Lord of the Flies - Extract 2

This GCSE English Literature quiz will ask questions about Lord of the Flies by William Golding. This is the second of two extract questions for Lord of the Flies. It takes place in Chapter Ten, when Ralph and Piggy discuss the horrific events of the previous night and debate calling a meeting. Ralph is rocking back and forth, “cradling the conch”. Piggy’s attempts to explain away the horror of the events are in no way comforting to the other boy.

How to answer an extract question in an exam:

As you begin to prepare an answer to an extract question, the very first thing you should do is to read the passage through more than once. It is a good idea to develop this habit because re-reading allows you to spot details and aspects of the passage you might have missed the first time.

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At first you should aim to understand the passage, spending some time to consider how the passage itself relates to the question you have been asked. When you read through on the second time, you should begin to make detailed notes and annotations. After this initial preparation, you should plan out how you can use the passage to answer the question.

Consider the reasons behind the choice of extract. Think about how the passage is related to the text as a whole. What is its importance? Which themes does the passage explore? How do the characters and their experiences differ in the chosen extract? How would you describe the relationship between the passage and the events which come afterwards? Is there evidence of foreshadowing? How does the passage relate to earlier events? Would you say that there is a turning point? Also consider the point at which the extract ends: is the final line significant? Can you think of ways in which the extract’s end relates to the events or themes of the text?

Allow yourself time to consider the exact wording of the question you have chosen to answer. What specifically are you being asked to address? There are a variety of extract questions and you might be asked to focus on mood and atmosphere, character, dialogue, theme, or your own personal response. Begin with an explanation of the passage’s immediate context: mention the events which precede the extract and explain their relevance. Remember to refer to the passage in detail, rather than discussing the selection in general terms. In what way does the passage relate to the themes of the text? When planning out your answer, try to group related ideas together so that your writing is structured well. Plan carefully so that you will have enough time to discuss the entire passage.

Read the extract below carefully before answering the questions.

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“Don’t you understand, Piggy? The things we did—”

“He may still be—”


“P’raps he was only pretending—”

Piggy’s voice tailed off at the sight of Ralph’s face.

“You were outside. Outside the circle. You never really came in. Didn’t you see what we — what they did?”

There was loathing, and at the same time a kind of feverish excitement in his voice.

“Didn’t you see, Piggy?”

“Not all that well. I only got one eye now. You ought to know that, Ralph.”

Ralph continued to rock to and fro.

“It was an accident,” said Piggy suddenly, “that’s what it was. An accident.” His voice shrilled again. “Coming in the dark — he had no business crawling like that out of the dark. He was batty. He asked for it.” He gesticulated widely again.

“It was an accident.”

“You didn’t see what they did—”

“Look, Ralph. We got to forget this. We can’t do no good thinking about it, see?”

“I’m frightened. Of us. I want to go home. O God I want to go home.”

“It was an accident,” said Piggy stubbornly, “and that’s that.”

He touched Ralph’s bare shoulder and Ralph shuddered at the human contact.

“And look, Ralph,” Piggy glanced round quickly, then leaned close — “don’t let on we was in that dance. Not to Samneric.”

“But we were! All of us!”

Piggy shook his head.

“Not us till last. They never noticed in the dark. Anyway you said I was only on the outside—”

“So was I,” muttered Ralph, “I was on the outside too.”

Piggy nodded eagerly.

“That’s right. We was on the outside. We never done nothing, we never seen nothing.”

Piggy paused, then went on.

“We’ll live on our own, the four of us—”

“Four of us. We aren’t enough to keep the fire burning.”

“We’ll try. See? I lit it.”

Samneric came dragging a great log out of the forest. They dumped it by the fire and turned to the pool. Ralph jumped to his feet.

“Hi! You two!”

The twins checked for a moment, then walked on.

“They’re going to bathe, Ralph.”

“Better get it over.”

The twins were very surprised to see Ralph. They flushed and looked past him into the air.

“Hullo. Fancy meeting you, Ralph.”

“We just been in the forest—”

“— to get wood for the fire—”

“— we got lost last night.”

Ralph examined his toes.

“You got lost after the…”

Piggy cleaned his lens.

“After the feast,” said Sam in a stifled voice. Eric nodded. “Yes, after the feast.”

Willaim Golding, Lord of the Flies (Faber and Faber, 2011)

  1. What is the immediate context for this passage?
    This scene takes place the following day
  2. What immediately follows this passage?
    Ralph, Piggy and Samneric eventually face their memories of the previous night. Meanwhile on Castle Rock, Jack and the others successfully convince themselves that they killed the mysterious beast. Although they believe they have killed the beast, they still fear its return
  3. Which of the following is correct?
    This passage conveys a mood of shock and horror
  4. What effect is created here by the use of dashes as punctuation?
    The dashes create pauses where the boys are reluctant to finish their sentences. They cannot acknowledge the murder because that will mean that they must also accept their own part in the death of Simon
  5. What role does Piggy play in his conversation with Ralph?
    Piggy is pragmatic about survival, while Ralph understands the need to face the truth
  6. Of what is Ralph most afraid?
    He says that he is "frightened. Of us". He has seen that each person on the island is capable of murderous violence
  7. Which of the following statements represents an attempt at civilised normality?
    The twins try to appear nonchalant, but Ralph insists on each of them facing the issue
  8. "'It was an accident,' said Piggy suddenly, 'that’s what it was. An accident.' His voice shrilled again. 'Coming in the dark — he had no business crawling like that out of the dark. He was batty. He asked for it.' He gesticulated widely again." Which of the following is correct?
    The novel shows how violence falls on anyone who shows weakness. Simon is "batty"; Piggy wears glasses, has asthma and is overweight. Piggy becomes further weakened when his broken glasses are stolen and it is in this state of weakness that he too is murdered
  9. Which of Ralph's most fundamental characteristics is displayed by this passage?
    Ralph refuses to turn away from truth, however horrific, even if it makes him temporarily despair
  10. Which of the following lines shows that Ralph is continuing to lose authority?
    The twins walk past Ralph even as he tries to get their attention. This episode prefigures their later betrayal of him

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