Lord of the Flies


Plot Summary

Following an airplane crash on a deserted island, a group of English schoolboys ranging in ages from 6 to 12 form an assembly and elect a leader named Ralph. Ralph is athletic, handsome, confident, and strong. He is, however, unused to thinking, and his main objective is to have fun until the boys are rescued. The thrill of freedom is foremost in his mind, and he is captivated.

The choir wants Jack for a leader, so Ralph allows Jack to form a band of hunters. Throughout the novel, Ralph and Jack compete for the boys’ loyalty. Ralph comes to accept the reality of their situation and the importance of making a smoke signal just in case a ship happens to pass. Jack, on the other hand, descends into a state of barbarism. Without normal societal conventions to restrain his behavior, Jack sees no reason not to do what he wants, and what he wants is to rebel against Ralph’s authority and to establish his own tribe of savages.

Piggy, a fat boy with asthma and poor eyesight, tries to help Ralph keep order on the island, but his miserable appearance and inability to gain anyone’s respect put him at a disadvantage. Ralph only gradually shows concern for Piggy, and only because he realizes how valuable Piggy’s loyalty actually is.

Jack’s hunters manage to kill a pig and provide meat for the boys. Jack’s kill gives him a stark advantage over Ralph in the sense that he can fill one of the boys’ appetites that Ralph cannot. Jack grows increasingly antagonistic toward Ralph and consistently challenges his authority, his bravery, his ability, and his leadership on several occasions. Ralph manages to assert himself successfully on a number of them. As he faces each new test, however, he begins to look inward and reflect upon the actual order of priorities: Namely, that the first priority should be the maintenance of a signal fire; the second, shelter; the third, meat.

As the days go by, fear seeps into the hearts of the boys. One of the smaller boys speaks of having seen a “beastie.” The beast becomes a...

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