Lord of the Flies Summary and Analysis of Chapter One: The Sound of the Shell

On a tropical island, a twelve-year-old young boy with fair hair is climbing up out of aircraft wreckage (described as “the scar”) on a beach and towards a lagoon. He faces another child around his age, a fat kid with glasses. The two, who have not previously fulfilled, start a conversation. The fair-haired boy presents himself as Ralph, while the heavy kid inadvertently reveals his nickname at school: “Piggy.” Versus the other kid’s protestations, Ralph insists on calling him Piggy. Through their conversation, it is revealed that the kids have endured a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean, and no adults are present amongst the survivors. They validate that both the pilot and “the guy with the loudspeaker”-possibly some sort of rescue worker-both died in the crash. The kids appear to have actually been getting away from an atomic war in their nation, a location referred to only as the Home Counties (signaling England). When Ralph insists that his daddy, a Leader in the Navy, will save the stranded kids, Piggy advises him that “they”-perhaps the military, possibly the adult population-were all eliminated “by the atom bomb.”

Ralph, excited by the concept of living without adult guidance, right away takes advantage of the freedom on the island. He disrobes and invites Piggy to join him in a swim. Piggy nervously decreases, discussing that his asthma avoids him from swimming or running, however eventually-and with much self-consciousness-removes his windbreaker. While Ralph is taking pleasure in the brand-new sights and enjoyments of the tropical water, Piggy exposes that his parents are both dead and that he copes with his aunt, who runs a sweet-shop. While Ralph is playing on the coast, Piggy identifies a conch shell in the lagoon. He explains to an ignorant Ralph that a conch is valuable, and the 2 obtain it from the water. Piggy, who can not breathe well due to his asthma, advises Ralph about how to blow into the shell so as to produce a loud whistle. After a couple of failed efforts, Ralph sounds the shell effectively. The 2 young boys are shocked to see that the sound has drawn in other survivors from the crash, amongst them Sam and Eric, two young twins, and abrupt, red-headed Jack Merridew, who is accompanied by a party of young boys using strange black cloaks and caps, marching in 2 orderly lines. Jack exposes that the group is a young boys’ choir which he is the leader.

As soon as a large group is present, Piggy recommends that everyone state their names. Jack demands being called Merridew, for Jack is a kid’s name, and needs that he be developed the leader of the survivors, for he is the head young boy of his choir. The group decides to settle the concern of management by vote. While Jack has natural leadership qualities and Piggy rational intelligence, Ralph has a calm character that invites the others’ trust, so he is elected chief. Once designated, nevertheless, Ralph yields that Jack may still lead his choir, who will end up being hunters. He even more firmly insists that the group stay assembled near the lagoon while three of the young boys explore the territory to determine whether or not it is an island. For this job, Ralph chooses himself, a mild-tempered young boy called Simon, and, at his own persistence, Jack. When Piggy demands to sign up with the explorers, Jack dismisses the idea, embarrassing Piggy, who is still embarrassed that Ralph revealed his hated nickname.

Ralph, Simon and Jack search the island, climbing up the mountain to survey it. On the way up, they push down the mountain a big rock that blocks their way. When they finally reach the top, they figure out that they are undoubtedly on an island. The island is referred to as “boat-shaped,” surrounded by rocks and including both lagoon and forest locations. Ralph, taking a look at the landscape, states assertively, “this belongs to us.” The three choose that they require food to eat, and continue to check out the island, this time looking for food.

The young boys descend the mountain into brush area, where they think about and after that choose versus consuming some foliage they call “candle-buds.” Soon afterwards, they discover a piglet caught in a drape of climbers. Jack draws his knife but stops briefly before he has a possibility to stab the pig, which frees itself and escapes. Jack firmly insists that he was merely trying to find the ideal spot on the pig on which to stab it, but his white face suggests that he is unaccustomed to such violence. However he vows that next time, he will reveal no grace towards his victim.


The opening chapter of Lord of the Flies establishes the novel as a political allegory. As an entire, the novel explores the requirement for political company and dramatizes the clash in humanity between instinctual and learned behavior. In Chapter One, Golding illustrates the deserted island as a location where the abandoned young boys have a choice in between going back to a pre-civilized state of humanity and re-imposing social order upon the group. Therefore, the circumstance checks a Hobbesian hypothesis by throwing the kids almost totally into a state of nature. The first chapter of the unique confirms that the young boys have no society, no rules, and no issues beyond personal survival. All they have is a set of histories. The narrative thrust of the unique traces how the kids develop their own mini society and the difficulties that undoubtedly emerge from this advancement. Chapter One foreshadows these occasions by portraying the kids as alternately scared, ignorant, and enlivened in the face of their newfound freedom.

Accordingly, Chapter One instantly establishes the tension between the impulse towards savagery and the requirement for civilization that exists within the human spirit. Freed from adult authority and the mores of society, Ralph plays in the beach naked, a practice that at the time of Golding’s writing was typically connected with pre-industrial cultures believed to be “uncivilized” or “savage.” Yet if Ralph’s nudity is an uncivilized practice, it is likewise a recommendation to another popular conception of pre-civilized life, that of the Garden of Eden. Ralph does not stress over the kids’s desertion on the island, but he approaches it as a paradise in which he can play gladly. The reader, familiar with the outcome of the Biblical Eden, should treat the young boys’ “paradise” with similar uncertainty. Like Eden, the island paradise will collapse; the concerns are how and why.

