Text Analysis of Lord of the Flies (1954, William Golding)

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainer

Text Analysis of Lord of the Flies

Symbols, objects and motifs


The conch

In colour the shell was deep cream, touched here and there with fading pink. Between the point, worn away into a little hole, and the pink lips of the mouth, lay eighteen inches of shell with a slight spiral twist and covered with a delicate, embossed pattern.

The conch, or shell, represents law, order and civilisation.

Ralph and Piggy come upon the shell early in chapter one as they are exploring the island alone. Piggy tells Ralph that he knows someone who had a similar shell and called it a conch. He adds that they are very valuable, and that blowing into the hole in the right way produces a powerful sound. Piggy is convinced that if Ralph blows on the conch the other boys will hear the sound and come to them. They will then be able to have a meeting.

Due to his asthma, Piggy can’t breathe strongly enough. He teaches Ralph to breathe from his diaphragm. After a few failed attempts, the shell sounds, a ‘deep, harsh note’ that booms across the island, scattering birds from the treetops. Ralph blows again. Soon the other boys come out of the jungle and approach Ralph and Piggy.

As the man who both possesses and sounded the shell, Ralph has power and authority in the eyes of the other boys. In the election for chief that follows the first gathering, Ralph is elected over Jack thanks mainly to the fact that he owns the shell.

In the next meeting, Ralph decides that only the person holding the conch can speak. Jack is never comfortable with this rule. When he decides to ignore it, the descent into savagery accelerates unstoppably.

Although Ralph sounds the shell, it is Piggy who is most committed to its invisible power. Aware of his physical limitations (short-sighted, overweight, asthmatic, unable to swim), Piggy is determined to maintain an ordered system in which every boy has an equal right to speak. He frequently says “I’ve got the conch!” when the other boys, increasingly weary of obeying the rules, try to silence him. Fittingly, the conch and Piggy, the last remaining barriers between savagery and civilisation, are destroyed by a single boulder.

The word ‘conch’ comes from the Greek

Top 5 Classic Horror Films You (Probably) Didn’t Know Were Based on Books!

Many classic and well-known films have originated from books. Goodfellas, for one, is based on Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi, a non-fiction account of the life of real-world mobster Henry Hill. Even Die Hard – arguably one of the most “Hollywood” films to ever grace the silver screen – was largely birthed from Roderick Thorp’s thriller Nothing Lasts Forever. more “Top 5 Classic Horror Films You (Probably) Didn’t Know Were Based on Books!”

Thoughts on… An Appreciation of Children’s Literature panel

by Emma Sewell
by Emma Sewell

bath_festThis Bath Children’s Literature Festival talk was all about how brilliant children’s writing is. For those of you who didn’t know that, it’s a fact. Editor Danny Hahn hosted and was joined by authors David Almond (the man who has won pretty much everything), Sally Gardner and Pushkin Press publisher Adam Freudenheim.

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Review: Liar and Spy

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

A triple word winner of a book.


Winner of the 2013 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and longlisted for the 2014 CILIP Carnegie Medal, Liar and Spy, by Rebecca Stead, is set in the author’s hometown of New York City. It’s “the same square mile of Brooklyn where I’ve lived all my life,” says the story’s narrator and protagonist, Georges. Yes, that’s right, Georges with an S, as in Georges Seurat, the 19th century French neo-Impressionist painter. “Here’s a piece of advice you will probably never use,” says our middle school hero: “If you want to name your son after Georges Seurat, you could call him George, without the S. Just to make his life easier.”
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Introducing TECbook: Our approach to creating an eBook platform for education

by Ian Grainger
by Ian Grainger


Our primary intention when designing TECbook was for it to be easy to use for both teaching and learning. For us, ease-of-use is crucial. If you present someone with a complex product that has far too many features and options, it can be quite daunting. We wanted to make sure getting a student started didn’t require an I.T. department to intervene, or students to pre-register in any way. more “Introducing TECbook: Our approach to creating an eBook platform for education”

Thoughts on… The Writers’ Creative Journey panel

by Emma Sewell
by Emma Sewell


I wasn’t sure what to expect from this panel at the Bath Children’s Literature Festival 2015: a discussion with three writers who have all come out of the Bath Spa University MA in Writing for Young People course. I worried it was just going to be a plug for the course. It was, but only because the three authors were so inspiring that if they’d had a sign up sheet outside I think everyone would have run out shouting “shut up and take my money!” In the end, though, this talk on writers’ creative journey was very good.

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Review: Dangerous Boys

by Emma Sewell
by Emma Sewell

It all comes down to this


Chloe knows where she’s going in life, it’s planned and she’s got everything ahead of her. That is until her Dad drops a bombshell and she is left dealing with the aftermath. As family loyalty is first in her mind she works out a way to stay and look after her distraught Mother, sacrificing her one way out of their tiny town. Then she meets Ethan, a sweet boy, who is sweet on her. He’s supportive when she needs it and life doesn’t quite seem so bleak.
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