Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Teacher Guide by Rebecca Ray

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Lord of the Flies Lesson Plans

Student Activities for Lord of the Flies Include:

Lord of the Flies is an eye-opening novel about what happens to a group of boys who are abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Students always seem to relate to the plight of Ralph, as he struggles to maintain order in a place where anarchy runs wild. Students see first-hand how quickly the chaos escalates when there are no rules or boundaries to a society.

Lord of the Flies Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Plot Diagram | Lord of the Flies Summary

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A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a novel. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a novel with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the novel in the sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

Example Lord of the Flies Plot Diagram


The boys' plane crashes, and they are stranded on a deserted island. When they all swim ashore, the boys find a conch shell and use it to call to the others.


A struggle for power begins. Most of the boys, particularly Ralph, attempt to create order. However, some of the boys, especially Jack, do not want to listen to Ralph.

Rising Action

As Ralph struggles to maintain order, the lack of adults, laws, and structure creates chaos among the boys. Rumors of a monster on the island begin to circulate. Jack and his hunting party vow to kill the monster.


Piggy is killed, and the faction led by Jack has taken on a savage, ritualistic mentality. Ralph goes to confront them.

Falling Action

Jack and the hunters turn on Ralph and begin to hunt him.


Ralph runs to the beach to escape Jack. There, he encounters a British naval officer. As he attempts to tell him what has happened, he breaks down into tears. When the other boys arrive, they also begin to sob.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of Lord of the Flies.

  1. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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Key Themes, Symbols, and Motifs in Lord of the Flies

Valuable aspects of any literary work are its themes, symbols, and motifs. Part of the Common Core ELA standards is to introduce and explain these complex concepts. However, abstract ideas are often difficult for students to anatomize without assistance. Using a storyboard, students can visually demonstrate their understanding of these concepts, and master analysis of literary elements. For best practices, see our article with specific lesson plan steps on setting up your classroom and activities to teach themes, symbols, and motifs.

In the classroom, students can track the themes Lord of the Flies uses to send a strong lesson to its readers about civilization and morality.

Lord of the Flies Themes to Look For & Discuss

Order vs. Chaos

A common theme throughout Lord of the Flies is the fight of Order against Chaos. From the beginning, Ralph and Piggy attempt to create order, rules, and duties. However, Jack the leader of the hunters, becomes overcome by the savageness of his duties. The other boys on the island are divided. The more Ralph tries to restore order, the more fowl and ruthless Jack becomes. Fires devastate the island, boys are murdered, and eventually the chaos turns on Ralph as he becomes the hunted.

Loss of innocence

Prior to being stranded on the island, the boys attended a prestigious school, and were being evacuated due to the chaos of a nuclear war. Only being children, their lives were full of innocence. However, when they land on the island free from laws, rules, and adults, they must struggle for survival, and against each other.

Lord of the Flies Symbols and Motifs

The Conch

This large seashell represents the only real order that the boys have in their camps. When Piggy and Ralph first find the shell, it is used to call the other boys and establish rules for government. As the novel progresses, the conch loses power as chaos and instability take over. When the boulder is rolled onto Piggy (killing him), it also destroys the conch.

The Monster

The monster on the island was imagined by the sacred younger boys. It is their belief in the idea that gives power to it and turns it into a reality. Although there is no monster, it becomes apparent they should worry about the monsters within each of them.

The "Lord of the Flies"

The hunting party lead by Jack returns with a kill, a wild boar. The group comes up with the idea to leave the severed pigs head on a stake in the woods as a gift to the island gods. As it begins to rot, it becomes infested with flies. A young boy named Simon stumbles upon it in the woods and believes he has a conversation with it. It becomes the manifestation of the island monster, and symbolizes evil. In their conversation, the head tells Simon it intends on having fun with him and that all evil lies within us.

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Lord of the Flies Characters

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As students read, a storyboard can serves as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. When reading a novel, small attributes and details frequently become important as the plot progresses. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enjoyable!

You can click on this map and create a copy on your teacher account. Feel free to use it as is, or to edit it for the level of your class. Printing it as worksheets, for your students to complete while reading, is a fast and easy way to incorporate this character map into your classroom.

For this character map, try using “OSCAR” so students can analyze multiple aspects of a character through direct and indirect characterization.

Lord of the Flies Characters


The main protagonist and one of the oldest boys. He naturally tries to bring order to the island. He symbolizes society and the need for civilization.


The leader of the hunter group who symbolizes chaos.


Ralph's sidekick who represents science and logic. He wants to help maintain order. However, the other boys tease him and don't respect him. He is killed when Roger rolls a boulder on him.


He represents morality and doesn't fall victim to the evil inside us all. He has a conversation with the 'lord of the flies' and dies soon after.


A cruel sociopath who is Jack's second-in-command. He rolls the boulder onto Piggy, killing him.

