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Chapter 1-6 Summary of Lord of the Flies

Here are the list of characters to help you better understand The Lord of the Flies:

  • Ralph: The protagonist of the novel, elected as the leader of the group of boys stranded on the island. He represents order, civilisation and leadership. However, he struggles to maintain discipline and is often at odds with Jack.
  • Piggy: Ralph’s sidekick and the intellectual of the group, whose innovative ideas are often dismissed. He represents rationality and intellect. He struggles due to his physical appearance but provides critical support to Ralph.
  • Jack Merridew: The antagonist of the story, leader of the hunters, and a symbol of savagery and the desire for power. He opposes Ralph’s leadership and prioritises hunting over other survival needs.
  • Simon: A kind, spiritual and introverted boy who represents the innate goodness in humanity. He has a natural understanding of the world around him, including the nature of the “beast.”
  • Roger: One of Jack’s followers, he represents brutality and bloodlust at their extreme. He becomes increasingly cruel and sadistic over the course of the novel.
  • Sam and Eric (Samneric): Identical twins who are often treated as one entity, representing the loss of individuality in mob mentality. They are loyal followers of Ralph before being forced to join Jack.
  • The “Littluns”: The younger boys on the island, representing innocence and the more vulnerable members of society. They are most affected by the fear of the “beast.”
  • The “Biguns”: The older boys on the island, who are more focused on the power struggles and the primal desires that emerge.
  • The Lord of the Flies: Not a human character, but a pig’s head mounted on a stick, representing the embodiment of evil and the darker instincts within each individual. It “converses” with Simon, revealing the nature of the “beast.”
  • The Beast: An imagined entity representing the primal savagery inherent in human beings.
  • The Naval Officer: Appears at the end of the novel to rescue the boys, symbolizing the return to civilization and order, but also raises questions about the extent of civilisation’s reach.

Chapter 1

Two boys, Ralph and Piggy, meet at a lagoon by the beach. We find out that they were in a plane containing English schoolboys, but it was shot down, and all the boys were scattered around the deserted island. Looking around the beach, Ralph and Piggy discover a conch shell, which Ralph blows into like a trumpet. All the other boys on the island hear the sound and meet on the beach; they range from six to twelve years old.

Ralph, an athletic and charismatic figure, is voted the leader of the gang, mostly because it was he who blew the conch. Jack, who has been leading a group of choir boys, is unhappy about this election. To appease him, Ralph says he can stay in charge of the choir boys, and Jack chooses for his group to be the hunters. Ralph, Jack and Simon explore the island, and by climbing to the top of a mountain, they see that it is uninhabited apart from themselves. They see a wild boar, and Jack says he will kill it with his pocketknife, but can’t bring himself to do so.

Chapter 2

Ralph calls another meeting at the beach, where he announces that there is no one else on the island and they will have to look after themselves. He makes a rule that whoever holds the conch can speak in meetings. Jack becomes overexcited and keen to make more rules and punishments for any rules that are broken.

One of the smaller boys claims to have seen a “beastie” the previous night. Ralph dismisses this as a nightmare, but fear of this beast spreads among the smaller children. They manage to start a fire using Piggy’s glasses, and they agree to keep this fire burning always to alert any rescuers.

However, the fire gets out of control and sets some trees alight, and Piggy angrily declares that they should have focused on building shelters rather than making a fire. They realise that a littlun has gone missing, presumably having died in the fire.

Chapter 3

With a spear that has been made from a sharpened stick, Jack hunts a pig but is unable to catch it. He returns to the beach, where Ralph and Simon are building shelter. Ralph vents his frustration at the lack of support they are getting in helping to build the huts, which he considers the main priority. He also complains that Jack and his hunters haven’t caught any animals and are spending time swimming instead of hunting. This causes Jack to become defensive and the two argue.

In an attempt to break the tension, the two of them go swimming in the lagoon, but their anger from the argument remains. Meanwhile, Simon walks around the island and admires the beauty of his surroundings.

Chapter 4

The littluns, as the younger children are called, are playing on the beach. Roger, an older bully, stomps on the sandcastle that they have been building and glares at them.

Stung by his lack of success in killing a pig, Jack gathers his hunters together and says that they will all wear camouflage and go out to hunt. This includes the boys who are supposed to be in charge of maintaining the signal fire.

Ralph and Piggy spot a ship going past and feel confident that the signal fire will be spotted. However, they notice the fire has gone out and is unattended. Jack and the hunters come back in a victorious mood having killed a boar. Ralph expresses his anger about the fire, and when Piggy joins in the criticism, Jack slaps him, breaking his glasses.

After further arguing, Jack does acknowledge his blame for the fire going out, but doesn’t apologise to Piggy. The mood lifts as they eat the meat, and they become frenzied with excitement as the hunters recreate their kill. Ralph calls a meeting and walks down to the beach.

Chapter 5

During the meeting, Ralph reprimands the boys for not following the rules in terms of sanitation, building shelter and maintaining the fire. He also addresses the growing fear that is spreading among the littluns about the beast. His dismissal of the beast being real is backed up by Jack who says that he would have seen it when hunting if it existed.

Percival, one of the littluns, counters this argument by suggesting that the beast may come out of the sea, which increases the collective fear. Piggy and Simon attempt to rationally explain that the beast doesn’t exist, with Simon giving his theory that the beast is a psychological manifestation of what is inside the boys themselves.

As the mood descends into chaos, Jack rebels against Ralph, and leads the boys onto the beach with a tribal chant. Only Ralph, Piggy and Simon are left, Piggy urges Ralph to blow the conch and call them back, but Ralph, fearing the damage to his authority if no one came, avoids doing this.

Chapter 6

At night, as the boys sleep, planes fly above them as part of a military battle. The island remains unseen as twins Sam and Eric, who are in charge of the signal fire, have fallen asleep, leaving the fire barely flickering. A parachutist falls from one of the planes, already dead as he hits the ground. His body and parachute are blown in the breeze, giving the appearance that he is moving.

In the dim light of morning, Sam and Eric see the dead man and mistake it for the beast. They run down from the mountain to wake the others, and the boys react to their story with panic and horror. A plan is made for Ralph and the older children to search the island, while Piggy stays with the littluns.

They head to a rock formation they haven’t explored yet, which they call Castle Rock. While the other boys are initially too scared to cross the dangerous entrance into the castle, Ralph and Jack enter, where they discover a cave. The other boys enter and start to play, forgetting the purpose of their exploration. Ralph orders them to follow him out of the castle and carry on the search, which they do with some resistance.