Lord of the Flies: Summary, Themes & Analysis

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Orwell's Animal Farm: Summary, Characters and Themes

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:02 All Alone
  • 0:46 Summary
  • 3:48 Themes
  • 5:23 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Katie Surber

Katie has a Master's degree in English and has taught college level classes for ten years.

In this lesson, we will summarize William Golding's novel 'Lord of the Flies'. We will then analyze the story by exploring the major themes and characters.

All Alone

Pretend for a moment that you are again a young child. What would you do if you woke up one morning and were all alone? What if you could only find other children and no adults? How would you survive? Would you work with the other children? Would you help save each other or begin to fight and allow only the strong to live?

These are the very questions that are explored in William Golding's novel The Lord of the Flies. The novel tells the story of a group of young boys that survive a plane crash and then are forced to learn how to survive on an island. Throughout the story, the boys change, turn on each other, and eventually fight a war amongst themselves. The Lord of the Flies asks questions about innocence, civilization, and the effects of power.

The Lord of the Flies Summary

The novel opens with a plane crash in an island. Once we are given the backstory, we learn that the country is at war and a plane carrying schoolboys was shot down and landed on the island. Once the boys find each other, they elect a leader, an attractive boy named Ralph.

Ralph immediately starts to lead the boys, insisting that they create a fire to get attention from any passing ships, and creates a group, led by Jack, to hunt for food. The boys are able to make a fire, but they are encouraged by Jack to focus on hunting rather than the fire. The fire spreads out of control. A young boy disappears and is presumed to be dead.

Another character, Piggy, becomes concerned that the boys are spending too much time hunting and not maintaining the fire. Jack takes the boys to hunt for a pig, and while they are gone, the fire goes out and a ship passes the island. Ralph confronts Jack and the two boys fight. When Jack hits Piggy, Ralph calls a meeting for all the boys. The group is starting to fall apart. The younger boys are scared and having nightmares, and many boys believe that there may be a beast on the island.

Not long after, the boys are sleeping and military planes fly over the island. A dead man falls to the island, and the boys believe that he is the beast. Ralph and Jack decide to go look for the beast and see the dead man but believe that they have, in fact, found a beast. They return to camp and tell the others what they have found.

Jack begins to protest that Ralph should no longer be leader, but the boys will not vote him out. Jack becomes angry and runs away, calling for others to join him, and some of them do. At the same time, another boy named Simon decides to explore the island and find the beast. He finds the dead man and realizes that the beast is just the dead man.

The new group of Jack's boys immediately run and graphically kill a pig. The group cuts off the pig's head and puts it on a stick, offering it to the beast of the island. This leads to chaos as the boys celebrate the sacrifice. Ralph and the remaining boys join the others and they all celebrate the beast of the island. When Simon returns to the group he is dirty and bloody, and the boys attack him. The group kills him savagely, just as they did the pig.

The next morning, Ralph and Piggy talk to each other and realize that they no longer wanted to be a part of the group. Jack approaches them and orders the boys to tie up Ralph. They fight and Piggy is killed. Ralph is able to escape and hide, but the group continues to hunt for him. Jack decides to set the forest on fire knowing that Ralph will have to come out. He does eventually run to the beach, and when he wakes up, he is greeted by a British naval officer.

At that moment, the rest of the group comes out of the forest intending to kill Ralph. The officer is shocked at the boys and asks Ralph what is happening. Ralph starts to cry, as do the rest of the boys. Suddenly, the boys are boys again. They are no longer the angry, warring mob but a group of young boys crying to the officer. The officer turns away for the boys to gain composure.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account