Direct and Indirect Characterization Example for Piggy

Other Character's Comments

What do other characters say about the character?
  • "You're talking too much. Shut up Fatty." - Jack
  • "Sucks to your assmar!" - Ralph
  • S

    What does the character say about others or themselves? How can we infer meaning and traits from what a character says?
    "...on account of my asthma"
    Physical Characteristics

    What does the character look like? What descriptive words are used to describe them?
    Heavy, wears glasses, is very intelligent and innovative.
    Author's Attitude

    How does the author feel about this character?
    In the beginning of the novel, the author refers to him as the 'fat boy' with 'spectacles' - showing an attitude of partial respect and slight disdain.
    Reader's Reaction

    How do you, as the reader, feel about the character?
    The way he is treated in the book is upsetting. He only wants what is best for everyone, even if he is annoying about it.

    (These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

    Student Instructions

    Create a character map for the major characters.

    1. Identify the major characters in Lord of the Flies and type their names into the different title boxes.
    2. Choose a Storyboard That character to represent each of the literary characters.
      • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
    3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
    4. Fill in the Textables for OSCAR: Other Character's Comments, Character's Speech, Physical Characteristics, Author's Attitude, and Reader's Reaction.
    5. Save and submit the assignment.

    (Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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    Vocabulary in Lord of the Flies

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    A great way to engage your students is through storyboards that use vocabulary from Lord of the Flies. Here is a list of a few vocabulary words commonly taught with the novel and an example of a visual vocabulary board


    Example Lord of the Flies Vocabulary Words

    • enmity
    • decorous
    • contrite
    • scornful
    • vicissitude
    • malevolent
    • ludicrous
    • leviathan
    • mutinous
    • tumult
    • recrimination
    • oppressive
    • bristle
    • conch
    • ebullience
    • furtive
    • tirade

    In the vocabulary board students can choose between coming up with their use of the vocabulary board, finding the specific example from the text, or depicting it without words.

    (These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

    Student Instructions

    Demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary words in Lord of the Flies by creating visualizations.

    1. Choose three vocabulary words from the story and type them in the title boxes.
    2. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary.
    3. Write a sentence that uses the vocabulary word.
    4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
      • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to show the meaning of the words with the search bar.
    5. Save and submit your storyboard.

    (Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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    Dystopia in Lord of the Flies

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    Utopian/ Dystopian literature is a rapidly growing sub-genre of popular fiction. Authors often use utopias to convey a message about the world we live in today.

    Dystopias are extremely flawed societies. In this genre, the setting is often a fallen society, usually occurring after a large scale war, or other horrific event, that caused chaos in the former world. In many stories this chaos gives rise to a totalitarian government that assumes absolute control. The flaws in this sort of a dystopia are center around oppression and restrictions on freedom by central authorities. Lord of the Flies has some of these characteristics, but the frightening aspects are as much in breakdown of society, as the overwhelming power of a central authority.

    For more information and elements of this genre see our article: “Teaching Dystopia”.

    Example of Lord of the Flies as a Dystopia

    No Independent Thought or Speech

    Initially, the conch was used to keep order, maintain outbursts at meetings, and allow every person a chance to speak. As Jack becomes more powerful, he uses it to silence others and amplify his thoughts and ideas.

    Shadow Government

    In the story, Ralph was initially elected to be the leader. However, from the beginning it was Jack who truly had control through his dictatorial use of fear. He allowed Ralph to assume some power because the younger boys listened to him. However, by the end, Jack corrupted all the boys.

    Lack of Free Will

    Jack is ruthless with anyone who disagrees with him. He punishes disobedience harshly, and even tortures two young boys until they submit to his authority. This brutality is what allows Roger to kill Piggy.


    As Jack claimed more control, he would celebrate the coerced boys who joined the warrior camp by painting their faces like savages, just like his!

    Perfect Society

    In the beginning of the novel, Piggy and Ralph swim in a crystal blue lagoon, which appears to be an archetypal garden of Eden. There are no adults, no rules, a seemingly perfect place for young boys. As the story progresses, the beauty of the island is overshadowed by evil and chaos that overcomes the boys and order is lost permanently.

    Citizens Ruled with Fear and Lies

    Jack rules with fear. The idea that the boys believe that they are being stalked by an island monster helps him maintain this control. Their fear causes more chaos as Jack vows to kill the beast, a tactic that he uses gain more power by providing protection.

    (These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

    Student Instructions

    Create a storyboard that shows the six elements of a dystopia in Lord of the Flies.

    1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
    2. Identify events or characteristics of the story that fit into the elements of a dystopia
    3. Illustrate the examples for each event or characteristic.
    4. Write a short description below each cell that specifically relates Lord of the Flies as a dystopia.
    5. Save and submit the assignment.


    (Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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    Foreshadowing in Lord of the Flies

    When studying literature, an important element to go over with students is foreshadowing. Whether in a short story, play, or novel, the literary device causes the students to act as detectives while they are one the edge of their seats trying to guess what will happen next.

    Foreshadowing can be a difficult element to pick up. It takes a skilled reader to be able to see the subtlety that the author uses to keep the reader aroused. Foreshadowing, however, is not as cut and dry as many people assume; sometimes the author uses foreshadowing as a red herring, something that is meant to distract the reader or lead them in the wrong direction.

