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The Lord of the Flies

Montage to illustrate The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding about a group of young boys who are stranded on a island and subsequently attempt to govern themselves, a task at which they fail disastrously. Its stances on the already controversial subjects of human nature and individual welfare versus the common good earned it position 70 on the American Library Association's list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000.

Nobel Laureate William GoldingPublished in 1954, Lord of the Flies was Golding's first novel, and although it was not a great success at the time —selling fewer than 3,000 copies in the United States during 1955 before going out of print —it soon went on to become a bestseller, and by the early 1960s was required reading in many schools and colleges. It was adapted to film in 1963 by Peter Brook, and again in 1990 by Harry Hook.

The title is a reference to the Hebrew name Beelzebub Baal-zvuv, "God of the fly" or "host of the fly"), a name sometimes used as a synonym for Satan.


Plot summary Major themes War and human nature Ralph and the conch Piggy
Jack and the choirboys Roger Simon Sam and Eric / Samneric 
Other boys
Percival The beast The killing of the sow Flies Names
The signal fire The platform The glasses References to other works The Coral Island
Heart of Darkness and Pincher Martin Literary significance and criticism Lord of the Flies in popular culture Notes See also

Plot summary

The novel begins with a large number of young boys, ages 6 to 12, being stranded on a Tropical island. They were being evacuated and their plane has been shot down. The first two characters introduced are Ralph, an athletic and charismatic boy, and "Piggy", a fat boy with glasses who also suffers from asthma. The two boys obtain a conch and use it to call the other boys from across the island. The boys begin to discuss who should be their leader. Ralph is chosen by vote, but one other potential leader arises — Jack Merridew. Jack was a choir leader, and still acts as leader of the other castaway members of his choir. Because Ralph senses the threat he elects Jack to be the leader of the hunters (his choir). Ralph is elected as leader. Piggy is the least popular of the boys, but is intelligent, and becomes Ralph's "lieutenant". However, it is evident that Jack covets the leadership position. Then, Ralph takes Jack and Simon, another choir singer, to explore the island. During their exploration they find a trapped piglet. Jack pulls out a knife, but hesitates to kill it and it escapes. Jack vows never to hesitate again. Early on, the boys are full of optimism, and expect the island to be fun, despite the fact that many of the boys are scared of a "Beast" — allegedly some kind of dangerous wild animal on the island seen by one of the younger boys with a birthmark on his face.

The boys then make their first attempt at being rescued by starting a signal fire, lit by Piggy's glasses. The fire burns out of control, and scorches half of the island. The boy with a birthmark on his face who saw the "Beast" goes missing during the fire, and is never seen again.
The major characters Jack and Ralph have conflicting aims for the island, and life on the island begins to deteriorate, and becomes more and more disorganized. The island's descent into chaos starts, ironically, with the potential for rescue by a passing ship. Jack had led a group off hunting, and took with him the boys who were tending to the signal fire, (the twins, Sam and Eric) so the ship sailed past without knowing of the boys on the island. An intense argument ensues, in which one lens of Piggy's glasses is broken.

Although the signal fire is maintained along with a false sense of security, the order among the boys quickly deteriorates as Jack and Ralph continue to struggle for power. Jack pushes the boundaries of his subordinate role, and eventually becomes a tyrant.

As the novel takes place during a war, a dogfight between two planes occurs over the island. One of the pilots parachutes out of his plane, but dies upon or before landing. Two twins, Sam and Eric ("Samneric", as they become known) assume that the pilot is the Beast when they see him in the dark, causing mass panic. An expedition to investigate leads to Ralph, Jack, and Roger, a choir boy, ascending the mountain, but they eventually run away from what they believe is the Beast. Jack denounces Ralph as a coward, and calls for another election for chief, but does not receive a single vote. He leaves the group to create a new tribe. Most of the older boys eventually leave "Ralph's tribe" to join "Jack's tribe".

The new tribe hunts down a pig, and Jack decides to host a feast. Before that, they sever the pig's head and place it on a stick as an "offering" to the Beast. Flies swarm around the head of the pig. Simon comes across it, and through hallucination, the dead pig speaks to him. Its message foreshadows Simon's fate, and he runs down from the mountain to break the news about the dead pilot and being talked to by the "Lord of the Flies". However, in doing so, he is mistaken as the Beast by the other boys who were worked up in their war dance, and is beaten to death.

