gods?

Why is it a poor long-term strategy to kill the sow rather than a piglet or male pig? What does this say about Jack’s society?

Add to your ‘Civilisation or Savagery’ table.

7) Read to the break on page 157.

Discuss

Ralph: ‘… what makes things break up like they do?’ How would you answer this question?

‘Ralph was puzzled by the shutter that flickered in his brain.’ What do you think the ‘shutter’ is? Why does Ralph briefly lose faith in the fire?

Why does Jack not go for the conch? Does he want to be rescued?

8) Read to the end of the chapter.

Writing exercise

Imagine you are Ralph. Write a peace treaty to offer to Jack and his tribe. Propose that rather than compete, the two groups work together. List the rules that must be followed, the priorities, the roles for each boy and your positions on the beast, rescue, fire, etc. Write 200-300 words. Read your treaty to the class.

Guide to Lord of the Flies: Chapter eight - Gift for the Darkness: Summary and analysis

Week eight
Chapter nine – ‘A View to a Death’

1) Read to ‘Even with great care the best he could do was a stagger’ on page 162.

Discuss

Can you think of another well known story of a man who, bloodied and alone, staggers onwards with grim determination in order to save people? How did that journey end for the man?

2) Read to ‘Come on! Dance!’ on page 167.

Discuss

What has happened to Jack now that he has achieved the power he had so yearned for? If possible, compare to Napoleon in George Orwell’s Animal Farm.  Or, discuss the corrupting influence of power in general.

Speaking exercise

Divide the class into two groups – Ralph and Jack. The class debates which boy is the best chief. Alternatively, divide class into pairs, assign each the role of Ralph or Jack and have them debate in character. If necessary, have pupils write the arguments that each boy makes in this section and has made throughout the novel.

3) Read to the break on page 169.

Discuss

Why are Ralph and Piggy ‘eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society’ and ‘glad to touch the brown backs of the fence that hemmed in the terror and made it governable’? Use our chapter nine analysis for more details on the significance of this passage.

Writing devices

Note the similes and analogies that Golding uses in the section you have just read.

Note all the powerful verbs, e.g., ‘… the thunder exploded again so that a littlun started to whine.’

Note all the adverbs, e.g., ‘A wave of restlessness set the boys swaying and moving aimlessly.’

4) Read the remainder of the chapter.

Guide to Lord of the Flies: Chapter nine - A View to a Death: Summary and analysis

Week nine
Chapter ten ­– ‘The Shell and the Glasses’

1) Discuss

Does the fact that Jack’s hunters are now all guilty of murder make them more or less likely to leave his tribe? Explore murder as a way of both initiating and strengthening allegiance in a tribe or gang.

2) Read to the break on page 175.

What line shows that Ralph is losing his connection to the concept of civilisation?

Discuss

If you were a judge, would you find Ralph, Piggy, Sam and Eric guilty of manslaughter because they did nothing to protect Simon during the murder? Do you believe Piggy’s defence, ‘We was on the outside. We never done nothing, we never seen nothing’? How does this compare to soldiers who claim they were “just following orders”?

3) Read to the break on page 179.

How has Jack begun to act like a tyrannical dictator?

4) Read to the end of the chapter.

Discuss

  • Why do Samneric remain loyal to Ralph?
  • What does Ralph’s dream symbolise?

Writing exercise

His mind skated to a consideration of a tamed town where savagery could not set foot.

First, define ‘savagery’. Then, describe a town, either one you know or an imaginary town, where savagery as you define it ‘could not set foot.’ Describe some of the savagery from Lord of the Flies and why such things could not happen in your town. Write 400-500 words.

Guide to Lord of the Flies: Chapter 10 - The Shell and the Glasses: Summary and analysis

Week ten
Chapter eleven – ‘Castle Rock’

1) Read to the break on page 192.

