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

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

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