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 Ralphs 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
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.
Ralphs 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 Piggys glasses. In Ralphs society everyone works for the benefit
of the whole group. Building shelters and keeping the fire alive are two important
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.
Jacks 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, Jacks 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.