In Chapter One of Lord of the Flies, after Ralph is elected chief, he tells the boys that they must determine if, in fact, they are on an island. Therefore, the decision is made that three of the boys will go on an expedition to determine the terrain, and to find out if anyone else is here on the island. As they climb, Ralph suggests that they make a map; Simon has an idea,
"We could make scratches on bark,...and rub black stuff in."
This idea sounds good to Ralph and Jack, so Ralph expresses his emotion by "pretending to knock Simon down" and they wrestle, laughingly, in the beginning twilight. When they reach the summit, the boys see where the plane crashed. Ralph also observes a coral reef that encloses more than one side of the island.
Here, then, is the suggestion of the title of another work, which Golding satirizes in his novel: Coral Island, an adventure novel in which young students find themselves on an island with savages, and they must defend themselves against them. In the end, civilization wins over savagery.
In Lord of the Flies, a group of boys is stranded after the plane on which they are travelling crashes into the jungle. The boys must fight against not only the reality of life without "grown ups" or prepared food and shelter, but their own urges and basic instincts which ultimately reflect, as Ralph comments when rescue arrives, "the darkness of man's heart."
At first, the boys are "enchanted," excited and even attempt to be organized. Ralph uses the conch to call all the boys together and is established as the leader although Jack gets to lead the "hunters." Ralph decides that it is important to understand where they are and wants to check if, as the boys suspect, they are on an island. He designates himself, Jack and Simon to go on an "expedition."
The three boys are excited and discuss what they will do. Ralph suggests that they "look round the corner..." once they get to the end of the island; easier said than done, as they discover rocks and "a slow curve," where the rocks become almost too difficult to climb. It still excites them, despite their exhaustion. When Jack comments that it's unlikely that anyone has been there before, Ralph thinks that it would be a good idea to draw a map but they have not got paper. Simon agrees with Ralph and suggests that they scratch out the details "on bark...and rub black stuff in..." This is dismissed as not being possible and the boys enjoy themselves, almost overwhelmed by their situation and "the intensity of his [Ralph's] emotion."
The boys are victorious in the confirmation of what they had thought: that they are on an island. Now "this belongs to us," says Ralph. The boys identify the quickest way back to the others and are confronted by a piglet which Jack thinks of using his knife on but, feeling overawed, he hesitates and the piglet escapes. The reader, even so early in the book, becomes aware of the change in Jack as he looks at them "fiercely, daring them to contradict."