Lord of The Flies: Summary and Detailed Analysis
“Lord of the Flies” is really a famous novel written by William Golding. This book marks the debut of the author’s career, whose mastery of writing would later be distinguished by a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1983. The novel it self is about young boys stranded on an uninhabited parcel after a plane accident. Through the entire whole text, they are attempting to survive and bring order into their lives. Despite their decent upbringings, without link with civilization, the youngsters soon descend into savagery and primitivism. This “book about children on the island”, as it’s usually referred to by its readers, was published in 1954. Due to its global popularity, the book was turned into a movie, twice – in 1963 in Britain by Peter Brooke & Lewis Allen, and in 1990 in the US by Harry Hook & Lewis Allen. The book it self bears many references to an earlier novel, “The Coral Island”, that was written by Robert Michael Ballantyne in 1857. Both texts occupy a central invest the body of juvenile fiction literature heritage.
Below you will find an in depth study guide on “Lord of the Flies”. It features a short summary of its plot, descriptions of its main themes and symbols, in addition to key facts concerning the book. These details was compiled to support students writing essays about the novel, scholars conducting research on William Golding’s writing, and book lovers trying to find out if this novel will satisfy their literary taste.
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Overview: Lord of the Flies at a Glance
Author: William Golding (British novelist, 1911-1993)
Genre: Juvenile fiction, allegory (uses realistic situations to send an email about general notions and ideas)
Title meaning: Lord of the flies could be the nickname of the pig’s head this one of the boy survivors – Jack – erected on a stick. It's associated with the escalating violence one of the boys.
Lord of the Flies Characters
The characters in “Lord of the Flies” are boys in their teenage years. Prior to the text’s plot begins, we assume that the airplane passengers were being evacuated from The uk because of war (it’s not yet determined what war exactly). Many of them hadn’t known each other before landing on the island, apart from the band of choir boys led by Jack. The primary characters – Ralph, Jack, and Piggy – demonstrate the differences in human reactions to the crisis. While some of these try to keep a clear mind and use reason to survive, others give into natural animal instincts and go wild.
Ralph is really a main character whose viewpoint is heard the most by the readers – he's tall, fair-haired, and not very talkative. He's smart, likes order, and is recognized at first since the leader of the group. He is mostly of the characters that manage to keep a sense of order and civilization without descending in to savagery. Regrettably, when the other boys commence to go completely wild, they hunt him, and that he runs for his life until that he meets a naval officer on the beach.
Piggy is Ralph’s right hand. He's intelligent and quick-witted, but his exorbitant weight along with other physical impairments don’t allow him to become listed on the hunters. He is the foundation of support for Ralph in his darkest moments when the rough behavior of the hunters makes Ralph consider stepping down because the boys’ leader. Piggy may be the one who proposes to build a solar clock, which signifies his practicality and smart mind. His glasses certainly are a crucial instrument used to start out and keep carefully the rescue fire. He dies tragically so that they can recover his stolen glasses from Jack and his hunters.
Jack Merridew is just a well-behaved boy who used to lead a local school choir. Once on the island, that he becomes upset about the lack of the grown-ups. However , that he quickly abandons his “good boy” image, becomes the lead hunter, and earnestly contests Ralph’s authority. He's the urge to take control others and a wild desire to see other living creatures get hurt.
Roger is really a typical bully who finally gets an unlimited possibility to exercise his inner violence and rage without facing any risks of punishment. He uses his position as a hunter to harass the others, which that he greatly enjoys. He is the main one who launches a huge rock off of Castle Rock, which kills Piggy. Towards the finish of the book, his rage gets out of control and also the reader doubts whether Jack has any power over this rogue violence-thirsty teenager.
Samneric is really the name for two characters: Sam and Eric, that are identical twins. The boys are so inseparable they are treated as you, as Piggy says in Chapter 8: “You've got to treat Samneric as one turn. They do everything together”. These characters signify the inability to develop and develop their own personalities among contemporary youth. They've been typical followers who concur with the leading force – be it Ralph, at first, or Jack later.
