The Lord of the Flies Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Lord of the Flies

In the midst of a nuclear war, a group of British boys find themselves stranded without adult supervision on a tropical island. The group is roughly divided into the “littluns,” boys around the age of six, and the “biguns,” who are between the ages of ten and twelve. Initially, the boys attempt to form a culture similar to the one they left behind. They elect a leader, Ralph, who, with the advice and support of Piggy (the intellectual of the group), strives to establish rules for housing and sanitation. Ralph also makes a signal fire the group's first priority, hoping that a passing ship will see the smoke signal and rescue them. A major challenge to Ralph's leadership is Jack, who also wants to lead. Jack commands a group of boys who hunt. Jack draws the other boys slowly away from Ralph's influence because of their natural attraction to and inclination toward the adventurous hunting activities.
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The conflict between Jack and Ralph—and the forces of savagery and civilization that they represent—is exacerbated by the boys' literal fear of a mythical beast roaming the island. One night, an aerial battle occurs above the island, and a casualty of the battle floats down with his opened parachute, ultimately coming to rest on the mountaintop. Breezes occasionally inflate the parachute, making the body appear to sit up and then sink forward again. This sight panics the boys as they mistake the dead body for the beast they fear. In a reaction to this panic, Jack forms a splinter group that is eventually joined by all but a few of the boys. The boys who join Jack are enticed by the protection Jack's ferocity seems to provide, as well as by the prospect of playing the role of savages: putting on camouflaging face paint, hunting, and performing tribal dances. Eventually, Jack's group actually slaughters a sow and, as an offering to the beast, puts the sow's head on a stick.

Of all the boys, only the mystic Simon has the courage to discover the true identity of the beast sighted on the mountain. After witnessing the death of the sow and the gift made of her head to the beast, Simon begins to hallucinate, and the staked sow's head becomes the Lord of the Flies, imparting to Simon what he has already suspected: The beast is not an animal on the loose but is hidden in each boy's psyche. Weakened by his horrific vision, Simon loses consciousness. Recovering later that evening, he struggles to the mountaintop and finds that the beast is only a dead pilot/soldier. Attempting to bring the news to the other boys, he stumbles into the tribal frenzy of their dance. Perceiving him as the beast, the boys beat him to death.

Soon only three of the older boys, including Piggy, are still in Ralph's camp. Jack's group steals Piggy's glasses to start its cooking fires, leaving Ralph unable to maintain his signal fire. When Ralph and his small group approach Jack's tribe to request the return of the glasses, one of Jack's hunters releases a huge boulder on Piggy, killing him. The tribe captures the other two biguns prisoners, leaving Ralph on his own.

The tribe undertakes a manhunt to track down and hurt/kill Ralph, and they start a fire to smoke him out of one of his hiding places, creating an island-wide forest fire. A ship sees the smoke from the fire, and a British naval officer arrives on the beach just in time to save Ralph from certain death at the hands of the schoolboys turned savages.

The review of this Book prepared by Jeff Geddes

   The Lord of the Flies is a provocative novel about a group of boys who are marooned alone on an uninhabited island. Originally, the boys were very civilized and orderly. They elected Ralph as their chief, and they obeyed his rules. A conch shell was used to call order, and all of the boys honored the shell.
   One boy named Jack had the desire to hunt and kill pigs for food, but in the beginning he could not bring himself to actually kill the pigs. As the story goes on, though, he and his hunters grow more and more savage. Killing pigs soon turns into a game, and when a boy is accidently murdered, everyone makes excuses for it. The savagery grows to the story's intense and terrifying climax when Jack and his hunters are hunting Ralph.
The review of this Book prepared by Amanda Chapman

In a supposed WW3 or possibly continued WW2, children are taken from london and put on a plane the plane crashes on an island resulting in the death of the pilot later identified as the "beast".
The review of this Book prepared by Danni Leader

A thrilling exploration of the chilling adaptability of the human character to disintegrating societal ethics. Ralph is the main character, a natural leader who asserts initial control of a group of schoolboys stranded on a deserted island. Jack is his adversary, a power-hungry leader who engages in a strategic battle of control of the group with Ralph, leading the boys slowly over the boundaries of reason, into a new society of savage, primal darkness.

Lord of the Flies builds on a theme of foreboding terror, intending to mirror a larger Society.   Golding's work is a classic – lingering, unforgettable, haunting.

The review of this Book prepared by L. Frizzell

Lord of the Flies can be interpreted two ways: democracy vs. anarchy or the natural evil of humanity. Boys stranded on a deserted island fight their own internal war among themselves in contrast to the world war raging on outside of their world.
The review of this Book prepared by Peggy Nguyen

Chapter Analysis of The Lord of the Flies

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Exploring into the wild    -   Yes kind of story    -   surviving natural elements Parents/lack of parents problem?    -   orphan story Wild kid(s)?    -   acting savage/like animals

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a kid Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   6 () Island?    -   Yes Island:    -   food/shelter preoccupation    -   mean guy who wants to hunt/mutate    -   stranded

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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William Golding Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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