The Sound of the Shell

We discussed Chapter 1 today.

Golding’s writing style was frustrating to most. He describes the same things over and over again, uses strange word choices, and sometimes is unclear in what he is describing. It is inconsistent in that Golding tries to write in a child’s perspective but then switches to “super-adult” mode.
The boys don’t know one another because of the circumstances of their evacuation. They grouped together many different kids who did not know one another. We never actually find out why a plane full of preteen boys who have no affiliation with one another were there in the first place. We can guess that at the time, there was a threat to Britain from Japan that forced their evacuation.
There are two competing ideas concerning the plane: the first is that the plane was struck by lightning, and the second is that it was shot down. Oh, and there’s the whole ‘miraculous lack of injury’ thing. The entire scenario is ludicrously unbelievable, as illustrated by Stuck.
We start the book the morning after this crash. Because the boys didn’t know one another, there is no way to know if everyone survived the incident.
Taboos begin to come about even this early in the book. Many kids run around naked for a while, and Ralph swears and ignores Piggy’s friendly advance. Jack has a knife for some reason. Ralph gets naked simply because he can.
Piggy has a thick cockney accent in spite of his wit. This makes Ralph instantly dislike him because of his apparent social class.
Ralph is physically imposing, the oldest child, and well-spoken. This makes him an obvious choice for leader. He has benefited a lot from societies distortion of the idea of the “natural man” (look it up). It’s like there are still adults on the island because they are conforming to the social norms of their old society. Although Piggy was completely responsible for the conch and knew what to do with it, Ralph got all the credit. Piggy is almost adult-like in his organization.
The choir walks in, and they’re clad in black cloaks and hats and walking in formation. Jack is their leader and he leads with fear and intimidation. Isn’t a little strange that a choir leader would be carrying a knife on his person? But I digress.
Jack looks like he’s ticked off all the time. He’s not good looking by any means, so he’s not society’s default leader, but he wants to lead and has a knife.
Ralph is probably the worst leader ever invented. Stuck can’t stand him. He breaks them into groups. He put the choir (now “Hunters”) in charge of food and fire. He puts the most important jobs on the shoulders of the “V.P.” There are roughly 8 “old” kids on the island. The younger kids see these older kids as almost annoying, which is taboo in itself.
Ralph’s tactical decision to let Jack be in charge of hunting, fire, and basically everything else is asinine. He’s already in charge of the choir, which is comprised of the old kids. It makes more sense to try to get the choir to ally themselves with Ralph more than Jack. Also, why give the guy who has the knife power?
Simon is supposed to be Jesus Christ. It makes no sense, nor will it ever in the novel, but that’s the way it is.

Read Chapter 2 tonight.

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