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The Climax & Ending of Lord of the Flies

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  • 0:00 Plot Structure
  • 1:08 Climax Of Lord of the Flies
  • 2:48 Falling Action And Ending
  • 4:47 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberly Myers

Kimberly has taught college writing and rhetoric and has a master's degree in Comparative Literature.

This lesson is a summary of the climax and ending of William Golding's novel ''Lord of the Flies''. Simon's murder is the climax, and Piggy's death and Jack's tribe hunting Ralph are the falling actions. The novel ends with the boys running into a naval officer on the beach and realizing that they are rescued.

Plot Structure

All stories are different, right? Well, not entirely. Almost all stories follow the same general progression in terms of parts of the plot.

Typical plot structure moves through exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution (also called denouement).

The exposition establishes the setting of the story and provides background information as you begin to get a sense of the characters and the situation they are in.

During the rising action, the pace and tension of the plot begin to increase. This is the part of the story where the characters encounter the main problem that they will have to confront in the book.

The climax of a story is typically the most tense and fast-paced part. It is also usually the point where the main characters confront the central problem that they face.

The falling action happens after the climax. The conflict has begun to be resolved one way or another (maybe in the protagonist's favor, maybe not), and the action begins to approach a conclusion.

The resolution is where the action comes to an end. The main conflict has completely played out, and the author wraps everything up.

Climax of Lord of the Flies

The central conflict in Lord of the Flies is the conflict between order and savagery, with Ralph's leadership representing social order and Jack's leadership representing primal savagery. The moment of climax in the book is when the fragile order that the boys are struggling to maintain is symbolically broken. This happens when Simon is murdered by the other boys.

Simon is a kind, sensitive, insightful boy. His actions show that he is concerned about the well-being of others and of the group as a whole. He shares his food with Piggy when Piggy is being ostracized, and he also helps the littluns pick fruit.

The climax begins with Simon understanding what 'the beast' truly is. He realizes that the beast that the boys imagine is actually the dark side of human nature. 'However Simon thought of the beast, there rose before his inward sight the picture of a human, at once heroic and sick.'

Simon stumbles out of the forest and into the group of boys dancing and chanting in the firelight. Golding writes, 'A thing was crawling out of the forest.' That 'thing' is Simon, but in their frenzy, the others don't recognize him. They just keep chanting, 'Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Do him in!'

Golding even stops using Simon's name. In the eyes of the tribe, Simon is the beast. 'At once the crowd...leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws.'

Soon, the 'beast' is dead, and the crowd disperses. Simon's body is left on the beach and is carried out to sea by the waves.

Falling Action and Ending

After Simon's murder, only Ralph and Piggy comprehend what has happened and how far the group has fallen. They try to lessen their guilt by saying that they were only on the edge of things and they were disoriented by the fire, storm, and chanting.

From here, things continue to go downhill, including the boulder that Roger pushes off of Castle Rock. The boulder knocks Piggy off the cliff to his death. The conch shell, the symbol of authority from the earliest days on the island, also shatters. Jack's group captures Samneric, and Ralph is left alone.

Soon, Ralph must hide and then run for his life. Jack leads his tribe in the hunt for Ralph, burning up the island as they go. The excitement and tension increase until it seems certain that Ralph is only seconds away from being speared.

Ralph bursts onto the beach and finds a naval officer. The fire that Jack set has been a means of destruction, but also of the boys' rescue. The officer's ship saw the smoke.

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