Lord of the Flies written by William Golding and published in 1954 is written in modern society, during the time of the cold war conflict, whereas Great Expectations was written in 1861, during the Victorian era. The differences in style in which the books are written are immediately obvious to the reader. This essay discusses the similarities and differences of all aspects of both opening chapters.
The opening chapter of Great Expectations, which is written in the first person, concerns a young boy called Pip. The reader immediately gets the impression that he is very young by the way in which he portrays himself. Pip describes himself as ‘undersized for my years, and not strong.’ He would obviously not be able to fend for himself in a bad situation as we see when he meets Magwitch and also he is not mature enough to make conscious adult decisions. The boys on the island, although some are even younger than Pip, try to act how an adult would in their situation.
The first boys we meet on the island in Lord of the Flies however behave how any child would on an island. This novel is written Narrative so that we can get all of the boys emotions without having just one persons view on the island which would cause the novel to be boring. As soon as Ralph found out that there weren’t any adults on the island he ‘stood on his head and grinned…’ Throughout the novel the boys doing childish acts symbolises the excitement and pleasure that the boys feel during their stay, in a way which they show their age without making it obvious. The boys only ever show this display of emotion in front of a small, enclosed group of people as thought embarrassed by it. They feel as thought they ought to act like adults because they are the only inhabitants of the island and adults are higher than children and always make the correct decisions. They have seen that the adult world works well and they believe that attempting to organise their situation in a mature way they will survive. There lack of knowledge makes them willing to try and make a democracy as it is back in England so that they are able to organise themselves. It makes them feel more secure and mature. Because they are young they don’t realise that there is more to the world than the adults that run it.
In Great Expectations we see that Pip also abides by what adults say no matter who they are or what they look like. As soon as Magwitch threatens Pip we see the ‘small bundle of shivers’ that he is described as. Magwitch although he is a convict he still has control over Pip because he is an adult and Pip is too scared to disobey him. Here the convict Magwitch manages to get Pip to do what he wants him to do. The importance of adults is very significant in both books because they effect the actions of all of the boys directly.
In Lord of the Flies although the adults aren’t actually on the island with the boys they influence them greatly. Every decision that they are making adds another question of what would the adults do? These sub conscious decisions of what would the adults do slowly drift away and the children think about what they want to do. In this novel the children are the dominant ones. The only reason this is so is because there aren’t any adults on the island to organize them of tell them right from wrong. Although the children are living in reality it is a children’s world because they are the only habitants on the island, which is to become their world. In Great Expectations the whole situation is reversed. It is Pip who is a 7 year old child living in an adults world. All around him the adults are powerful so he never has to make any demanding decisions. His innocence shows when we first meet his character and he describes what he thinks his parents looked like because of the way their tombstones were. Magwitch dominates him entirely and Pip has no question about whether or not he is going to get the food and file for him because he is an adult and Pip sees him as the dominant one.
There is fear in both books about dissimilar things. In Great Expectations the fear is clearer and the feeling of just one person whose voice is speaking throughout the novel makes it show more. His fear is created by Magwitch telling him that there is a man out in the marshes that will “get at his heart, and at his liver.” Because Pip is young this puts tremendous amounts of fear into him and he is willing to do anything that Magwitch wishes him to do. The fear in Lord of the Flies is quite different. The boys are afraid of not being rescued. As soon as it is mentioned there are murmurs but the heat is turned straight onto who they wish to chose as a leader. This shows that their fear of not being rescued is very strong as they feel that they can’t talk about it. This also shows a fear of not wanting to face reality. Although, at the moment they are enjoying the fact that there aren’t any adults around they are reluctant to come to the conclusion that they may never be rescued.
The places where the two different novels take place are in two completely different places but there are small connections between the two. Both places are near to water . The sea in Lord of the Flies is all around but is a beautiful blue and seems welcoming. The river in Great Expectations is very much the opposite. It is described as ‘not yet so broad, nor so black’. The water here draws up am image of a slowly flowing river, murky and un-welcoming. The sea in Lord of the Flies is clear sparkling and gives the image that the whole islandis like that.