1 The Sound of the Shell 5
2. Fire on the Mountain 42
3 Huts on the Beach 65
4 Painted Faces and Long Hair 80
5. Beast from Water 106
6. Beast from Air 134
7 Shadows and Tall Trees 155
8. Gift for the Darkness 177
9 A View to a Death 207
10 The Shell and the Glasses 221
11 Castle Rock 242
12 Cry of the Hunters 262

Lord of the Flies –Theme

After finishing the novel, Lord of the Flies by William Golding an important theme was the loss of innocence. At the beginning on story there was a group of young boys who seemed helpless and were unsure of what to do. However, by the end of the story this wasn’t the case. Some of the boys had completely changed and were not as innocent as they once had been.

When the boys first landed on the island, Ralph blew the conch and gathered everyone together. As children began to appear Golding wrote, “He was a boy of perhaps six years, sturdy and fair, his clothes torn, his face covered with a sticky mess of fruit.” He also wrote, “A pink thumb slid into his mouth.” The way the author adds in the details about this boy shows how they are all young, innocent children.

They have no grownups around and aren’t really sure where they are and what it will take for them to be rescued. Ralph being chief, gives orders to the children as to what must be done around the island if they plan to be rescued. For awhile the boys do what they are told, but quite often they wander away from their duties and end up swimming and playing in the lagoon, simply just having fun like normal children would.

Tensions rise between Ralph and Jack and Jack ends up splitting away from Ralph, creating his own tribe. When he does this, many of the young boys go with Jack. Jack turns them into bloodthirsty hunters. They paint their faces, hunt and torture animals. Jack has turned them into sneaky savages. As they attack animals, they circle around and chant, “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!” It’s not only animals that they have killed either. They mistaken Simon as the beast and murdered him, stabbing him repeatedly. Then they rolled a boulder which flung Piggy off the mountain, killing him as well.

They were once uncertain, well-behaved children but became cruel, evil ones. They no longer had a desire to be rescued. Their loss of innocence resulted naturally, and their evilness had shown through as it exists within all human beings.

Lord of the Flies – Symbolism

In the novel, Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses many forms of symbolism. There are many important symbols that he uses including the conch shell, the signal fire, and the beast.

Ralph and Piggy were the first to meet after the crash. Together they found a conch shell in the lagoon. “The color of the shell was deep cream, touched here and there with fading pink. Between the point, worn away into a little hole, and the pink lips for the mouth, lay eighteen inches of shell with a slight spiral twist and covered with a delicate, embossed pattern.” Piggy knew that the shell was very valuable for he said that he knew someone who had a conch shell and “he used to blow it and then his mum would come.” Ralph blew the conch in order to summon the boys back together. The conch becomes a symbol of order and power. The conch is used to gather
everyone together for meetings and whoever is holding the conch has the right to speak. The conch shell demonstrates the civilization that Ralph is trying to build. However, after the group splits, the shell is no longer as powerful as it used to be. Jack’s group destroys the conch shell which symbolizes the destruction of the civilization.

Ralph’s main goal the entire time that he is on the island is to be rescued. In order to be rescued, he believes that a fire must be maintained at all times in case a ship was to pass by. That way the ship would see the smoke and they would be rescued. The signal fire therefore represents the idea of rescue. For the while that the fire is actually maintained, it shows the boys desire to be rescued and return to society. When the fire goes out, it shows that the boys have lost hope and sight of ever being rescued. They have just accepted that they will belong on the island for the rest of their lives.

The beast is a very important symbol in the novel. For a while I actually thought that the beast was real but it is actually just a part of everyone’s imagination. The beast brings out the fear in everyone. One of the young boys said. “Last night I had a dream, a horrid dream, fighting with things. I was outside the shelter by myself, fighting with things, those twisty things in the trees. Then I was frightened and I woke up. And I was outside of the shelter by myself in the dark and the twisty things had gone away. And I was frightened and started to call out for Ralph and then I saw something moving among the trees, something big and horrid.” Ralph, Jack and Piggy try to convince the young boys that there is nothing to fear about; there isn’t a beast. Throughout the story the boys grow more savage, which causes their belief in the beast to grow. The beast becomes real and they devote their time to try and kill it. Even though the beast wasn’t real, it was used to symbolize the cruel quality that exists in all human beings.

