Summary of Lord of the Flies
Summary of Lord of the Flies
It all starts with Ralph finding himself on what seems like a desolated island. After walking around for some time, he meets the boy, whose name we don’t hear, but Ralph will refer to his nickname, Piggy, future on. Ralph and Piggy decide it would be best to group up, although Ralph seems to be rather annoyed with Piggy’s presence. After they have wandered around on the island, they spot something rather interesting lying in a small pool of water. It turns out to be a conch, and Piggy suggests that they maybe could use it to summon all the other survivors on the island.
Ralph stands on a platform of stone at the beach and starts blowing in the conch, which sound echoes all over the island. A moment later children of all sizes in the age of 5-12 appears from the bushes and plants in the surroundings. Also a school choir appears, wearing their school’s black uniform. The choir’s head vocalist, Jack, confronts Ralph and after a minor discussion they both agree to make a vote, to see who should lead this pack of children. In the meantime we hear rumors from the children of what have happened.
As far as I have noticed, it seems we’re in the second world war and the use of atom bombs have made countries evacuate children by sending them into a form of tube, which could be attached to a plane. Apparently those children’s plane was attacked by unknown forces and the pilot managed to eject the tube on a nearby island, before the plane crashed into the ocean. The children’s favor goes to Ralph, who then becomes the leader of the group. Although he feels Jack’s desire for power and maybe even a soul brother, as he gives the control of the “hunters” to Jack.
The hunters are the group of choir boys whose primary objective is to gather meat for the group. Ralph points out a boy, named Simon, from the choir, and ask him to accompany himself and Jack in the exploration of the island. At this trip around the island, a strange bond forms between them, and they think of themselves as the three people in charge of the group of children. In their desperate hope of being saved the children abandons all labor of shelter and climbs up the mountain, blindly deceived by Jack’s orders, to create a “giant” bonfire, which smoke should draw nearby ships’ attention.
The children spend hours gathering wood and lumber. After they have placed all their gathered materials, they realize how small their bonfire actually is, compared to how much effort they had putted into it. They decide to ignite it anyway, using Piggy’s glasses to concentrate the sun’s rays at a single spot and thereby succeed to create fire. Although, the bonfire doesn’t really create the pillar of smoke, the boys had dreamed of. And to make matters worse the bonfire gets out of control and spreads to the nearby forest.
Realizing the consequences of their actions, the children can only stand and watch with horror, as the fire sweeps across the half of the island, leaving only a scorched scar in its trails. At this point Piggy discover, that some of the smaller children are missing. With fear in their eyes, they look down at the burning hell, which only moments ago were the wild jungle the small children had gathered food from. The following day Jack is out hunting, he think of himself as a deadly predator but must later admit, that he sometimes felt like the prey.
Ralph and Simon have used the day on preparing the shelters, although it’s in vain, as no of the other kids intend to help, and the shelters keeps collapsing. As Jack returns he falls in conversation with Ralph, leaving Simon unattended, giving him the opportunity to sneak away for the time being. Simon manages to enter the jungle undetected, where he sits down and falls in a trance, while having one of his hallucinations. At the following day, we’re informed that, the children has been split up into two groups, the littluns and the biguns. The littluns are all the kids under the age of 9 and the biguns are all above.
We then hear about three littluns playing at the beach. The biggest of them is Henry and the other two is called Johnny and Percival. They’re playing in a castle build of sand, but then Roger and Maurice, two of the biguns, appears. Johnny starts to throw sand at Percival, which makes Percival cry. Henry gets bored of the two other littluns and wanders off along the coast. Roger shadows him, and when Henry stops and starts playing with some amphipods, Roger stands behind a nearby tree and glares at him. Roger picks up stone from the ground and aims at Henry.
He hesitates, but throws the rock a moment later and misses on purpose, as the remaining civilized part stops him from harming the younger boy. He turns around and sees Jack standing and watching him. He beckons Roger to follow him, and they meet up with some of the other biguns. Jack thinks the reason, why they haven’t caught any animals yet, is that, they’re too easy to spot, so he decides it’s time to make some camouflage. In the meantime Piggy and Ralph stand and discuss out on the beach. Suddenly Ralph spots a ship in the distance.
A little hope sparks up inside their heads, ntil Piggy looks up at the mountain with the signal fire, and notices there isn’t coming any smoke up from it and realizes it has burned out. Ralph and Piggy look back at the ship, and then tries desperately to reach the bonfire at the mountain in time. When they finally reach the bonfire, it’s too late. Ralph makes a pitiful attempt to call the ship back, but realizes it’s in vain. Ralph and Piggy stares hopelessly out in the distance and turns around as they hear footsteps behind them. Jack, Roger and some of the other boys stand behind them, including Sam and Eric whose job was to keep the bonfire burning.
