A plane crashes on an island and the only survivors are a group of British schoolboys aged 6-12. The protagonist, Ralph, meets another boy, Piggy, and they find a conch shell in the lagoon. Ralph blows the conch to summon the other boys and start an assembly. He is quickly voted chief, despite Jack, head choir boy's, objections.
After some time on the island, the boys' start to become scared, and during an assembly, a "littlun" with a "mulberry coloured birthmark" nervously suggests a "beastie" also inhabits the island. The other boys mock him, following Ralph's example, but they too are anxious, despite Ralph's attempts to reassure them. Later, the boy's attempt to make a signal fire so they can be rescued. However, this gets out of control, and burns down a large area of the island. Piggy notices that the boy with the "mulberry birthmark" is no longer there.
Soon the boys begin to lose their sense of democracy and civilization, represented by Golding by the growth of their hair. Jack becomes obsessed with the idea of hunting and paints his face with clay to make himself less noticeable. he checks his reflection in the water and "looks in astonishment, no longer at himself but at an awesome stranger.
A littlun, Phil, describes a dream he had in which he saw what he thought was the beast. Other boys begin to contribute with their own ideas of the beast, but Ralph refuses to believe. Jack, on the other hand, refers to the beast as a "snake"and promises to hunt it and kill it. The assembly breaks down as the boys continue to argue.
While they are watching the fire, twins Sam and Eric claim to have witnessed the beast and rush to inform the others. An assembly is called in which Ralph and Jack agree to go in search of the beast. The mistake a dead parachutist on top of the mountain for a large beast and run back to the shelters to inform the others.
Simon does not believe in the beast so he goes in search of it himself. here he finds a pig's head on stick, the "Lord of the Flies" as a gift for the beast. he has a fit and realises the beast is within them. He rushes down the mountain to tell the others, who are pretending to hunt a pig. In panic, they mistake him for the beast and kill him. Simon's body is washed out to sea.
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