Ralph's tribe dwindles in number. Jack's larger, less civilized tribe, however, needs to steal from them to maintain their existence. They steal Piggy's glasses to light a fire. Piggy demands his glasses back, but is killed when Roger launches a boulder into him, crushing the conch shell and sending him over a cliff. Jack's tribe captures "Samneric" (the last of the older boys apart from Piggy who stick with Ralph) and force them into their tribe. Jack tries and fails to kill Ralph, and the next day, his tribe tries to hunt him down. In doing this, they set a forest fire, which is seen by a passing naval vessel, and one of the ship's officers comes ashore and rescues the boys. Ralph's brush with death is tinged with irony; Ralph had always pushed for a fire to be kept, but the fire that leads to their rescue was originally lit to kill him. For the first time on the island, Ralph cries, weeping for the "end of innocence", "darkness of man's heart", and his friend, Piggy.

Major themes

War and human nature
At the beginning of the novel, the boys are being evacuated from England by plane, presumably to keep them safe from the Cold War, which is in the future. The term "Reds" is mentioned (possibly giving the notion that the war was against the Soviets). However, there was quite a large amount of tension between the Soviet Union and the UK, or more particularly, Stalin and Churchill, during World War II, so "Reds" could simply show the British boys' scorn for the Soviets. The island becomes a microcosm of the self-destructive society that sent them away. Their failure to create stability and decency mimics the larger failure of the grownups to do the same, and there is real ambiguity as to whether or not the children's rescue by the naval cruiser at the end of the novel represents any real end to their danger.

Ralph and the conch

Ralph may represent democracy as he is leader by a democratic vote, and attempts to please the majority. He can also be interpreted as a representation of the ego, which governs the id and is associated with practicality.

The conch shell becomes a powerful symbol of civilization and order in the novel. Piggy tries desperately to protect it and when he dies, it is also destroyed. The shell effectively governs the boys’ meetings, for the boy who holds the shell holds the right to speak. As the island civilization erodes and the boys descend into savagery, the conch loses its power and influence among them. Its appearance, or its gradual loss of color from exposure to the air, may also parallel their descent. The other boys ignore Ralph and throw stones at him when he attempts to blow the conch in Jack’s camp. The boulder that Roger rolls onto Piggy also crushes the conch, signifying the end of the civilized instinct among almost all the boys on the island. When Piggy and the conch are destroyed, Jack jumps up and yells "...There is no tribe for you anymore. The conch is gone-I am chief!" This is the point at which Jack finally wrestles all control from Ralph, and without the powerful symbol of the conch to protect him, he must run from Jack's hunters who now have no inhibitions against killing him.


Piggy may represent rational thinking as he is logical, but unpopular; eventually Ralph realises how much he depended on him and his logic, admitting "I can't think. Not like Piggy." He is arguably the most rational boy in the group, and as such his glasses may represent intuition and intelligence (they can also represent science, as can Piggy). This symbolism is evident from the start of the novel, when the boys use the lenses from Piggy’s glasses to focus the sunlight and start a fire.

When Jack’s hunters raid Ralph’s camp and steal the glasses, the savages subsequently take the power to make fire, leaving Ralph’s group helpless. The physical state of the glasses may also represent the state of the social order on the island, for as their condition deteriorates, so does the order and organization of the boys. Piggy's fatness and asthma, which mark him as an outcast, can also be viewed as emblematic of how the superego, and, thus, civilized thinking, are ill-suited for this environment and are rejected as useless. The power of his glasses to make fire is also a reference to how the products of science can be useful, but the science itself isn't. Piggy might also represent Socrates, because, as in Plato's Apology, his high intelligence and plain speaking only create more problems for him, and lead to his eventual death.

Piggy's hair didn't grow as the others did throughout the story, and though it isn't said whether or not he cut it,but it is assumed he didn't. This represents that as the boys fell deeper into savagery they became more wild; long haired, dirty, temperamental, etc... While Piggy did not, the only thing that can challenge this is that he took part in the murder of Simon.

