Lord of the Flies
This was the novel that made Golding's reputation and it is still probably the work that most readers associate with him.
According to the plot during a nuclear war, the transport plane evacuating a group of English schoolboys, aged between six (the "littluns", little ones) and twelve (the "biguns", big ones) is shot down over a desert isalnd in the pacific, and only the boys survive, while all the adults are killed.
Among the main characters, Ralph tries to build a semblance of civilized life on the island, together with his faithful "lieutenant" Piggy, an intellectual and rational boy. Jack , Ralph's antagonist, who longs power, soon becomes barbarous and cruel, dominated by an inner instinct of savagery, like his "lieutenant" Roger, sadistic and brutal. The only naturally good character is Simon, endowed with an innate sense of morality, kindness to all people and love of nature.
Manrooned on the island, Ralph, Jack and Simon go to explore the land, which is completely uninhabited. The boys then set about choosing a leader, and elect Ralph, whom they trust. Ralph's orders include: to keep a fire burning on the mountain as a guide of their presence, to attract the attention of passing ships; to hold assemblies at the sound of a conch shell, hich they have discovered on the beach; to respect the rules of a democratic community. As they need food, Ralph elects Jack as leader of the "hunters". At first the children enjoy the unexpected freedom and consider the island an earthly paradise, but before long, under the pressure of solitude, lack of rules and corruption, they gradually revert a kind of savagery. Jack's "hunters" become a kind of warriors caste and no longer care about keeping the fire burning. Antagonism between Ralph and Jack increases.
Moreover the boys, left alone on the island, begin to be afraid; they are troubled by nightmares and many believe that some sort of "beast" or monster may be lurking on the island, though the older boys try to convince them to think rationally. One night an aircraft battle takes place above the island, and a parachutist drifts down, dut dies on landing, and his corpse remains entangled among the rocks and bushes of the mountain. The two boys who had been responsible for watching the fire at night and were asleep when the aircraft battle had taken place, at last wake up and see the big form of the parachute. Immediately they run to the camp of the other boys, crying in terror that the "beast" has attacked them. Jack and Ralph travel up the mountain and see from a distance a huge form, which they mistake for a kind of deformed ape, They return to the group and hold a meeting, but the two boys are increasingly at odds; Jack declares himself the only leader of the tribe, and organizes a feast, which begins with a ritual slaughter: a sow, which had been killed by the hunters, is decapitated, its head is placed on a sharpened stake in the jungle as an offering to the "beast". A chaotic revelry then begins, with all boys transformed into real savages, and Jack notwithstanding Ralph's opposition, gains full power on the boys.
Only Simon does not take part in the wild dance. While it is going on, Simon, on one of his solitary trips, comes across the bloody, fly-covered head of the sow, the "Lord of the Flies". In his horror, in a kind of hallucination, he imagines that the terrific head speaks to him saying that men will never escape his power, as the "monster" is not outside them, but exists within them. Horrified, Simon runs up to the mountain, where he sees the dead parachutist and, out of pity, frees the parachute lines from the rock and bushes, and runs to tell his friend that there is no beast in the island, to literate them from their superstitious terror. But when he arrives, the boys are in the middle of their frienzied revelry. In their excitement and blood-lust, they see a figure come crawling out of the jungle into the clearing ,mistake him for the "beast" itself, and savagely kill Simon with their bare hands and teeth.
After Simons death, Ralph himself is in danger. He hides, but is hunted throughout the night and the following day. On the mountain he finds and destroys the sow's head and then runs onto the beach, but here he collapses exhausted, while the other boys, in order to force him out, set the whole forest on fire.
Ralph is saved by the timely arrival of an officer from a British ship sailing near the island, who had gone ashore on seeing the great fire of the forest. The officer, amazed, asks Ralph to explain hat has happened but the boy can only burst into tears.