Simon is among the characters with a more subtle and humane role. That he helps the others and is curious to find the world around him. His soft and intrinsic character makes him a perfect victim for the hunters’ aggression. Based on his behavior, it’s likely he suffers from epilepsy. He talks in his head to the pig’s head, which that he calls god, the father of the Flies, and these conversations confirm his suspicions that beasts are in reality living within him and his friends. Simon may be the first character to die in the hands of the hunters that go wild.
The Beast is just a mysterious creature nobody has seen, but everybody is afraid of. The younger boys are the first to bring him up during the 2nd general meeting. At first, the older boys convince everyone else that there are no beasts on the island. Then, they believe that the dead parachutist’s body that landed on the island is the Beast. It is the symbol of the group’s primitive fear and wild emotions. The boys are afraid of the Beast but fascinated by it simultaneously. Jack uses the notion of the beast to undermine Ralph: that he makes a promise to locate and kill the beast. Simon gets killed within a ritual hunting dance when nobody could see demonstrably so the kiddies treated him like an animal.
The naval officer may be the head of the marines that come to rescue the boys. The current presence of such a character is one of the key references to “The Coral Island” novel, where there's an officer with an extremely similar description. He is also the one who literally sarcastically says the name “Coral Island” when he sees the boys' terrible conditions.
“Lord of the Flies” Study Guide: Key Facts
- The book was made as a reply to another novel, “The Coral Island”, published in 1857 by Robert Michael Ballantyne. However , in “Lord of the Flies”, the events take a complete opposite turn.
- The youngest kiddies are the first to notice a mysterious “beastie” (Chapter 2) on the island and the older boys make fun of these. In the end, as it happens that a few of the older boys were the monsters every one had feared.
- Simon is the one that gives the pig’s head which was mounted on the stick the nickname – “Lord of the Flies”
- It’s not clear exactly how many boys have there been on the island in LOTF (“Lord of the Flies”). Two of them, Piggy and Simon, fell victim to the hunters’ violence and died.
- The language of the text comes with an abundance of teenage slang, which makes it a lot more realistic. Younger kids are called “littluns”: “They talk and scream. The littluns. ” (Chapter 3); and the older boys were called “biguns”.
- The key “Lord of the Flies” themes would be the role of civilization, the integrity of the human soul, and the equivocation of values. This text serves being an excellent source for essays about friendship, the difficult process of being a young man, civil order, and reactions of the mind to tough circumstances.
Summary of “Lord of the Flies” and Analysis
“Lord of the Flies” chapter summaries for many 12 chapters of the book demonstrate a gradual descent in to madness by the boys isolated from civilization. Mcdougal doesn’t mention dates in the chapters of the book, ergo, it’s unclear how long the boys lived on the island. Perhaps, the 12 chapters reference 12 calendar months—but it’s just speculation. The text is abundant in monologues that make the writing an easy read. Hidden instincts of the characters, which are among key symbols in “Lord of the Flies”, unfold in the pages chapter by chapter, demonstrating that individuals are able to adapt all too well to the lack of external constraints.
Summary of Chapter 1: The Sound of the Shell
The events begin on the island where two boys – Ralph and Piggy – discuss the plane crash that landed them here. Piggy doubts that anybody is coming to their rescue since he heard something about an atomic bomb through the flight, and for that reason believes that the whole world has been destroyed and that they are alone. The boys talk a little bit about themselves – Ralph discusses how his father is “a commander in the Navy. When he gets leave he’ll come and rescue us” (Chapter 1). Piggy may be the complete opposite to Ralph, that he says that: “I used to live with my auntie. She kept a candy store. I used to obtain ever so many candies. As much as I liked” (Chapter 1). He is chubby, suffers from asthma, and doesn’t know how to swim.
Ralph swims in the bay where that he finds quite a shell:
Chapter 1: “In color the shell was deep cream, touched in some places with fading pink. Involving the point, worn away in to a little hole, and the pink lips of the mouth, lay eighteen inches of shell with a small spiral twist and covered with a delicate, embossed pattern”
That he uses the shell to call an over-all meeting. Other kids originate from around the island—among them would be the members of the boys’ choir light emitting diode by Jack Merridew. Jack obviously features a lot of authority among his “group of cloaked boys”. All in all the boys seem disappointed there are no grown-ups on the island. They discuss the requirement to organize themselves. Since Ralph was usually the one to call the meeting, the boys voted him to be “chief” of the group.
