Lord of the flies
First publicated in
Faber and Faber, publication 1989
Explenation of the title
'Lord of the flies' is a translation of 'Beelzebub', another name of Satan. Beelzebub was called the god of flies because when he was worshipped by pagan people, the priests at his sacrifices predicted the future by watching swarms of flies.
Jack and the other hunters think there’s a beast at the island. So they want to give the monster a gift, so he won’t harm them. The gift is a head of a pig; they caught during the hunt. They put the head on a spear and put it in the ground. But because it’s very hot on the island, the head starts to rot, what attracts flies, so the head is called The Lord Of The Flies.
It’s a psychological novel.
The story takes place on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean, during a nuclear war.
During the twentieth century. The connection between the story and the year of first publishing is the threat of World War III (that, if it would come, would have been a nuclear war)
Ralph: Ralph is a handsome boy who wants a democratic society. He is rather wise and the others choose him to become their leader.
Piggy: Piggy is a very intelligent, fat boy who warns the others against the bad influence of Jack.
Jack: Jack is the evil in the story, he has a big mouth. He looks normal in the beginning of the book, but then he becomes evil and in the end he changes back to a normal boy.
The sound of the shell
Two boys, Ralph and Piggy, who survived a plane crash, meet on the beach of an island. Piggy thinks there are other boys alive and wants to organise them. The boys find a conch and Piggy suggests that Ralph should blow on it to call other survivors for a meeting. After Ralph blew the conch a group of boys arrives. There turns out to be a choir, under the leadership of Jack. There are no adults on the island. When they want to elect a chief Jack thinks he should be chosen, but Ralph is elected. Ralph tells Jack, he can still be the leader of the choir and that they can be the hunters. They decide that Ralph, Jack and Simon will go exploring to find out if they’re on an island. When Ralph, Jack and Simon climb a mountain they see that they are on an island indeed.
Fire on the mountain
In the afternoon Ralph blows the conch again to call another meeting. He tells the boys they are on an uninhabited island. The problem of rescue is brought up because nobody knows where they are. They think they are on a good island: there is fruit to eat and good water to drink. One of the boys says he saw a beast at night and is afraid it will come again. Ralph assures him there is no beast and Jack says the hunters will kill it. Ralph suggests they should build a fire on the mountain as a signal to any passing ship. Jack volunteers his choirboys as a rotating team to keep the fire going and watch for ships. Then the boys see their fire has set the woods on fire. Soon a big part of the island is burning. Piggy tells them to build shelters for the night. As they watch the flames, the boys realise one of the littluns is still down there and has been caught in the flames. They don't know how many boys are in the fire because they haven't been counted.
Huts on the beach
Several days have passed. Jack and his hunters haven’t succeed in killing any pigs, so the boys have only eaten fruit. Jack is obsessed with his desire to kill an animal. Meanwhile Ralph and Simon are working on the huts. Ralph explains to Jack that the huts have to protect them from bad weather, but also because some of the littluns are suffering from nightmares and need a sort of a home.
Painted faces and long hair
The boys get used to life on the island. Although there are no adults on the island the bigger boys are still under influence of their upbringing. The little boys are openly cruel to each other Jack has still not been able to kill a pig, but he has an idea: he paints his face, feeling that the pigs won't be able to see him. The hunters go into the jungle to kill some pigs. Suddenly they see a ship. The boys are very happy until Piggy makes them look at the signal fire and they discover there is none. At that moment they see the hunters return. They carry a dead pig. They want to tell their story, but Ralph tells them about the ship and the dead fire. When Piggy cries about the lost change of rescue, Jack hits him in the stomach and then on his head so that his glasses fall of. They rebuild the fire, then roast the meat and eat it.
Beast from Water
At the assembly, Ralph has called, Ralph speaks about rules, all the things that have gone and he brings up that it seems that everyone seems frightened. Then Jack tells about the ‘beast' that the Littluns say they have seen. The older boys tell there is no beast on the island, but a little boy tells that he saw something moving outside the hut at night. Another Littlun tells he thinks the beast comes from the sea. Even some of the bigger boys think this is possible. Ralph sees the whole meeting leads into chaos and to control it again he blows the conch. Simon suggests 'maybe it's only us', meaning on the evil within themselves, but everyone laughs at him. Ralph loses control of the meeting. Most of the boys follow Jack to the beach. Ralph thinks of the leadership to Jack, but Piggy protests and Simon agrees.
Beast from Air
That night a dead man with a parachute drops down near the top of the mountain. When Sam’n Eric, who guard the fire, see the parachute they are sure it's the beast. They run to the huts and wake Ralph and Piggy. In the morning an assembly is held. Jack remembers there is one unexplored end of the island and that it may be the shelter of the beast. They decide that the bigger boys go there. When they arrive at 'the Castle' Ralph has to go on alone. At first he afraid but soon he realises he doesn't really expect any beast. He finds a cave. Soon after he makes sure there is no beast Jack and the others join him. They want to stay and play there, but Ralph insists to go back to the mountain.
