Lord of the flies is a prize-winning novel by William Golding,
published in 1954. When he was going through many wars, he decided to combine
his experiences and some boys story in this writing. In this novel the main focus
civilization verses savagery. It starts, when a plan carrying British boys crashes
into an uninhabited island, far from land, and no grown-ups are there with the
boys. All the boys gather together choose a chief, make laws for themselves,
distribute duties, make a fire as a signal for rescue, make shelters, search
for food, and explore the island to find the beast and kill it, but they fail
to continue working together. Their fight for various reasons keeps going on
that some boys are even killed. The author wants to convey that there is evil
within all human.
The first two characters or boys who are introduced in the story
are Ralph and Piggy. Ralph is a handsome boy with fair hair, whose father works
in military and he is the oldest boy among all. Piggy by the name can be guessed
that he is a fat or chubby asthmatic boy with glasses which makes him look
intelligent and also it symbolizes wisdom.
Ralph finds a conch, which he blows to gather the other boys
together, and later in this story the conch is used as a symbol of civilization
After blowing for several
times other boys gather together. Then comes Jack, an aggressive boy with red
hair, with his marching choir. They all ask for a chief and Ralph is chosen as
their chief by all the boys. Ralph choses Jack to be the leader for the hunting
group. Ralph says that first they need to explore the island and he chooses
jack and Simonto go with him to explore the island.
In their expedition, they climb a pink rock mountain and from there
they realize that they are actually on an uninhabited island. They go down the
rocky mountain to find food and there they come across a pig. Jack acting bold,
tries to kill the pig, but he hesitates before doing so and the pig runs away.
When they return back, Ralph blows the conch and calls on a
meeting. Ralph tells everyone, in order to be rescued they will need a fire as
a signal, so that any ship passing by could notice them and come to rescue
Among the littluns, the younger boys was a boy with a big birth
mark on his. He was pushed forward by other littluns to speak for them about
the “beastie”. But Ralph assured the littluns that there is no beasties on an
island that no one lives there.
The boys were so overwhelmed for starting a fire that they started
singing a chant and Jack leads them into the forest to make fire there. They
all walk in excitement of fire that they leave Ralph and Piggy behind. Jack
uses Piggy’s glasses to make the fire.
On the first night, the fire becomes uncontrollable and it burns a
large area, and the boy with a huge birth mark on his face, suddenly disappears
that night. No one knowing what happened to him.
The next morning, Ralph calls on a meeting and he ask for
volunteers who could look after the fire. Jack tells Ralph that few of his hunters
can look after the fire. Deep down Jack becomes jealous of Ralph’s authority and
power, so he tries to convince all the boys that they should devote their
energies more on hunting than on maintaining the fire.
Meanwhile, only Simon helped Ralph to build shelters, even though
it was everyone’s duty to help, but they all escaped from their duty. The boys
who were supposed to take care of the fire, skip their duty and go for hunting
with Jack. While they were away, the fire signal went off and a ship passed by
without noticing them. When jack and his hunters returned from their hunt,
Ralph did not look very happy. He was disappointed with the hunters.
Jack and piggy got into a verbal fight. Jack gets annoyed and
humiliated by both Ralph and Piggy. In front of everyone, he attacked piggy,
punching him on his face and stomach and breaking one lens of his glasses.
Jack and hunters hunt a pig, and chat, “Kill the pig”. “Cut her
throat”, during the hunt celebration Maurice who acted as a pig, and other
savage boys pretended to attack and kill the pig.
The next morning, Ralph after thinking for a long time calls a
meeting hoping to set everything right but the meeting does not go as he wanted
and as he expected it to be. Most of the boys start talking about some sort of
ghost and beast. Again they argue that there is no beast there and Piggy
That night, after an airplane battle a dead, parachutist pilot lands
on the island near to the fire signal. The boys Sam and Eric, who were
maintaining the fire that night, thought that it was a beast, and told everyone
about it. Ralph noticed most of the boys getting nightmares and shouting in
their sleep, because of the fear of the beast.
So, Jack and Ralph with some of the older boys decide to go to go
the forest to find and kill the beast, if there is any. The sun was sitting
down and boys had searched the whole island in search of the beast, but they
had not found anything. The only remaining place was the dark cave which was on
a mountain. With boys being too tired, Ralph decides that he will go alone to
the cave to see if the beast was there. But he was on his way when he saw Jack
joining him, and both went together to the mountain.They were already drowning
in fear, and when they went into the mountain. They saw the shadow of the dead,
parachutist pilot, and thought it was an actual beast. This incident made them
frightened and they ran away. Ralph told Piggy everything that he saw, but
Piggy was not convinced, and did not believe.
