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MonkeyNotes-Lord of the Flies by William Golding-Free Booknotes Summary
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CONFLICT

Two conflicts exist in the book, one on the literal level and one on the symbolic level. Both are outlined below.

Literal Conflict

Protagonist

The protagonist is Ralph, a rational boy who is elected the leader by the others. He tries to keep the boys civilized and plans ways to get them rescued.

Antagonist

The antagonist is Jack, who is Ralph's rival. Since he wants to be chief, he breaks away from Ralph to form his own tribe. He turns his group of boys into savage hunters.

Climax

When Jack forms his own tribe, his followers turn savage. They forget their civilized ways and behave like animals. To show their savagery, they raid Ralph's group and steal Piggy's glasses. The climax occurs when they brutally beat the beast and tear it to pieces; unfortunately, the beast is really Simon, who is ignored when he tries to call out to them. They are too caught up in their evil savagery to hear him. After Simon's death, Jack leads his tribe into greater and greater depths of savagery.


Outcome

The story ends in tragedy. Ralph is defeated by Jack, who succeeds in taking most of the boys away from Ralph and into his own savage tribe. As a result of Jack's savage leadership, Simon and Piggy are killed by the hunters. They start hunting Ralph who is the only threat to Jack's leadership and set the whole forest on fire.

Symbolic Conflict

Protagonist

The protagonist is the group of boys who, in their diversity of personalities, represent all of mankind.

Antagonist

The antagonist is man's base state of savagery and evil, as symbolized by the "Lord of the Flies," a representation of the devil.

Climax

The climax occurs when evil and savagery overcome the rationality of the boys, and they brutally beat Simon to death, even though he calls out to them and tries to explain that he is not the beast.

Outcome

The symbolic outcome of the story is tragic. The boys revert to a base state of evil and savagery. They ignore the rational advice of Ralph and Piggy and begin to relish brutality, killing Simon and Piggy in the process. Through the outcome, Golding says that mankind often reverts to evil and savagery when placed in a natural, uncivilized environment.

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