Lord of the Flies Mask Project Ideas

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Masks are key symbols in ''Lord of the Flies'', so they're a great way to engage with the story's themes. These projects can provide unique and creative ways for your class to utilize masks in studying this novel.

Masks In Lord Of The Flies

William Golding's 1954 novel Lord of the Flies covers a group of boys stranded on a deserted island and traces their descent from civilization into savagery. The book is full of symbolism, but rarely is this more obvious than in Golding's use of masks. Masks, in this novel taking the form of painting one's face with charcoal, clay, or blood, represents the hiding of the civilized self and the donning of savagery. This symbol is a great lens through which to explore the themes of the novel. The following project ideas can help you do so, and are designed to be easily adaptable to various grade levels and classrooms.

Lord Of The Flies Mask Project Ideas

Masked Performance

Masks are a key symbol in Lord of the Flies, so this project utilizes masks to help students explore various characters after having finished reading the novel. Start by dividing the class into small groups, and assigning each group a scene from the novel. Students will work that scene into a script that they can perform as a short play. For this performance, however, they will also have to create a mask for each character in the scene. This mask should represent the true nature of that character, and in fact should exaggerate their natural traits (Piggy is smart but anxious, Jack is arrogant but insecure, etc.). If a character changes throughout the scene, or attempts to conceal their true sense, the students must provide them with another mask, displaying a very visible change in their identity. Give students time to write their scripts, make their masks, and rehearse, and then have each group perform.

How you make the masks depends on the time and resources you want to commit to this project. Papier-mache masks are the most time-intensive, while simple masks drawn onto paper plates or cutout half-masks are much easier to produce. The latter options can be enhanced by gluing on paper cutouts and other designs as well. You can also consider using face paint (either by itself or with a physical mask).

  • Materials: Copies of different scenes from Lord of the Flies, art and craft supplies as desired

Writing Project

This project will be completed by students independently. Assign each student one scene from the novel, or let them choose their own. This scene should be one that includes a mask. Students will re-write this scene from the perspective of one of the mask-wearers/those who painted their faces (Jack is the most obvious, but not the only, choice). Using the first person perspective will allow students to explore the inner thoughts of the character, and students should strive to use this to show a change in the character's thoughts and feelings as the mask is donned. Give students time to rewrite their scenes, and have them share their work.

  • Materials: Copies of Lord of the Flies

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