William Golding's

     edited by
     James R. Baker
     Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr.

     This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and
     incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or
     are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons,
     living or dead, business establishments, events or locales
     is entirely coincidental.

     A Perigee Book
     Published by The Berkley Publishing Group
     A division of Penguin Putnam Inc.
     375 Hudson Street
     New York, New York 10014

     Copyright (c) 1954 by William Golding
     Purdue Interview copyright (c) 1964 by James Keating &
     William Golding
     All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof,
     may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
     Published simultaneously in Canada by General Publishing Co.
     Limited, Toronto.

     ISBN 0-399-50643-8

     First Perigee edition: September 1988
     Fourteen previous printings by G. P. Putnam's Sons

     The Penguin Putnam Inc. World Wide Web site address is
     Printed in the United States of America
     22 23 24 25 26 27 28


     A casebook  edition of any work of literature is necessarily the result
of work  and good will by numerous  people. We  are deeply  indebted to  the
writers who contributed the original materials contained in this volume.
     We  also  wish to  thank  the  authors, editors, and publishers  who so
kindly  granted  permissions for use of  the previously published  materials
collected in  this volume. Full acknowledgment  for their  valuable  aid  is
printed in the headnote for each of the articles as well as original sources
of publication.
     The editors gratefully  acknowledge the  special courtesies  of William
Golding,  J.  T.  C. Golding, Frank  Kermode, Donald R.  Spangler, Bruce  P.
Woodford, A. C. Willers and  James  Keating. The  Introduction to  this book
originally appeared in the Arizona Quarterly. It is reprinted here (revised)
by permission of the editor, Albert F. Gegenheimer.
     For her expert aid in preparing the manuscript, our thanks to Mrs. Paul
V. Anderson, and  our special gratitude to Miss Helen Davidson, who not only
performed routine secretarial  duties  but  offered advice and  kept spirits
buoyant with her penetrating wit.

     A.P.Z., Jr.

     Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr.
     James R. Baker
     William Golding
     Lord of the Flies
     James Keating-William Golding
     Purdue Interview
     Frank Kermode-William Golding
     The Meaning of It All
     Frank Kermode
     The Novels of William Golding
     E. M. Forster
     An Introduction to "Lord of the Flies"
     Donald R. Spangler
     Carl Niemeyer
     The Coral Island Revisited
     J. T. C. Golding
     A World of Violence and Small Boys
     John Peter
     The Fables of William Golding
     Ian Gregor & Mark Kinkead-Weekes
     An Introduction to "Lord of the Flies"
     William R. Mueller
     An Old Story Well Told
     Thomas M. Coskren
     Is Golding Calvinistic?
     Claire Rosenfield
     Men of a Smaller Growth
     E. L. Epstein
     Notes on "Lord of the Flies"
     Lord of the Campus
     A Checklist of Publications
     Relevant to "Lord of the Flies'