Piggy is the most feminine character in the story, and is almost a mother figure for the "littluns". Piggy is physically weak but mentally strong. Piggy discovers the conch, and he and the conch end their existence together. Throughout the story Piggy blames those who does not act proper of "acting like a crowd of kids" and always asks "what would the adults think?" to further enforce his point. In addition, like Piggy, the Sow (‘Pig.' 'Piggy!’) is a sort of mother figure; when she dies, so does most of the power of the conch. The pig is pink and rosy; Piggy is a rosy white; and the conch is also rosy and white.

Piggy's glasses may also represent civilization, as they are used by the boys to light the signal fires, which were the only hope for a return to civilization that they had on the island. When the first lens on Piggy's glasses is broken, it is a symbol that civilization on the island is breaking and falling apart. When the glasses are stolen by Jack's hunters, it is a sign that civilization is completely falling apart.

Jack and the choirboys

Jack, the tallest and strongest of the boys, may represent totalitarianism as he does not appreciate the results of the election, eventually using his strength, his aggressiveness, and his choirboy "militia" to seize power in a coup and rule alone, making himself chief and the other boys his tribe. Most obviously, he demonstrates Lord Acton's idea that "absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Jack may represent the opposition of democracy, dictatorship, or even the opposition of civilization itself--sheer atavistic savagery. Everyone must coordinate their actions by arbitrary rules, and he shows an obvious disrespect for the conch and its associations. In Jack's tribe, where fear and superstition go unchecked, the beast comes to seem more and more real until its existence is an article of faith. Jack, who gains authority from this atmosphere of dread by saying he'll protect the others from the beast, also succumbs to the fear himself.
Jack may also represent the id in contrast to Ralph as the Ego and Piggy as the Superego, respectively. The logic behind this is that Jack seeks to immediately satisfy the needs and act on instinct, fulfilling the description of the Id, while Ralph upholds the social norms of the Superego. Examples of this are both positive and negative. The positive is his commitment to democracy and teamwork, while the negative is his conventional mockery of social oddities, such as Piggy's thick specs, his obesity, and his "ass-mar", as he calls it in his lower class accent (reference to 'home counties').


Roger may represent pure evil (and can be the Devil himself), even more so than Jack, as he is Jack's toady, abetting all his worst instincts, and is sadistic. Early in the book, Roger throws rocks at a smaller boy, Henry, and only misses on purpose because "Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law." During the sow-hunt, he pushes his spear up the sow's anus, although the particular location is probably unintentional ("Roger found a lodgment for his point and began to push till he was leaning with his whole weight"). After nearly all of the boys on the island have joined Jack's tribe, Roger goes on to kill Piggy with a large boulder and tortures Samneric until they join Jack's tribe. He also plans Ralph's killing when they have captured him: Samneric tell Ralph that Roger sharpened a stick at both ends, much like the stick that the sow's head is impaled on, but do not elaborate further.


Simon may represent natural goodness because he is the only character on the island that continues being good even when the other boys forget about the rules of society. Some see similarities between him and Jesus, based on the religious references around Simon: his name (that of one of the disciples), his skill with carpentry and his killing at the hands of a team Simon is also seen on the island giving the little ones fruit from the tree that they cannot reach. Simon is the only one who can get the fruit for them, and indeed the only boy who would stop to help. Through him they get the fruit, much like through Christ, Christians receive salvation they cannot achieve on their own. Also, Simon's private sanctuary is a place with a high dome roof and candle-like flowers, suggests a cathedral, further establishing him as a spiritual, visionary character. His climb up and down the mountain to discover what the beast is is also long and arduous, much like Christ's carrying of the cross on the Via Dolorosa.Also, Simon freeing the parachutist can symbolize Jesus freeing mankind or man. Also, when he dies the strange attendant creatures that glow,"with their fiery eyes and trailing vapors, settle around him and could have settled around his head forming a halo.

With his superior insight, he sees most clearly that the children's civility is dying. This is made clear when he says "maybe it's only us" in reference to the beast. This demonstrates his intuitive knowledge that the fear and chaos come from the minds of the children and not from any outside agent.

Simon has been viewed as a Cassandra figure, able to predict the future but condemned to be disbelieved. Another interpretation is that he represents the poets and writers, much like Benjamin the Donkey in Animal Farm. Simon has a sense of many things which he cannot communicate to the others, and he is in touch with the darker side of humanity.
Both film versions omit the monologue of the Beast, addressed to Simon.

