Lord of the Flies Summary by William Golding
1.)General Information about the work:
a. Author : William Golding
b. Title : Lord of the flies
c. Year of publication : 1969
d.Genre : Lord of the Flies is a futuristic fiction novel, it takes place in an imaginary future.
2.)Specifics of the story
a.Where and when is the story set?
The story takes place in an imaginary future on a uninhabited tropical island somewhere in the ocean.
b. Briefly describe the main characters.
Ralph -> A good-looking boy with fair hair. He is in charge of all the boys on the island. Ralph is self-confident and sort of the hero of this book. He wants to be rescued as soon as possible and therefore sees no need in hunting and feasting.
Piggy -> Piggy is an outcast in the group because he wears glasses, is fat and intelligent. He helps Ralph with his task of being in charge.
Jack -> Jack is an aggressive type. He enjoys hunting very much; he gets caught up with it and becomes a savage. He wants himself to be the leader of the group instead of Ralph. Along the book Jack’s going slightly mad.
c. Who is the speaker?
The story is told by an omniscient author, who can enter the minds of his characters but who also remains at a distance.
d. What do you know about the author?
William Golding was born in St. Columb Minor, Cornwall in 1911. In the year 1939 he got married. He got two children. In 1940 he served in the navy. After that he became a schoolmaster on Bischop Wordsworths’ School in Salisb. He enjoys sailing and the classical Greek language, which he taught himself. He writes books and he also writes poetry.
e. Does the story fit in the time period in which it
Yes, this century was a time of war. Golding even took part of the 2nd World War. It is no wonder that Golding started questioning humanity.
a. What is the theme?
It is a theme novel, the central theme is Evil. When the boys are on the island, their civilised behaviour starts to fade away and some of them become evil.
b. What is the main problem in the story?
Jack is the main problem. Ralph wants to keep the fire burning so they can be rescued and Jack only wants to hunt. Eventually Jack becomes a savage and becomes the leader of his own tribe. They even kill two boys of the group and are trying to kill Ralph.
c. Is this problem solved?
Yes, at the end of the book the boys are saved by a navy cruiser. So they are all saved from Jack.
d. How would you deal with it?
It’s a really difficult situation because Jack would be willing to kill you. But I guess I would flee to another part of the island and start to live there. Eventually other children would come too because of Jack’s dictatorship.
e. What is the link between the title and the theme?
I don’t see a link between the both of them. The title is revering to the pig’s head, which is poked on a spear to attract the beast. Because the head is covered with flies the boys call it The Lord of the Flies.
5.) Select a passage from the text which appeals to you. Copy it and elaborate on your choice.
“I’m scared of him,” said Piggy, “and that’s why I know him. If you’re scared of someone you hate him but you can’t stop thinking about him. You kid yourself he’s all right really, an’ then when you see him again; it’s like asthma an’ you can’t breathe.”
I think the Piggy’s fear of Jack is expressed very well here. When I read it I feel sorry for him because Jack bullies him all the time. Especially the part where he mentions his asthma, I believe for Piggy being near Jack is like having an asthma attack but not having your medicine.
a. What is your opinion of the book?
Golding has really made a marvellous book. The behaviour and habits of the children in the book is so well written. I wasn’t surprised when I heard that Golding examined the habits of children. He really gave an adult view of what might happen in real life if children were left alone on a tropical island. The tension in the book is built up well, the author really keeps you reading.
b. Would you recommend it to others? Why (not)?
I would recommend it to others because this book is not only about a group of boys left on an uninhabited island. It has a deeper meaning to it that’s really worth it.
7.) Write your own summary
A group of boys are on a stuck on an uninhabited island when their plane crashes. On the beach Ralph found Piggy, one of the boys, who has found a conch shell. With this conch Ralph calls the other boys.
The group voted for Ralph to be their leader. Ralph decides that Jack and his choir are the ones who hunt for food and keep the fire going so that they can be rescued. Ralph also makes a rule about the conch; the boy who has the conch may speak.
When Jack and his little group weren’t keeping the fire going a ship appeared on the horizon. They could have been saved if jack didn’t let the fire go out. Ralph is very angry with Jack. Jack breaks Piggy’s glasses in his madness. From this point Jack and his little group are starting to separate themselves from the rest.
The rumour about a beast was believed to be true when Eric and Sam saw something at the top of the mountain. Ralph and Jack go up the mountain to kill the beast, which was actually a dead airman who is shot down, but fled because they were scared. Many of the boys are still frightened. Jack starts his own tribe because he couldn’t live with Ralph’s rules. Jack’s tribe hunt a pig. They put the head of the pig on a stick to please the beast.
Simon, who doesn’t feel at home with other people around often sneaks out into the forest so he can be alone. He pretends the pig’s head, the lord of the flies, can speak.
The lord of the flies tells him that nobody can escape from the beast because the beast lives inside everyone. Simon climbs up the mountain and finds out that the beast is just a dead airman. When he goes back to the tribe to tell them the news he’s killed because the tribe thinks he’s the beast.
Jack and his tribe steal Piggy’s glasses that night so they can make fire. The next day Piggy, Ralph, Sam and Eric go to Jack’s tribe to reclaim Piggy’s glasses. Suddenly they are having a big fight and piggy is killed by rock. Ralph has to run for his life, and after a long pursuit on which almost the whole island catches fire, he finds a naval man and knows he‘s saved. He can finally be himself and cries all the experiences away and so does the rest.