Ralph glares at them, but Jack starts talking about how they have killed a pig. Ralph then yells at Sam and Eric why they haven’t kept the fire burning and how a ship just has passed. Jack tries to calm Ralph down with all his talk about the pig, but Ralph doesn’t care. Piggy attempts to help Ralph in the discussion, but gets punched in the face by Jack, resulting in one of Piggy’s lenses shatters. That afternoon Ralph calls in to an assembly. Sadly the serious assembly turns into talk about a fierce beast ravaging the island. One of the littluns manages to convince half of the children, that the beast is a ghost.
Piggy tries to explain why such a thing as a ghost couldn’t exist, but Jack interrupts him and starts insulting him. Ralph comes to Piggy’s defense by telling all how Jack had made Eric and Sam abandon the bonfire. At dawn the next day pilot from a damaged fighter parachutes down on the island, while his fighter explodes not far away from the island. Meanwhile Eric and Sam sit and guard the fire. Suddenly Sam notices something strange moving around 50 yards away. From its silhouette they could see its way larger than a common pig.
Normally they wouldn’t have worried about it, but since the beast talk last night, they have been rather scared by anything unusual, so they rush back to the shelters, leaving the bonfire to burn out… As they enter the shelters, they nearly scream what they have seen to Jack and Ralph, who then call for another assembly. This time they can’t deny the beast theory. Although Jack insists, that he has searched the whole island and hasn’t found any trails of a beast. One of the littluns then start yelling, that it may live in the sea and only goes ashore to hunt.
This starts a massive discussion. When they all have calmed down, the assembly agrees that a beast exist. Jack suggests that the hunters set out to hunt the beast. Ralph agrees, but only at the condition of also lighting the bonfire again. Jack can only think of one place he hasn’t been at, an isolated rock plateau near the northwestern part of the island. They set off and use the rest of the day to reach the stone plateau. As they reach the plateau, only Ralph and Jack are bold enough to climb the rocks and search it for the beast. As it has been searched all over, they call for the others.
Jack and some of the hunters think of the plateau as the perfect place for a fort. Although Ralph disagrees, as he means it’s too far from any food or fresh water. Many of the children wants to hang around the plateau for a time, but Ralph attempts to make them continue their journey to the mountain, as he wants the bonfire lit as fast as possible. They continue their journey to the mountain by using one of the nearby pig-runs. They approach an area of fruit trees and decide to rest for awhile. Ralph and Simon use the break to discuss whether they get rescued or not.
A moment later Roger yell and beckons the boys. He has discovered a fresh pile of dung from a pig. Jack calls out, that this journey now is a hunt. Ralph tries to remain focused, but he’s tempted by the opportunity to hunt for his first time. Ralph’s curiosity wins and is enhanced, as he convinces himself, that they still would follow the route to the mountain. They make their way through the creepers and manage to track the pig down. Ralph attempts to deliver a fatal blow with his wooden spear, but fails and only hits it in the snout, causing only a minor injury, before the pig manages to get away.
Ralph is filled with excitement and tries to impress all of the other boys by telling them, how he alone wounded the pig. It turns into one of their primitive games, as Robert performs as the pig and Ralph as the mighty hunter. Some seconds later all of the boys have joined in at game. It stops as Robert nearly gets badly hurt, but he tries to retrieve some of his status by making a joke out of it. They follow the pig-run, leading them out of the jungle to the coast. They then follow the coast towards the mountain. Ralph notices the suns position and determines it to be a bit over tea time.
Ralph suggests that, they should turn back to the shelters, as it would be nightfall soon, and they can’t leave Piggy and the Littluns alone in the dark with a beast rampaging around the island. Only Jack, Ralph and Roger will continue to the mountain. Jack had found another pig-run leading to the mountain a few days ago, and they decide to follow it. As they’re nearing the top of the mountain, they see a sort of unnatural bulge sitting near their abandoned fireplace. They immediately think of it as the beast, and decide to continue forward on hands and knees.
The bulge turns slightly, as the wind changes. The entire island lights up for a second, as a giant lightning bolt hits the ocean surface near the island. This blink of light gives the three boys a glimpse of the face of the creature. A half rotten skull glares directly at them. The boys are gone in a matter of seconds, as they dash down the mountain side, leaving only the three sticks and a bulging creature on the mountain top. The next day a crucial discussion is taking place. It’s Jack and Ralph who’re arguing about whether what to do and not do. All the boys get summoned as Jack blows the conch.
Jack declares that he and his hunter are creating their own tribe: A tribe without the silly thoughts of rescue, a tribe with hunters, who will gather meat, a tribe which will hold feasts. This declaration severs the boys into two groups, Ralph with his ambitions of rescue, and Jack with his vision of the mighty hunters of the island. Many of the biguns follows Jack’s lead, and they heads out to the fort plateau, now renamed to Castle Rock. Piggy, Simon, Sam and Eric stays with Ralph. Later that afternoon, Jack and some of the now savage boys steal some of the fire, Ralph’s group had maintained.
