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Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies


by William Golding

Analysis: Narrator Point of View

Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?

Third Person (Omniscient)

The narrator in Lord of the Flies moves back and forth omnisciently between different scenes and thoughts. Take Chapter Eight, for example, where in the space of a few pages we get Jack hunting, "happy and [wearing] the damp darkness of the forest like his old clothes" (8.181); and Simon watching the flies swarm "black and iridescent green" on the pig's head; and then Piggy "flush[ing] pinkly with pride" when he understands that Jack is accepting him (8.265). Three different characters; three different places on the island.

What's the point of all the omniscience? It lets us (and the narrator) stay objective. We might have a slight bias toward Ralph, but in general we just see things happening without the filter of a particular character's judgment. We can be right inside the events, seeing Jack as a terrifying, painted chief; or we can be way up high and objective, seeing Jack as a stupid-looking little boy in a crazy black hat.

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