Shadows and Tall Trees
The exploring continues along the other side of the island, where Ralph has never been. When they run into a boar Ralph wounds it with his wooden spear. Even though the boar gets away he feels proud. When they reach a cliff they can't pass they have to make a decision. Ralph wants to finish the exploring, but it will mean they can’t get back to the huts before dark, and he finds it cruel to leave Piggy alone with the littluns. Someone most go back and tell him that no beast has been found. Simon volunteers. When it's getting dark Ralph decides it would be better to go back after all. Jack accuses him of being afraid. Most of the boys go back but Ralph can't ignore Jack's challenge and c1imbs the mountain together with Jack and Roger. This is the burnt side of the mountain. Partly up the slope Ralph and Roger decide to wait while Jack goes up alone. Soon he is back saying he saw something bulge on the mountain. It seems a strange description of a beast, but when they see it themselves the also terrifies them.
Gift for the Darkness
The next morning the mood on the island is depressed. The beast on the mountain makes it impossible to keep the fire going which is their only hope of rescue. Jack is angry and calls a meeting in which he challenges Ralph position as leader. Because no one will vote against Ralph, Jack disappears alone into the forest. Summoning all his courage Simon suggests to c1imb the mountain and face the beast, but no one agrees with him. Piggy suggests to make a fire on the beach. When the fire is lit it is a comfort to everyone. Then Ralph notices that all the hunters have slipped away to join Jack. The hunters find a big sow and they kill it with their sticks. Roger sharpens a stick at both ends and sticks it in the ground with the sow's head on it as an offering to the beast. Simon is watching the hunters from his secret hiding place. As Ralph sits next to fire with Piggy some hunters come up and take some burning branches they need to roast their pig. Jack invites everyone to join him. Meanwhile Simon is still in the clearing, which is now infested by flies buzzing around the sow's head, which Simon sees as the Lord of the flies. The head seems to be looking at Simon and speaking to him. It tells him what he already knew: the beast is nothing that can be hunted and killed, but comes from within the boys themselves.
A view to a Death
Towards the evening Simon finds a man entangled in a parachute, covered by flies. He disentangles the parachute lines and sees the boys that are down at Jack's new camp. He decides to go there too and to tell them what he has found out about the beast. Because everyone else has gone to Jack, Ralph and Piggy go there. Jack is presiding like a god and orders to give them some meat. But when the rain begins the boys realise they have no huts to sleep in on this side of the island. To distract their attention Jack calls for a pig-killing dance. Simon arrives and tries to tell them about the beast. Entering a circle of dancers he becomes the pig and everyone attacks him until he lies dead on the beach. In the morning his body is carried out to the sea by the tide.
The Shell and the Glasses
In the morning Ralph and Piggy realise what has happened and feel ashamed. Piggy tries to justify it as an accident. Jack has established himself with his tribe in the cave at Castle Rock. A guard defends the narrow path. Jack has had one boy tied up and beaten without explaining why. With the others he plans to hunt and steal fire from Ralph's camp. Meanwhile Ralph’s group is doing their best to keep the fire going; they want it for comfort as well as a signal. But Piggy can’t carry wood because of his asthma, and it's too much work for the boys so they have to let it go out before they go to bed. That night Piggy hears a noise and wakes Ralph. It’s Jack and his hunters. Since the fire that they wanted to steal was out, they attack the shelter and steal Piggy's glasses.
With their fire out and Piggy almost blind the situation seems hopeless. Piggy places his faith in the conch and plans to appeal to Jack to return his glasses. The four boys go to Castle Rock. At Castle Rock a guard of painted savages challenges them. While they're standing there Jack returns from the hunt with a dead pig. Ralph demands to give Piggy's glasses and calls Jack a thief. They fight until Piggy reminds Ralph what they are there for. Then Jack orders to capture Sam ‘n Eric and tie them up. Ralph is helpless to prevent them but he attacks Jack anyway. They fight again until they are interrupted by the voice of Piggy. He holds the conch and, amazingly everyone is silent to hear what he has to say. He appeals to them to choose for the sensible rule of Ralph.
The evil in the heart of people.
Golding: “The book is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to defects of human nature”.
In the beginning I didn’t understand what the book was about but when my father told me some extra meanings of it I started to understand the story a bit more and began to like it. i think the author describes the characters very well, and although I believe that he overacts the darkness in the hart of men, I think that he’s right when he suggests that, when people are not controlled by some sort of power that can call them to court, they end up like savages.
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