The next morning, Jack again opposes ralphs authority, but again everyone
votes in Ralph’s favor, and Ralph gets the support of the boys. Jack leaves the
group with some other boys leaving Ralph alone with Piggy and the twins.
Jack and his tribe make the castle rock (which is one the other side
of the island) their place to stay. Jack paints his face “the mask was a thing
of its own, behind which jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness”
(4.34). The color on their faces is connected to being one with the wilderness
and becoming full savages. Jack decides that he will throw in a feast, where he
will invite everyone and let them decide if they want to join his tribe, and hunt,
and have fun. Jack tells his hunters “forget the beast, when we kill we’ll
leave some of the kill for it. Then maybe it won’t bother us” (8:168). With
that being said, jack leads his hunters into the forest to hunt. They hunt a
pig and leaves the head as an offering to the beast.
Meanwhile, Simon finds out the pig’s head that the hunters had left
as an offering to the beast. He calls it “The lord of the flies” because of all
the worms and flies that were on the pig’s face. He was in an illusion and
there the head was speaking to him, and telling him how he (the beast) cannot
be killed, lord of the flies told him “you knew, didn’t you? I am part of you?
I am the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are.” (8:181). Simon
faints and loses his conscious. After he wakes up, he finds the dead,
parachutist pilot, so he runs to tell all the boys about how they have
misunderstood the dead, parachutist pilot with a beast.
During this time the hunters were again celebrating the hunt, and
chant, “kill the pig”, “cut her throat”, performing dance, where Roger acted as
the big, and others pretending to attack and kill him. This time the dance
turns into a violent beating, and Roger gets injured during the react of the
Ralph, and Piggy who were playing at lagoon alone, decided to find
other boys to make sure nothing unfortunate happens. When Ralph finds Jack,
they argue that who should be the chief. Piggy having conch shell says, let me
talk, Jack says it does not work at my side. At that time Ralph warn them about
the storm, which was arriving. While, storm and rain starts, Simon comes
running from the jungle, thinking that he is the beast the boys attack at him
and kills Simon.
The next day, Ralph and Piggy, on the other side of the island were
discussing about Simons death, they both took part in the murder.
In the castle Rock, Jack said that they will first hunt and then
they will go and steal fire from Ralph, and Piggy. The four boys were trying to
keep the fire on, but to keep the fire going they needed more effort and more
people, so they kind of gave up on the fire and went back to their shelters. It
was midnight, when the four boys were attacked, while they were sleeping by the
savage boys, and got injured. They came to steal Piggy’s glasses and they did. Piggy
said “that’s them. They blinded me. See? That’s Jack Merridew.”
After the attack, Ralph, Piggy, and the twins went to the castle
rock where the savages were staying. When they reach the castle rock, Ralph used
the conch to call on an assembly, but Jack told him to leave them alone. Ralph
called them “painted fools” (11:225) and this made Jack angry, and there was
exchange of fists between them. Jack gave order to his hunters to capture the
twins and keeps them as prisoners. Piggy lifts the conch and shouts “which is
better? To be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like
Ralph. In the meantime, Roger, standing on top of the cliff pushed a big
boulder, which hit Piggy and he felt forty feet down the cliff and died. For a
moment there was complete silence. Ralph opened his mouth to speak, but the
words dried out in his mouth. Jack declared himself the chief and threw his
spear at ralph, who ran away.
He hid near the castle. Keeping himself in the shadows, he crawled to
the gate of the castle rock, where the twins Sam, and Eric were kept as watch
dogs. He asks them to come with him but out of fear, they refused. They gave
him some meat and urged him to go back. The next day, Ralph realized that Jack
is trying to burn down the whole forest, thinking that the smoke up Ralph,
which will destroy all the fruits left out on the island, because they thought
that out of fear, Ralph was hiding somewhere in the forest. Ralph starts
running for his life from the savages, who wanted to kill him like an animal.
Running through the forest toward the open beach with savages running behind
him a few miles away. Ralph collapsed, on the beach. He was down, rolling over
and over in the warm sand, crouching and begging for mercy. But when he looked
up, he saw a Naval officer standing in front of him. This brought tears into
his eyes and he started crying. He was crying for the death of his friends, he
was crying for how innocence was over and how cruel the men heart is.
In Lord of the Flies, William Golding represents his view of human
nature and humanity. He demonstrates that out ability to leave peacefully, and
be civilized is not part of human nature, that’s more something that we learn
in the society. He believes that all human beings has an evil side that can be
revealed when they are living laws, and control over them.