Video SparkNotes: William Golding's Lord of the Flies summary (2023)


Check out William Golding's Lord of the Flies Video SparkNote: Quick and easy Lord of the Flies synopsis, analysis, and discussion of major characters and themes in the novel. For more Lord of the Flies resources, go to


Lord of the Flies is about savagery.

A group of schoolboys ends up on a desert island.

Without adults, after their plane crashes, they tried to govern themselves and to maintain order and civility, but they ultimately fail descending into violence and brutality.

At the beginning of the book, Ralph and piggy me on a desert island in the Pacific, they were on a plane with a group of boys who are being evacuated from England because of a war, but the plane was attacked and crashed on the island while they were in the air.

They heard that an atomic bomb exploded in England.

So we know that a nuclear war is taking place.

They find a conch shell and Ralph blows into it like a trumpet.

The sound calls all the other boys who are on the plane out of the jungle.

No adults have survived the crash.

Just boys between the ages of 6 and 12 Ralph is the oldest and biggest boy in the island and he's 12.

Eventually, a whole choir comes out of the jungle led by a boy named Jack.

The boys decide to vote for a chief, and they all pick Ralph, he's beautiful and seems like a natural leader, especially since he called them with the cog.

Jack is not happy about being voted down, though in fact he's humiliated, Ralph likes him and wants to be friends, so he says Jackson charge of the choir and the choir will be hunters.

Ralph takes Simon and Jack up to the top of the mountain and they find out that they're on an island they also find out.

There are pigs on the island that they can hunt.

So the first one they see gets away.

Ralph calls another assembly with the conch.

He tells everyone that they're on an island and they're alone, no one knows where they are, but it's a good Island with food and water and pigs that they can hunt.

He makes a rule that when they have meetings, the person holding the conch gets to speak and the becomes an important symbol in the book representing civilization.

In order.

Unfortunately, the positive picture Ralph tries to paint gets somewhat spoiled when one of the youngest boys is given the conch.

He asked what Ralph is going to do about the snake thing or beastie that the boy thinks is on the island.

Ralph says there is no beastie, but Jack says the hunt for it when they go hunting.

This moment is really the root of all the problems in the book, because this fear of a beast doesn't go away.

The boys can either deal with it Ralph's way, which is to conquer the fear through reason, saying there isn't a beast or Jack's way, which is to say we're part of a tribe, we're hunters together we're strong enough to hunt and kill the Beast Rao says that they need to light a small fire on the mountain to make smoke.

So if a ship passes they'll be rescued before he can organize anything, the boys rush off to the top of the mountain and make a huge bonfire, they use piggy spectacles to light it.

The fire gets out of control and burns a big patch of jungle, including what they would have used as firewood piggy, accuses the boys of acting like kids, rebuking them for being out of control.

He points out that the boy with the mulberry birthmark was playing down where the jungle fire started and now he's disappeared.

No one ever sees him again.

Jack spends his time, hunting for pigs and, even after the other hunters, get tired and drift off to swim in play.

He keeps hunting, though he doesn't catch.

Anything Ralph organizes the other boys into building shelters, but everyone except Simon drifts off to play in Swim - leaving Ralph to struggle with the last shelter, Jack and Ralph get into an argument, because both of them are trying to do something important.

Both are frustrated and not getting enough help and neither can make the other understand.

They agree that the shelters are important, because the younger kids are all afraid of the beasts and the shelters are like a home that will make them less scared.

A boy named Roger follows the little one named Henry off down the beach and starts throwing rocks at him, he's making sure not to hit Henry, but it's clear that the idea of hurting or even killing Henry is exciting to Roger.

So now we see another problem on the island.

At least one of the boys is a sociopath by nature, and since there are no adults to enforce rules, it's only a matter of time or circumstances before Roger realizes he can kill Jack figures out a way to paint his face because he thinks the pigs are running away from him because they see his pink face in the bushes.

Once he puts on the paint, though he feels liberated from any self-consciousness, he does a war dance and rounds up the rest of the hunters telling them they'll form a line to trap.

One of the pigs Jack does manage to kill a pig, but while he and the hunters are hunting, they let the signal fire burn out down at the beach Ralph see smoke far off from a ship, but by the time he and Simon and piggy run up to the mountains, where the fire was it's too late and the ship disappearing.

Ralph, confronts Jack about this failure and while Jack gets respect from the other boys for getting the meat he's humiliated again.

Jack can't do anything to Ralph, but he smacks piggy and breaks.

His glasses Ralph calls a meeting to try to set things straight.

Since the boys are not doing the things they said they do like keeping the fire going or working on the shelters.

