Date Published: September 17, 1954

Lord of the Flies: Summary

Shakespeare meets Survivor in a brutal, horrifying symphony of childhood turned feral: this is William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’.

Our narrative unfolds upon an uninhabited tropical island, a cruel paradise where a group of British boys finds themselves marooned following a catastrophic plane crash. Their veneer of civility erodes rapidly; societal constructs dissolve, and they revert to savagery, shedding innocence as they would cast off an unneeded garment.
In the burgeoning chaos, two distinctive leaders emerge: Ralph, the beacon of order and civilization, who clings tenaciously to the hope of rescue, and Jack, a charismatic hunter who revels in the wild, primal lure of the island. Their power struggle delineates the boundary between civilization and savagery, order and chaos, reason and impulse.

As they vie for supremacy, a monstrosity known as the “beast” weaves itself into their collective consciousness, a terrifying specter embodying their deepest fears. The pig’s head, dubbed the 'Lord of the Flies,' becomes the unholy idol of this descent into savagery, a perverse symbol of their collective dread. The boys’ plight reveals an uncomfortable reality: that the line between man and monster is perilously thin and easily crossed. As the island transforms into a cauldron of anarchy, the allegorical playground presents a microcosmic examination of human nature and the inherent proclivity for chaos and destruction.

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Lord of the Flies

Author: William Golding

Date Published: September 17, 1954

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Lord of the Flies: Genres

Literature and Fiction
Psychological Fiction

Lord of the Flies: Main Characters

Ralph: The elected leader, symbolizing order and civilization. He values democratic ideals, as shown by his insistence on maintaining the signal fire.

Jack: The antagonist, a symbol of savagery. He values power and dominance, evidenced by his evolution into a ruthless tribal chief.

Piggy: The intellectual, advocating for logic and order. He values reason and societal norms, demonstrated by his constant adherence to the rules of their former civilization.

Simon: The innate moralist, embodying inherent goodness. He values truth and compassion, shown by his caring actions and attempt to reveal the truth of the ‘beast.’

Lord of the Flies: Themes

Civilization vs. Savagery: The struggle between maintaining order (Ralph’s leadership) and succumbing to baser instincts (Jack’s rule).

Loss of Innocence: The transformation of the boys from civilized children to brutal savages.

Fear and Its Power: The boys’ fear of the unknown manifests as the ‘beast,’ driving them to horrific actions.

The Inherent Evil of Man: Golding suggests that everyone has the potential for evil, revealed through the boys’ descent into chaos and violence.

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