Lord of the Flies Notes & Analysis
The free Lord of the Flies notes include comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. These free notes consist of about 68 pages (20,211 words) and contain the following sections:
Lord of the Flies Plot Summary
Set during World War II, the story describes the plight of a group of British schoolboys stranded on a Pacific island after their plane was shot down en route to England. Two of the boys, Ralph and Piggy, discover a conch in the lagoon near the beach and use it to call all the other survivors, setting up a mock democratic government with Ralph as leader. Piggy continues to advise and give logic and reason to Ralph's rule. A signal fire, kindled with the lens of Piggy's glasses, is established on the mountain to call passing ships to their rescue while shelters are constructed.
However, the school's choir leader, Jack, soon becomes obsessed with hunting the pigs of the island and loses sight of Ralph's democratic vision. Further discord results with an increasing fear of a supposed "beast" on the island, stemming particularly from the younger boys dubbed the "littluns." Jack eventually abandons any thought of being rescued, content instead with hunting and killing pigs with his choir boys turned into hunters. Jack later speaks out of turn during their assembly meetings and eventually leaves the group to start a "tribe." Other children gradually defect to his side except for Ralph, Piggy, Simon and the twins Samneric (Sam and Eric). One by one these children are eliminated from the opposition.
Upon discovering the beast the boys had all feared on the mountain is only the rotting corpse of a pilot whose plane had been shot down near the island, Simon runs down from the mountain to share this happy news. However the boys (including Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric) are all, following Jack's example, caught up in a primal ritual celebrating the murder of a pig they have just eaten and Simon runs into the midst of this. Mistaken to be the beast, Simon is killed by the boys' spears.
Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric remain resistant to joining Jack's tribe. They attempt to cling to the democracy they had set up, still using the conch to call an assembly and struggling to keep a signal fire burning on the beach. Then Jack and his hunters attack the four and steal Piggy's glasses to kindle the fire he needs for pig-roasting fires. Angry and blinded, Piggy decides to go to the place on the island called Castle Rock where the hunters have set up a base. Reluctantly, Ralph and Samneric agree and upon arriving Roger stops them at the gate. Jack emerges from the forest and begins to fight with Ralph while Piggy stands nearby shrieking in fear, wanting only for his sight be restored by retrieving his glasses. Samneric are seized at Jack's command by the hunters and Roger, Jack's second-in-command, drops a large boulder on the head of Piggy, killing him and shattering the conch which he holds in his hands. Ralph alone is left to flee, with no friends left to aid him. Samneric have become hunters as well and betray the secret of his hiding place in the forest to Jack. The island is set ablaze and hunters fan out to kill Ralph with their spears, the sole remaining opposition to their tribe, as even now he tries to cling to his old democratic ideas.
Running wildly and suddenly becoming savage himself, Ralph stabs with his spear at the hunters pursuing him, chased by all until he at last comes to the beach. The shelters he had built with such labor are in flames and, falling at last upon the sand with the sea before him and nowhere left to run, Ralph looks up to see a naval officer. Rescue comes at last to the boys' aid, seeing the smoke from the mighty blaze set by Jack's hunters after Ralph's signal fire had earlier failed to alert anyone of their presence. When the officer expresses disapproval for the savage state and chaos to which the boys have reverted, Ralph breaks down in tears. Soon, all the hunters begin crying at the sight of grown-ups on the beach. Ralph weeps for "the end of innocence" and "the darkness of man's heart."