     It  is most  astonishing and lamentable that a book as  widely read and
frequently used in the classroom as William Gelding's Lord of the Flies  has
received so little analytical attention from the  critics. True, it  has not
been neglected; this volume attests  to that. But despite  the  profusion of
essays by a number of well-known  and worthy critics, few close  analyses of
Golding's  technique  can  be  found  among  them, few  explications of  the
workings of the novel will be discovered.
     Indeed, despite a running  controversy over the  meaning of the  novel,
critical articles fall largely into a pattern of  plot summary  and applause
for the arrangement  of  the novel's materials followed by  observations  on
Golding's view of human nature, often embellished with the critic's response
to that view.
     There are exceptions - they will be found among the essays in this book
-  like Claire Rosenfield's psychological study of  meaning, Carl Niemeyer's
comparative  study  of the novel and its antipathetic  predecessor The Coral
Island, Donald R. Spangler's penetrating study of the function of Simon, and
William Mueller's discussion of the use of the various hunts.
     Further  explorations are  needed in  many areas, however, among them a
careful scrutiny of the  opening  descriptions of Ralph  and Jack in Chapter
One. It is useful, but perhaps not very subtle, to point out that the former
is  immediately declared  the "fair  boy," that  he, like the angel Gabriel,
sounds a horn that  announces good news - that of survival  - that Jack with
his angular frame, black cloak and cap, and red hair is Lucifer-like.
     More Biblical parallels must be developed  - the  paradisiacal setting,
the symbolic nakedness or near nakedness of all the boys except Jack and his
followers - but  most especially needed is a  study that explains items that
do not comply with the original Biblical  pattern but  that perhaps serve as
tip-offs to the theme and  the ironies  that  Golding employs  without fully
delineating until the last page, for instance the "response" of the paradise
to the boys-  first  from the  heat, then a bird with an  echoed "witch-like
cry,"  then  the entangling  creepers  (more  like the Eden  of Milton  than
Genesis)-together with the important information that Ralph, not Jack, has a
snake-clasp belt, that Jack wears a golden badge. We have  implications very
early  that  Golding's  view  is not  simple,  traditionally  Christian,  or
predictable in  spite  of the title, that  it is  a  complex rebuttal to the
ever-present faith in man's potential for regeneration and redemption.  Here
is  a fruitful area of  research: do all these elements  of the novel,  some
seemingly  inconsistent,  even extraneous,  operate  in  unified support  of
     Symbolism is one  of  the most puzzling aspects of this book. The names
of the  four  major  characters are  a  perplexing  illustration. Simon, the
mystic  of the group, has  a name clearly linked with an Apostle  of Christ,
the one, strange to say, who denied Him  three times. (Simon  does deny  the
objective existence  of the beast, but is  this a  parallel?) Jack  also has
such a name, since his first name  is a nickname  for John, the announcer of
Christ, also a follower  of Christ, arid his last name  is Merridew, an echo
at  least  of  Mary. Ralph's  name, oddly enough,  is unrelated to  the  New
Testament  and in  fact  is  said to be  akin  to the Anglo-Saxon  Raedwulf,
"wolf-council." Piggy's nickname appears even more incongruous because it is
Simon rather than Piggy who is slain as a substitute pig. The only  instance
in  which  a name  seems  incontestably appropriate is that of  Roger, where
etymology directs us to the Anglo-Saxon Hrothgar, "spear-fame." 1
     In The Coral  Island the three  protagonists are named Jack, Ralph, and
Peterkin Gay. Golding claims  that he changed the latter  name to  Simon  to
emphasize his priestly qualities2-implying  some intention on his
part to  make at least one name  symbolic-while another critic insists  that
Peterkin  is altered not  to Simon but  to  Piggy.3 But  that  is
beside  the  point.  The  central question is,  "To what extent do the names
function  symbolically?"  Do  we just select  Simon and  Roger and,  because
inconvenient, forget the others? Or is there another more subtle solution?

     1.Golding's recorded interest in Anglo-Saxon makes it unlikely that  he
should be unaware of this etymology.  See  E. L. Epstein, "Notes on Lord  of
the Flies" below, p. 277.

     We are also mystified by the relationship between Lord of the Flies and
The Coral  Island.  Before undertaking a study  of  Golding's book, must one
study Ballantyne's? To  what degree do details in the former depend upon the
latter, and, more confusing, to what degree  do  both books contain the same
details because of similarity of setting?
     No one has produced a full-scale synthesis of the symbols of  the novel
either, nor  has anyone prepared a fully adequate study of characterization.
Ralph himself is an enigma. Does  he  represent  the idealist and  Piggy the
pragmatist? Or the reverse? Why are  Piggy and Jack foes from the start, but
Ralph  and Jack friends for a considerable length  of time? Is  it important
that Ralph disdains Piggy  for  so long? Why does Ralph the leader have such
difficulties controlling the littluns even though  they instantly  recognize
him as chief rather  than Jack? Why  doesn't Ralph establish  a  closer bond
with Simon? Why does Golding-have Ralph enjoy drawing blood? As one examines
the novel closely, he  may  find himself confronted  with a highly ambiguous
protagonist, and for what purpose? Do these complications help or hinder the
operation of the novel? These are vital matters in evaluating it.
     One could add to this  list  of needed studies indefinitely: a detailed
look at the use  of war and fighting (they are important from the first page
to the last),  a discussion of  the  relationship of nature descriptions and
events, a look at the historical predecessors of the mountain, and  how they
bear  on  the  novel  (Calvary,  Sinai,  Ararat,  Olympus,  to  name  a  few
possibilities), the cause of the evil (Is it really "original sin"?), and so

