Lord of the Flies Summary - Plot, Themes and Characters

Lord of the Flies Summary


Lord of the Flies Summary

Have you ever read Lord of the Flies book? It’s a novel written by William Golding and published in 1954. Lord of the Flies novel was well received and has amassed several awards: Modern library best 100 Novels, 100 Best English-language Novels and was also ranked third nation’s favorite book from school. There are three movies made from the book.

 This story is fiction and explores human evil based on Golding’s experience of the brutality of World War II. The author Golding was a junior officer in Royal Navy and got first-hand experience with violence and cruelty. His experience made him think of the origins of violence and the human capacity for good and evil, leading to this novel.

 Lord of the Flies Overview

The story starts when the boys' plane crashes onto the island between ages six to twelve years old, and they try to survive. At first, they are excited about being on a deserted island without adult supervision; however, they realize they should be responsible for surviving.

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The boys became savage, and their behavior animalistic. They struggle to maintain order and work together, causing a split into two groups. The first one is led by Ralph, who wants to maintain order and seek rescue, and another led by Jack, who is obsessed with hunting and gaining power over the others.

As the story progresses, the boys' behavior becomes more violent. They indulge in ritualistic ceremonies adoring a pig's head on a pole that they refer to as the “Lord of the Flies.” Growing friction exists between Ralph and Jack, and the two groups engage in a violent conflict that causes the death of several boys.

Finally, the boys are rescued by a naval officer who sees the island on fire and comes to their aid. The boys realize the horror of their actions, and the story ends with the boys weeping over the loss of their innocence.

The novel "Lord of the Flies" is a potent allegory of the human condition and the dangers of unchecked savagery. It has been widely read and studied to explore human nature, the psychology of group behavior, and the nature of power and leadership.

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Characters in the Lord of the Flies

The Lord of the Flies characters are children who build the theme of civilization and loss of innocence. They include the following:


Elected as the leader of the boys, Ralph is initially optimistic about being stranded on the island and focuses on building a signal fire to attract rescuers. However, as the boys become more savage, he struggles to maintain order.

Ralph is threatened by the boys and forced to flee for his life. After assuming leadership, he becomes a hero and a protagonist in the novel.


The hunters' leader, Jack, becomes increasingly obsessed with hunting and violence. He is the antagonist and has a vicious touch on nature. He splits from Ralph's group and forms his tribe, which becomes more savage and ritualistic. His group turns to killers, and in the end, they chase Raph, who hides in the forest to save his life.


He is Ralph's loyal friend and advisor. Piggy is intelligent and rational but is often bullied by the other boys due to his physical appearance and asthma. He cares for the little boys and encourages them to make a fire and find a rescue.  Jack's tribe kills him.


A quiet, introspective boy, Simon is the only one who understands the true nature of the "beast" on the island. The other lads shoot him to death after mistaking him for the "beast."


One of Jack's most loyal followers, Roger becomes increasingly sadistic over time and eventually kills Piggy with a boulder.

Sam and Eric

Twins are loyal to Ralph, Sam, and Eric. These brothers are captured by Jack's tribe and forced to join them.

The littluns

These are the younger boys on the island. They are afraid and confused by the events around them. These littluns represent a society's common people, while the older boys are the ruling classes and political leaders.

The naval officer

The officer who rescues the boys at the novel's end. He represents the adult world and the return to civilization.

The setting in the Lord of the Flies

The Lord of the Flies’ setting, is the sea, the coastal area, and the lonely island with a thick forest. The boys enter this land after a plane crash during World War II in England. It’s a story built within chaos in the outside world and the lack of order on the island. 

Lord of the Flies Plot

Lord of the Flies Summary Chapter 1 -The Sound of the Shell

It's a story of British schoolboys who have been evacuated due to war. These boys find themselves stranded on an uninhabited island after their plane crashes. When Ralph and Piggy first meet, they find a conch shell, which they use to summon the other boys to the beach. They meet and decide to elect a leader, and Ralph is chosen.

