Escaping from a worldwide nuclear war, a plane full of British boys retreats to a safe country. Halfway between England and their destination, a violent storm strikes, leaving them marooned on a deserted island. A fair-haired boy, Ralph, sees that he must summon all the boys on the island to decide what they will do now that they must look after themselves. He finds a conch shell and blows it, making the sound echo through the trees. "We must set up rules and elect a chief," says one of the littl'uns. "After all, we're not savages; We're British!" Jack, a hot-tempered redhead, decides that he should be leader. "No; Let the guy that blew the trumpet thing be leader!" says the miniature crowd of boys. They decide to vote, and, unanimously, Ralph wins. After time passes, the boys instinctively become more savage. Ralph desperately tries to maintain control over the boys, but they cannot be controlled. The savageness results in the death of two characters. Genuine characters and a gruesome plot make William Golding's The Lord of the Flies frighteningly realistic.
Ralph, Jack, Piggy, Simon, Roger, and Samneric all seem authentic. Their actions appear to be made by actual people, instead of a single author. "We must build a fire at the top of the mountain in case a ship passes our island," says Ralph.
As fear and superstition set in, Jack exclaims, "Look! It's the beast!"
"I remember seeing one of those," replies Piggy, "You can blow it if you push the air from down here," pointing to his diaphragm.
Simon, a lesser character, even acts with a sensible person's mind, "I don't believe in the beast. Let me try to find it." Everything the boys say, think, and do on the island fits in perfectly with the plot.
Along with convincing characters, the plot of this novel is incredible. Every detail is planned out and creates an eerie, grim mood. Along with the degeneration of the boys' society comes terrible things. The boys' savagery appears very slowly in small acts, such as the killing of the pigs and defiance to Ralph. The plot is so timed out that we are taken aback when a murder is committed. Not long after Simon's sickening death, Piggy is intentionally crushed under the weight of a massive boulder. Nudity and bloodshed is worked into the story line strongly enough to make us sick. The story line works so well with the believable characters that readers grimace as the novel unfolds.
William Golding's The Lord of the Flies is an incredible book that cannot be written in a more realistic manner. Characters and plot work together like clockwork and create an exceptional story. Gruesome details are smuggled into the plot and characters slowly deteriorate to savages in the paperback classic. The Lord of the Flies is constructed as a realistic horror story that takes our breath away.
Top of Page
Language Arts Index Page