Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

Start Free Trial

What are the major turning points in Lord of the Flies?

Quick answer:

The inciting incident of Lord of the Flies is probably either when the boys realize they are alone on the island, or when Ralph is elected chief. Other possible turning points include Jack's promise not to hesitate again, Simon's discovery of evil within himself and others, and Simon's death. Exercise: What are the major turning points (including inciting incidents) in your short story or novel? Think about these turning points/inciting incidents as if you were trying to sell your story to a movie production company. What would you say about each one in a pitch meeting? If you've never written out individual summaries for each one of your turning points before, give it a try.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A story's inciting incident is the point in the plot that sets up the protagonist to pursue some kind of mission or goal. It essentially starts the action of a story or introduces the initial conflict.

With that in mind, the inciting incident of Lord of the Flies could be a couple of things depending on how you look at it. I think a strong argument could be made that the inciting incident to this story occurs before the story even begins. The book doesn't begin with the plane crashing. The book begins with the plane having already crashed. If I have to pick an inciting incident from the actual pages of the story, I would have a tough time deciding between two specific moments. The first moment would be the moment that the boys all realize that they are on this island alone without any adults. This would be my choice for the inciting incident if I wanted to consider the main conflict as a man vs. nature conflict. The second moment for a possible inciting incident is the moment when Ralph is elected as chief. This absolutely doesn't sit well with Jack, and their animosity toward each other begins to slowly grow from this moment. This would be my inciting incident if I was making a case for a man vs. man main conflict. I might consider that Ralph's election is a better turning point than inciting incident since that moment does cause a power struggle to begin festering that escalates to full blown murderous violence. Other turning points could be when Jack swears he will never hesitate on a kill again, when Simon discovers that the evil is within each of the boys, and when Simon dies.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One could argue that the first inciting incident in the story is the moment that the boys realize that they have crash-landed on an uninhabited island with no adults to take charge and elect Ralph as their chief. The boys realize that they must fend for themselves and attempt to establish a civil, organized society.

One of the first turning points in the novel takes place in chapter 4, when Jack allows his hunters to neglect the signal fire. The hunters also paint their faces and successfully kill their first pig. After Jack and his hunters kill their first pig, the boys rapidly descend into savagery and develop an affinity for blood. They feel unrestrained and begin acting like barbarians behind their painted masks.

Another inciting incident takes place in chapter 7, when Ralph, Jack, and Roger believe they see the beast on the top of the mountain. They are not aware that they have discovered the corpse of a dead paratrooper, and they become overwhelmed with fear. Their fear leads to the unfortunate, tragic death of Simon in chapter 9. Simon's brutal death in chapter 9 is another turning point in the novel and is the moment when they abandon all hope of establishing a civil society.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The inciting incident of this story happens immediately, if not before the story. An inciting incident will introduce the problem that the novel or story tries to overcome or solve. In this case, the moment of the crash which leaves the boys stranded on a deserted island would be the inciting incident. This moment actually happens before the book occurs. If you need to have something within the text, I would argue that the moment the boys realize they are without adults should be the next best event to call the inciting incident.

A first turning point in the novel occurs when Jack breaks from the rest of the boys. In this moment, it seems as if it is possible that death is closer than a solution to their problem of being stranded. This occurs in chapter 7.

A next turning point occurs when Simon dies in chapter 9 trying to tell the boys that the Beast is not real, but is the evil that is a part of all of them. It seems as if they will never understand the evil that is beginning to rule them.

When Piggy dies in the next chapters, all hope seems lost. This is the last turning point that could be considered the climax because at that point, it seems like the boys will never recover from what savagery has done to them. This savagery relates to the inciting incident because the absence of parents to control behavior led to these terrible acts.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What is the turning point in the book Lord of the Flies?

The novel Lord of the Flies explores how human nature can reveal its most sinister, destructive tendencies when the restraints of society are thrown away. When the boys first crash-land on the Pacific island they are stranded on, they try to recreate the society they know for comfort: they vote on ideas and plans, elect a chief, respond to the signal of the conch, etc.

The turning point of the novel is when the boys begin to give up on these vestiges of society, preferring instead to give in to their impulses and baser natures. This starts slowly, with the littluns preferring to play rather than help build shelters and the hunters letting the signal fire go out so they can hunt pigs. If one had to pinpoint the pivotal moment, though, it would probably be after Jack and his hunters reject Ralph and the power of the conch and continue to explore the "fort" they've discovered. When they find a boar and wound it, they celebrate with a savage blood dance. Robert pretends to be the boar and the boys get carried away beating him. Though Robert is not seriously wounded, this giving way to baser human instincts only grows in the boys, who later kill Simon when mistaking him for the beast during another frantic dance. Eventually, the wild hunters begin to hunt and kill the other boys intentionally.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What is the turning point for the characters in Lord of the Flies?

I am not sure what you are referring to from the question.  Perhaps you mean how is the climax the turning point for the characters?  To answer that would be that after Simon is killed by the boys, it is no longer possible to hold out any idea of maintaining peace and calm.  

 The violence that is foreshadowed throughout the novel reaches its culmination in this one act. Afterwards, Ralph and Piggy are alone.  Piggy is murdered and then Ralph is alone. When the rescuers find the boys, they are greeted with chaos and wildness.  

 If this does not answer your question, please post again.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on