What is the Lord of the Flies about? (Book Summary)

What is the Lord of the Flies about

What is the Lord of the Flies about? William Golding’s novel “Lord of the Flies” is a classic tale of human nature and the consequences of societal breakdowns. First published in 1954, the book follows a group of young boys who find themselves stranded on an uninhabited island, left to fend for themselves with no adult supervision or guidance. What begins as an attempt at creating a civilized society soon devolves into chaos and violence, revealing the darker side of human nature.

What is the Lord of the Flies about? (Answer)

At first, the boys try to establish their own rules and system of organization. They elect Ralph as their leader, create a signal fire, and establish a daily routine. However, as time passes with no rescue in sight and tensions rise, the fragile society they have built begins to crumble. Jack, one of the boys who initially supported Ralph’s leadership, becomes increasingly aggressive and power-hungry. He starts his own tribe and encourages the other boys to follow him instead of Ralph.

As Jack’s tribe becomes more violent and savage in their hunting rituals, Ralph tries to maintain control over what remains of his group. However, he finds himself increasingly isolated and powerless against Jack’s growing influence. The themes that emerge throughout the novel are deeply rooted in human psychology: power struggles between individuals or groups can quickly turn violent when there are no mechanisms in place to mediate disputes or enforce rules.

Ultimately, Golding’s novel suggests that without some civilizing impulse – be it societal norms or authority figures – humans are prone to acts of aggression and brutality towards one another. The title “Lord of the Flies” is itself significant; it refers to a pig’s head that is stuck on a stick as part of Jack’s tribe’s ritualistic practices. This gruesome image serves as a metaphor for how easily humans can slip into barbaric behavior when left unchecked.

When was Lord of the Flies written?

Lord of the Flies was written by William Golding in 1954.

Lord of the Flies book summary in 100 words

“Lord of the Flies” is a novel about a group of British boys who are stranded on an uninhabited island and left without adult supervision. As they attempt to create a functioning society, their inherent savagery begins to reveal itself, leading to chaos and violence. The boys divide into two groups, one led by Ralph who prioritizes order and rescue, while the other is led by Jack who focuses on hunting and power. The novel explores themes of civilization versus savagery, power dynamics, and the corrupting influence of unchecked authority. Ultimately, the boys’ struggle for survival leads to tragedy and a haunting critique of human nature.

Lord of the Flies summary by chapter

Below is a summary of each chapter of Lord of the Flies:

Chapter 1: “The Sound of the Shell”

Ralph and Piggy meet on a deserted island after their plane crashes. They discover a conch shell, which Ralph uses to call the other survivors to a meeting. The boys introduce themselves, talk about their situation on the island, and elect a leader. 

Chapter 2: “Fire on the Mountain”

Ralph decides to build a signal fire to help them attract passing ships to get rescued. He sends some boys to gather wood while he and Piggy try to organize the group. The boys struggle to work together and build the fire but eventually succeed.

Chapter 3: “Huts on the Beach”

Ralph and Simon build shelters for everyone, but many of the boys are more interested in playing than working. Jack becomes obsessed with hunting wild pigs and starts his own tribe.

Chapter 4: “Painted Faces and Long Hair”

The boys start painting their faces as part of their hunting ritual, and they begin to act more savage as time goes on. Simon finds a peaceful spot in the forest where he can think. Jack organizes a hunt and neglects his other duties. Ralph spots a coil of smoke from a ship, but he finds out that Jack let the smoke signal go out. As a result, the boys fail to attract the passing ship, which leads to Ralph confronting Jack about not maintaining the fire.

Chapter 5: “Beast from Water”

The boys become afraid of a supposed beast that they think is lurking in the water around them. Ralph tries to reassure them that there is no such thing, but his words fall on deaf ears.

Chapter 6: “Beast from Air”

While the boys are sleeping, military planes fly over the island and engage in a battle. A dead parachutist from one of these planes drifts onto the island. Samneric, the twins responsible for watching the fire at night, have fallen asleep but wake up after hearing the parachute flapping in the wind. Mistaking the parachutist for a beast, they run to the camp to warn the other boys. Jack argues that they should hunt the beast down, but Ralph insists that they need to focus on getting rescued.

Chapter 7: “Shadows and Tall Trees”

Ralph and Jack are increasingly at odds with each other, with each vying for control of the boys. The group splits into two factions – one led by Ralph, who wants order and rescue, and one led by Jack, who wants power and control through hunting. The tension between them grows increasingly violent.

Chapter 8: “Gift for Darkness”

Simon has an encounter with the Lord of the Flies, a pig’s head on a stick that Jack’s tribe has put up as an offering to the beast. Simon discovers that there is no beast on the island, and the true beast is within themselves. Ralph convinces the boys left in his tribe to build a new signal fire on the beach, after which most of the boys leave to join Jack and his tribe. 

