Lord of the Flies

By William Golding

Summary

Lord of the Flies takes place on a small uninhabited tropical island. It begins when a plane crashes in the middle of the jungle leaving a band of young boys stranded. The real kicker, no adults. Two boys, Ralph and Piggy, discover a conch shell which Ralph uses to summon all the boys. The boys decide they need to elect a chief. After the vote Ralph prevails as the winner. He, Jack, the new leader of the hunters, and a boy named Simon set out to explore the island. Ralph decides they need a signal fire and they boys rush to make one. Throughout the book the boys alternate between civilized and savage. At first they are goal driven, but eventually chaos and laziness takes over. And worst of all, the “littluns” have instigated a fear that haunts the boys until the very end.

Review

I enjoyed reading Lord of the Flies. It is a very easy read. There is not much that will trip you up while reading, but at some points dialogue can be hard to follow. The story is pretty well up beat and keeps you interested. Despite being older now, it is easy to relate to the kids’ decisions. You can clearly tell when they are acting out of maturity or child whim. The book is a good representation of true human nature; humans have an innate savage instinct, yet we strive for civilization. I recommend you read this book at some point in your life, it is well worth the time.


Novel Excerpt

Page 61-62

The fire was dead. They saw that strait away; saw what they had really known down on the beach when the smoke of home had beckoned. The fire was out, smokeless and dead; the watchers were gone. A pile of unused fuel lay ready.


Ralph turned to the sea. The horizon stretched, impersonal once more, barren of all but the faintest trace of smoke. Ralph ran stumbling along the rocks, saved himself on the edge of the pink cliff, and screamed at the ship.


"Come back! Come back!"


He ran backwards and forwards along the cliff, his face always to the sea, and his voice rose insanely.


"Come back! Come back!"


Simon and Maurice arrived. Ralph looked at them with unwinking eyes. Simon turned away, smearing the water from his cheeks. Ralph reached inside himself for the worst word he knew.


"They let the bloody fire go out."


.............significance

This excerpt marks the turning point in Lord of the Flies. It is the first time the boys’ laziness has got the better of them, despite the successful hunt. At this point in the book the boys begin to question Ralph’s authority as chief as the rift between Jack and Ralph becomes bigger.


Character Analysis

Ralph

Ralph is the elected chief. He attempts to keep the boys organized and busy by having them build a shelter and maintain a signal fire. Ralph is looking out for all the boys; he has their best interests in mind and plans to keep them as civilized as possible.

Jack

Jack is the perfect FOIL for Ralph. Where Ralph is more humble, Jack is arrogant. Jack, unlike Ralph, puts hunting and play before the more important work such as building shelter. When the signal fire goes out as a passing ship goes by Jack is more concerned about his recent kill then not being saved. As the story progresses Ralph and Jack go head to head, competing for the leadership of the boys.

Piggy

Piggy has a word to say about everything. Of all the boys Piggy is book smart and he normally shares his highly logical opinions with the group during meetings. Most of the other boys, except for Ralph, are mean to Piggy. However, Jack is by far the worst. Jack does not hesitates to berate Piggy when he speaks.

The Littluns

The Littluns are the young boys in the group that are too little to make important decisions. They tend to have a good time simply playing and swimming all day. Yet over time they begin to fear a “beast” that lives on the island. Despite reassurance that there is no beast , the Littluns are still afraid of what haunts the island at night.

The Hunters

The hunters are Jacks posy. They were all in a choir prior to crash landing, with Jack as their leader. They follow Jack’s command and join the hunt. After their first kill the hunters partake in a strange dance celebrating their success.