The first chapter of any book is very important in establishing the theme, and introducing the main characters. The first chapter of “Lord of the Flies” is effective in meeting these standards.
The protagonist of the novel, Ralph, is mentioned from line 1: “the boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon”. Ralph is depicted at the beginning as a school boy from the “Home Counties” as he “jerks his stockings with an automatic gesture” to smarten himself up. He has a strong belief that someone will come to rescue them. In fact, he tells the children that his father, a commander in the navy, himself would come to rescue him. Initially he is so assured of this that he does not worry about their situation, and he is seen as a very playful twelve year old boy. However, when later on he insists that huts need to be made, and that the fire should be kept going, and the smoke to be used as a signal to passing boats, we see his human intellect and a maturity that makes him seem much older.
Golding glorifies Ralph from the beginning, describing his physical attributes thus:
“You could see now that he might make a boxer as far as width and heaviness of shoulders went, but there was a mildness about his mouth and eyes that proclaimed no devil”. Golding often describes Ralph as “golden” and he is often described in the light. Even his shadows are not completely dark, but green. He is also the boy who brought together the children on the island by blowing the conch, and declaring its first meeting. These factors make him a natural leader. The other boys immediately recognize these qualities, and they vote him “chief”, therefore making Ralph the democratic leader. He is also clever in that he recognises Jack as a possible opposing force, and immediately tries to subdue his anger from in losing the vote by giving Jack power over his choir, and naming them as the “hunters”.
A second main character is introduced...