Jack is dissatisfied with this type of decision since he proposed his own candidacy for the first choice position:
Chapter 1: “I ought to be chief… because I’m chapter chorister and head boy. I will sing C sharp” (Chapter 1). Ralph wants to make peace with Jack while offering him leadership over the choir boys: “Jack’s in charge of the choir. They could be—what are you wanting them to be?”
Out of this day on Jack proclaims his group “hunters”.
Summary of Chapter 2: Fire on the Mountain
Following the meeting, the youngsters explore their new homeland. From the best point, they realize that it’s an island:
Chapter 2: “We’re on an island. We’ve been on the mountain top and seen water all round. We saw no houses, no smoke, no footprints, no boats, no people. We’re on an uninhabited island with no others on it”
On the way back, they encounter a pig; Jack wants to stab it but doesn’t dare. The boys decide they are going to have a good time on the island before the adults come to rescue them. They notice flowers, fruits, and the sea:
Chapter 2: “This really is our island. It’s a good island. Until the grownups come to fetch us we’ll have fun” (Chapter 2). Suddenly, younger boys, who've been staying notably aloof, raise a question about the island beast: “He wants to understand what you’re planning to do in regards to the snake-thing”
The boys laugh and attempt to convince the children that there are no beasts on the island:
Chapter 2: “You couldn’t have a beastie, a snake-thing, on an island this size… You merely get them in big countries, like Africa, or India”
The boys decide that they will make a fire on the top of the mountain to ensure that the rescue ship finds them. They use Piggy’s glasses to burn off the dry leaves and tree branches. At first, they've trouble with lighting it, then keeping it alive, then the fire spreads to the nearest woods. Finally, Jack assumes responsibility for keeping the fire going:
Chapter 2: “Ralph, I’ll separate the choir–my hunters, that is–into groups, and we’ll be responsible for keeping the fire going”
Summary of Chapter 3: Huts on the Beach
Throughout the first days, the only policies established by Ralph were to survive, to have fun, and to take care of the fire going while awaiting a rescue mission. The boys attend regular meetings, but no one seems to work too hard: Jack hunts by himself, the choir boys spend more time swimming than working, and the younger kiddies hang out on the beach and eat fruits. The boys quickly realize that their only sourced elements of food are fruits and wild pigs. Simon puts the most effort into the construction of shelters – he's kind, soft, and protective of younger kids. Meanwhile, Piggy experiences more and more bullying from the ex-choir hunters:
Chapter 3: “There had adult tacitly one of the biguns the opinion that Piggy was an outsider, not only by accent, which did not matter, but by fat, and ass-mar, and specs, and a certain disinclination for manual labor”
The fragile order on the island begins to fail.
Summary of Chapter 4: Painted Faces and Long Hair
Discipline on the island was absent from the very beginning, and the leftovers of ascertaining order were lost soon thereafter. The boys roamed the island and spent their days lazily. In the abundance of free time they started to notice mysterious things in the woods. The thought of some beast hiding somewhere grew within their minds. Ralph continued to appeal to the kids’ reason, however , Jack used this opportunity to undermine his rival. Jack fed their fears and promised to find and kill the beast to help keep everybody safe.
Jack summons most of the hunters to go explore the island in the pursuit of pigs and beasts. This meant that no one was watching the signal fire on top of the mountain. On a single of their hunting trips, Jack, Bill, Sam, and Eric find a river with white and red clay. Jack smears his face with the clay:
Chapter 4: “For hunting. Like in the war. You know—dazzle paint. Like things trying to seem like something else”
The hunters then kill their first pig and take it to the camp. During this time period, a ship passes the island, but doesn’t stop since there is no smoke for a rescue signal. Jack triumphs due to his hunting victory and Ralph is upset due to the lost fire. This results in their first major argument. Piggy tries to express his support for Ralph, making Jack even angrier as he breaks one side of Piggy’s glasses.
