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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Lord of the Flies by William Golding-Free Summary
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STRUCTURE

Structure is the planned framework of the book. It is the deliberate way in which the story is organized by the author to make an impact on the reader.

The novel opens abruptly: We are immediately with the boys on the island, asked to accept their presence there, and swept into a story so engrossing that we just keep turning pages.

The middle of the story is spun out slowly and artfully through the repetitions of mirroring scenes and the steady buildup of tension. In the beginning the boys explored the island and saw it and themselves as glamorous. Later, terrified of the beast, they go looking for it in a scene that recalls the first exploration but reveals their failed dreams and growing disillusionment. This creates tension in the reader.

The boys' repeated use of the chant does the same thing. When they slaughter the first pig, they shout, "Kill the pig!" Later this becomes "Kill the beast!" One chant recalls the other, and the change of a word intensifies the meaning.


Tension is also created by the steady falling away of civilization, which the reader is made aware of early in the story. It begins innocently with the boys' inability to keep rules they've made for themselves because they would rather play. In each chapter there is something which indicates this loss, and the reader begins to anticipate and worry about what will happen next. The author is a master at creating tension.

Once the reader becomes thoroughly absorbed, the story concludes with the same abruptness with which it began. At the end the reader is so caught up by events that he or she has totally suspended disbelief or objectivity and just wants to know what is going to happen to Ralph. The ending's impact is powerful because there is no time for the reader to question or disagree. The story is over and has made its impression before we realize it.

Golding seduces his readers into nonthinking-the very failing he criticizes in the boys. Only after the story has been read, felt, and thought about can the reader understand the danger of being seduced by the automatic acceptance of an idea without due consideration of the facts.

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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Lord of the Flies by William Golding-Free Summary
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