Set-Up: We spent time recently talking about Joseph Campbell’s “hero stages” with an attempt to see how filmmakers and writes might employ these ideas to help craft a logical adventure.

Challenge: Using any 10 of the 17 stages we covered, prove that William Golding instinctively uses Campbell’s “hero stages” in Lord of the Flies.  See below for the stages:

Chap 1: Departure The Call to Adventure (1/17) | Refusal of the Call (2/17) | Supernatural Aid (3/17) | The Crossing of the First Threshold (4/17) | Rebirth (aka “The Belly of the Whale”) (5/17) Chap 2: Initiation The Road of Trials (6/17) | Marriage (aka “The Meeting with the Goddess”) (7/17) | Woman as the Temptress (8/17) | Atonement with the Father (9/17) | Apotheosis (10/17) | The Ultimate Boon (11/17) Chap 3: Return Refusal of the Return (12/17) | The Magic Flight (13/17) | Rescue from Without (14/17) | The Crossing of the Return Threshold (15/17) | Master of the Two Worlds (16/17) | Freedom to Live (17/17)

Length: 1+ sentence for each of the 10 stages as to prove how they work in this story.

Note: Mr. Long will NOT publish any entries until the deadline is reached (for all blog entries this week).  He wants to see how individual students solve this on their own.



  1. The protagonist of this story is Ralph but it doesn’t always seem like that.

    The call to adventure is the boys getting slammed down into the island. Also, another part of the Call is Piggy telling Ralph that they should find the other kids.

    The Refusal of the Call is Ralph’s indifference to Piggy and his current situation.

    The Crossing of the First Threshold is when Ralph went Ralph picked up the conch and blew, becoming the leader of the boys.

    The Road of Trials for Ralph is when Ralph and Piggy struggle to keep the boys focused on being rescued not hunting.

    Strangely, Simon is the character who goes through an apotheosis. He hallucinates and talks to The Lord of the Flies and learns of a secret.

    Also involving Simon, The Ultimate Boon is experienced by Simon instead of Ralph. He learns that the beast doesn’t exist but lives inside of them. He runs out to share his newfound knowledge, but gets slaughtered.

    Ralph slowly begins to lose sight of getting off the island and he starts to lose his humanity. Ironically, however it takes one extremely savage act, the murder of Simon, to shock him back to what he was before. This is his Rebirth.

    The Tempter is Jack. He tempts Ralph into joining his newly formed tribe but Ralph refuses temptation.

    Another strange part of this story is that Jack is the one who is Refusing the Return. Ralph all along wants to go home. Jack, who is the antagonist, has been comfortable with the prospect of living on the island forever.

    The Magic Flight is when Ralph’s will to be rescued anger’s Jack and causes Ralph to be hunted down by Jack and his tribe.

    Ralph, while he is being hunted runs into a Navy Officer. This is the force that saves Ralph from dying at the hands of the tribe.

  2. Supernatural Aid: The conch is the supernatural aid in “Lord of the Flies”. The conch is the reason why Ralph is chosen as chief and the boys are mysteriously drawn to the power it seems to represent. Representing civilization, the conch enables Ralph to be chief and make orders that are listened to at the beginning.

    The Crossing of the First Threshold: The first threshold crossed in “Lord of the Flies” is the fire scene in Chapter 2. The boys rush to make a fire with no thought to its consequences, except Piggy. The boys are overtaken with the desire to make the fire and do something that they are unable to notice that they don’t even know how to start a fire. In the mad rush, the fire gets out of control and the whole forest goes up in flames. Also during this scene, the boy with the mark on his face disappears and is presumed dead, marking the first death on the island.

    The Road of Trials: The physical and mental events that lead up to the outbreak of savagery are the road of trials in “”Lord of the Flies”. Roger throwing rocks at Henry, Jack painting his face, the killing of the first pig, the fire going out, the fear of the beast, and the ‘celebration’ after the kill are all events in the road of trials.

    Woman as The Temptress: I am not completely sure of this one, but I think that Simon’s meeting with the ’Lord of the Flies’ is the meeting of the temptress. During this meeting, the head of the pig talks to Simon and degrades him. Saying things like “You’re not wanted…We are going to have fun on this island”(144) and “You knew didn’t you? I’m part of you ?…I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are?” (143) make Simon see what really is happening on the island. The ‘Lord of the Flies’ taints Simon’s view and allows him to realize that maybe the beast isn’t real and maybe it only exists inside the boys.

    Apotheosis: Simon’s hallucination of the ‘Lord of the Flies’ also represents the apotheosis of the story. Simon is put into a trance-like state as he sits in the jungle for a day with no food, no water, and surrounded by flies that are swarming pig guts, and eventually, Simon passes out. Simon himself describes it as a “fit” (145).

    The Ultimate Boon: The ultimate boon is Simon’s decision to try and tell the others the news of the beast as quickly as possible. He knew that it was vital that the others know, but he had to half-crawl, half-stagger to Jack’s side of the island. Also, when mistaken for the beast, Simon is slaughtered by the very boys he was rushing to in order to try and save them.

