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Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

Identity Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

The chief was sitting there, naked to the waist, his face blocked out in white and red. The tribe lay in a semicircle before him. (10.119)

Now that they're naked and painted, they're not Jack and the choir; they're "the chief" and "the tribe." The paint has literally changed who they are.

Quote #5

"Then we must go as we are," said Ralph, "and they won't be any better." Eric made a detaining gesture.

"But they'll be painted! You know how it is."

The others nodded. They understood only too well the liberation into savagery that the concealing paint brought. (11.63-66)

Check out Golding's almost paradoxical use of "liberation" and "concealing." The paint does both: it liberates the boys by concealing their identities. If you know you won't be recognized, you're a lot more likely to be a total jerk. (Just ask anonymous Internet trolls.)

Quote #6

You can see who I am!" [Ralph] shouted. "Stop being silly!"

He put the conch to his lips and began to blow. Savages appeared, painted out of recognition, edging round the ledge toward the neck. They carried spears and disposed themselves to defend the entrance. (11.106-107)

This "You can see who I am!" is Ralph's major weapon. He asserts his identity hoping that it'll let him reason with the boys—but it doesn't mean anything, since the boys are beyond things like "identity" now.

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