He tries to lay down some rules, but then he opens a debate, so they can discuss why they're breaking apart as a group, he says it's because people are becoming frightened and he wants the boys to discuss why they're, frightened and agree that there's no reason to be, but instead Jack takes the conch and says the other.

Boys are frightened, because they're, sissies and crybabies piggy disagrees and says that they're actually afraid of each other Percival.

One of the little uns suggests that the Beast comes from the water which terrifies everyone.

Someone else says it's a ghost and then they have a vote on ghosts and it turns out most of them believe in ghosts piggy yells at the other boys for being stupid and Jack.

Tells him to shut up and fights with him over the conch jack tells Ralph to shut up too saying he's, not a good chief and to hell with all the rules.

Anyway, he says he's not afraid of the Beast, because he's strong and can hunt and then he leads off most of the other boys chanting and singing Ralph wants to give up being chief because he's lost all control.

But piggy and Simon tell him to stay chief, because Jack would be a terrible chief, he hates Ralph and he would hurt piggy that night, while everyone's asleep there's an air battle high up in the sky and a dead man in a parachute falls onto the island near the mountain top Sam and Eric, who are sleeping by the signal fire, see the parachuter but think it's the Beast and run off to tell the others.

Ralph and Jack and the older boys go to look for the Beast in the one place they haven't ever explored castle rock at the far end of the island.

They don't find any beasts there, so they turn around and head for the mountain as they're on their way to the mountain they stopped to do.

Some hunting and Ralph gets a taste of how fun it is afterward.

The boys do this dance, where one of them pretends to be the pig and the others chant and pretend to attack him, which gets pretty violent when they finally get to the mountain it's dark, but Jack insists they keep going.

Jack, Roger and Ralph climb up in the dark, see the Beast and on interrobang to camp back at the beach Jack tries to get the other boys to vote Ralph out his chief, but none of them do Jack leaves humiliated, saying he's not going to play with them any longer.

He says anyone who wants to hunt can come with him.

The boys build a new fire on the beach instead of the mountain, but later many of the older boys sneak away to join Jack Jack and his hunters paint themselves with war paint and kill a sow, Jack and Roger put the head on a stake that they stick in the ground.

Jack and his tribe raid Ralph's group to take fire.

They invite the boys there to come to a feast and tell them they can ask to join the tribe.

Simon, who often goes off by himself, sees the head of the sow.

He has an epileptic fit, but before he does, the head says that it's the Beast also called the Lord of the Flies, the head laughs at him and says the Beast is inside the boys, not something they can hunt and kill.

Then Simon passes out.

Simon goes to the mountain and sees what the Dead parachuter really.

Is he hurries off to tell the others? There's no beasts, Ralph and piggy show up at Jack's feast.

All the other boys, except Simon, have already come there and most have joined Jack's tribe, Jack lets Ralph and piggy eat.

Jack makes all the boys do their pig hunting dance while they chant, kill the Beast cut his throat spill.

His blood in the middle of this Simon comes out of the forest to tell them about the man in the parachute and the boys all kill him even Ralph.

The next day, Ralph and piggy and Sam and Eric all tried to pretend that they weren't part of what happened to Simon, that night Jack and his hunters raid Ralph and piggy and Sam and Eric to steal Piggy's glasses.

So they can make fire Ralph and piggy, and Sam and Eric have one last meeting with the Conch sitting by the burned out signal.

Fire piggy holds the conch and says he wants to go and demand his glasses back.

Since that is what's right, they go to the Castle Rock and the boys there won't.

Let them come in.

Jack comes back from the jungle after hunting and has Sam and Eric seized and tied up Jack and Ralph fight.

But piggy comes up, holding the conch and asked the boys, whether it's better to believe in rules and agreement and getting rescued or in hunting and breaking things up.

While he's talking roger dislodges, the huge stone that shatters the conch and kills piggy Jack throws his spear at Ralph, who runs away Jack and Roger, prepares to torture, Sam and Eric, while Jack and the tribe are having a feast Ralph talks to Sam and Eric, who are now on Lookout.

They tell Ralph that he's going to be hunted the next day and that Roger sharpened a stake at both ends during the hunt.

Ralph hides in the bushes, but Sam and Eric tell Jack, where he's hiding Jack lights, the bushes on fire and the tribe forms a line to sweep across the island and find Ralph.

Ultimately, Jack sets the whole island on fire and Ralph runs out to the beach where a British naval officer has just arrived.

Investigating all the smoke Ralph tries to explain to the officer what happened and start sweeping the other boys weep too, for more information about the Lord of the Flies check out.