Summary of Chapter 5: Beast from Water
Ralph calls yet another meeting where he reiterates the rules: the fire ought to be maintained all the time, the toilet ought to be in one designated place, and the food ought to be prepared only on the fire at the top of the mountain. As tensions between boys intensify, the younger children continue to complain about the beast. One of the boys, Percival, claims that the beast originates from the waters. It becomes harder and harder to convince them that the beast may be the product of these imagination:
Chapter 5: “… the littluns were no more silent. These were reminded of these personal sorrows; and perhaps felt themselves to share with you in a sorrow that has been universal. They began to cry in sympathy, two of these almost as loud as Percival” (Chapter 5). The meeting converted into chaos. Ralph, Piggy and Simon discuss the need for adults: “Grown-ups know things… They ain’t afraid of the dark. They’d meet and have tea and discuss. Then things ’ud be all right”
Summary of Chapter 6: Beast from Air
One night there clearly was an air battle perhaps not far from the island:
Chapter 6: “… there were other lights in the sky, that moved fast, winked, or sought out, though not really a faint popping came down from the battle fought at ten miles’ height”
The dead human anatomy of a person with a parachute lands on the island. If the twins – Sam and Eric – take their guard positions around the fire, they begin to see the body and run away—calling Ralph for help. Nevertheless , Ralph and Jack can’t find such a thing when they examine the island. The boys notice that the fire is going again and decide to increase the mountain. It begins to get dark.
Summary of Chapter 7: Shadows of the Tall Trees
On the way towards the mountain top, Jack decides to hunt something, because, as Roger says: “We are in need of meat even though we are hunting the other thing” (Chapter 7). They spot a boar. Ralph hits it with a rock, but the animal escapes. In the heat of the hunt, one of the boys, Robert, starts to imitate the pig and everyone plays the hunters. They circle around Robert and scream:
Chapter 7: “Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!” They really hurt their friend: “Robert was screaming and experiencing the strength of frenzy. Jack had him by the hair and was brandishing his knife” The rage was so intense that Ralph wasn’t able to inhibit the hunters.
Following the massive and violent ritual, Ralph, Roger, and Jack go up the mountain in the center of the night. They notice the corpse of the dead pilot stuck in the tree branches along with his evacuation parachute:
Chapter 7: “In it the silver of moon had drawn clear of the horizon. Before them, something similar to a great ape was sitting asleep using its head between its knees. Then the wind roared in the forest, there was confusion in the darkness and the creature lifted its head, holding toward them the ruin of a face”
Because of their impassioned emotions, they convince themselves that the dead man may be the beast and the three of them flee as fast as they can back to their camp.
Summary of Chapter 8: Gift for the Darkness
Ralph is terrified of the beast, that he even thinks that the creature was camping round the fire to ensure that the boys didn’t get rescued. When the boys are back at the camp, Jack calls a meeting and accuses Ralph of being a coward and being not able to protect them from the dangers they’ve encountered:
Chapter 8: “Ralph thinks you’re cowards, running away from the boar and the beast… He’s like Piggy. That he says such things as Piggy. That he isn’t a suitable chief”
But the boys don’t consent to replace Ralph with Jack, so the angry hunter switches into the woods to start their own tribe with the other choir boys:
Chapter 8: “I’m not planning to be a part of Ralph’s lot… I’m going off by myself. He is able to catch their own pigs. Anybody who wants to hunt when I really do can come too”
7 days a week, Jack tries to attract other boys to join his clan by promising them feasts with delicious pig meat. Fundamentally, Bill, Roger, and Maurice join the hunters. The boys now call Jack “chief” and hunt things that are alive on the island. They believe that provided that they leave something for the beast to kill and eat, they will be safe. During certainly one of their hunts, they kill a pretty big pig. Jack mounts its head on a stick:
Chapter 8: “Jack held up the top and jammed the soft throat down on the pointed end of the stick which pierced through into the mouth. He stood back and the head hung there, just a little blood dribbling down the stick” Jack proclaims: “This head is for the beast. It’s a gift”.