     2.Frank Kermode and William Golding, "The Meaning of It All," Books and
Bookmen, 5  (October  1959) p. 10.  See  below in this  volume  p. 199. Note
Golding's  statement that the novel was worked  out "very carefully in every
possible way."
     3.Carl  Niemeyer,  "The  Coral  Island  Revisited," College English, 22
(January 1961), p. 242. See below in this volume, p. 219.

     Yet  in spite of the gaps  in the  criticism,  some commendable studies
have been undertaken, and we have tried to assemble the most useful  of them
in this book. Supplementing them are two interviews with Golding in which he
discusses   both   his   own   conception   of   the   novel   and   related
     Through our arrangement of and notes to the articles, we  have tried to
reflect the intricate texture of the novel as illustrated by the critics and
to point  up areas of perplexity  and disagreement. The bibliography at  the
close of the volume indicates possibilities for further reading and study.

     4. The reader, of course, will wish to  weigh any artist's  view in the
light  of the continuing  critical  dialogue  surrounding  the  "intentional
fallacy." Frank Kermode calls  Golding's views in question in "The Novels of
William Golding," International Literary Annual, p. 19. See p. 206 below.


     Lord of  the Flies offers a  variation upon  the ever-popular  tale  of
island adventure, and it  holds all  of the excitements common to that  long
tradition.  Golding's  castaways  are  faced  with  the usual  struggle  for
survival, the terrors  of isolation, and a desperate out  finally successful
effort  to  signal a passing ship  which will return them to the world  they
have lost. This time, however, the story is told  against the  background of
an atomic  war. A plane carrying some English boys, aged six to twelve, from
the center of  conflict is shot down by  the enemy and the youths  are  left
without adult  company  on an unpopulated Pacific island. The environment in
which  they  find  themselves actually  presents no serious  challenge:  the
island is  a paradise  of flowers and fruit,  fresh  water  flows  from  the
mountain, and  the  climate is gentle. In spite  of  these  unusual  natural
advantages, the children fail miserably and the adventure ends in a reversal
of their  (and the  reader's) expectations. Within a short time the  rule of
reason is overthrown and the survivors regress to savagery.
     During the first days on the island there is little forewarning of this
eventual collapse of order. The boys are delighted with the prospect of some
real fun before the adults come to fetch them. With innocent enthusiasm they
recall  the storybook  romances they have read and now expect  to  enjoy  in
reality.  Among  these  is  The  Coral  Island, Robert Michael  Ballantyne's
heavily moralistic idyll of castaway boys, written in 1858 yet still, in our
atomic age,  a popular adolescent classic  in  England. In Ballantyne's tale
everything  comes off in exemplary style. For Ralph, Jack, and Peterkin (his
charming young  imperialists),  mastery  of the natural  environment  is  an
elementary exercise  in Anglo-Saxon ingenuity. The fierce pirates who invade
the island are defeated by sheer moral force, and the tribe of cannibalistic
savages is easily converted and reformed by the example of Christian conduct
afforded them. The Cord Island is again  mentioned by  the naval officer who
comes to rescue Golding's boys from  the nightmare they have created, and so
the adventure of  these enfants  terribles is ironically juxtaposed with the
spectacular success of  the Victorian darlings.2 The effect is to
hold before us two radically different pictures of human nature and society.
Ballantyne, no less  than Golding, is a fabulist 3 who asks us to
believe that the evolution of affairs on his coral island models or reflects
the  adult  world,  a  world  in  which  men  are   unfailingly  reasonable,
cooperative,  loving and  lovable.  We are  hardly  prepared to accept these
optimistic exaggerations, though Ballantyne's story suggests essentially the
same  flattering  image of civilized man  found  in so many  familiar island
fables. In choosing to parody and invert this image Golding posits a reality
the tradition has generally denied.