The Lord of the Flies spark note at sparknotes, calm.


What is a brief summary of Lord of the Flies by William Golding? ›

Lord of the Flies summary deals with a group of schoolboys who are on a desert island. Furthermore, these boys try to form their own society on this island. The major Lord of the Flies themes are power struggle and rebellion. Ralph is the leader of the group.

What is Golding's overall message? ›

Golding contends that human nature, when free from the constraints of society, draws people away from common sense to savagery. His fundamental arguments are that human beings are savage by nature, and are moved by urges toward brutality and dominance over others.

What age is Lord of the Flies appropriate for? ›

This coming-of-age book by William Golding is published by Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin Group and is written for ages 13 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

What are two central themes of Golding's novel Lord of the Flies explain? ›

Lesson Summary

In this lesson we discussed two of the predominant themes in William Golding's Lord of the Flies. The first is the internal struggle within humans between brutal urges and the controlling aspects of civilization. The second theme is the loss of innocence.

What is the main point of Lord of the Flies? ›

The central concern of Lord of the Flies is the conflict between two competing impulses that exist within all human beings: the instinct to live by rules, act peacefully, follow moral commands, and value the good of the group against the instinct to gratify one's immediate desires, act violently to obtain supremacy ...

What is the main lesson in Lord of the Flies? ›

"The theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society to the defects of human nature. The moral is that the shape of a society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system however apparently logical or respectable."

What was ironic about the ending of the Lord of the Flies? ›

Much of the irony at the end of the novel stems from Golding's portrayal of the naval officer. Although the naval officer saves Ralph, the ending of Lord of the Flies still is not particularly happy, and the moment in which the officer encounters the boys is not one of untainted joy.

What is the ending of the Lord of the Flies? ›

In the final pages of Lord of the Flies , Ralph runs through the jungle fleeing both Jack and his pack of savage boys and the fire Jack set on the mountain. Ralph emerges onto the beach and is discovered by a British Naval officer who has come ashore after seeing the burning island from his ship.

What does Jack symbolize in Lord of the Flies? ›

Jack, Ralph's antagonist, represents the brilliant world of hunting, tactics, fierce exhilaration, skill and dictator, the authoritarian man-of-power who enters the scene like a sergeant. Jack is the strong-willed, egomaniacal boy, who is the novel's prime representative of the instinct of savagery and violence.

Why is Lord of the Flies so hard to read? ›

“Lord of the Flies is hard, and significantly harder [than The Outsiders], significantly more complex,” said Lemov. “Anyone who has read that book knows how hard it is. It has archaic language, it's full of allusions to different worlds, they use British English.”

What is the trigger warning in Lord of the Flies? ›

Trigger & Content Warnings:

Racism. Blood & gore depiction. Death of a child. Death of a friend.

Is Lord of the Flies banned in schools? ›

"Lord of the Flies," a 1954 novel by William Golding, has been banned from schools over the years and has often been challenged. According to the American Library Association, it is the eighth-most frequently banned and challenged book in the nation.

Why does Ralph cry at the end of the novel? ›

Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy. These lines from the end of Chapter 12 occur near the close of the novel, after the boys encounter the naval officer, who appears as if out of nowhere to save them.

What does the beast symbolize in Lord of the Flies? ›

The imaginary beast that frightens all the boys represents the primal instinct of savagery that exists within all human beings. The boys are afraid of the beast, but only Simon reaches the realization that they fear the beast because it exists within each of them.

What is the conflict in the Lord of the Flies? ›

The major conflict in Lord of the Flies is the struggle between Jack and Ralph. The fight for who will lead the island represents the clash between a peaceful democracy, as symbolized by Ralph, and a violent dictatorship, as symbolized by Jack.

What does Lord of the Flies symbolize in simple terms? ›

The characters in Lord of the Flies possess recognizable symbolic significance, which make them as the sort of people around us. Ralph stands for civilization and democracy; Piggy represents intellect and rationalism; Jack signifies savagery and dictatorship; Simon is the incarnation of goodness and saintliness.

What happens in Lord of the Flies ending? ›

In the final pages of Lord of the Flies , Ralph runs through the jungle fleeing both Jack and his pack of savage boys and the fire Jack set on the mountain. Ralph emerges onto the beach and is discovered by a British Naval officer who has come ashore after seeing the burning island from his ship.

Is The Lord of the Flies Based on a true story? ›

William Golding's Lord of the Flies, published in 1951, told the fictional tale of a group of schoolboys who devolved into murderous savagery after they were marooned on a deserted island.


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