Skip over navigation

Lord of the Flies

William Golding

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions & Essay Topics

full title  ·  Lord of the Flies

author  · William Golding

type of work  · Novel

genre  · Allegory; adventure story; castaway fiction; loss-of-innocence fiction

language  · English

time and place written  · Early 1950s; Salisbury, England

date of first publication  · 1954

publisher  · Faber and Faber

narrator  · The story is told by an anonymous third-person narrator who conveys the events of the novel without commenting on the action or intruding into the story.

point of view  · The narrator speaks in the third person, primarily focusing on Ralph’s point of view but following Jack and Simon in certain episodes. The narrator is omniscient and gives us access to the characters’ inner thoughts.

tone  · Dark; violent; pessimistic; tragic; unsparing

tense  · Immediate past

setting (time)  · Near future

setting (place)  · A deserted tropical island

protagonist  · Ralph

major conflict · Free from the rules that adult society formerly imposed on them, the boys marooned on the island struggle with the conflicting human instincts that exist within each of them—the instinct to work toward civilization and order and the instinct to descend into savagery, violence, and chaos.

rising action · The boys assemble on the beach. In the election for leader, Ralph defeats Jack, who is furious when he loses. As the boys explore the island, tension grows between Jack, who is interested only in hunting, and Ralph, who believes most of the boys’ efforts should go toward building shelters and maintaining a signal fire. When rumors surface that there is some sort of beast living on the island, the boys grow fearful, and the group begins to divide into two camps supporting Ralph and Jack, respectively. Ultimately, Jack forms a new tribe altogether, fully immersing himself in the savagery of the hunt.

climax  · Simon encounters the Lord of the Flies in the forest glade and realizes that the beast is not a physical entity but rather something that exists within each boy on the island. When Simon tries to approach the other boys and convey this message to them, they fall on him and kill him savagely.

falling action · Virtually all the boys on the island abandon Ralph and Piggy and descend further into savagery and chaos. When the other boys kill Piggy and destroy the conch shell, Ralph flees from Jack’s tribe and encounters the naval officer on the beach.

themes  · Civilization vs. savagery; the loss of innocence; innate human evil

motifs  · Biblical parallels; natural beauty; the bullying of the weak by the strong; the outward trappings of savagery (face paint, spears, totems, chants)

symbols  · The conch shell; Piggy’s glasses; the signal fire; the beast; the Lord of the Flies; Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, and Roger

foreshadowing  · The rolling of the boulders off the Castle Rock in Chapter 6 foreshadows Piggy’s death; the Lord of the Flies’s promise to have some “fun” with Simon foreshadows Simon’s death

More Help

Previous Next
This is for question 4 i think!

by laloca52411, October 05, 2012

piggy finds a conch . and they use it to call a meeting .

8 Comments

50 out of 169 people found this helpful

How was it brave that Simon spoke to the Lord of the Flies?

by waitwhathomework, November 18, 2012

Maybe because the other boys were like afraid to (Fear of the Unknown?) or something? He also discovered the truth? Idk help?

1 Comments

5 out of 14 people found this helpful

Questions for Ch. 11 and 12

by cooper2121, December 14, 2012

11:
1. What symbols does Golding use to show that civilization has been destroyed on the island?
2. What do you think is meant by "They understood only too well the liberation into savagery that the concealing paint brought"?

12:
1. How does Golding change his boys from savages back to little boys in the eyes of the reader?
2. What is the purpose of the naval officer's presence in the surrounding waters, and what is the irony of this in the light of his reaction to the "fun and games" of the boys?

0 Comments

2 out of 2 people found this helpful

See all 81 readers' notes   →

Follow Us