Characterization stresses the stress Golding establishes in between anarchy and political company. The very first sign of disturbance on the seemingly serene island is the appearance of Jack and his choir. Golding describes Jack and his compatriots as militaristic and aggressive, with Jack’s bold manner and the choir marching in step. They are the very first concrete example of civilization on the island, with a distinctly negative feel. Jack seems a physical symptom of evil; with his dark cape and wild red hair, his appearance is ominous, even Satanic. Appropriately, Jack is militaristic and authoritarian. He provides orders to his choir as if they were troops, allowing room for neither discussion nor dissent. Considerably, the role that he first chooses for his choir is that of hunters-he picks that job which is most violent and most related to military values. Yet, as his failure to kill the pig shows, Jack is not yet accustomed to violence. Golding shows that Jack must prepare himself to devote a violent act, for he is still constrained by his own younger cowardice or by societal rules that oppose violent habits. While his authoritarian attitude indicates a predisposition to violence, Jack should shed the lessons of society and conscience prior to he can eliminate.

In both character and physical appearance, Ralph is the reverse of Jack. Golding idealizes Ralph from the start, lavishing appreciation on his physical appeal. In the island sun he instantly achieves a golden shade, a physical symptom of his winning charisma. Ralph’s value is not intellectual; importantly, he behaves somewhat childishly in his very first encounter with Piggy. Still, Golding recommends that Ralph has a gravity and maturity beyond his years. He is a natural leader, a quality that the other young boys instantly recognize when they vote him leader. The vote for primary establishes a dispute in between the different worths espoused by Jack and Ralph. Jack presumes that he should presume the role immediately, while Ralph, who hesitates to accept leadership, achieves it by vote. Ralph therefore concerns represent a democratic values.

In contrast to the violent Jack and charming Ralph, Piggy is immediately established as the intellectual of the group. Although he is physically inefficient, clumsy, and asthmatic, he has a rational mind and the very best grasp of their scenario. It is his knowledge of the conch shell that enables Ralph to summon the remainder of the young boys together and he who shows the most concern for some sort of recognized order in meetings and in everyday life. He has a particular interest in names, right away asking Ralph for his and wishing that Ralph would reciprocate the concern, as well as insisting that a list of names be taken when the kids put together. This focus on identifying is among the first signs of the imposition of a bought society on the island (it also recalls the identifying of the animals in Genesis). For Piggy, names not just facilitate company and communication however also mark one’s position within a social hierarchy. It is significant that Piggy is required by the others to keep his disliked label from house, which re-inscribes his inferior social status from the House Counties in the brand-new dynamic of the island. We may also keep in mind that Piggy’s name symbolically links him to the pigs on the island, which in subsequent chapters end up being the targets of a number of the kids’ unrestrained violent impulses. As the boys turn their rage against the pigs, Golding foreshadows Piggy’s own murder at the close of the book.

The support of Piggy’s nickname, which plainly humiliates him, likewise indicates that the young boys have imported to the island the cruelty of human social life. Ralph’s mockery of Piggy is the first instance of inequality on the island, and it foreshadows the gross injustices and oppressions to come. We might likewise keep in mind here Piggy’s background (as an orphan who copes with an auntie) and his bad diction (“can’t catch me breath,” “what’s yer name?”)-details that show that, unlike Ralph and Jack, Piggy is a kid from a working-class background. His instant ostracizing on the island recommends another way in which the social hierarchies of the kids’ home lives are reproduced in island life. Golding suggests that Piggy’s marginalization is due not just to his regrettable appearance and bad health however likewise because he is of a lower class status than the other kids, who have actually brought with them to the island the class prejudices of the Home Counties.

It is also substantial here that Golding emphasizes the facility of property and subtly critiques the concept of ownership by discovery. Ralph acquires status from his belongings of the conch shell, which provides him the authority to speak when the young boys come together. Likewise, when he surveys the island from the top of the mountain he specifies that it “belongs” to them, almost as an act of colonization or conquering. The invocation of colonial rhetoric recommends the struggles to come over ownership of the essential resources on the island (such as the conch and Piggy’s glasses) and over the power to rule one another.

The novel’s first chapter develops another style that recurs throughout the book: the corruption of innocence. Golding emphasizes the childish nature of the boys from the beginning of the story, and he suggests that much of the struggles that mark their time on the island have less to do with either the natural cruelty of the human spirit or the corruption of political society than with the young boys’ young age and incapacity for duty. Ralph’s first response to the desertion is to play in the water, and Jack’s impulse to “eliminate” falls flat when he is challenged with a chance to do so. The chatter of the younger boys-who fear a “beastie” and a “snake thing,” as well as Piggy’s continuous reference of his “auntie” in the house who gave him candy, are narrative details that underscore the kids’ youth and their essential innocence. As the cruelty and violence among the young boys increase in later chapters, Golding recommends that youth is a neutral, formative state in which children can either be guided towards morality or damaged by savagery when they are unguided by conscience or society. The emphasis on the boys’ childishness in Chapter One establishes important questions that the subsequent action seeks to answer: is human nature essentially great, bad, or neutral, and how do early childhood experiences notify individual character?

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