Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1: The Sound of the Shell

The boys' plane crashes on a deserted island. We first meet Ralph and Piggy, who gather the surviving boys by blowing the conch shell. The boys, ages 6 to 12, gather on the beach. Jack brings the choir boys, but Ralph is elected leader of the whole group. But Jack and the choir are appointed as the hunters. Ralph, Jack, and Simon explore and discover a basic layout of the island. On their way back to the beach, they encounter a tangled pig they want for food, but Jack is unable to kill it, claiming he'll kill it next time.

Chapter 2: Fire on the Mountain

Ralph holds another meeting of all the boys, and makes a rule that the person holding the conch shell gets to speak, while others listen. Piggy scares the boys saying they may not be rescued for a long time, and one of the littluns claims he saw a "beastie" and there is disagreement whether it was real or a nightmare. Ralph suggests they build a signal fire on top of the mountain so ships can see them, and they use Piggy's glasses to light the fire, but it quickly dies down. Jack's hunters try to restart the fire, but they set the forest on fire. The boy who saw the "beastie" disappeared.

Chapter 3: Huts on the Beach

Jack tries to hunt a pig with his spear, while Ralph and Simon build huts for the boys to live in. The huts keep falling apart because not enough people are helping to build them; everyone is goofing around. Ralph is concerned about the lack of organization and the littluns being scared, but Jack doesn't care. Jack and Ralph greatly disagree on each other's contributions to the group. Simon helps the littluns get fruit, then wanders off alone to enjoy the jungle beauty.

Chapter 4: Painted Faces and Long Hair

The boys have a daily routine, though fear becomes a bigger problem. The littluns have bad dreams and fear the "beastie" in the dark. As the boys get bored, the older boys start to pick on some of the littluns. Ralph and Piggy see a far away ship, but they notice the signal fire is out. Ralph is mad at Jack, because the hunters were supposed to keep the fire lit, but Jack only tries to hunt pigs. The hunters finally kill a pig and bring it back for food, and they don't care that Ralph is mad about the signal fire. Ralph thinks the group needs another meeting.

Chapter 5: Beast from Water

Ralph thinks the boys are disorganized, so he calls a meeting and yells at everyone for not doing their jobs: building huts, collecting water, keeping the signal fire lit, or even using the bathroom area. Ralph, Jack, and Piggy say there is no beast to fear, but Percival claims he saw it; he says it comes from the sea in the dark. Jack now wants to kill the Beast, so he and the hunters and some other boys run off. Piggy thinks Ralph should call the boys back with the conch because the meeting wasn't officially over, but Ralph thinks they'll ignore him and then he'll lose all control. Ralph wants to quit being leader, but Simon and Piggy say the group needs him.

Chapter 6: Beast from Air

That night, the twins Sam and Eric fall asleep while watching the signal fire, and a dead soldier floats down in a parachute. When the twins wake up, they see the soldier in the shadows and think he's the Beast. They run to camp to tell Ralph, who calls an emergency meeting. Ralph lets Jack lead the older boys to hunt for the Beast with spears, while Piggy watches the littluns. They explore part of the island with caves, and Ralph scouts the caves alone, then Jack follows him; Ralph and Jack start to become friends again. Ralph gets mad at the other boys for goofing around, but they follow him back to re-light the signal fire.

Chapter 7: Shadows and Tall Trees

As they head to the fire, Ralph thinks everyone has become disorganized, worrying they won't get rescued, but Simon reassures him they will. Jack finds pig track and wants to hunt it, and they find a boar. Ralph goes on his first hunt and gets too excited when he hits the boar with his spear. They pretend to hunt Robert (one of the boys pretending to be the boar) and almost kill him by accident because they're too rowdy; Ralph tries to get the boys to regain their calm. Ralph thinks the boys should wait until morning to hunt The Beast, but Jack says he's going anyway, so Ralph goes with. Jack climbs the peak alone, then runs back to Ralph and Roger, claiming he saw the Beast; Ralph and Roger take a look and see the dead soldier and his parachute, thinking he's the Beast. They run down the mountain to warn the other boys.

Chapter 8: Gift for the Darkness

In the morning, Piggy can't believe the boys saw the Beast. Jack calls a meeting with the conch and tells all the boys there is a Beast on the mountain. He challenges Ralph's leadership, calling him a coward, but the other boys don't follow Jack, so he leaves. Piggy cheers up Ralph by suggesting they build a signal fire on the beach, rather than on the mountain by the Beast. A few boys dessert Ralph and join Jack, who declares himself chief of the new tribe. Jack's group hunts a sow and leave its head on a stake as an offering to the Beast. They steal fire from Ralph's group and temp Ralph's followers to join Jack. Simon wanders off on his own and finds the pig head on the stake, which has attracted flies. Simon hallucinates the head talking to him, saying it is the "Lord of the Flies" and that the Beast is within all of them. Simon faints.

Chapter 9: A View to a Death

Simon finds the dead soldier who parachuted to the island and realizes this is what the boys mistake for the Beast. He heads toward a fire in the distance where Jack's group is feasting on meat. At the feast, Jack invites Ralphs followers to join his group, and most of the boys join Jack. When a big storm hits, Ralph asks Jack where they'll seek shelter, since Jack's group didn't build huts. Jack and the hunters don't respond, but dance wildly. When Simon arrives at the camp, the boys all mistake him for the Beast and savagely kill him. Simon's body gets washed out to sea. The storm pulls the soldier off the mountain and onto the beach, scaring the boys, and they all run away.

Chapter 10: The Shell and the Glasses

The next morning, Piggy claims that Simon's death was an accident, but Ralph calls it murder. Ralph's group consist only of Ralph, Piggy, Sam, Eric, and some of the littluns. Jack's group is wild and savage, and Jack claims Ralph's group is a danger to them. Jack tells his followers that Simon was actually the Beast in disguise, and that it cannot actually be killed, so they have to guard against it. Jack, Maurice, and Roger go to Ralph's camp to steal fire, and actually steal Piggy's glasses so they can make fire of their own.

Chapter 11: Castle Rock

The next morning, Ralph and the few remaining boys following him are unable to light their fire without any embers or Piggy's glasses. So Ralph and his followers resolve to reason with Jack about existing peacefully on the island until they can get rescued. When Jack returns to his camp to see Ralph and the boys there, he and Ralph argue over territory and the glasses. As the fight becomes physical, Piggy is killed in the crossfire and Ralph flees into the jungle.

Chapter 12: Cry of the Hunters

As Ralph escapes through the jungle, he encounters the pig's head on the stake, and takes the stake to defend himself. Later that night, he talks with two of the boys standing guard at Jack's camp and learns that Jack plans to sweep the entire island and hunt him the next day. Ralph decides to hide in a dense, defensible thicket that protects him well (even against boulders) until Jack sets the entire jungle on fire to smoke out Ralph. As Ralph runs to the beach to escape Jack and his savages, a British naval officer greets him, claiming he saw the smoke from the fire.