Sam and Eric / Samneric (the twins)

Sam and Eric, referred to in the first half as "Sam 'n' Eric" and the second half of the novel as "Samneric", may represent the masses, as they are impressionable and tend not to think for themselves.Thier allegorical representation in WWII could be nations forced into war by the Axis such as Belgium. They represent a mob mentality. Physically, Golding describes them as "barely having enough skin" to cover both: they are "stretched". They also are a representation of unity, due to the fact that every activity they participate in, they do together.

Other boys

The "littluns" are perhaps a representation of the masses or the plebeians who are easily swayed to support one group or another but who are needed by a leader to rule over.


Percival, the youngest of the "littluns", may represent innocence, emotion, and children. He is known as the character who frequently expresses emotions. He uses his address, Percival Wemys Madison, The Vicarage, Harcourt ..., as an incantation that comforts and reminds him of civilization. However, by the end of the novel he cannot even remember his own name. This shows how far the children have descended into savagery — so far that they have no recollection of the civilized world.

The beast

The "beast" may represent brutality, propaganda, and irrational fears, as it causes panic and ultimately allies the boys around Jack. The fact that there is no beast suggests that it is a representation of the evil in human nature. The Lord of the Flies (which is translated from Hebrew "Beelzebub", or "Ba'alzevuv". "Lord of the Flies" is said to be a mistranslation from a mistransliterated word, but it does sound pungent and evil, like that of a reference to the devil. A devil whose name implies a devotion to decay, destruction, demoralization, hysteria and panic is particularly fitting for this book.) and the "beast" represent the evil lurking within everyone's hearts, which, while not physical, is no less real. It may also be considered to be the religious belief of the island society, as it is not seen but its existence is rarely doubted, it is credited to what cannot be explained, and it is given offerings in an attempt to persuade it to spare the lives of the islanders. In this way, it is representative of what one might call "dark worship" — the worship of things that are inherently bad.

Simon's conversation with the Beast in the realm of his own mind is one of the most fascinating parts of the story, because the Beast tells him that it is immortal and finds all human action funny, leading one to wonder if there is some intelligence inside human evil — a reference to the devil, linking back to its name.

The author is believed to have written the novel shortly after World War II as a reflection on true human nature. Simon implies that he thinks the true beast is really human nature. The beast's actions seem to match Simon's theory. The beast and the children's fear of it is what eventually splits the one tribe into two competing tribes. The beast is only seen by the littl'uns (the most pure of the children). It leads to the death of three of the children (one death is implied) and the attempted murder of another. Taking into account the world events occurring when the novel was written, similarities can be drawn to World War II. The 'beast' of human nature (Hitler's holocaust, Japan's greed) divides the tribe (the world) into two parts. The idea the author tries to convey is that this 'beast' of human nature during World War II is not simply a one-time occurrence, but rather a fundamental flaw in human nature that is bound to be repeated until the world goes into total chaos, which is represented on the island when the jungle is being burned to the ground as a result of the manhunt for Ralph.

The killing of the sow

The sow is a mother: "sunk in deep maternal bliss lay the largest of the lot…the great bladder of her belly was fringed with a row of piglets that slept or burrowed and squeaked." The killing of the sow is done through bestiality and murder, referring to its driving force of sexuality, especially among the half-grown and prepubescent boys.

They remove the head of the sow and place it onto a stick that is jammed into the ground as a gift for the Beast, which seems to be lurking on the island. This shows their own irrational fears and blind terrors of the island and beast release the forces of death and the "devil" on the island.
The most symbolic incident of this is that of Simon and the sow head. To Simon, the head seems to be saying "Everything was a bad business... The half shut eyes that were dim with the infinite cynicism of adult life." Simon fought against what the head was saying. "Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!" said the head. For a moment or two the forest and all the other dimly appreciated places echoes with laughter. "You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close, close! I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are the way they are?"
The pig's head tries to tell Simon that he cannot avoid the recognition of human capacities for evil and the superficial nature of human moral systems. It is the acknowledgment of the end of innocence.


