SparkNotes Blog

Quotes from Lord of the Flies, Ranked in Order of How Obvious the Foreshadowing Is

Everything is foreshadowing in Lord of the Flies. EVERYTHING. In William Golding’s longstanding critique of British stoicism and socialized masculinity, the characters are constantly saying stuff like “GEE, I HOPE NOBODY SETS THE ISLAND ON FIRE,” or “IT SURE WOULD BE A SHAME IF WE SUCCUMBED TO THE DARKNESS THAT LIVES WITHIN US ALL.”

Maybe they’re not saying exactly those words, but it’s real close. Here are the some actual quotes, ranked by how obvious it is that this whole thing is going to spiral downward into death and destruction.

7. The Foreshadowing Isn’t Exactly Subtle, But It’s Not Like They’re Hitting Us Over the Head With It

“Maybe,” he said hesitantly, “maybe there is a beast. What I mean is… maybe it’s only us.”

— Chapter 5

“MAYBE THE REAL BEAST WAS THE FRIENDS WE MADE ALONG THE WAY,” said Simon, fruitlessly, to which everyone was like, “Yeah, maybe. Or maybe it’s a GHOST, or a SNAKE, or a GHOST SNAKE. There’s just no telling at this point.” 

If you are a fictional person in a story in which someone is suggesting that we all have a capacity for violence and bloodlust, TAKE NOTE because that’s about to become extremely relevant in about five chapters.

6. If There Was a Class Called “Foreshadowing Your Own Death 101,” This Would Be the Only Lesson

“Which is better—to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?”

— Chapter 11

This is exactly the kind of thing you say right before you die at the hands of a bunch of boys with pointy sticks who firmly believe it is better to hunt and kill than to have rules and agree. Only say this if you’re ready to die.

5. If This Isn’t a Red Flag, I Don’t Know What Is

“Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.”

— Chapter 4

When someone is covered in war paint, wielding a spear, and chanting things like this, that is a sign of things to come and you should treat it as such.“What an interesting thing to say,” Ralph muses instead, like an oblivious fool. “Classic Jack!”

4. I Sure Hope This Doesn’t Come Back to Haunt Us

Roger stooped, picked up a stone, aimed, and threw it at Henry—threw it to miss. The stone, that token of preposterous time, bounced five yards to Henry’s right and fell in the water. Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. Roger’s arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins.

— Chapter 4

Yikes! Looks like the thin veneer of civilization is beginning to fade away. I hope this doesn’t portend anything involving rocks. Really big rocks, even. Sometimes referred to as boulders.

3. The Foreshadowing is Strong With This One

“We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything.”

— Chapter 2

Even if I didn’t already know William Golding was using this book to make a point about the so-called “superiority” of “civilized” British dudes, I would know for a FACT that half these boys are going to be running wild with spears in hand and the thrill of the kill in their hearts before the day is done. “After all, we’re not savages”? Please. You might as well say “We like to think we’re above it all, but the truth is we’re just one plane crash away from the total collapse of order and society at all times.”

2. I’VE GOT A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS

Jack cleared his throat and spoke in a queer, tight voice. “We mustn’t let anything happen to Piggy, must we?”

— Chapter 7

SOMETHING IS DEFINITELY GOING TO HAPPEN TO PIGGY SOMETHING IS DEFINITELY GOING TO HAPPEN TO PIGGY SOMETHING IS DEFINITELY GOING TO HAPPEN TO PIGGY. Jack might as well be saying, “Piggy is going to die, and I can’t wait to have something to do with it.”

1. Okay Now They’re Definitely Hitting Us Over the Head With It

“All the same. You’ll get back all right. I think so, anyway.”

Ralph said curtly, “You’re batty.”

Simon shook his head violently till the coarse black hair flew backwards and forwards across his face.

“No, I’m not. I just think you’ll get back all right.”

For a moment nothing more was said. And then they suddenly smiled at each other.

— Chapter 7

Have we learned nothing? NEVER look earnestly at someone you respect and tell them they’re going to get home just fine. All this means is you’re not going to get home at ALL. CERTAINLY don’t enjoy a tranquil silence and then smile at each other. I can’t even help you at this point. Clearly you want to die.