Lord of the Flies by British author William Golding was first published in 1954. Set against the backdrop of a deserted island during an unspecified wartime, the novel tells the gripping story of a group of boys stranded after their plane crashes. Initially, the boys attempt to establish a society with rules and order, choosing a boy named Ralph as their leader. However, as the days pass, the fragile social order disintegrates, revealing the darker side of human nature. The descent into chaos is marked by the emergence of a primal and violent force embodied by a character named Jack, leading to the loss of civility and the breakdown of morality.

Golding’s work is a powerful exploration of the inherent capacity for savagery within human beings when societal structures are removed. The novel touches on themes such as the loss of innocence, the struggle between civilization and savagery, and the fragility of societal norms. Lord of the Flies is a timeless allegory that continues to resonate, offering a stark portrayal of the human condition and the potential for moral decay in the absence of authority. Lord of the Flies was Golding’s first novel and best-known work. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1983.

Significant adaptations of Lord of the Flies include a film in 1963 and another in 1990, with the 1963 version probably being the closer of the two to the novel.

Read the full plot summary, an in-depth analysis of Ralph, and explanations of important quotes for Lord of the Flies.

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