One thing that might be particularly useful here is democracy in a nutshell. I don’t have to tell you about the Magna Carta, do I? Of course not. Who doesn’t know about the original document of constitutional government, in which are delineated the responsibilities of nobles and kings, and in which the rights of those nobles are protected?
When those founding fathers of ours got together to write the Constitution, which delineates the responsibilities of our branches of government, they sent that pesky Thomas Jefferson on a diplomatic mission to France. So what does he do when he gets back? He makes amendments, ten of them. You see, while the original draft of the constitution spelled out the limits on the powers of each branch so that the federal government wouldn’t infringe on state governments, Jefferson wanted to make sure that government wouldn’t trample on the rights of individuals.
So anyway, democracies are built on two pillars: responsibilities and rights. If you don’t fulfill your responsibilities, you can’t expect to have rights; and if you don’t stand up for your rights, you can’t expect to keep them.
Keep this in mind as you read chapter two, in which the boys have their first assembly (you might notice that Golding has selected the same word that the Athenians used to describe their meetings).
As you read, consider that rules can be designed to prevent people from doing things, or they can be designed to allow people to do things. As Ralph makes rules, does he make rules that prevent or allow? What is the appeal of rules to Jack?
Now the fire is a bit of a tricky wicket. We know that the National Forest Service sets forest fires to facilitate new woodland growth, and we know that wildfires can destroy lives. We know that it can purify and it can burn. In other words, fire has a dual nature, just like (drum roll, please) us. So when you look at the fire, consider its dual nature. Look at the boys intent for starting the fire, and look at the outcome when it rages out of control, especially in the language Golding uses on page 44.
And look at Piggy, too. While Piggy’s failing eyesight and his ass-mar make him dependent, he is also cast here in the role of parent. And when things get out of control, see how the boys respond to Piggy’s response.
Final note: it sure doesn’t take Jack a whole lotta time before he starts to peck peck peck at those rights, does it?