GCSE English Literature Revision: Lord of the Flies: Themes (higher level)

4th April 2017

GCSE English Litearture Revision Tips

Lord of the Flies – Revision notes

Here are some of the key facts you need to know when revising for your Lord of the Flies essays or exams:



  • Lord of the Flies was written in 1954 by William Golding and was a best seller.

  • The book follows the journey of a group of boys who are stranded on a desert island and their subsequent fall from a group of civilised kids into a group of savages.


  • After crash landing the boys become two distinct groups/gangs.  One gang wants to uphold the democratic rules they know from home, the other wants a new kind of life where they reject rules. Different characters take on various roles which represent the life they knew, or the new savage lifestyle. Some of the young people want to go home and the others would rather stay on the island.


  • There are several symbols within the book including; The conch (representative of civilised democratic process), the beast (representative of the beast inside humans), Piggy’s glasses (representative of intelligence and learning) and The Pig’s decaying head ('The Lord of the Flies').


  • There is a loss of innocence for all the boys, no one will ever be the same as they once were. Was the beast inside some of the boys there all along, merely supressed by society’s rules and norms?


  • There are several biblical parallels within the story. The kindness of Jesus (represented in Simon) and the glade where he spends his time (the garden of Eden). There is arguably also the hell created by the humans (symbolised by the Pig’s head) who chose to leave the safety of the garden.



  • Without the fire they will never get home. Some of the boys give up on the fire and it is only when they decide to kill Ralph within the flames, that the fire is then large enough to attract attention and their escape.

  • The themes include;


Civilisation verses savagery

The boys and what they represent

Loss of innocence

Biblical parallels

The conch and Piggy’s glasses

The Beast and the Pig’s head



Check out our GCSE English Lord of the Flies revision song and for more revision notes and songs go to…


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