    Refusal of the Return: Jack, throughout the novel, discards fire and rescue as unimportant. His hunters allow the fire go out, he contemptuously dismisses Piggy’s comments of rescue, and Jack steals the fire from Ralph so he can use it to make a small fire in order to cook the pig. It seems like all Jack wants to do is play savage on the island and never go home. However, ironically, it is Jack’s fire that he starts on the whole island that leads to the boys rescue.

    The Magic Flight: Ralph’s flight through the forest as he attempts to evade the hunters and death. Once Piggy is killed, Ralph is alone. Jack’s only goal that is left is to get Ralph, and it seems like there is nothing that Ralph can do. The chase has an inevitable ending that is prevented by the arrival of rescue.

    Rescue From Without: During Ralph’s flight from the hunters, he comes to the beach and sees a ship and its captain on the shore. The world has finally noticed and has decided to end the game. Also, the timely arrival of the grownups saves Ralph from Jack and his savages.

    Freedom to Live: Rescue has come and cold, sharp reality kicks in. Simon is dead, Piggy is dead, and Jack had been the reason that they were gone forever. Sobs shook Ralph’s body and the other boys, Ralph weeps for “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall…of the true, wise friend called Piggy” (202). The realization of all they have done is suddenly much more real than it had been when there were still pigs to be killed and faces to paint.

  3. These Steps only work with Lord of the Flies if you consider all of the boys or at least Jack, Piggy, Simon and Ralph as the heroes of the story.

    1. Call to Adventure- This is obviously the plane crash. Without the boys landing on the island we would have no story.
    2. Refusal of the Call- This is when Piggy and some of the other boys say don’t want to be on the island and want to return home and be rescued. While this does not happen in the beginning to Ralph who is fine with being on the island at first, we see him refuse the call later in the story
    3. Supernatural Aid- This one was hard to find, but I eventually decided on the conch. The conch brings the boys together and gives them order and law that they would not have been able to survive on the island without. In this way the conch represents somewhat an object of supernatural aid.
    4. Crossing of the first threshold- I believe this is when the boys realize that they are not going to be rescued soon. However, one could argue that this is when Jack and the hunters finally take life and kill a pig. For this an action that they will never be able to take back and one that will affect them forever.
    5. Road of trials- This is obviously every thing that happens to the boys on the island. No story can exist without a road of trials.
    6. Women as temptress- This is the pigs. The pigs distract Jack and the hunters from the group goal of rescue and keeping the fire going, making them a temptress for the boys.
    7. Apotheosis- This is the scene with Simon and the ‘Lord of the flies’. In this scene Simon goes through a dreamlike stage where he learns the truth and reason of the beast. This scene allows him to return to the boys and truly become a sacrifice for them though he is not able to convey the truth he has learned to the boys.
    8. Refusal of the Return- This is demonstrated mainly by Jack when he creates his own savage tribe. He is showing that he no longer cares for rescue and almost would rather the boys never be rescued.
    9. Magic Flight- This is when Ralph is running from Jack and his hunters. Ralph is only saved from his doom from the outside force of the soldier and the authority that he represents.
    10. Rescue from without- This is when Ralph is saved by the Navy officer from his ‘magic flight’ and then literally rescued from the island by the same soldier.
    (Note: One step that was obviously lacking was the final step ‘Freedom to live’, I do not believe that this step will be accomplished by any of the boys because they have committed acts to horrific to be able to live with)

  4. 1) Call to Adventure- In The Lord of the Flies, the call to adventure is when the boys are dropped onto the island. The events that take place on the island will affect the boys for the rest of their lives. It will change the boys in different ways, as some are fully able to grasp what has taken place, and others, such as the lilluns, will only think of the island as a ‘break from real life’. Nonetheless, this is the boys first real ‘adventure’ and they intend to make the most of it.

    2) Refusal of the Call- Ralph is the character in the story who refuses the challenge of adventure. He frequently states, “Daddy will come and rescue us.” (13) Ralph is not consciously rejecting the invitation the island presents to him but is refusing to let any sort of adventure happen on the island. He believes that the boys will be rescued very soon by his father and nothing could happen during the time they were stranded to their rescue time. While Piggy could also be seen as refusing the call by constantly saying how they should be rescued or that “[the boys] may be [there] until [they] die,” he has fully realized the magnitude of the situation they are in and is already trying to make plans how to cope with the adventure. (14)

    3) Supernatural Aid- In The Lord of the Flies, the conch is the supernatural aid that the boys receive early in the novel. The conch represents something far larger than the boys can possibly imagine or understand when they pull it out of the murky water. In the beginning, the shell is the unifier between all the boys, and all listen for the sound of it. The boys do not fully appreciate the full importance of the conch in their lives until the order begins to break down, and innocent boys are brutally slaughtered.

