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LORD OF THE FLIES - William Golding



 

 

William Golding

Lord of the Flies

 


A group of British school boys crashes on a tropical island in a transport to a safer place in war time. The pilot, who is the only adult, is killed in the accident. After the crash two boys, Ralph and Piggy happen to find each other. They find a conch, which can be  heard for miles when it is blown. The loud sound gathers all children spread on the island to a meeting.

There Ralph is voted as the leader, although another boy named Jack would've liked to have that role. He is declared the chief of a group of hunters. Ralph sets up certain rules to have some order and organization among the kids.

Then Ralph, Jack, and another boy named Simon leave to explore the island and walk up to the top of the highest mountain. They find out that they are on an uninhabited island without any houses, boats or people. So they think they can have lots of fun until they are rescued.

In the next meeting a small boy steps forward and tells of scary beasts and snakes he saw at night. Although they think that dangerous animals are unlikely to appear on small islands they decide to look for beasts and snakes just to make sure.
Ralph has the idea of making a big fire so that ships passing the island will see the smoke and rescue them. Jack and the hunters are responsible for keeping the fire burning.

Later on they decide to build shelters all together, but a lot of kids are too small to help and others are too lazy. So it's only Simon, Jack and Ralph who really work in the end.

Jack and his group become increasingly obsessed with hunting and killing pigs in certain rituals. Once they forget to have someone keep the fire burning. Just then, a ship happens to pass by. Ralph gets very angry at Jack and the tension between them grows stronger and stronger. Especially Jack's hatred for Ralph and Piggy grows. All the young children are preoccupied with the beast, which they believe is some kind of animal living on the island. During a meeting Jack tries to bring up the fact that Ralph is not a good leader because he can neither hunt nor sing. But as Piggy and the others don't agree, Jack starts to become more and more savage and agressive. He successfully convinces many kids to join a tribe of 'savages' with him as the leader. They put on face-paint and go hunting. So they kill a pig in a very slow and painful way, cut off the head, put it on a stick and take the body with them.

Then Simon decides he should go by himself to find the beast. As he has not eaten or drunk for a long time, he sits down to rest. When he looks up, he sees the head of the pig, which he believes, starts talking to him. Lots of flies are flying around its head making it the 'Lord of the Flies'. The pig says that he is the beast and that he is everywhere, with all the boys too. Since this conversation is in Simon's head, Simon convinces himself, that the beast isn't real, but it is all inside everyone. Then he goes back to tell the others.

In the meantime all the boys are eating the meat, chanting, and gradually they get crazy. They pretend that they are hunting a pig while hunting each other and finally decide that they need to kill something. Just then Simon comes out of the forest dirty and bloody. They don't realize that it is Simon and stab him to death.

Jack's tribe becomes increasingly aggressive. By now most of the boys have joined Jack's tribe, except for Sam, Eric, Ralph and Piggy. Later when they go to try to talk to Jack's tribe, Sam and Eric are kidnapped and forced to join the tribe, which ends up killing Piggy by hurdling a large rock towards him. Ralph knows that he is the next one to be killed and leaves Castle Rock, which is Jack's fortress, to hide in the forest. Jack and his followers attempt to hunt Ralph and set the whole island on fire. Luckily, a naval cruiser sees the smoke and comes to rescue the kids. Once the naval cruiser arrives and the officer comes out, the boys are ashamed of what they have become.





Characters:

           

Ralph

Ralph is an attractive and athletic 12 year old boy. First, Ralph looks forward to spending time on such an island without any adults. He plans to have great fun until they are rescued by his father, a naval-officer. But his dreams can't be fulfilled, because nature and the other youth refuse to cooperate with his idea. So time after time he loses part of his confidence and calmness.

            Piggy

Piggy is a fat, asthmatic but very intellectual boy. Because of his faults everyone makes fun of him and no one takes him seriously. He often tries too hard to be be accepted which makes things even worse for him.

            Jack

Jack soon develops a tendency towards violence. He is a leader of the choir at first, and then of the hunters. He becomes the leader because he is able to threaten and frighten others. Always ready for a fight, he carries a knife with him all the time. He also has some positive qualities, for instance his braveness. Nevertheless he uses his positive attributes for achieving negative results. He always tries to weaken Ralph's power to overtake his position.

            Simon

Simon is a very courageous and intelligent young man. He is the one, who understands that the beast is the evil in each one of them.

            The Author's Message

As written in page 204, 'the theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature. The moral is that the shape of a society must depend on the ethical structure. The whole book is symbolic in nature'.

Fear of the unknown on the island leads the boys to terror of the beast. The recognition that no real beast exists, that there is only the power of fear, is one of the deepest meanings of the story.

            My opinion

For me the book was actually boring in the beginning and gradually became more and more exciting. The second half of the book became even scary. The aura, Golding creates in certain parts of his book is just amazing. Reading the additional information in the book about the story, gives an awesome insight into the whole thing. 'Lord of the Flies' indeed is a very well written book.










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