Title: Lord of the Flies
Author: William Golding
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Genre: Allegory, Social Commentary
First Publication: 1954
Setting Place: Deserted Tropical Island
Major Characters: Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, Samneric, Roger
Narration: Third person Omniscient
Theme: Evil, Outlets for violence, Human nature, Loss of innocence, Savagery Vs Civilization
Book Summary : Lord of the Flies by William Golding
In the midst of a nuclear war, a plane carrying a group of British school boys crashed on a deserted island. Without adult supervision they must work together and govern themselves to survive. At first the boys are civilized and elect Ralph, a boy of twelve years old, as a leader. Things start out okay and boys use Conch shell as a talking stick.
The first day goes rather smoothly and they discuss about hot to get rescued and what they have to do until then any ship come to bring them home. Ralph is determined about creating a smoke signal, so Samneric, a pair of twin boys, is assigned the duty to start and watch a signal fire. Another group, the choirboys lead by Jack, elect themselves to become the hunters and provide meat for the group. Simon, an enlightened boy and Piggy, a scientific thinker, quickly become the counsel for Ralph. Besides these boys, there are several younger boys about the age of six.
“Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.”
Jack and his group become increasingly interested in killing sows. They begin to paint their faces and track the animals for hunting. All the boys begin to be afraid of an imaginary beast in the jungle. Their fears are further fueled when a dead man with a parachute landed on the top of the mountain. The boys begin to see Jack as a protector and look to him for leadership.
Then the conflict increased between Ralph and Jack. Most of the boys on island joined Jack’s tribe, except Ralph, Piggy, Sam and Eric and a couple of the littluns. Jack and group have become complete savages partaking in daily hunting and tribal dancing.
Character List: Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Ralph- The main protagonist of the story, a twelve year old boy who was elected as leader of the boys. Ralph tries to maintain discipline, order, structure. He represents the civilizing instinct of human beings.
Jack – The antagonist of the novel, and one of the older boys and leader of the choir. Jack becomes increasingly dark and disturbed during his stay on island. He represents the evil that exists within all men in uncivilized situations.
Piggy – Piggy is Ralph right hand man. Though criticized for his weight, asthma and lack of physical agility, He is the scientific mind and the rational thinker of Ralph’s team.
Roger – An oddly secretive and sadistic older boy who thrives on preying on those who are younger and weaker. Roger quickly becomes Jack’s first follower and carries out Jack’s evil wishes.
Sam and Eric – Also known as “samneric”, they are twin boys who seem to be one person. They are follower of Ralph and enjoy their duty of keeping the fire signal going.
Maurice- He is Jack’s key supporters, accompanies him on the raids on Ralph’s camp.
Simon – The “enlightened” boy with a true natural sense of morality who spends a lot of time alone with nature. Simon helps and comforts the younger boys in their dreadful moments.
The Lord of the Flies – It’s the name given to the sow’s head that Jack’s gang transfixes on spear as an offering to the “beast.” The Lord of the Flies comes to symbolize the primeval instincts of power and barbaric nature that take control of Jack’s tribe.
Littluns- The littlest boys, around ages six and up.
Book Review: Lord of the Flies by William Golding
In 1954, William Golding wrote Lord of the Flies, when the world was in the middle of the silent yet terrifying Cold War soon after the World War II. It is not only a tale of boys surviving after their plane crashed on a deserted island; it is an allegorical novel about the conflicts between savagery and civilization.
The significant symbolism which is rather easy to comprehend, made it one of the most popular and admired books in history. Lord of the Flies by William Golding presents a memorable and haunting account of believable characters portrayed so subtly and accurately.
“The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.”
Lord of the Flies by William Golding is based on a series of events following a plane crash that leaves a group of young school-going children stranded on a deserted Island during the Cold War. Lord of the Flies by William Golding is the story of those boy’s shocking survival. The dreams of all the boys have finally come true: after all, who wouldn’t want a whole island all to themselves to play on without any nagging from adults? Soon after a day or two, the boys realize they needed a leader. The main protagonist, Ralph, is elected as a leader of the group because to his popularity and leadership skills, with Piggy as his sidekick.
All the boys befriend one another, because there is nowhere to go. As the days pass, Jack gets hungrier for authority. What seemed to be a joyous escape from the chaotic adult world at first, soon advances into something far more disturbing and sinister.
I remain convinced to this day that Lord of the Flies is one of those controversial classic books that depends upon how you read it. On the surface it could be read as a simple moralistic tale – a portrayal of what happens when you take people away from society.
“The greatest ideas are the simplest.”
It may look as if Lord of the Flies is just a children’s adventure story. However, there is also a truth concealed deep inside the novel where Golding makes reader conscious of certain issues. The issues it concerns are: society, human nature, good vs. evil, ecological balance and cooperation. This is an allegorical novel where Golding employs the scene of a deserted island and a group of English school boys to serve as a framework, through which he explores the theme of his book.
William Golding uses this deceptively simple setup to question just how civilized we really are and how quickly we can descend into a mob of crazies. The question for the reader is whether these are but immature children or an allegory for the adult world and how quickly mob rule can take over and how few dare to go against the herd.
This story is a powerful depiction of human nature and its role in the rise and fall of democracy. Central to this story is the theme of fear: how it can be used as a means to control people and how it chisels away at our humanity.
“Which is better–to have laws and agree, or to hunt and kill?”
The three main characters Ralph, Jack and Piggy are archetypes of a natural leader, a bully and a nerd. They are not terribly complex people but they are still quite vivid characters who are defined more by their action than their brief moments of introspection. The early chapters have a spirit of adventure or perhaps a child’s idea of utopia, a world without adult supervision. As the characters degenerate into savagery the tone of the book become very dark and disturbing.
William Golding’s prose style is deliberately prosaic; there are no lyrical passages to speak of. This has the effect of amplifying the visceral impact of the narrative. There are however, some creepy surreal scenes involving a pig’s head on a stick. The ending of the novel is clearly telegraphed by the trajectory of the preceding chapters but it is still very effective for all that.
Symbols and motifs:
You will love the action-packed provocative tale of survival in Lord of the Flies by William Golding but also learn three very important characteristics of human nature. First: Human’s desire for social and political order through governments, legislatures and parliaments, depicted by the conch and platform. Second: Human’s natural tendency towards violence, savagery and every nation’s need for military and defense, depicted by the choir-boys-turned-hunters-turned-murderers. And third, our beliefs in the divine interventions and supernatural powers, depicted by the sacrifices and ceremonial dances to appease the “beast”.
Those who didn’t have the opportunity to read it before must not put it on hold any longer.
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