    The Five Basic Types of Foreshadowing

    • Concrete, or commonly referred to as "Chekov's Gun"
    • Prominent, or also known as the "Prophecies"
    • Evocative, or the "Flashback/Flashforward"
    • Abstract, or known as "Symbolic"
    • Fallacy, or "The Red Herring"

    The following is an example of three types of foreshadowing used in Lord of the Flies. Looking at the specific instances and their outcomes helps students to understand the type of foreshadowing used. Each example of foreshadowing is centered around a particular character.

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    Lord of the Flies Summary

    The story begins when a plane of students from a boys school is accidentally shot down over a deserted tropical island, during WWII. The story centers around two boys, Ralph and Jack; Ralph is quiet, level headed, and a poised leader; Jack is cruel and ruthless, making fun of others, and is eventually the center of many deaths.

    With the boys stranded on the island, a struggle for power ensues. A boy named Piggy finds a conch shell; when he blows it like a horn, the boys who have scattered about the island run back to the beach. Ralph is made leader, and he uses the conch to decide diplomatically who will speak; whoever holds the conch speaks and no one else. However, Jack seems to be upset over Ralph’s position. Seeing this, they make Jack in charge of the hunting group.

    Ralph's first declaration as leader is that they should light a fire to attract help. Through the use of Piggy's thick framed glasses, the boys ignite a fire. However, their inexperience and immaturity leads them all to ignore it. A raging fire starts and burns down part of the jungle. It is then assumed that one of the youngest boys had been burnt to death.

    At first, life on the island is fantastic for the boys. They have no rules, and no one to discipline them. However, without a signal fire, the ship they see passing by leaves them stranded. Ralph, Piggy, and Jack argue about it. It was Jack's turn to watch the fire, but he let it burn out. During the argument, Jack ends up hitting Piggy across the face. Ralph blows the conch and gives a speech to restore order. However, the youngest boys are frightened and the older boys ignore Ralph. They have become savage hunters, relishing their first kill, a wild hog.

    Rumors spread of an enormous beast on the island, and it becomes apparent that the boys' isolation is beginning to take a psychological toll. Jack and Ralph become increasingly hostile towards one another, and the boys decided to hold a meeting to discuss who is to be the leader of the group. Jack hopes that Ralph will be voted out, but the other boys refuse. Trying to rally the boys again, Piggy insists that they create a new signal fire. However, many of them are more interested in joining Jack in search of the "beast".

    Shortly after, Simon, one of the older boys, has a dream where the head of the hog Jack killed, which has been staked in the forest, speaks to him. When Simon wakes, he realizes that there is no beast, and that the real monsters are within all of them. He goes to talk to the boys on the beach, but when he emerges, they think he is the beast and kill him. The next morning, Ralph, horrified over what happened, goes to Jack’s camp to talk to the hunters. They become unreasonable; Piggy is killed, and Ralph must run from the hunters who turn on him.

    Ralph must hide and run for his life. Finally, Ralph runs to the beach only to fall at the feet of a British soldier. The fire, again raging out of control, signaled a naval ship. When the naval officer begins to question Ralph about what is going on, Ralph and all of the boys began to sob uncontrollably, knowing what they've done and now facing the reality of their actions.

    Essential Questions for Lord of the Flies

    1. What makes a person powerful?
    2. Do people control groups or do groups control people?
    3. Are laws necessary? What happens when there are no laws?

    Don’t Let the Fun Stop There! Check Out Our Other Lesson Plan Ideas

    1. Use a storyboard to show precise causes and effects of events that happen in the novel.
    2. Use a storyboard to depict one chapter at a time.
    3. Create a T-Chart storyboard for the theme of order vs. chaos.
    4. Add a presentation to any storyboard project.

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    •   (English) Lord of the Flies   •   (Español) Señor de las Moscas   •   (Français) Seigneur des Mouches   •   (Deutsch) Herr der Fliegen   •   (Italiana) Il Signore Delle Mosche   •   (Nederlands) Heer der Vliegen   •   (Português) Senhor das Moscas   •   (עברית) בעל זבוב   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) رب الذباب   •   (हिन्दी) मक्खियों के प्रभु   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Властелин мух   •   (Dansk) Lord of the Flies   •   (Svenska) Flugornas Herre   •   (Suomi) Kärpästen Herra   •   (Norsk) Fluenes Herre   •   (Türkçe) Sineklerin Efendisi   •   (Polski) Władca Much   •   (Româna) Împăratul Muștelor   •   (Ceština) pán Much   •   (Slovenský) pán Múch   •   (Magyar) Lord of the Flies   •   (Hrvatski) Gospodar Muha   •   (български) Властелинът на Мухите   •   (Lietuvos) Musių Valdovas   •   (Slovenščina) Lord of the Flies   •   (Latvijas) Mušu Valdnieks   •   (eesti) Kärbeste Jumal