     1. Copyright 1964 by James R. Baker.

     The  character of this reality is to  be seen  in the final  episode of
Lord of the Flies. When the cruiser  appears offshore, the boy  Ralph is the
one remaining advocate of reason, but he  has no  more status than the  wild
pigs of the forest  and  is being hunted down for the kill. Shocked by their
filth,  their  disorder,  and the  revelation  that  there  have  been  real
casualties, the  officer  (with  appropriate fatherly indignation) expresses
his disappointment in this "pack of British boys." There is no basis for his
surprise, for life on the  island has  only  imitated the larger tragedy  in
which  the  adults  of  the  outside world attempted  to  govern  themselves
reasonably but ended in the same game  of hunt and  kill. Thus, according to
Golding, the  aim of the narrative is  "to trace the defects of society back
to the defects of human nature"; the moral illustrated is that "the shape of
society must depend on the  ethical nature  of the individual and not on any
political system however apparently logical or respectable."4 And
since  the lost  children  are the inheritors of the  same defects of nature
which doomed their fathers, the tragedy on the island is bound to repeat the
actual pattern of human history.

     2.A  longer discussion of Golding's  use of Ballantyne appears in  Carl
Niemeyer's "The Coral Island Revisited." See pp. 217-223 in this volume.
     3.See  John Peter's "The Fables of  William Golding" on pp.  229-234 of
this  volume.  A less  simplistic view is  offered by  Ian Gregor  and  Mark
Kinkead-Weekes  in their Introduction to Faber's School Edition  of  Lord of
the Flies reprinted on pp. 235-243 in this volume.

     The central  fact in  that pattern is  one which we,  like  the fatuous
naval officer, are virtually incapable  of perceiving:  first, because it is
one that  constitutes an affront to our  ego; second, because it controverts
the carefully  and elaborately rationalized record of history which sustains
the ego of "rational"  man. The fact is that regardless of  the intelligence
we possess-an intelligence which drives us in a tireless effort to impose an
order upon our affairs-we are defeated with monotonous regularity by our own
irrationality. "History," said Joyce's Dedalus,  is a nightmare from which I
am trying  to awake." 5 But we do not awake. Though we constantly
make a heroic attempt to rise to a  level ethically superior to nature,  our
own nature, again and again we suffer a fall-brought low by some outburst of
madness because of the limiting defects inherent in our species.
     If there  is any literary  precedent for the image of man contained  in
Gelding's fable, it is obviously not to  be  found within the framework of a
tradition   that    embraces    Robinson    Crusoe    and    Swiss    Family
Robinson6  and  includes also those island episodes  in  Conrad's
novels in which the self-defeating skepticism  of a Heyst or a Decoud serves
only to illustrate  the value of illusions.7  All of these  offer
some version of  the rationalist orthodoxy we so readily accept, even though
the  text  may  not be so boldly simple as Ballantyne's sermon  for innocent
Victorians. Quite  removed  from  this tradition,  which Golding  invariably
satirizes,  is  the  directly  acknowledged  influence  of  classical  Creek
literature. Within  this designation, though Golding's critics have  ignored
it,  is an  obvious admiration for Euripides.8 Among the plays of
Euripides it  is,  The Bacchae  that Golding,  like  Mamillius  of The Brass
Butterfly,  knows  by  heart  The  tragedy  is  a  bitter  allegory  on  the
degeneration of society, and it contains the  basic parable which informs so
much of Golding's work. Most of  all, Lord of the Flies, for here the  point
of view is similar  to that of the aging Euripides after  he was driven into
exile  from Athens.  Before his  departure the  tragedian brought down  upon
himself  the  mockery and  disfavor of a mediocre regime  like the one which
later condemned Socrates. The Bacchae, however, is more  than an  expression
of  disillusionment  with the failing democracy. Its aim is  precisely  what
Golding has declared to be his own: "to trace the defects of society back to
the defects of  human nature," and so account for the failure of reason  and
the inevitable, blind  ritual-hunt  in  which  we seek to kill  the  "beast"
within our own being.

