The book is about a group of British boys from six to twelve years old who got stuck on an island after a terrible plane crash where only they survived. Ralph who is one of the oldest boys thinks is it’s time to search for the rest of the boys. He uses a conch as a horn to meet the other kids on the island.
They decide that Ralph becomes the leader, although Jack disagrees. Some people still follow Jack and they split up from the main group most time of the day. Ralph’s group starts building huts and lights a fire so when a ship would pass by they will see them.
But then there is a rumour going around about a beast. Jack and Ralph are going to have a look but when they see a shadow on top of the mountain they run because they thought they saw the beast. The boys are really frightened so they give the ‘beast’ a pig’s head to please it. Simon didn’t really believe that there really was a beast so he wants to examine it. He goes to search for the beast, but then he sees a dead parachutist.
He heads back to the group to tell the others but he gets mistaken for the beast and gets killed. Ralph thinks he is the one responsible for his death. He and Jack are having many quarrels and it comes down to a fight. Piggy gets accidently killed during the fight and Ralph flees into the woods. He suddenly sees an officer on the beach who saw the fire and came to see what was going on. They get rescued and all the boys start to cry…
Ralph is the main character in the book and is twelve years old. He has a friendly personality because he respects the others and is also well built. The writers describes him in the book as:
“He’s old enough to have lost the tummy of childhood; and not yet old enough for adolescent to have made him awkward”
He is also a sensible person because he almost always makes the best decisions, so he becomes the leader of the group. He always tries to solve every problem in a democratic way. He doesn’t have control over the whole group but he likes to keep everything organised. His main aim is to get rescued by keeping the fire going whilst the other kids just have fun and hunt. From the start of the book the relationship of Ralph with the other boys is good. He gets on with Jack well. Mainly because they go hunting together in the beginning.
“Eyes shining, mouths open, triumphant, they savored the right of domination.
They were lifted up: were friends”
From this quote from the hunting part you can see that Ralph and Jack can get along well. Ralph doesn’t really have an opinion about Biggy but that changes later. Biggy becomes the logical thinker and Ralph the speaker. Later in the book Ralph starts to behave more like an adult. The relationship between him and Jack slowly vanishes because Jack gets more and more angry at him.
Jack is a side character in the book but still important. He is like the tyrant of the group because when Ralph gets chosen as the leader he goes to the other side of the mountain and lives there with his supporters. They don’t really split up because they still visit each other. He is totally not sympathetic and is easy to describe because the only thing he wants is to hunt and survive. His relationship with Ralph is good in the beginning but that changes immediately after Ralph becomes the leader. Jack wants to do things in his own way.
Biggy is personally the tiny hero of the story. Althought you can’t call him tiny because he is rather fat and clumsy. He has experienced the most influence of the adult world and is sensible because of that. He has asthma and bad eyes. Despite the protection of Ralph he still gets harmed by Jack. He can get along with Ralph very well. Biggy isn’t much of a talker so he uses Ralph to say his opinion.
Biggy and Jack are two completely different boys. Biggy is the thinker, Jack is the doer. Ralph is the happy medium here, but gets interfered by Jack. So the book is also built up in a psychological way.
Time and place
I think the story takes place after or during the Second World War (WW2) because an atomic bomb is mentioned and the boys are evacuees from their home country Britain. The book was published in 1954 which is 9 years after the war ended so William Golding probably wrote it in his time. Also, later in the books they get rescued by an officer from a naval ship who came to investigate the smoke from the fire.
“A naval officer stood on the sand, looking down at Ralph in wary astonishment. On the beach behind him was a cutter, her bows hauled up and held by two ratings. In the stern-sheets another rating held a sub-machine gun.”
After the plane crash Ralph and Jack go to explore the island. They don’t find any people so it’s an uninhabited island. They can see an ocean which is probably the pacific ocean and the weather is good. It’s a tropical island with a nice beach, a lagoon, cliffs, a jungle and a mountain.
“The shore was fledged with palm trees. These stood or leaned or reclined against the light and their green feathers were a hundred feet up in the air. The ground beneath them was a bank covered with coarse grass, torn everywhere by the upheavals of fallen trees, scattered with decaying coconuts and palm saplings.”
The story is built up in a chronological order. It begins with the plane crash and ends with the officer who saves the boys. The only flashback in the book is about Ralph’s past where he tries to remember how safe and simple his life used to be. There is no big period of time that passes.
I think that the book has a closed ending because they survive a plane crash and in the end get rescued. The reader could still speculate what would happen next after they got rescued and returned to Britain and how they would handle the things that happened in the past like some of their friends who died.
Structure of the book.
Lord of the flies is a novel. It is probably fiction because during the story unreal things happen such as a decapitated pigs head talks to one of the boys. The syntax is well readable. There is a variety of conversations with the boys and the explanation of the situation. The word use is also really good. The writer sometimes uses far-fetched synonyms like: daddy, auntie and snake-thing. The boys are still kids so they use these synonyms a lot. William Golding is also very good in explaining the landscape. I could almost see it in front of mee while reading.
The book has twelve titled chapters. You can really empathize with the characters. They all have a different personality. You can see how everyone reacts to what happens and what their relationships are with the others. During the story, no one leaves the island and no one arrives except for the naval officer in the end and for the people who die, they leave in another way.
The beast provides a lot of tension because of the many ‘encounters’ along with all the conflicts and quarrels in the story.
Lord of the flies in literature means ‘Beelzebub’ another name of Satan. Beelzebub was worshipped by pagan people. These priests predicted at his sacrifices the future by watching swarms of flies.
The Lord of the Flies in the book is the head of a pig, which is swarmed by flies because of the heat. The boys leave the head in an open space to offer it to the beast. The head talks to one of the boys, Simon and tells him the truth about the beast.
Role of crime
In the story Simon talks to the head of the pig. He finds out that there is no such thing as ‘the beast’. So he goes back to the camp to tell the others but they think he is the beast and they murder him. There is another murder on the island and that is the murder of Piggy. He got hit by a massive boulder. But it was Roger who leaned on the lever placed under the rock what made the boulder to move and hit Piggy.
“The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist. Piggy, saying nothing, with no time for even a grunt, traveled through the air sideways from the rock, turning over as he went. The rock bounded twice and was lost in the forest. Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across the square red rock in the sea. His head opened and stuff came out and turned red. Piggy’s arms and legs twitched a bit, like a pig’s after it has been killed. Then the sea breathed again in a long, slow sigh, the water boiled white and pink over the rock; and when it went, sucking back again, the body of Piggy was gone.”
The readers will think for theirselves if it was really a murder. Comitting a murder is a crime so that’s the role of crime in the book.
The Lord of Flies is a really good novel. It is not very hard to read but not easy and the development of the story is realistic and creates a lot of tension because in some parts it will get really thrilling. I like the explanations of the environment and the situations the boys are in. He does this by using multiple funny synonyms and expressions. It is also a really interesting book for people who like literature because it’s about the Beelzebub.
The storyline kept me in suspense because there were always new things they found out. The longer you think about the book, the better it becomes. Although there were some things quite vague like when Simon starts to talk to the head of the pig. That was not so easy to understand and sometimes I had to read a sentence twice before I could understand it but I got throught the book and I definitely recommend it.