During an unnamed time of war, a plane carrying a group of British schoolboys is shot down over the
Pacific. The pilot of the plane is killed, but many of the boys survive the crash and find
themselves deserted on an uninhabited island, where they are alone without adult supervision.
The novel begins with the aftermath of the crash, once the boys have reached the island. The first
two boys introduced are the main protagonists of the story: Ralph is among the oldest of the boys,
handsome and confident, while Piggy, as he is derisively called, is a pudgy asthmatic boy with
glasses who nevertheless possesses a keen intelligence. Ralph finds a conch shell, and when he
blows it the other boys gather together. Among these boys is Jack Merridew, an aggressive boy who
marches at the head of his choir. Ralph, whom the other boys choose as chief, leads Jack and
another boy, Simon, on an expedition to explore the island.
On their expedition they determine
that they are, in fact, on a deserted island and decide that they need to find food. The three
boys find a pig, which Jack prepares to kill but finally balks before he can actually stab it.
When the boys return from their expedition, Ralph calls a meeting and attempts to set rules of
order for the island. Jack agrees with Ralph, for the existence of rules means the existence of
punishment for those who break them, but Piggy reprimands Jack for his lack of concern over
long-term issues of survival. Ralph proposes that they build a fire on the mountain which could
signal their presence to any passing ships. The boys start building the fire, but the younger
boys lose interest when the task proves too difficult for them. Piggy proves...