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__________________________Lord of the Flies by William Golding


Lord of the Flies


Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 1-3

There has been an atomic explosion and a group of young boys have been evacuated in an aircraft. Flying over tropical seas the plane is attacked and crash-lands in the jungle of an island. The only ones that are unharmed are the boys.

First we meet Ralph and Piggy. Ralph is a fair-haired boy, while Piggy is a small and very fat boy with asthma. They make their through the jungle and down to the beach. Ralph is ecstatic and turns cartwheels for joy. After locking around, they find a large conch shell in the lagoon and Piggy urges him to blow it. From different directions, boys soon scamper out of the jungle toward the sound and assemble on the beach. From a totally different direction, a tall, redheaded boy, leading a procession of soldier-like followers arrives also. His name is Jack and he is around Ralph’s age.

After a joyful reunion, the group decides that they have to establish some rules and elect a leader. Jack is disappointed when the others elect Ralph, however, he goes off with Ralph and a thin boy named Simon to explore the island. From atop a mountain they recognize their isolation--but also a chance for adventure. On the way down, a wild pig crosses their path. Even though the boys are hungry, they are unable--and not quite willing--to kill it. Jack promises, though, that the next time he would stab the animal for meat.

Jack soon sets about making good his promise. "On all fours, smeared with clay to disguise his scent, he sniffed the warm, steamy pig droppings, and stalked his prey." Ralph, on the other hand, using a lens from Piggy's glasses, builds a rescue fire on the mountain and starts a project to erect shelters. Out of the whole group, only Simon offers to help him. The other boys prefer to play and enjoy Jack's fun and games more. Soon they begin to follow him on his hunts.

When Ralph reprimands them, Jack tries to argue that hunting is much more important than building shelters. Ralph does not agree, so this expands into an argument between Ralph and Jack. Ralph also claims that keeping the fire alive is much more important than hunting.

Ignoring the mounting tension, Simon decides to pick fruit for the littl´uns and makes his way into the jungle. He finds a clearing and climbs on top of a mat of creepers. He enjoys the tranquility of this spot, where he can be in touch with nature and away from the rest of the group.

Suddenly the peace and quiet is shattered with the sound of a drum from the woods.



When the boys arrive on the island they automatically look for some kind of law and order. Since there are no grown-ups among them, they want to belong to a group, with someone in charge to lead them, and make them feel safe. Ralph becomes this person, after being chosen in a democratic election.

Ralph’s society becomes a symbol of the democratic society, where everyone has an equal say. The conch becomes an important symbol for this, as well as Piggy’s glasses. In Ralph’s society everyone works for the benefit of the whole group. Building shelters and keeping the fire alive are two important issues.

After a while this society starts to break up. Man has a way of choosing the easiest way out and the one that gives most fun. The boys get tired of the responsibility, and want to play, hunt and have fun. Jack, the leader of the group of boys that came out of the forest at the sound of the conch, knows this. Wanting himself to be the leader, he uses his strong charisma and his talking-skills to win the boys over to his side. The end of the democratic system comes when the conch is crushed.

Jack’s society becomes the symbol of dictatorship. In many ways Jack can be compared with dictators like Hitler and Stalin. His society can also easily be compared with Nazi-Germany under World War two. It is a society built on strict rules, obedience to the ruler and subordination. Jack is the absolute ruler, and the boys obey him blindly, wearing anonymous masks. At the end of the book, Jack’s society has turned into a tyranny.

The exposition portion is basically all of chapter 1 and the first part of chapter 2. The characters are introduced and so is the problem. The reader learns that because of the war, the children were to be transported someplace by plane. When the plane is attacked and crashes on the island. Ralph is made the leader of the entire group and Jack is made the leader of the hunting party. Piggy tries to maintain order. This takes the period of 1 day.

The rising action starts in the middle of chapter 2 where the boys attempt to make a signal fire but it rages out of control. One of the boys are lost. After this, order is slowly lost and chaos slowly takes its place.


  • Biography of William Golding

  • Quick/Fast Review

  • Character List

  • About the Novel

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 1-3

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 4-6

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 7-9

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 10-12

  • Studyworld Essay Search on Lord of the Flies

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