The pig's head (The Lord of the Flies) may represent Satan, while the flies may represent devils and iniquitous and nefarious human beings. Simon represents Christ. Simon's confrontation with the Lord of the Flies may represent the Temptation of Jesus.

The flies which represent mortal evil choose the pig over Simon. This represents the way a number of humans choose to be evil instead of good and how doing evil bears more satisfactory fruit than doing good.


The names of Ralph, Piggy, Simon, Jack, and Roger all have symbolic meaning. Ralph's name is derived from the Old English word for "wolf council," symbolizing Ralph's role as a leader who forms meetings and councils on the island. Piggy's name is meant to symbolise how he is vulnerable, just as the pigs on the island are. Piggy's name is also a reference to the Lord of the Flies, which is a pig's head. The pig's head holds its brain, therefore its intelligence. It is ironic, seeing as how the other boys mistreat him, while at the same time all of the brilliant ideas such as fire-making, shelters, and looking after the littluns, originated from him. The derogative nickname also shows the hostility towards him from the other boys. Jack's name is derived from the Hebrew name Jacob or Yakov, which literally means "supplanter" or "one who takes over", just as Jack took the role of leadership by force from Ralph. Simon's name, derived from the Hebrew name "Shim'on" means "one who listens" or "one who observes", symbolizing Simon's quiet, attentive behaviour. "Roger" means "famous with the spear."

The signal fire

The signal fire becomes a measure of the boys’ connection to civilization. In the early parts of the novel, the fact that the boys maintain the fire is perhaps a sign that they want to be rescued and return to society. When the fire burns low or goes out, it seems that the boys have lost sight of their desire to be rescued and have accepted their savage lives on the island. The signal fire thus functions as a kind of barometer of the strength of the civilized instinct remaining on the island. Ironically, at the end of the novel, a fire finally summons a ship to the island, but not the signal fire. Instead, it is the fire of savagery — the forest fire Jack’s "tribe" start as part of his quest to hunt and kill Ralph. The forest fire could also represent humanity's destruction of the environment to accomplish shortsighted goals. Even if they had not been rescued, they had burned down the fruit trees and probably killed most of the wild game, and thus would have eventually perished due to their actions. Another interpretation of the fact that the "savage" fire saved the boys on the island may be that the "Allied forces" liberation of Europe from the clutches of the Nazi regime which was due to the fact that Germany attacked Russia in "Operation Barbarrossa" and that the allies of Germany, namely Japan, attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor is an analogy to the boys' condition on the island. Had those attacks never occurred, the U.S and the U.S.S.R would have never joined the war and without their contribution, Europe's fate may have been sealed. In the same manner, Ralph's fate would have been to die at the hands of Jack's hunters, were it not for the fire and its smoke, which though intended to kill Ralph, ended up signaling the British cruiser and rescuing the boys, including him.

The platform

The platform may represent Parliament or Congress, for meetings and assemblies are held here. It is where the rules are created and where Ralph is elected by the boys to be their chief. There are many ties between the platform, as a place for speaking and debate, and the conch, which gives one the right to speak.

The glasses

As mentioned in the section on Piggy, the glasses are important in symbolizing the descent of the boys from civilization into savagery. In the beginning, they're clean and unbroken in the hands of their rightful owner. As the book continues, the glasses go through several phases. At the start, no one would have thought of taking them. No one wanted them. Then when it was realized what they could do, they were taken and tossed about among the boys, kept from the helpless Piggy until Ralph returned them. This could show that Piggy's rationality is lost at first when they are all shocked by the initial crash. When sense starts to return to the children, they go crazy with it, making suggestions like "televisions and submarines." Then they lose it again, returning the weight of thought to Piggy's shoulders. Later on, the glasses are broken in the fight that initially severed Ralph and Jack's friendship. The leaders, both desperate to be in charge, could have been shown to misuse knowledge in swaying their people, and to hurt each other. In this way, the memories of civilization could have been "broken." The children could remember some happiness, but they were also possibly reminded of the war ravaging their home. They could've been reminded that that did not exist on the island then. It was wild, but it was free. Then Jack leaves, taking half of the leadership with him. The glasses only have one broken lens. Thus, half of the sanity could be said have been lost to savagery. Afterwards, when Ralph and Piggy are bathing, Ralph splashes water at the glasses. He started to refute the knowledge, to give in to wildness. Piggy screams at him, and he pauses, but then continues to splash, doubting the only thing keeping them separate from the animals.

