Lord of the Flies - Summary and Background Information

The story takes place on an island somewhere in the ocean. The island is described by the author as tropical and boat shaped. Along the coast there are sandy beaches followed by a variety of vegetation and "creepers". There are also the orchards, which rise up to the treeless and rocky and rugged mountain ridge which extends out of the ocean. Judging from the predicament and dialogue in this story the date in which it takes place is probably the mid 1900's during World War II.

The mood created in this story is very complex and rapidly changing. It changes from that of a scary, recessive mood to a light, and cheery one. The way in which the story is written the mood can change literally from chapter to chapter. In the beginning it starts out light and happy and as the novel progresses and the boys start to battle, it starts to become dark and savage.

Jack is red-headed and thin he is also introduced as the leader of the boys' choir. To his dismay he loses the election for leader and he becomes the head hunter and is also in charge of maintaining the signal fire. As the story progresses he and his hunters begin to "slack-off" and abandon their duties in caring for the fire. In the end Jack and his hunters leave Ralph and start their own tribe on the rocky side of the island.

Ralph is a tall, blond and is one of the oldest boys on the island. In the beginning of the story he is pictured as the leader of the boys when he blows the conch shell to call the first assembly. During the course of the story he tries to maintain the structure of their civilization and is continually forced to compete with Jack for approval from the boys.

Piggy is a fat, asthmatic boy with bad vision. Throughout the story his weaknesses are preyed upon by the other boys much like that of the "pigs" on the island, thus the name. But despite his appearance, Ralph begins to depend upon Piggy for intellectual and spiritual guidance. Do to his vision, Piggy had unusually thick glasses, which was a benefit to the others on the island, and aided in the lighting of the signal fire and in the roasting of the pigs.

Simon was a skinny, silent boy with black hair. He was neither liked nor hated and was abnormally silent throughout the story. The way he is portrayed in the story it is as if he were always contemplating life and his situation on the island. Aside from thinking, Simon also does the necessary chores and obeys all commands from his superiors.

The story starts with a large group of boys crawl on to the beach of a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Their plane was been shot down, and World War II has begun to take place. The boys figure that civilization, as they know it, may no longer exist.

Ralph is elected as the leader of the group and Jack decides to be the hunter and provide food for the group. The boys explore the island. They find that it is hard to believe that they're really on their own but their adventuring proves their suspicion. While adventuring Jack's first try at slaying a wild boar fails.

Rising Action
Another assembly is had and they talk about the need for hunters. One of the smaller boys, says he fears a horrid beast that he saw in the vast jungle. The fear of the beast, of the dark, and of what is unknown about the island begins to affect the boys' ways of thinking. Ralph makes an executive decision and convinces everyone that they need a signal fire to aid in their being rescued. Starting a fire is impossible until they use Piggy's glasses, they are so thick they act as a magnifying glass, igniting the tinder. To Ralph's dismay the boys begin to abandon the fire to play, finding it hard work keeping the fire going.

Their fears of the terrifying beast grow worse when the twins, Sam and Eric, see the beast once again. This is when Simon takes into affect his method of thinking, suggesting that the beast is not a physical beast but a beast