Written by William Golding, Lord of the Flies is a phenomenal novel of the sixties. It fetched the greatest prize of literature, the Nobel Prize for William Golding. The twisted story of the young boys stranded on an unknown island. It shows human nature’s capability of becoming good or bad when thrown away from social norms, traditions, and laws. The novel is considered a masterpiece of human nature. Here are some of its memorable quotes with the contextual explanation.
Famous Quotes from Lord of the Flies
“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.”
Jack, the anti-hero and opponent of Ralph, speaks these words to Ralph. He wants to stress upon his Englishness. It is a claim to civilization and order. The English considered themselves superior and owner of the proud civilization. Here, Jack stresses upon the same fact that as they are English, they are the best at everything.
“There aren’t any grownups. We shall have to look after ourselves.”
These lines are from Chapter Two when Ralph realizes that there are only children on the island. He knows that they have to look after themselves, as there are no adults to look after them. In other words, it means there are no adults to guide them, supervise them and stop them from doing wicked things.
“We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. “
These ironical lines are spoken by the villain, Jack. He willingly accepts that there should be rules and that they should accept and obey them. He also asserts that they are not savages and wild people. Obeying rules means that they are civilized and cultured. But later in the novel, he leads a group of savage hunters who kill Piggy and hunt Ralph, their former leader.
“They looked at each other, baffled, in love and hate.”
This sentence is about Ralph, the leader, and Jack, his opponent. They have young children with them on the island. Ralph represents order, civilization, and peace. However, on the contrary, Jack represents disorder, chaos, and savagery. When they meet, they are always wary of each other, as evil against good. They do not understand each other.
“The smaller boys were known by the generic title of “littluns.”
This omniscient narrator of the novel speaks this line. He wants to show that unimportant people are named after their specific physical features and characteristics. Then they are herded for those features and are controlled like cattle or animals. This state of affairs leads to degeneration of governments. The same happens at the island where the young children are named “littluns.” It is a derisive term to paint the little ones as dependent on the older boys.
“Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.”
Jack, the opponent of Ralph, speaks these words when going on hunting. He has gathered some sturdy and strong boys around him. He has asked them to paint their faces, as they are all hunters. These words are repeated as a slogan and as a provocation when they hunt pigs on that island. It indicates slow degeneration of their civilized manners. The word “blood” shows that the hunters will soon turn to kill their opponents, as they are learning to spill the blood.
“The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.”
Ralph speaks this line in response to Jack who spreads fear on the island. He intends to make his case of hunting strong so that others could give him more importance. He knows that only fear can win him the leadership which is in Ralph’s hands. That is why Ralph is asking the hunters and other boys to become wise and sane, as fear is nothing more than a dream. And like a dream, it cannot hurt them.
“What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages? What’s grownups going to think?”
Piggy speak these words to Ralph when he sees that Ralph is not calling the assembly and assert his authority as the leader. It shows that Piggy is the sane voice among the children on the island. He knows that the others are becoming wild and savages. Therefore, he reminds Ralph of his responsibility and obligation to children. The question of grownups is posed to remind him of the rules and laws of society.
“Which is better—to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?”
Piggy, the only rationalist among the children, speaks these words to convince Jack and his hunters. He urges them to abide by the rule and arrange fire for their rescue. However, they are busy hunting and painting faces. Piggy believes that he can persuade them to abide by rules and stand by Ralph, as he is an elected leader.
“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, and the fall through the air of the
true, wise friend called Piggy.”
These lines narrated by the end of the novel when Ralph and other boys gather around the British officer. Ralph is standing in the middle, weeping for the end of innocence. It is the end of innocence because the hunters are after Ralph to kill him. They have already killed his wise friend, Piggy and are chasing Ralph through the thick forest when they come face to face with the officer. The officer has just landed on the island to look for missing soldiers. Ralph weeps about how they were innocent children, and how they turned into savages on that island away from society.