     4. Quoted by E. L. Epstein in his "Notes  on  Lord of  the Flies."  See
below, p. 277.
     5. Ulysses (New York: The Modem Library, 1961), p.34.
     6.See  Golding's  remarks  on  these novels and Treasure Island in  his
review called "Islands," Spectator, 204 (June 10, 1960), 844-46.
     7.Thus  far,  attempts  to   compare   Golding  and  Conrad  have  been
unsuccessful. See Golding's  remarks  on Conrad (and  Richard Hughes's  High
Wind in Jamaica) in the interview by James Keating on p. 194 in this volume.
See also William R. Mueller's essay, p. 251.

     The Bacchae is based on a legend of Dionysus wherein  the god (a son of
Zeus and the  mortal  Semele,  daughter of Cadmus)  descends upon  Thebes in
great wrath, determined to  take revenge upon the young king,  Pentheus, who
has denied  him recognition  and  prohibited his worship. Dionysus  wins  as
devotees  the  daughters of Cadmus  and  through his  power  of  enchantment
decrees that Agave,  mother of  Pentheus, shall  lead  the band  in frenzied
celebrations. Pentheus bluntly opposes the god and tries by  every means  to
preserve order against the rising tide of madness in  his kingdom. The folly
of his  proud  resistance' is  shown  in  the  defeat  of all  that Pentheus
represents: the bacchantes trample on his edicts and in wild marches through
the land wreck  everything in  their path. Thus prepared for his  vengeance,
Dionysus casts  a spell over Pentheus.  With his  judgment weakened and  his
identity obscured in the dress  of a  woman, the defeated prince sets out to
spy upon the orgies. In the excitement of their rituals  the bacchantes live
in illusion, and all that falls in their way undergoes a metamorphosis which
brings it  into  accord  with  the natural  images  of their  worship.  When
Pentheus  is seen  he is taken for a lion9 and, led by Agave, the
blind victims of the  god tear him limb from limb. The  final humiliation of
those  who deny the godhead is to render them conscious of  their crimes and
to cast them out from their homeland as  guilt-stricken exiles and wanderers
upon the earth.

     8.On several occasions Golding  has  stated that he has read  deeply in
Greek literature and history during the past twenty years.

     For  most modern readers  the  chief obstacle  in  the  way  of  proper
understanding of The  Bacchae,  and  therefore Golding's  use of it,  is the
popular  notion  that Dionysus is nothing more than a  charming god of wine.
This  image descends from "the Alexandrines, and above all  the Romans- with
their tidy functionalism and their cheerful obtuseness in all matters of the
spirit-who  departmentalized  Dionysus as 'jolly  Bacchus'  .  . . with  his
riotous crew of nymphs and satyrs. As such he was taken over from the Romans
by Renaissance painters  and poets; and it was they in turn  who  shaped the
image in which the modern world pictures him."  In reality the god was  more
important and "much more  dangerous": he was "the principle of animal life .
. .  the hunted and the hunter-the unrestrained potency which  man envies in
the beasts and seeks to assimilate." Thus the intention and chief  effect of
the bacchanal was "to  liberate the instinctive life in man from the bondage
imposed upon it by reason and social custom. ..." In his play Euripides also
suggests "a  further effect, a merging of the individual  consciousness in a
group  consciousness' so  that the participant is "at one not  only with the
Master of Life  but his  fellow-worshipers . .  . and  with the life of  the
earth."10  Dionysus was  worshiped in various animal incarnations
(snake, bull, lion, boar), whatever form was  appropriate to  place; and all
of these were incarnations  of the impulses he evoked in his worshipers.  In
The Bacchae  a leader of the bacchanal summons him  with the incantation, "O
God, Beast, Mystery, come!" 11 Agave's attack upon the lion" (her
own son) conforms to the codes of Dionysic ritual: like other gods, this one
is slain and  devoured, his devotees sustained  by  his flesh and blood. The
terrible error of the bacchantes is a punishment  brought  upon the  land by
the lord of beasts: "To resist Dionysus is to repress the elemental in one's
own nature; the punishment is the  sudden  collapse of the inward dykes when
the    elemental     breaks    through     perforce     and     civilization

     9. In Ovid's Metamorphoses the bacchantes see Pentheus in the form of a
     10.  E.  R.  Dodds,  Euripides  Bacchae,  Second  Edition (Oxford:  The
Clarendon Press, 1960), p.  xii  and p. xx.  Dodds  also finds evidence that
some Dionysian rites called for human sacrifice.
     11. From the verse translation by Gilbert Murray.