Despite that, the glasses start and end the novel with one similarity: they are held always with respect as the starters of the life-giving fire. Without some form of civilization, meat would be eaten raw, boys would sleep in the rain, and everything would fall into cannibalistic madness. Even in its most primitive form - broken glasses - logic is crucial in human survival.

Allusions/references to other works

The Coral Island

In 1857, R.M. Ballantyne wrote a book called The Coral Island. It portrayed three boys: Ralph, Peterkin and Jack (two of these names are transferred to Golding's book; Peterkin is altered to Simon, which is an allusion to the Bible "Simon called Peter") landing on an island, much like that in Lord of the Flies. They have great adventures, typical of much children's fiction written during the period of the British Empire — the book is not a realistic projection of what boys on a deserted island would do. However, it was very successful.

A number of references to The Coral Island are made in Lord of the Flies, as Golding wrote it as an indirect response.

Golding read The Coral Island as he was growing up, and thought of Ballantyne as racist, since the book teaches that evil is associated with black skin and is external. It is somewhat ironic then, that in Chapter 11 of Lord of the Flies, Piggy calls Jack's tribe "a pack of painted niggers." The term was not viewed as offensive in 1950s British society as it is today, being seen as a descriptive (rather than abusive) term for people of dark skin. (For instance, the word "nigger" played a prominent role in the 1954 British film The Dam Busters). In any case, the word was changed to "savages" in some editions and "Indians" in the Mass Media publication.
To a certain extent it can be said that Golding wrote this book as a response to The Coral Island, to show what boys would truly do if left alone on an island. In Chapter 2 the boys compare to what will happen "like in a book", saying it will be like "treasure island-", ""swallows and amazons-" and "coral island". Golding sets this to deliberately compare the two books, two different versions of boys activities when left on their own. When the officer is on the island at the end he says "like the coral island". This is once again comparing them, showing what would really happen.

Heart of Darkness and Pincher Martin

After Simon finishes talking with the Sow, he imagines he is looking into a vast mouth. "There was blackness within, a blackness that spread… Simon was inside the mouth. He fell down and lost consciousness."

The mouth also seems to be a reference to Conrad's Heart of Darkness: "I saw (the dying Kurtz) open his mouth wide—it gave him a weirdly voracious aspect, as though he wanted to swallow all the air, all the earth all the men before him".

E.L. Epstein wrote, in a critical note regarding the Lord of the Flies which appears at the end of certain editions, that this mouth "seems to represent a ravenous, unreasoning and eternally insatiable nature. This appears again in Golding's novel Pincher Martin, in which the development of the theme of Nature inimical to the conscious personality of man is developed in a stunning fashion."

Literary significance and criticism

Many people have interpreted Lord of the Flies as a work on moral philosophy. The environment of the island, a paradise with food, water, and other natural resources, is a metaphor for the Garden of Eden. The first appearance of the beast (to a littlun in a nightmare) is in a form reminiscent of a serpent, which represents evil in the Book of Genesis. One of the major themes of the book, on the nature of evil, is brought to a head in a scene in which Simon converses with the head of the pig, which is known as the "Lord of the Flies" (a literal translation of the Hebrew name of Ba'alzevuv, or Beelzebub) which is a powerful demon in hell, sometimes believed to be the devil himself. The conversation held also points to Simon as the character representing religion and good will in the novel, which is reminiscent of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. Some Christian readers allude the British Naval officers' rescue of the boys, as the second coming of Christ (Bible story in Revelation). The "Lord of the Flies" reveals that evil and the terror of the beast is not an external threat, but an inborn evil within the boys themselves.
Others have looked at the novel as a work on political philosophy. The stranding of the boys, without any adult supervision, represents a clean slate upon which they have the power to build a small society without reference to any past authorities (past governments, religion, etc.). The abundance of resources for sustaining life sets the stage for a utopia, or a perfect society. The actions of the boys demonstrate the spectrum of governments, with Ralph and Piggy representing democratic ideals while Jack represents more authoritarian systems, such as an absolute monarchy.