Simon watches the hunters from the quiet place he found for himself in the middle of the woods. While looking at the mounted pig’s head surrounded by insects he decides to call it the “Lord of the Flies”. Simon begins to hear the pig’s voice in his head:
Chapter 8: “You might be a silly little boy… just an ignorant, silly little boy”.
God, the father of the Flies tells Simon that the beast is inside each of the boys and that his life is in peril. Hearing that, Simon faints. Eventually, Ralph and Piggy decide to visit one of Jack’s feasts.
Summary of Chapter 9: A View to a Death
A big storm begins to brew within the island. Simon decides to increase the mountain to confront the beast himself. That he sees the dead parachutist and gets the straps off of the corpse. Realizing that there's no beast, the boy rushes back once again to tell every one the good news. At precisely the same time, Ralph yet again enters in to an argument with Jack within the title to be the island’s authority. Ralph insists that he’s been democratically elected as their leader. In response, Jack, whose face is painted with clay, starts a ritual dance while singing his favorite song:
Chapter 9: “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”
The boys, scared of the storm, will also be scared to be hungry and hunted by the imaginary beast – so they really join Jack in his savage dance:
Chapter 9: “The movement became regular whilst the chant lost its first superficial excitement and started initially to beat such as for instance a steady pulse”
Unfortuitously, Simon enters the camp in the minute of their total madness. Most of the boys could see was a dark figure approaching from the woods, they quickly surround the figure, ignore all cries from ‘some man’ on the hill, and used their sticks to kill the creature:
Chapter 9: “The beast struggled forward, broke the ring and fell over the steep edge of the rock to the sand by the water. At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore”
After the madness subsides, everyone realizes that Simon is dead. The body of the parachutist is impressed from the island through the storm.
Summary of Chapter 10: The Shell and the Glasses
Piggy tries to rationalize the cruel and inhumane murder of Simon:
Chapter 10: “It had been an accident… that’s what it was. A major accident. Coming in the dark—he hadn’t no business crawling like this out of the dark. He was batty. That he asked for this”
But Ralph realized that the boys have crossed a line and there is no turning back. You can find only a few boys left that haven’t joined the hunters: Ralph, Piggy, the Samneric twins, some youngsters. The boys are desperate to help keep the fire on the island—as it’s their only chance for rescue and survival. One night Jack sneaks into their shelters and steals the glasses used to start out the fire.
Summary of Chapter 11: Castle Rock
The hunters now live in a rock cave that sort of resembles a castle, therefore they call it Castle Rock. Ralph, the twins, and Piggy decide to go there and obtain Piggy’s glasses back from Jack. The boys plan a fight as much as they are able to – they take spears with them, tie their hair back, and take the conch shell. Since Piggy can’t see anything without his glasses, Ralph orders him to kneel down and stay behind after they approach Castle Rock. A fight breaks out. Roger starts throwing stones from the top of the mountain. Jack stabs Ralph with a spear. And Ralph tries to appeal to the hunters to be reasonable and invest common effort into obtaining the fire going:
Chapter 11: “Don’t you understand, you painted fools? Sam, Eric, Piggy and me— we aren’t enough. We tried to keep the fire going, but we couldn’t. And you, playing at hunting...”
The hunters surround the twins, take their spears away, and tie them up. Ralph loses his temper and calls out to Jack:
Chapter 11: “You’re a beast and a swine and a bloody, bloody thief!”
The heated argument results in Roger throwing a massive rock off of the mountain:
Chapter 11: “The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded right into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist… Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his right back across the square red rock in the ocean. His head opened and stuff arrived and turned red. Piggy’s arms and legs twitched a bit, like a pig’s after it's been killed”
In complete silence, the boys watch how a sea started initially to take away Piggy’s dead human anatomy.
Summary of Chapter 12: Cry of the Hunters
Ralph runs away to escape the hunters, “the bruised flesh was inches in diameter over his right ribs, with a swollen and bloody scar where the spear had hit him” (Chapter 12). He realizes that Jack will not leave him alone now. Sam and Eric get beaten until they accept Jack’s rule as chief. Throughout a secret meeting, Samneric warn Ralph that the next day hunters will begin to search for him round the entire island. The hunters prepare to mount Ralph’s head on a stick as a new tribute to the beast. The boys torture the twins to give up Ralph’s hiding place and set the woods on fire searching for their enemy.