     This same humiliation falls upon the innocents of Lord of the Flies. In
their childish pride they attempt to  impose  an  order  or pattern upon the
vital chaos of their own nature,  and so they commit the  error and "sin" of
Pentheus,  the  "man of  many sorrows." The penalties, as  in the  play, are
bloodshed,  guilt,  utter  defeat of reason. Finally, they stand before  the
officer,  "a semicircle of little  boys, their bodies  streaked with colored
clay,  sharp  sticks  in their  hands."13  Facing  that  purblind
commander (with his revolver and peaked  cap),  Ralph cries "for the  end of
innocence, the darkness of man's  heart" (186-87); and the  tribe of vicious
hunters  joins  him in spontaneous choral lament  But  even Ralph  could not
trace the arc of their descent, could not explain why it's no go, why things
are  as they are; for  in the course  of  events he  was at times  among the
hunters, one of  them, and he grieves  in part for the appalling ambiguities
he has discovered in his own nature. He remembers those strange, interims of
blindness and  despair when  a "shutter" clicked down over his mind and left
him at  the mercy of his own  dark heart. In Ralph's experience,  then,  the
essence  of the fable is spelled out: he suffers the  dialectic we  must all
endure,  and his failure  to resolve  it as we would  wish  demonstrates the
limitations which have always plagued the species.
     In  the  first  hours  on  the  island  Ralph sports untroubled in  the
twilight of  childhood and innocence, but after he sounds  the conch he must
confront the forces he has summoned to the granite platform beside the sunny
lagoon. During that first assembly he seems to arbitrate with the grace of a
young  god (his  natural bearing is dignified, princely)  and,  for the time
being,   a  balance  is   maintained.  The   difficulties   begin  with  the
dream-revelation of the child distinguished by the birthmark.  The boy tells
of a snakelike monster  prowling the woods  by night, and at this moment the
seed  of  fear is planted. Out of it will grow  the mythic beast destined to
become lord of the island. Rumors of his presence grow. There is a plague of
haunting dreams-the first symptom of the irrational fear which is "mankind's
essential illness."

     12.Dodds, p.xvi
     13. Lord of  the Flies, p.  185.  All quotations  are  taken  from  the
edition  contained in this volume. Subsequent page references will appear in