Jack, Ralph, and Piggy may also be compared to the id, ego and superego, respectively.

Lord of the Flies in popular culture

In the movie Hook, Robin Williams compares the Lost Boys to the savages in Lord of the Flies.
An episode of The Simpsons titled "Das Bus" was a parody of Lord of the Flies, mirroring it in many ways (using glasses to make fire, having a conch to call meetings, a monster lurking in the forest of the island, stronger kids chasing after "the nerds" and other dissidents of the island). An early Simpsons episode, "Kamp Krusty," also makes reference to the novel during the sequence where the camp plunges into anarchy, but the only reference shown is the pig's head on a pike during Kent Brockman's newscast. The chants against Milhouse and company ("Kill the dorks!" "Bash their butts!" "Kick their shins!") is a direct parody of the "Kill the Pig" chant in Lord of the Flies.

English heavy metal band Iron Maiden composed a song about the novel. The song "Lord of The Flies" can be found in The X Factor (1995) and was also released as a single.
Rock band Gatsbys American Dream has a song inspired completely by Lord of the Flies entitled "Fable."
Stephen King has stated that the Castle Rock in Lord of the Flies was the inspiration for the town of the same name that has appeared in a number of his novels. The book itself also appears prominently in his novels, Hearts in Atlantis and Cujo.

In Melbourne, Australia, there is a business called Lord of the Fries, with a store on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Street

In the Seinfeld stand-up comedy session prior to a show, Jerry makes the observation: "Any day you had gym class was a weird school day. It started off normal. You had English, Social Studies, Geometry, then suddenly you’re in Lord of the Flies for 40 minutes. You’re hanging from a rope, you have hardly any clothes on, teachers are yelling at you, kids are throwing dodge balls at you and snapping towels - you're trying to survive. And then it's Science, Language, and History. Now that is a weird day."

In Orson Scott Card's Ender's Shadow, there is a part of dialogue where 2 teachers of the Battle School are talking about the main character, Bean's, rough infancy on the streets of Rotterdam. "...Its a Hellish place from, from what I hear. They make Lord of the Flies look like Pollyanna..."
In the show Picket Fences, the Judge warns that he will ban boys' basketball games if the kids begin to show "Lord of the Flies" tendencies.

Tori Amos's From the Choirgirl Hotel album included the song "Pandora's Aquarium" which refers to Lord of the Flies in relation to Persephone.

In the 2006 movie Unaccompanied Minors, Spencer enters the "UM Room." It is full of about 100 wild, uncontrollable kids. This causes him to remark, "It's like Lord of the Flies in here."
In the A.F.I. song "Catch A Hot One" the lyrics directly ask "Have you ever seen the kingdom of the flies" and is often thought to mean Hell.

Singer-songwriter Danielle Dax based several songs on Lord of the Flies: "Where the Flies Are" and "Touch Piggy's Eyes."

The 2006 released song "Liar (It Takes One to Know One)" By Taking Back Sunday refers to them being choir boys, "We're all choir boys at best" as well as referring to the island "Then back on that island" and "on the island that you swear by".


The novel was written while Golding was teaching at Bishop Wordsworths School, a Church of England grammar school for boys in Salisbury, England. He taught English there from 1945 to 1962. It was because of this that The Times could comment that "Golding knows exactly what boys are like."

Nick Hornby commented that a newer novel, The Beach (written by Alex Garland), is: "A Lord of the Flies for Generation X".

Stephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon references the scene where Simon talks to the Lord of the Flies—except that his main character is a girl, stranded alone in the woods, and she sees 3 entities, one of whom is clearly the Lord of the Flies.

In Stephen King's Hearts in Atlantis Ted gives Bobby a copy of the book and its themes resonate throughout the story.

In Stephen King's Misery Paul includes Lord of the Flies in an inner monologue about how humans deep connection to books can inspire miraculous bodily reactions; as a 12 year old boy, he finished Lord of the Flies on a summer's day, headed to the kitchen for a glass of lemonade, then promptly vomited as he began turning the full story over in his head.

In Orson Scott Card's Ender's Shadow Colonel Graf says that the children of Rotterdam "make the kids from Lord of the Flies look like sweethearts".

See also
Civilisation is built on physics

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