Matilda Reviews: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

When I was about twelve years old, I came across the film version of Lord of the Flies on daytime television.  I tuned in during the scene in which the boys are dancing about in a frenzy, chanting, their domestication lost to the wildness of their desert island.  I was very interested, and when I inquired about the movie, my mom told me that it was Lord of the Flies and that it was also a book.

I decided I needed to get my hands on the book, of course, so at twelve (or thirteen, I can’t remember), I picked up the book at Barnes & Noble–where I got all of my books at that time–and I opened it to the first page excitedly, my young, moody teenage self eager to be as disturbed by the book as I was by that scene in the movie. For some reason, though, I lost interest in the book after about fifty or sixty pages. I can’t really say why–maybe it was boring, or maybe the subtle and gradual nature of the boys’ loss of control and order was lost on me. I was, in some ways, the Jack Merridew of the story–I wanted to see them killing pigs, killing each other, even! In other words, I wanted things to go to hell a lot sooner than they did.

I was too impatient to finish the book and abandoned it about a quarter of the way through. For the next ten years or so, I carried around my twelve-year-old opinion that Lord of the Flies was boring and overrated.

Fortunately, I picked it up again last week, and I loved it. What had bored me as a child–the slow disintegration of the boys’ makeshift society on their desert island–thrilled me as a twenty-three-year-old. It’s suspenseful and disturbing, the way the boys fall apart. What starts as a fairly stable and organized social unit soon falls into chaos as various boys vie for power, develop different priorities (keep the fire going/build shelters vs. hunt for food), and essentially play the popularity game. Should it be the most respected boy who leads the group? The most feared? The best hunter? The most sensible? If I take his side, will the others turn on me? Will I be hurt–even killed–if I do?

The boys sometimes wish that they were “grown-ups,” because grown-ups would be able to take care of themselves on the island. Grown-ups would never become savages and turn on one another! But while the boys are marooned on their island, the grown-ups are fighting their own war. The only reason the boys are even there is because their plane has been gunned down while flying over the ocean. Lord of the Flies is a story about boys who struggle to survive on an island, yes, but I don’t think adults would fare much better in their situation. The boys are simply a group of human beings, left to their own devices in their own space with very few of life’s necessities. Once you add fear to that mix (for they become obsessed with the idea of a dangerous “beast” on the island), something is bound to crack.

Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a novel about survival of a group of boys on uninhabited island, without adult. They drifted to the island because of a plane crash, and the only adult with them died on the way. At first the boys enjoy their complete freedom from adults, perfectly peaceful and orderly. They could do whatever they wanted: they built some shelters, chats, investigate for food supplies…

Sadly, as the days passed, the boys get more and more savage. They began to play violent ceremony to kill wild pigs. Ralph, the only elderly boy who opposed to those violent actions, and Piggy, a fat boy who follows Ralph, were outcasted and could get no meat. The conflict between Ralph and other boys get intense, and Piggy was killed on purpose by the boys. The island was set on fire by them, and Ralph himself was about to get killed, when Fortunately British naval officer finally came to rescue the remaining children.

I figured this story to be very tragic and I think it shows young humans’ savageness and insanity caused by pure innocence and the loss of it. Also it was really disgusting when I figured what actually “The lord of flies” was, and what it represents. Overall, I think this is a good book, but not a very fun book to read, if you don’t like kids killing kids.


There have been three film adaptations:

    Lord of the Flies (1963), directed by Peter Brook
    Alkitrang dugo (1976), a Filipino film, with female casts
    Lord of the Flies (1990), directed by Harry Hook

In June 2013, BBC Radio 4 Extra broadcast a dramatization by Judith Adams in four 30-minute episodes directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.The cast included Ruth Wilson as “The Narrator”, Finn Bennett as “Ralph”, Richard Linnel as “Jack”, Caspar Hilton-Hilley as “Piggy” and Jack Caine as “Simon”.

    1: Fire on the Mountain
    2: Painted Faces
    3: Beast from the Air
    4: Gift for Darkness


Many writers have borrowed plot elements from Lord of the Flies.