 Discuss

  • ‘Are we savages or what?’ Answer yes or no. Give evidence to support your answer.
  • Why does Ralph suggest that the boys clean themselves before confronting Jack’s tribe?
  • ‘Piggy nodded propitiatingly.’ What does ‘propitiatingly’ signify in this context?
  • Why does Piggy insist on carrying the conch?

2) Read to the end of Piggy’s speech on page 200.

Use our analysis to explore Piggy’s potentially confusing use of the word ‘nigger’. Then, discuss Piggy’s ultimatum – ‘Which is better…?’

3) Read to the break on page 202.

Discuss

Why do the ‘savages’ obey the power of the conch and listen to Piggy?

What does it mean that Sam and Eric protest ‘out of the heart of civilization’? Would you use their expressions, ‘Oh, I say’ and ‘Honestly’?

4) Reread the paragraph describing Piggy’s death and the destruction of the conch. What is fitting about it? Why is it ironic?

5) Read to the end of the chapter.

Discuss

What is the ‘hangman’s horror’ that Roger feels? Can you give a name to the ‘nameless authority’ he now wields?

Debate

Who is more responsible for Piggy’s death – Roger or Jack? Or are they equally guilty?

Research

By him stood Piggy still holding out the talisman, the fragile, shining beauty of the shell.

What does ‘talisman’ mean? Why is it an appropriate synonym for the conch? Use a dictionary to help you.

6) Write

Add to your ‘Civilisation or Savagery’ table.

Guide to Lord of the Flies: Chapter 11 - Castle Rock: Summary and analysis

Week 11
Chapter 12 – ‘Cry of the Hunters’

1) Pre-read writing

What do you think will happen to Ralph? You are going to write a 500-600 word final chapter in two parts. First, write 200-300 words. Then swap with a partner. You finish your partner’s story while he or she finishes yours.

Read some examples and discuss.

2) Read to the break on page 212.

Discuss

  • Why has Ralph sharpened a stick at both ends?
  • What is ‘that indefinable connection’ between Ralph and Jack (p. 204)?
  • What is Ralph’s remark ‘’Cos I had some sense’ an answer to?

3) Read to the end of the chapter.

Did anyone predict the ending?

Discuss

  • Why is the manner of Ralph’s rescue somewhat ironic?
  • What remark from earlier in the novel does the officer’s comment about ‘British boys’ evoke?
  • Why does Jack not protest when Ralph boldly claims that he (Ralph) is ‘in charge’?

4) Research and present

Choose one question and prepare a three to five-minute presentation.

  • Is the naval officer right to compare the boys’ situation to The Coral Island?
  • What is William Golding’s connection to the Royal Navy?
  • What event that took place not long before the publication of Lord of the Flies could the ending of the novel symbolise?

Guide to Lord of the Flies: Chapter 12 - Cry of the Hunters: Summary and analysis

Week 12
Review

1) Watch The Simpsons episode ‘Das Bus’ (season nine, episode 14)

After pupils watch they complete the worksheet:

The Simpsons vs. Lord of the Flies (PDF)

The Simpsons vs. Lord of the Flies (teacher's version) (PDF)

2) Speaking

Divide the pupils into four groups, A, B, C and D.

Group A: the pig

Group B: the conch

Group C: the glasses

Group D: the beast

Each group copies two or three relevant quotes about their object from the novel, then discusses the possible symbolism of the object.

Groups then reform into A, B, C, D and share their findings with the their new partners.

Guide to Lord of the Flies: Symbols, objects and motifs

3) Writing

Imagine you are the naval officer who rescues the boys at the end of the novel. Write a 300-400 word diary entry describing what you encountered.

4) Role play

The trial of Jack and Roger

Role play a trial in which Jack and Roger are charged with the murder of Piggy and Simon. Pupils fill the following roles: barristers, Ralph, Sam, Eric, Percival, Maurice, Henry, Wilfred, Robert, Bill, naval officer and littluns.

5) Analysis and writing

Complete the comparative writing exercise: Comparative writing exercise week 12 (PDF)