     In the  chapter  called  "Beast from  Water"  the  parliamentary debate
becomes a blatant allegory in which each spokesman caricatures  the position
he  defends. Piggy (the voice of  reason) leads with the statement that life
is scientific,"  adds  the  usual Utopian  promises  ("when the  war's  over
they'll be traveling to Mars  and back"), and his assurance that such things
will come to  pass if only we  control the senseless conflicts  that  impede
progress. He is met with laughter  and  jeers (the crude multitude), and  at
this  juncture a  littlun interrupts  to declare  that the beast (ubiquitous
evil)  comes  out  of  the sea. Maurice interjects to voice the  doubt which
curses them all: "I  don't believe  in the  beast of  course. As Piggy says,
life's scientific, but we don't know, do we? Not certainly . . ." (81). Then
Simon  (the  inarticulate  seer)  rises  to  utter  the  truth  in  garbled,
ineffective phrases: there  is a beast, but "it's only  us." As always,  his
saving words  are misunderstood, and the prophet  shrinks away in confusion.
Amid speculation that he means some kind of ghost, there is a silent show of
hands for ghosts as Piggy breaks  in  with angry rhetorical questions: "What
are we? Humans?  Or  animals?  Or  savages?"  (84).  Taking  his  cue,  Jack
(savagery in  excelsis) leaps to his feet and leads all but the "three blind
mice" (Ralph, Piggy, Simon) into  a mad jig of  release  down the  darkening
beach. The parliamentarians naively contrast their failure with the supposed
efficiency of  adults, and Ralph, in  despair,  asks  for  a sign  from that
ruined world.
     In "Beast from Air"  the sign, a dead man in a parachute, is sent  down
from  the  grownups,  and  the  collapse  foreshadowed  in  the  allegorical
parliament comes on with surprising speed. Ralph himself looks into the face
of the enthroned  tyrant  on  the mountain, and  from that moment  his young
intelligence is crippled by fear.  He  confirms the reality of the beast and
his confession of weakness insures Jack's spectacular rise to power. Yet the
ease   with   which   Jack  establishes  his  Dionysian   order  is   hardly
unaccountable. In  its very first appearance the black-caped choir,  vaguely
evil in  its  military esprit,  emerged ominously from a mirage and  marched
down upon  the minority  forces assembled on the platform. Except for Simon,
pressed into service and out of step  with the  common rhythm, the  choir is
composed   of  servitors  bound  by   the   ritual  and  mystery  of   group
consciousness.  They  share  in  that  communion,  and  there  is   no  real
"conversion" or transfer  of allegiance from good to evil  when  the chorus,
ostensibly Christian,  becomes  the tribe of hunters.  The  lord  they serve
inhabits  their  own being. If they turn with relief from the burdens of the
platform, it is  because they cannot transcend the  limitations of their own
nature. Even the parliamentary pool of intelligence must fail in the attempt
to  explain  all  that manifests  itself in our  turbulent  hearts, and  the
assertion that life is ordered, "scientific," often appears mere bravado. It
embodies tile sin of  pride and, inevitably, evokes in some  form  the great
god it has denied.
     It is Simon who witnesses  his coming and hears his words of  wrath. In
the thick  undergrowth of the forest the boy discovers a refuge from the war
of words. His shelter  of leaves is  a place of contemplation, a sequestered
temple,  scented  and  lighted by  the  white flowers of the  night-blooming
candlenut tree, where, in secret,  he meditates  on the  lucid  but  somehow
over-simple  logic  of  Piggy and  Ralph and  the  venal  emotion  of Jack's
challenges: There, in  the infernal glare of the afternoon sun, he  sees the
killing of  the sow by the hunters and the erection of the pig's head on the
sharpened stick. These acts  signify  not only the  release  from  the blood
taboo but  also obeisance to the mystery  and god who has come to be lord of
the  island-world.  In the  hours of one powerfully symbolic afternoon Simon
sees  the  perennial fall which  is  the central reality of our history:  me
defeat of reason and  the  release of Dionysian madness  in souls wounded by
     Awed by the hideousness of the dripping head (an image of  the hunter's
own nature) the apprentice bacchantes suddenly run away, but Simon's gaze is
"held by  that ancient, inescapable recognition" (128)-an incarnation of the
beast or devil bom again and again out of the  human  heart. Before he loses
consciousness   the  epileptic  visionary   "hears"   the   truth  which  is
inaccessible  to  the  illusion-bound  rationalist  and  the unconscious  or
irrational  man alike: " '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 echoed with  the  parody of  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 as they are?' " (133). When Simon recovers  from
this trauma of revelation  he finds on  the mountain top that the "beast" is
only a man. Like  the pig  itself,  the dead  man in the chute is fly-blown,
corrupt, an obscene image of the evil that  has triumphed in the adult world
as well. Tenderly, the boy releases the lines  so that the body can  descend