The final song on U2’s 1980 debut album takes its title, “Shadows and Tall Trees”, from Chapter 7 in the book. Some printings of the book’s cover are similar to the album cover artwork.

Printed works

Stephen King got the name Castle Rock from the fictional mountain fort of the same name in Lord of the Flies, using the name to refer to a fictional town that has appeared in a number of King’s novels.[35] The book itself appears prominently in his novels Hearts in Atlantis (1999), Misery (1987), and Cujo (1981).[36] King’s fictional town of Castle Rock inspired the name of Rob Reiner’s production company, Castle Rock Entertainment, which produced the 1990 film. King wrote an introduction for a new edition of the book to mark the centenary of William Golding’s birth in 2011.

See also

Heart of Darkness

Two Years’ Vacation

Island mentality   

The Coral Island, a novel with a similar plot but with an opposite perspective

“Das Bus”, an episode of The Simpsons with a similar plot


Lord of the Flies Chapter 1 Discussion Questions

Q 1: What might have changed in the story if Ralph and Piggy hadn’t met each other before meeting the other boys?

A 1: Ralph might never have formed his more orderly civilization and he might not have ever been a chief if he and Piggy hadn’t met each other before meeting the other boys. Ralph and Piggy found not only each other, but also the conch shell that can represent so many things including power, before they met any of the other boys. It was Piggy who had the idea to blow the conch and summon the others.

Ralph was more of a leader between the two of them, so he blew the conch and held the boys’ first meeting. He gained power during this meeting. If Piggy had not been his first acquaintance on the island, it is possible that Jack or someone else would have been a leader of them all from the start. Also, Piggy and Ralph formed a bond that was unique and sometimes awkward, but became quite powerful. Meeting each other the way they did probably had something to do with that bond.

Q 2: Why, when Ralph was elected chief, did he feel “eager to offer something” to Jack whom he had beat out for chief?

A 2:I think that from the very beginning, Ralph had a certain respect for Jack. He knew that Jack was eager for power, mad that he hadn’t gotten complete power as chief, and was competition for Ralph. To stay on his good side, Ralph wanted to let Jack have power over something. That is why he was eager to let Jack take control over the choir boys who became hunters. Ralph wanted to stay chief, an not have Jack angry and threatening his power.

 Lord of the Flies Discussion Questions for Chapter 4

Q1: How might the story have been changed were Ralph and Jack not some of the biggest boys on the island?

A1: I think it is possible that Ralph and Jack would have not had their fight for power because the other boys never would have thought about following either one of them if it were not for their physical size. It says that the younger boys “obeyed the summons of the conch, partly because Ralph blew it, and he was big enough to be a link with the adult world” (Golding 59). Were it not partly for physical size,

Ralph and his conch would not be so prominent in the story. Jack is also considered to be a big boy. If he were not, the other boys might not have been as eager to join his clan because it seems as if size has a great deal to play amongst the boys. When the text says it was easy to tell the big boys “at one end” and little ones at the other, it might be refering to the power spectrum on the island.

Q2:How might the plot have developed differently if Ralph had not seen a ship near the island and then realized Jack had let their signal fire go out?

A2: Considering that Ralph confronts Jack about his way of hunting instead of doing useful things like keep the fire running at this time, the plot would not have moved into really showing the conflict between the 2 boys if this event had not occured. When the hunters come back to the dead fire after the hunt, they are carrying a pig and talking about their hunt. Ralph accuses Jack saying that he “‘let the fire go out’”  (Golding 70). Jack trys describing his hunt  to engage Ralph in his frenzied excitement and tries to go against Ralph’s accusations by
claiming that he “‘needed everyone to hunt, [they] needed meat’” (Golding 71). Ralph tries to tell Jack that he “‘could have had everyone when the shelters were finished’” (Golding 71).  Ralph brings up the building of the shelters which is another priority of Ralph’s that Jack has disregarded like the fire.  In this scenario, we start to really see the tension between Ralph and bloodthirsty Jack based on their dialogue and behavior. Without this part of the story happening when it does, the plot would not quickly develop into the deep conflict
between Ralph and Jack. Jack eventually goes through the motions of “apologizing” to Ralph which only raises the tension more because Ralph knows it is a shoe and not sincere.





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