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

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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Key Plot Points

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Last Updated on July 10, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 584

Ralph Calls a Meeting (Chapter One): When their plane crashes on a deserted island in the South Pacific, a group of British school boys must organize themselves to survive. The first two boys to congregate are Ralph and Piggy, who find a large conch in a pool on the beach. Ralph blows the conch in order to gather all the survivors from the crash. The boys meet and Ralph is voted chief. Ralph, Jack, and Simon volunteer to explore the island, discovering pigs and exploring the mountaintop. 

The Boys Make a Fire (Chapter Two): Ralph calls another meeting to tell the boys what he, Jack, and Simon have discovered about the island. During the meeting, a littlun with a birthmark tells the group about a “beastie” in the woods. The biguns laugh it off as a nightmare. The boys go to the mountaintop and begin to build a signal fire. In their enthusiasm, they create a massive fire that produces little smoke, but causes a fire below in the trees. Piggy chastises them for their recklessness, pointing out that the littluns were playing in the trees below and that the littlun with the birthmark is now missing. 

Jack Breaks Piggy’s Glasses (Chapter Three): Ralph and Jack had agreed that the hunters would keep the fire on the mountain burning and the others would help build shelters. When Jack and the hunters let the signal fire burn out, Ralph and Piggy confront them. Humiliated, Jack bullies Piggy, punching him in the stomach before hitting him on the side of the head. The blow to Piggy’s head causes his glass to go flying, breaking one lens. 

The Hunters Kill the Sow (Chapter Eight): Having suffered a blow to his ego, Jack leaves the group, forming a new tribe that others soon join. Jack and his hunters’ desire to hunt escalates into a crescendo when they find a nursing sow in the jungle. As a group, the boys circle the sow and attack, slaughtering her with markedly sexualized violence. 

Simon Has a Vision (Chapter Eight): Feeling a “fit” coming on, Simon retreats from the group but finds no solace in his special place. Jack and his hunters slaughter the sow nearby, and Simon is horrified by the sow’s head on a spike. He has a vision in which the sow’s head comes to life. Speaking to Simon and calling itself Lord of the Flies, the sow’s head claims to be the Beast and says that it lives inside of Simon; it is a part of everyone. 

Roger Kills Piggy (Chapter Eleven): When Piggy and Ralph infiltrate the hunters’ camp to retrieve Piggy’s stolen glasses, Jack confronts them. After Piggy asks a pivotal question (“Which is better—to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?”), Roger, a hunter, launches a large rock from atop the platform where the boys are standing. The rock hits Piggy in the head, breaking his glasses and killing him as well as shattering the conch. 

The Boys Are Rescued (Chapter Twelve): Ralph is isolated from the rest of the boys after the death of Piggy and the torture of Sam and Eric, who are forced to join Jack’s tribe. Ralph learns that Jack intends to hunt him, and he tries to hide in the jungle. The boys set fire to the island to find Ralph, and the smoke attracts a nearby ship, which arrives to rescue them. 

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