When Ralph very nearly gets caught by the hunters, that he suddenly stumbles into a man on the beach. This man is just a naval officer who is very surprised to see most of the boys painted in clay and caught with spears. The sky over the island turns black as a result of the fire started by the hunters. The officer thinks the boys are playing fun games about war.
Chapter 12: “The officer inspected the little scarecrow in front of him. The kid needed a bath, a haircut, a nose-wipe and a good deal of ointment”
Ralph gives in to tears and is happy that they are finally safe.
“Lord of the Flies” Symbolism
Piggy's Glasses really are a symbol of civilization. The boys utilize them to make their first fire. It’s symbolic that Jack breaks Piggy’s glasses all through his first fight with Ralph. It is a symbol of the beginning of the uncivilized era on the island. An endeavor to recover his stolen Glasses gets Piggy killed.
The Conch Shell was used to call the very first meeting in Chapter - During the following meeting in Chapter 2, Ralph realizes the need to keep consitently the group organized. So the kiddies agree that whoever is given the conch can speak at the meeting:
Chapter 2: “That’s what this shell’s called. I’ll supply the conch to another person to speak. He is able to hold it when he’s speaking”
It’s a symbol of some sort of democracy, where everyone deserves to be given the conch and get the attention of the group while speaking their minds.
The Pig's Head may be the easiest response to “what may be the Lord of the flies? ” question. It is a symbol of raw instincts, priority of basic needs over spiritual needs, and reason. It’s also important that the pig’s head was treated as a tribute to another imaginary beast that supposedly lived on the island. Consequently , it has double symbolism in “Lord of the Flies” – it’s the representation to be wild in the boys’ temperaments, but it’s also the source that feeds upon their internal fears and makes them do a lot more crazy things.
The War Paint is really a way for the boys to camouflage their actions. The hunters use clay to paint their faces. Initially, it’s an effort to look just like the hunters they saw in movies, but the war paint becomes their mask. It represents the distinction between them on the island from the way they were back home in Britain.
Uncontrolled Fire occurs in a few chapters in the book. The boys’ first make an effort to start a fire results inside spreading to the woods. Finally, the boys set the entire island unstoppable trying to smoke Ralph out. It’s emblematic of lost hope and internal and external destruction. It vividly demonstrates how easy it's to ruin the things that grow and develop over time.
Lord of the Flies Themes
Civilization vs savagery could be the main theme of “Lord of the Flies”. Mcdougal of the book was curious to explore the character of “animal” instincts that could be hidden in humans and the degree to which evolution has suppressed it. That he demonstrates that despite centuries of evolution, men continue to be susceptible to degradation once the pressures of civilization have been eased off. The boys quickly abandon their civil masks, follow their wild temperaments, and begin their journeys to the course of being fully a primitive tribal community.
Youth and loss of innocence. In the beginning, after the plane crash, the boys are excited to be free from adults ruling their lives and luxuriate in their unexpected freedom. Mcdougal demonstrates that it’s an all-natural instinct of the youth to first look for adults for guidance and then, when they have found out that they are by themselves, to enjoy the capacity to rule themselves. However , the circumstances of living on a wild island and the need to survive quickly force the youth to grow up. Very quickly the boys turn from gentlemen into cavemen.
Fear and the nature of evil can be found throughout the entire “Lord of the Flies” summary. In the beginning, it’s driving a car of being alone without adults, then it’s the fear of a mysterious beast, after which it’s driving a car of themselves. Eventually fear becomes their guiding instinct on the island. Once degradation starts and their civilized nature is let it go, reason is substituted by fear and hunger if you are the decision-making force in the boys’ minds. The key lesson delivered by the writing is that evil lives inside of us and no one but us can help make peace with it.
Power and religion. Towards the end of the book, power is in the hands of the who can demonstrate physical force, are able to provide food available, and are in a position to protect their followers from real and imaginary dangers. Force becomes their only religion, and rage becomes their only true emotion.