Can somebody give me a summary of Lord of the Flies?Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Lord of the Flies, a plane crashes and a group of boys become stranded on an island. They have no adults who survive the plane crash:

William Golding sets his novel Lord of the Flies at a time when Europe is in the midst of nuclear destruction. A group of boys, being evacuated from England to Australia, crash lands on a tropical island. No adults survive the crash, and the novel is the story of the boys' descent into chaos, disorder, and evil.

Now, the boys are finding ways to survive. They eat the fruit of the trees. Also, Ralph, the chief, assigns Jack and his choir members the role of hunter. The hunters are afraid, at first, of hunting. Then they begin to grow more savage as the story unfolds. Jack and his hunters begin to torture pigs unmercifully. They begin to enjoy the blood, screams of agony and the "colored guts."

Jack begins to rub the blood on his hands onto Maurice, and then they notice Roger withdraw his spear. They become hysterical because he had pinned the sow by driving the spear through its anus. They reenact the slaughter until they grow tired.

Through cruelty and savagery, Simon is killed by the boys. At first, they thought he was the beast coming out of the woods. They literally murder him with their bare hands and teeth. They are caught up in a hunting-dance frenzy right before they kill him.

Piggy dies because Roger pushes a rock down on him. Piggy falls to his death on the rocks below.

The entire story is divided between Ralph and his boys and Jack and his boys. Ralph builds shelters and he tries to keep a fire going so a signal can alert a ship passing by. Jack gets so caught up in the hunt until he allows the fire to go out at the moment a ship is passing by:

Simon calls Ralph’s name because there is no signal fire. Ralph bolts for the mountain. The others desperately follow. They reach the fire, which had gone out. The choir members who tend it are nowhere in sight. “A pile of unused fuel lay ready.” Ralph is livid.

Throughout the story, the two groups disagree. Ralph as chief tries to keep the fire going, but he cannot do it alone. Jack and his hunters have separated themselves from Ralph's crew;

True anarchy has arrived on the island. Jack has effectively split the group into two factions, fire makers and fire takers. The fire makers exist on fruit and follow responsibility. The fire takers hunt meat and have fun. Jack is their leader.

Jack and his savage hunters kill a pig and put its head on a stick. This becomes Lord of the Flies. The beast has actually shown itself through Jack:

The beast has finally made its appearance, and it is represented by the pig’s head. It is the Lord of the Flies, in common terms, Beelzebub, or anarchy. The violent rift within the two factions is aptly represented by the pig’s head, a grotesque monument to the boys’ increasing savagery.

In the end, Ralph is the only one left in his faction. Jack and his hunters are chasing him to kill him. He is fleeing for his life. He runs into the naval officer and is rescued. He breaks down and cries for the deaths of Simon and Piggy.

Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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Lord of the Flies

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