 Summary of Chapter 2- Fire on the Mountain

Ralph and Jack explore the island and find they are the only ones with experience handling the conch shell. The boys also realize that there are no elders on the island and that they are responsible for their survival. Ralph insists they need to start a signal fire to attract rescuers. Jack and his choir are tasked with keeping the fire burning.

Huts on the Beach (Lord of the Flies, Chapter 3)

The boys begin to work together to build shelters and gather food. Ralph and Simon build huts, while Jack becomes obsessed with hunting and killing pigs.

Summary of Chapter 4, Lord of the Flies: Painted Faces and Long Hair

Jack develops an increasing obsession with violence and hunting. His team becomes more savage in their behavior. They paint their faces and hunt pigs with spears. Meanwhile, Ralph becomes frustrated with the lack of progress in building a signal fire.

Chapter 5 Lord of Flies Summary – Beast from Water

The boys talk about a "beast" they believe is on the island. They become fearful, and Ralph insists they must investigate the situation. Simon suggests that the "beast" may be within themselves.

Chapter 6 Summary – Beast from Air

The boys see a dead parachutist land on the island and mistake it for the "beast." They become even more terrified and think the island is cursed.

Summary of Chapter 7: Shadows and Tall Trees

Ralph calls a meeting to try and restore order, but Jack and his hunters are more interested in a pig they have killed. They argue with Ralph and split off to form their tribe.

 Summary Chapter 8 – Gift for the Darkness

Jack's tribe becomes more savage and begins to engage in violent rituals. The team kills a pig and leaves its head on a stick as a sacrifice to the fictitious "Lord of the Flies." Ralph and Piggy beg the other lads to keep the peace in the meantime.

Chapter 9 Summary – A View to Death

Simon goes off by himself and discovers that the "beast" is a dead parachutist. He rushes back to tell the other boys, but they confuse him for the "beast" and kill him in a frenzied attack.

Chapter 10 Summary – Shell and Glasses

Jack and his tribe attack Ralph and Piggy, stealing Piggy's glasses, which they use to start a fire. Ralph and Piggy try to reason with Jack and his tribe, but they are more interested in hunting and violence.

Chapter 11 Summary – Cry of the Hunters

Ralph and his followers are forced to flee to a new location called Castle Rock, where Jack and his tribe have set up their headquarters. Jack's tribe launches an attack, and the two groups engage in a violent conflict.

 Summary Chapter 12 – Cry of the Hunters

Ralph is the only one left alive from his group, and Jack and his tribe are hunting him. When Jack is about to kill Ralph, a naval officer shows up on the island and saves the boys. The boys realize the horror of what they have done. The novel ends with them weeping over the loss of their innocence and the darkness that has overtaken them.

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Themes in the Lord of the Flies

The Lord of the Flies themes are interesting and have thoughtful symbols:

Struggle to Build Civilization

This theme becomes the main one in this novel and forms the conflict. Raph and Piggy believe in the structure, rules, and maintenance of fire as the most important things to follow. On the contrary, Jack believes hunting, violence, and fun are prioritized over safety, protection, and plans.

Initially, the boys agree with Raph’s school of thought on rules and democracy, but with time this proves difficult for many boys. Most fail to build shelters, signal fires or even care for the littluns. Ultimately, Raph is tempted by Jack’s authoritarian regime and keeps forgetting the importance of fire and rescue.

The two characters' contrasting thoughts and values build the book's plot. If you are asked to compare their traits, seek our compare and contrast easy writing service

Loss of Innocence

The way the kids go lost without grownups in the book illustrates how innocence is lost. The correct course of action is to live a regular life, care for the "littluns", respect the elderly, and wait for their rescue. Ralph has a commanding and responsible approach with the littluns and Samneric. However, when Jack breaks off his relationship with him and Piggy, it appears that they have lost their innocence because Jack becoming a hunter is synonymous with ferocity.

