Lord of the Flies Literary Terms, Examples

antagonist the person who opposes the protagonist in a storyExample: Jack, the savages
imagery visually descriptive language, producing strong visual imagesMultiple examples in the novel
irony (verbal) the use of words to mean something different from what a person actually saysExample: Ralph tries to explain to the naval officer what has happened and remarks that at the beginning they had put on a “good show”. The officer says, “I know. Jolly good show. Like Coral Island.”
irony (situational) when the exact opposite of what is meant to happens, happensExample: boys are stranded on a paradise island and fight war that parallels the one being fought in the larger world
mood the feeling that literature arouses in its readers
person v. nature conflict where the main character has to overcome an aspect of nature- weather, setting, animals, etc.boys vs. the beast
person v. person conflict where the main character has to overcome a problem with another characterRalph vs. Jack
person v. self conflict where a person has to overcome a struggle within himself- addiction, depression, confidence, self-esteem, etc.Ralph vs. himself, trying to
protagonist leading character in a novel, championExample: Ralph
symbol where an object, person, or situation has another meaning that its literal meaning- a deeper meaning in the context of the whole storyOne example: Piggy’s glasses, symbolizing intelligence
theme the central topic of a literary work that usually is concerned with the human condition; the overarching idea behind a novelThemes in LotF: Civilization vs Savagery, Loss of Innocence, Nature of Good vs. Evil, The Power of Fear
tone the author’s attitude towards his writing and/or characters
Simile a figurative comparison using like or as.Example from the text: “The coral was scribbled in the sea as though a giant had bent down to reproduce the shape of the island in a flowing chalk line but tired before he had finished”
Personification to give human characteristics to something that is not human. The most obvious example of this is Simon’s “conversation” with The Lord of the Flies. The pig’s head is not literally talking, rather, it is given a voice to emphasize that the evil is not a single entity somewhere on the island, but is actually a monster inside each and every one of the boys. Golding gives the pig’s head a voice and personality to give it the physical manifestation of pure evil.
Hyperbole Using exaggeration to prove a point. Example from text: “There were eyes–” “Teeth–” “Claws–“The twins were exaggerating the “beast”
Metaphor The word itself comes from root words meaning ‘to transfer’, so this word means to apply something figurative to something literal in order to better illustrate what is happening. Example from the text: “The sun in the west was a drop of burning gold that slid nearer and nearer the sill of the world”
Foreshadowing When the author drops hints about events later to come. Example from the text: “But you can feel as if you’re not hunting, but–being hunted, as if something’s behind you all the time in the jungle.”
Archetype An original example of something that becomes the model for later ones; a very typical example of something. Example from the text: Piggy is an archetypical example of a nerd. He is chubby, short, bespectacled, smart, and unathletic.
Allusion when an author directly or indirectly references another piece of literature or art. Can be biblical, mythological, or literary, among others. Example from the text: Simon is an allusion to Jesus because of the similarities in their life events and personality. Both are kind and loving to the littluns, both are somewhat shunned by the “powerful”, and both are killed while trying to spread the truth
Dramatic Irony When the characters in the book are unaware of something that the audience is aware of. Example from the text: reader knows Beast is in the boys; it is the manifestation of their basic instincts that have surfaced due to lack of rules/authority. Simon knows true and is first one killed. In being saved, boys will return to world of war

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