    4) Meeting with the goddess- In the story, Piggy is the goddess that the boys meet. The entire time when Piggy is alive on the island can be seen as the ‘meeting’ because he tries to spread his wisdom among the boys, who respond by isolating him. Piggy is symbolic of the scientific world the boys have left, and it seems they cannot survive without. Very similar to how goddesses stand out among humans, Piggy contrasts with the rest of the ignorant boys. Due to his knowledge, Piggy is ostracized by the boys and this eventually leads to his downfall and death. The only person that Piggy is really able to pass his common sense to is Ralph.

    5) Crossing of first threshold- Jack takes the first step that soon begins the sprint into savagery. Jack commits the simple folly of appearing innocent and weak when he is unable to kill the piglet. Soon after this, Jack begins to become obsessed with the thought of butchering a pig. Once Jack is able to “take away life [from a living creature],” the second and third time becomes easier and the circle of viciousness never stops until there are no more living things to destroy.

    6) Atonement with the Father- None of the characters are fully able to ‘make peace’ with what they have done except for Simon. The message he brought to the boys was one that he believed in, and he was sacrificed because he appeared at an inopportune moment. Before Simon’s death and his departure, the matter of the beast is unresolved, and there is no specific beast until Simon discovers what he thinks the beast is. The reader, however, sees Simon’s original message stated in his brutal destruction. He still achieved his goal even without words because with their atrocious act, the boys make the beast real by becoming it. Furthermore, while Simon is lying on the beach, the world makes peace and glorifies him by making him more ‘glorified’ in his death than he ever was in life.

    7) Apotheosis- While Simon’s chat with the Lord of the Flies in the glade can be seen as an apotheosis, I also thought that Ralph’s internal revelations at the beginning of chapter five show his character growth and comprehension of the gravity of their situation. Instead of Ralph having an ‘out-of-body’ experience in this particular moment, it seems to be the opposite, and that Ralph has been separated from his body since he landed on the island. Ralph is only now realizing exactly what is happening on the island and the reader also sees the return of common sense and thought. Ralph is beginning to realize his own personal flaws, and see the strength in Piggy’s character, even though up to this point, Piggy has not become ‘smarter’, it is Ralph who has changed. After this realization within himself, Ralph now feels that he knows exactly what the boys need to be rescued.

    8) Rescue From Without- I didn’t contain this step within the pages of the book, but applied it to the world the boys return to. The person who refuses to let the ‘hero’ return to the real world of civilization is Roger. While Roger is a real person, he also represents the evil that is lurking inside every human soul. With this dormant evil inside of us, can humans ever live in a world that demands order, fairness, and selflessness? When we are ‘littluns’ ourselves, the world is a place of innocence where we are naïve to the real evil that we possess. Once we begin to mature, we ‘leave’ this world, and are never able to fully return to it, try as we might.

    9) Master of two worlds- The master of two worlds in The Lord of the Flies is Jack. He has brought the example of the stable and organized world which he left with him into the isolated island. Jack is able to live in a savage world without rules and reasons, but he is also able to live in a civilization with rules and order. While these are not the classic rules we see in our civilization, they juxtapose with the natural evil that Jack is able to invoke in his boys.

    10) Freedom to Live- When the boys are rescued from the horrific island, they are being given the opportunity to ‘start from scratch’. They can forget everything that happened to them on the island, or they can remember it; the choice is up to them.

  5. I shall proclaim Ralph to be the hero.

    The Call to Adventure: The boys land on the island (page 1)

    Refusal of the Call: This would occur much later, as Ralph doesn’t believe he can be chief anymore. (page 92-94)

    Supernatural Aid: The conch, the symbol for civilization and his symbol for leadership.
    (first appearance: page 15)

    The Crossing of the First Threshold: Ralph uses the conch to call his first assembly. (page 17)

    Rebirth: When Ralph yells at Jack for letting the fire go out, then realizes that the boys need to start getting things done on the island. (page 75) The scene on the beach after Simon is killed can also be seen as a rebirth, as Ralph is witness to and a part of the true ferocity of the boys (page 155-157)

    Road of Trials: found throughout the book, but the most memorable ones being on pages 152-154 and pages 194-200, where Simon is being beaten and Ralph is hunted like a pig, respectively.

    Marriage: The fire can be seen as Ralph’s wife, or at least mother-like influence, as it provides comfort, warmth, and hope to him throughout the story. (first appearance: 41)

    Woman as the Temptress: The temptress might be seen as the boys’ inner savagery, which Ralph completely gives into to by the end, where he has already beaten a friend to death and is running and snarling like an animal (page 194-200)

    Atonement with the Father: Where Ralph battles Jack. (page 179) As Jack takes on a more “leader” type role, he can be seen as somewhat of a paternal authority figure over Ralph, or at least a fraternal influence. While this conflict isn’t necessarily ameliorated, it is resolved as Ralph flees after realizing Jack is never going back.

    The Ultimate Boon: Ralph’s particular “boon” can be viewed as his enlightenment on his (and human) nature; the fact that the moral fiber of humans is only as strong as their connection to civilization. Ralph reaches this knowledge on page 202, as he “weeps for innocence”.

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