Savage in Society

Through Jack and the hunters, Lord of the Flies demonstrates the cruelty that exists throughout society and among its citizens. According to the author, human nature includes both savagery and innocence, and both of these qualities can be seen when necessary. Because of this, Ralph breathes a sigh of relief when he sees an officer on the sand, believing that he has escaped the ferocious hunters.


The dark side of human nature, which holds that living a life of might is right, is shown in the story.  Jack's hunting instincts further demonstrate the dehumanizing nature, as Piggy and other logical characters shortly see his demise.

Absence of Laws

The murder of Piggy and countless other such incidents demonstrates how the law stands up for the weak. The absence of the law is equivalent to permitting a tyrant to control a nation or allowing criminals to operate without restraint.

Are you interested in studying other book summaries? Check out our guide on To Kill a Mockingbird Summary; it’s detailed and informative.

Lord of the Flies Symbolism.

There are various symbols in the Lord of the Flies that portray that pass a deeper meaning.

The Conch Shell

It’s used in the novel to assemble the boys on the beach. It is a representation of governance and culture. However, the boys lose touch with civilization, and the shell is discarded.

At the novel's beginning, this conch has the power and forces the boys to gather and listen. The conch's color fades as the boys defect to Jack’s chaos. Only Piggy has faith in the Conch and is killed trying to protect it, which loses its meaning.

The Signal Fire

It’s lit on the mountain and on the beach to seek rescue from the passing ships. The boy maintains the fire, but as the plot progresses and disorderly sets in, they fail to maintain it. Later they lose their desire to be rescued.

The Beast

It’s an imaginary creature that frightens the boys. The beast stands in for the boys’ savage instincts and is revealed to be a personification of their impulses. The beast exists through behavior.

Pig’s Head

It’s described by hallucinating Simon as Lord of Flies, who sees the pig’s head on spikes and consumed by flies. This head becomes the Lord of the Flies, a symbol of savagery on display; for everyone to see.


The glasses provide clear vision but are transformed into a tool to make fire. It is a symbol of control in the novel, more powerful than a

Lord of the Flies Literary Devices:


Golding uses complex allegory where every major character represents some larger aspect of society. The pattern is sometimes predetermined, especially in Jack and Raph. Jack represents savagery and primitive fear, leading him to a primitive state that causes uncivilization. On the other hand, Raph shows society's order and consistently tries to organize the boys to a standard behavior.

Metaphors and Similes

  • One is the analogy between the scar left by the plane accident and the strip jungle. Compared to a bath, the island's heat and humidity. The extensive cut that has been made into the “jungle was a bath of heat all around him."
  • To explain why he is small in comparison to other boys, the narrator likens children to shrimp. He was a shrimp-shaped youngster of about six years old, and a birthmark the color of mulberry covered one side of his face.


Golding used imagery as a literary strategy to describe the novel's events. Sam and Eric, for instance, believe the dead parachutist to be the aforementioned beast. In order for the reader to comprehend why the children make that error, Golding utilizes images to put them in the kids' shoes. The twins are unaware that the beast is a parachutist who has died.

Sam and Eric report that the unidentified parachutist appears to be "furry" when they see him or her, according to Golding. Behind its head-wings, something was moving. "The beast also moved,"p.108. The reader may see from this vision why Sam and Eric think what they witnessed is the beast. Do you know the benefits of imagery in this book? Read more on this article and identify the types of imagery used in the novel. 

 You should be very creative in discussing the text's themes and literary devices. Keep gathering more creativity from our creative writing homework help.

To Conclude

The Lord of the Flies is an amazing narrative that portrays what happens in a society that lacks rules and regulations. This fictional novel has great characters like Raph, Jack, and Simon, who control major events in the story. 

We experience the theme of innocence, struggle for civilization, dehumanization, and more. If you are in need of a Lord of the Flies Summary, we have the best. Place an order for our help, and we will deliver an incredible article.

Goldwing makes the story amazing through various literary devices like symbolism, imagery, similes, and metaphors.

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