Lord of the Flies
The plot of ‘Lord of the Flies’ follows the adventures of a group of schoolboys who are stranded without adult supervision on a deserted island. It is unclear how long the boys are on the island for; what is clear is that the boys soon begin to descend into evil and those who try to cling onto civilisation are hunted to the death.
Chapter 1: The Sound of the Shell
The novel opens with the boys realising that they are stranded on a deserted island without any grown-ups. Ralph and Piggy meet first and use the conch to call a meeting. Once all the boys are together, they elect a leader: Ralph. Ralph, Jack and Simon explore the island.
Chapter 2: Fire on the Mountain
At a meeting, the boys begin to organise themselves. A littlun first mentions the beast but is laughed at. The boys collect wood for a fire to attract rescue. The fire burns out of control and kills one of the smaller boys.
Chapter 3: Huts on the Beach
Tension is sparked as Jack starts to hunt and Ralph wants to build shelters. Simon withdraws into the woods by himself for quiet contemplation.
Chapter 4: Painted Faces and Long Hair
Roger throws stones at the littluns, only just aiming to miss. Jack paints his face to help with his hunting. A ship is sighted but the fire has gone out and so their chance at rescue is lost. Jack returns from his first successful hunt and there is an argument about the hunters letting the fire go out. As they eat the roasted meat, tensions simmer and Ralph calls a meeting.
Chapter 5 – Beast from Water
Ralph tries to use the meeting to remind the other boys about the everyday needs of the community and the importance of being rescued. The beast is mentioned again and this time there is less laughter and more fear. Simon’s attempt to explain that the beast is within them is not understood. Tensions rise again and Jack leaves the meeting with his hunters.
Chapter 6 – Beast from Air
Eric and Sam are on fire duty when they see the dead corpse of the pilot, still attached to his parachute. Convinced it is the beast, they run back to warn the other boys. The bigger boys head off in search of the beast. On their way, they discover Castle Rock.
Chapter 7 – Shadows and Tall Trees
While resting, Ralph daydreams about his home in Devon. Later, the boys catch a pig and, while acting out their triumph, begin to hurt one of the boys. Jack and Ralph, by now in almost continual conflict, climb the mountain and see the parachutist. Believing it to be the beast, they run away.
Chapter 8 – Gift for the Darkness
The boys hold another meeting where Jack challenges Ralph’s position as chief. When no one supports him, he leaves the group. Ralph and Piggy light the rescue fire and realise that other boys have left the community to join Jack. Jack’s new group of hunters kill a pig and leave the head on a stick as an offering for the beast. Jack and some of his tribe steal burning branches from Ralph’s fire and invite them to a feast. Simon talks to the Lord of the Flies, the pig’s head, who warns him of the danger they are all in from themselves.
Chapter 9 – A View to a Death
Simon sees the dead parachutist for what it is and runs to tell the others that there is no beast to fear. They are in the middle of a feast with wild dancing and chanting which becomes ever more frenzied as a storm breaks. In the darkness, Simon breaks out into the group of boys. They hack him to death. His body floats out to sea.
Chapter 10 – The Shell and the Glasses
Most of the boys have joined Jack’s tribe. The few who are left pretend not to know anything about Simon’s murder. Jack and his hunters attack their camp and, after a short fight, make off with Piggy’s glasses to light a fire.
Chapter 11 – Castle Rock
Ralph, Piggy, Sam and Eric head off to Jack’s camp in Castle Rock to reclaim the glasses. Piggy carries the conch to try to remind the tribe of the importance of their earlier community values. There is a furious confrontation between Jack and Ralph. Sam and Eric are seized by force. Roger levers a heavy rock which falls down and knocks Piggy to his death on the rocks below, the conch smashing as he falls. Ralph runs away as the hunters throw spears at him.
Chapter 12 – Cry of the Hunters
When it is dark, Ralph sneaks close to Castle Rock to speak to Sam and Eric who are on sentry duty. They warn him that Jack and Roger are planning to hunt Ralph down and kill him. Ralph hides in a dense thicket. The next day, the hunt begins as Sam and Eric are tortured to reveal Ralph’s hiding place. The hunters light a fire to flush Ralph out and, as the fire spreads out of control, Ralph is chased across the island. On the beach, he is saved from death by the arrival of a naval officer and his men who have seen the fire and come to rescue them.