Lord of the Flies opens with schoolboys wandering out of the jungle, into which their plane has crashed, and onto the beach of a remote island. In this isolated setting, the boys first try to maintain a veneer of civilization, but they soon shed it to exhibit the evil that is inborn. Golding tells the story from the boys’ perspective until the final few pages, where he then alters the perspective to enlarge the context. Little boys are not the only ones who have savagery at their core; the grown-ups do as well.
The first two boys to emerge, Ralph, an easygoing but fairly responsible boy, and Piggy, a thinker who is fat and asthmatic, gather the rest of the boys by sounding a conch shell. At their first assembly, the boys recognize the need for some rules: “After all, we’re not savages. We’re English.” They elect Ralph chief and make Jack the leader of the boys who will hunt for food and keep a signal fire going.
Before long, the boys’ immaturity and irresponsibility are clear and are a source of frustration to Ralph and Piggy. After building a couple of shelters, the boys would rather swim and roll rocks than work. The hunters would rather hunt than follow through on their other job of keeping a signal fire going. As a result, they miss the chance to signal a passing ship.
Immaturity and irresponsibility soon give way to violence and fear-inspired frenzy as the last vestiges of the veneer of civilization disappear. For...
(The entire section is 604 words.)