Lord of the Flies Summary: During an unnamed time of war, a plane carrying a group of British schoolboys is shot down over the Pacific. The pilot of the plane is killed, but many of the boys survive the crash and find themselves deserted on an uninhabited island, where they are alone without adult supervision

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When Lord of the Flies opens, a plane carrying a group of British boys ages 6 to 12 has crashed on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean. Oops. (Also, apparently the world is at war. This matters.) With no adults around, the boys are left to fend for and govern themselves. Things start out okay. The boys use a conch shell as a talking stick, and Ralph, one of the older boys, becomes "chief."

And then trouble begins. They're afraid of a "beast" somewhere on the island, and then they decide to build a signal fire using the glasses of a boy named Piggy (who is a portly fellow, and also the most loyal friend to Ralph). But Jack, jealous of Ralph's power, decides the boys should devote their energies to hunting food (namely pigs) instead of maintaining the fire. The longer they're on the island, the more savage he becomes. Meanwhile our other key player, a wise and philosophical boy named Simon, works with Ralph to build shelters.

Eventually these latent conflicts become not so latent, and the boys who are supposed to be tending the fire skip out on their duties to kill a pig. The blood and gore of the hunt is all very exciting until they realize that, while they were out being bloodthirsty boys, the fire went out and a ship passed by without noticing them. Jack has also managed to punch Piggy in the face and break one lens of his glasses. Not good.

Right about this time a dead man attached to a parachute blows in Mary-Poppins-style to the island. The mysterious parachuting creature is mistaken for the beast, and the boys begin a massive hunt to kill it. Only Simon (and, let's face it, the audience) is skeptical, believing instead they're really just afraid of themselves. He goes off into the woods to contemplate the situation while Jack and Ralph ascend the mountain and find the beast—but don't stick around long enough to see that it is in fact only a dead man.

Back in the group, Jack decides Ralph shouldn't be chief anymore. He secedes and invites whoever wants to come with him and kill things (like more pigs, and maybe some people if they feel like it). Most of the older kids go with him, and Simon, hiding, watches Jack and Co. hunt a pig. This time, they slaughter a fat mother pig (in a scene described somewhat as a rape), cut off her head, and jam it onto a stick
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