At the evening Jack and two of his savages return to the shelters. In an attempt to convince the remaining boys to his tribe, he announces, that a giant feast is going to be launched at the beach near Castle rock tonight, and all of them are invited. As Jack is done talking, his two savages says synchronous: “The Chieftain has spoken! ”. All of the boys, even the littluns, follow Jack back to Castle Rock, except Piggy, Ralph, Sam and Eric. In the meantime Simon has disappeared, as he didn’t follow Jack nor stayed with Ralph.
Simon is having one of his hallucinations next to the pig’s head on a stick, and he actually has a conversation with it. The pig’s head is representing the devil, also known as the Lord of the Flies. The head tells him about the human’s evil nature, but Simon rejects all of it and runs away toward the mountain. He climbs up to the mountain top and discover the decaying corpse of the dead fighter pilot right next to the fireplace. He tries to rush down to the others, but the night has fallen, and the jungle has become a living and shredding maze. In the meantime Jack has launched his feast.
All are enjoying roasted pig meat and the hospitality a giant fire provides. They start singing and dancing a not many minutes later it turns into their primitive pig hunting game. Roger plays the pig, running around the fire with four hunters chasing only a few steps behind him. The remaining boys and littluns are dancing around them, singing: “Kill the pig, cut her throat, spill her blood! ” The boys fall into a primitive bloodlust, and as Simon crawls out of the forest, bloodied and shredded, the primitive song turns into: “Kill the beast, cut his throat, spill his blood.
Seconds later the circle of boys charges at poor Simon and starts kicking and stabbing him with their spears. Enraged by their bloodlust, they do not notice it is him, before he is all dead and battered up. As Ralph and Piggy realize, what they have participated in, they flee back to their shelters. The following day only Piggy, Sam and Eric remains in Ralph’s tribe. They start thinking about, how they should maintain. At Jacks tribe the fire has burned out. The corpse of Simon has disappeared into the sea, and Jack tries to deceive the whole tribe to think, that Simon’s dead never had happened.
Jack realizes that to maintain the loyalty of his tribe, he needs fire. He plans an assault on Ralph’s tribe to steal Piggy’s glasses. The assault is easy accomplished, as Jack’s tribe easy outnumbers the remaining four boys in Ralph’s tribe. The thievery of his glasses makes Piggy’s blood boil. He and the three others set out to Castle Rock armed with three wooden sticks and the conch, in an attempt to convince jack of his unfairness in what they call “The game”. This attempt fails miserably although.
Piggy and the conch get rolled over by a giant boulder, released by Roger, and his corpse is send plunging down from the plateau out into the ocean, while the conch is shattered into thousand of bits. Sam and Eric get taken hostage, and Ralph barely manages to escape. The chase him for some minutes, but let him run. Ralph hides in the nearby thicket with a view to Castle rock. Sam and Eric get beaten and are forced to join Jacks tribe. As they have the night watch that evening, Ralph sneaks up to them. They warn him about Jack’s plan, as Jack intends to make a massive manhunt for Ralph all over the island the following day.
Ralph then tells them, where he will hide the next day. Ralph has many unanswered question, but he needs to leave immediately as footsteps are nearing. The last thing he hears, is Eric talking about, how Roger has sharpened a stick in both ends. Ralph doesn’t understand what it means, but we know from before, that last time Roger sharpened a stick in both ends, was to impale the pig’s head to the ground. Ralph flees to his hiding spot in the thicket, which he has made easily defendable, if he was to be detected. The following morning the manhunt has been started.
Sam and Eric have been tortured to tell where Ralph’s hiding spot is located. Jack and Roger roll a boulder down towards the thicket, but misses Ralph, although it breaks all the defense preparations Ralph had created, although the boulder now forms a cave like area. This gives Ralph a chance to defend his position with ease. But some moments later he smells the smell of smoke. He starts coughing and realizes that, Jack has lit the thicket on fire! Ralph crawls out of a small crack in the back of the thicket, but is soon noticed by the savages. Now the graveness of a manhunt really starts.
Ralph is flees, like a pig, as he is chased all over the island. He manages to take two of the savages down, but the remaining has formed a circle, which keeps tightening each second. Ralph is at his finale reserves as he breaks out of the jungle into the open beach. He dashes over the beach, while he keeps peeking over his left shoulder. Suddenly he bumps into something and looks up. Before him stands an Officer of a trim cruiser and looks at him with a smile at his lips. The Officer helps Ralph back up on his feet and laughs while mumbling something about children and their wild games.
He then asks, if there are any dead bodies. Ralph answers him, that Piggy and Simon has died. Now the remaining savage boys come forth from their hiding in the forest. The officer tells Ralph that, they’re saved now. Ralph takes a deep breath and starts crying. He starts remembering all of the cruel memories of the island. He weeps over the end of innocence, as he finally has realized the darkness the heart of a man is capable of containing. Ralph looks down into the sand, as his tears slowly drop and leave dark, gray spots in it. He mourns over the loss of his true, wise friend… Piggy. The end
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 2 October 2016
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