Chapter 9: “A View to a Death”

Simon tries to tell the other boys about his revelation, but they mistake him for the beast and beat him to death. Ralph is heartbroken and realizes how far they have all fallen into savagery.

Chapter 10: “The Shell and the Glasses”

Jack’s tribe steals Piggy’s glasses, which they need for fire-making. Ralph and Piggy confront Jack, but Roger responds by releasing a huge boulder which hits Piggy, causing his death.

Chapter 11: “Castle Rock”

Ralph manages to escape and hides from Jack’s tribe to try to stay alive. The twins Samneric, also called Sam and Eric, are captured at Ralph’s camp by Jack’s tribe and forced to join them. Ralph comes face-to-face with Jack, who hunts him down like an animal.

Chapter 12: “Cry of the Hunters”

Ralph falls into the sand on the beach, but when he looks up he sees a British naval officer standing over him. After the naval officer sees the bloodthirsty boys from Jack’s tribe, he asks Ralph to explain what happened on the island. Ralph and the other boys begin to weep for their loss of innocence. The boys are finally able to leave the island, but Ralph realizes that their experience has changed them forever.

Lord of the Flies summary chapter 1

In the first chapter of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, a plane carrying a group of British schoolboys away from a nuclear war is shot down, and crash lands on a deserted island. The boys stranded on the island vary in age from six to twelve, and they quickly realize that no adults are present. The group of children is composed of “littluns” that are six years old, and the “biguns” that are ten to twelve years old. Ralph, one of the older boys, is elected as their leader because he has the conch shell, which acts as a symbol of authority and democracy.

The boys explore the island and find that it has fruit trees and pigs. They decide to start a fire for rescue purposes but struggle to keep it going due to their lack of experience with building fires. Meanwhile, Jack, another older boy, leads a group on a hunt for pigs but fails.

As night falls, some of the younger children begin to get scared and cry for their parents. Ralph tries reassuring them that they will be rescued soon but realizes they also need shelter from the elements. He suggests building huts using materials from the island.

While some boys work on building shelters, others play and swim in the lagoon. As darkness falls again, they hold their first assembly, where Ralph outlines rules such as taking turns speaking while holding the conch shell and keeping a signal fire burning at all times.

The chapter ends with one boy missing: a littlun who appears to have disappeared into the dense forest surrounding them.

What is the main message of the Lord of the Flies?

The main message of Lord of the Flies is a warning about the potential for human nature to be corrupted by power, violence, and savagery. The novel shows how even well-behaved and civilized individuals can become brutal and inhumane when placed in a situation where there are no rules or authority figures to keep them in check. It also suggests that the impulse towards violence and aggression is an inherent part of human nature, which may only be restrained by social order and moral codes. Ultimately, Lord of the Flies argues that civilization is fragile, and it takes only a few individuals to disrupt it completely.

What does Lord of the Flies teach us about society?

Lord of the Flies teaches us that society is held together by agreed-upon rules and norms, without which chaos and violence can quickly take over. The book illustrates how the boys’ attempt to build a civilization on the island ultimately fails due to their inability to cooperate and follow rules, leading to a descent into savagery. The novel also highlights the dangers of groupthink and mob mentality, as well as the importance of leadership in maintaining order. Overall, “Lord of the Flies” serves as a cautionary tale about the fragility of societal structures and the potential consequences when they break down.   

What does the Lord of the Flies say to Simon about having fun?

The Lord of the Flies tells Simon that they are going to have fun on the island, which is a warning not to interfere with Jack’s leadership or face the consequences. The offer of fun is no longer innocent but rather a threat, implying that Simon should accept the savagery that will overtake the island under Jack’s rule. This statement highlights how power can corrupt individuals and cause them to become savage, ultimately leading to destruction and chaos.

Why did the parachute fall in Lord of the Flies?

In Lord of the Flies, the parachute falls onto the island because it carries a dead pilot tangled in the parachute lines. The boys mistake the parachute for the beast, and their fear drives them to act violently toward each other. The arrival of the parachute also marks a turning point in the story as it brings about deeper divisions among the boys and intensifies their descent into savagery. Additionally, it serves as a reminder that they are still part of civilization and that they have a chance to be rescued.


In conclusion, “Lord of the Flies” is about much more than just children stranded on a tropical island; it is a powerful commentary on human nature and the fragility of social order. The novel highlights the importance of structure, rules, and leadership in maintaining a civilized society while exploring the dark side of humanity that can emerge when those structures break down. Golding’s work remains an important literary text that continues to resonate with readers today.

Share this article