to earth, but  the fallen man does not  die. After Simon's  death, when  the
truth is once more lost, the figure rises, moves over the terrified tribe on
the beach, and finally out to  sea -a tyrannous ghost (history itself) which
haunts and curses every social order.
     In  his martyrdom  Simon meets  the  fate of  all  saints. The truth he
brings would set  us free from the repetitious nightmare  of history, but we
are, by  nature,  incapable of  receiving that truth. Demented by fears  our
intelligence  cannot  control,  we  are  at  once  "heroic and  sick"  (96),
ingenious  and ingenuous at the same  time. Inevitably  we gather  in tribal
union to hunt the  molesting "beast," and always the intolerable frustration
of  the hunt ends  as  it must:  within  the enchanted circle formed  by the
searchers, the beast materializes in  the  only form he can possibly assume,
the very  image of his creator; and once  he is visible, projected (once the
hunted  has become  the hunter), the circle  closes in  an  agony of relief.
Simon, call him  prophet,  seer  or saint,  is blessed  and  cursed by those
intuitions which threaten the ritual of the  tribe.  In whatever culture the
saint appears, he  is  doomed  by his unique insights. There is  a vital, if
obvious,  irony  to be  observed  in  the  fact  that the  lost  children of
Golding's  fable are of Christian heritage, but when they blindly kill their
savior they re-enact  an ancient tragedy, universal because  it has its true
source in the defects of the species.
     The  beast, too, is  as old as his maker  and has  assumed  many names,
though  of course his character must remain  quite consistent The particular
beast who  speaks to Simon is much like his namesake, Beelzebub. A prince of
demons of Assyrian  or Hebrew descent, but later appropriated by Christians,
he is a lord of the flies, an idol for unclean beings. He is what all devils
are: an embodiment of  the lusts and  cruelties which possess his worshipers
and  of peculiar  power among  the Philistines, the  unenlightened,  fearful
herd. He  shares  some kinship with Dionysus, for his powers and effects are
much the same. In  The Bacchae Dionysus is shown "as the source of ecstasies
and disasters, as the  enemy of intellect and the defense of man against his
isolation,  as a power that can make him feel like a god while acting like a
beast. ..." As such, he is "a god whom all can recognize." 14
     Nor  is  it  difficult  to  recognize  the  island on  which  Golding's
innocents are set down  as a natural paradise, an un-corrupted Eden offering
all the lush  abundance of the primal earth.  But  it is lost with the first
rumors of the "snake-thing," because he is the ancient, inescapable presence
who insures a repetition of the fall. If  this fall from grace is indeed the
"perennial myth" that Golding explores in all his work,15 it does
not seem that he has found in Genesis a metaphor capable of illuminating the
full range of his theme. In The Bacchae Golding the classicist found another
version of the fall of  man, and it is clearly more  useful to him  than its
Biblical  counterpart. For one  thing,  it makes it  possible  to avoid  the
comparatively narrow moral connotations most of us are inclined to read into
the warfare between Satan (unqualifiedly evil) and God (unqualifiedly good).
Satan  is a fallen angel seeking vengeance on the  godhead, and we therefore
think of him as an autonomous entity, a being in his own right and prince of
his own domain. Dionysus, on the other hand, is a son of God (Zeus) and thus
a manifestation  or agent  of the godhead or  mystery  with  whom man  seeks
communion,  or, perverse in  his pride, denies at his own  peril. To  resist
Dionysus is to resist nature itself, and  this attempt to transcend the laws
of  creation  brings  down  upon us  the punishment of the god. Further, the
ritual-hunt of The Bacchae provides something else not found in the Biblical
account. The hunt on  Golding's island emerges spontaneously out of childish
play, but it comes to serve as a key to psychology underlying human conflict
and,  of  course,  an  effective  symbol for the bloody game we have  played
throughout  our  history.  This  is  not  to say that  Biblical  metaphor is
unimportant in Lord of the Flies, or in the later works, but it forms only a
part of the larger mythic frame in which Golding sees the nature and destiny
of man.

     14. R. P. Winnington-Ingram, Euripides  and Dionysus: An Interpretation
of the Bacchae (Cambridge,  England: Cambridge  University Press, 1948), pp.
     15. See Ian  Gregor and Mark Kinkead-Weekes, "The  Strange Case  of Mr.
Golding and his Critics," Twentieth Century. 167 (February, 1960), 118.

     Unfortunately, the critics have concentrated all too much  on Golding's
debt to Christian sources, with the result that he is popularly  regarded as
a  rigid  Christian moralist Yet the  fact is  that he  does not reject  one
orthodoxy  only  to fall  into  another.  The  emphasis  of  his critics has
obscured  Gold-ing's fundamental realism and  made it difficult to recognize
that he satirizes the Christian as well as the rationalist point of view. In
Lord of the Flies, for example, the much discussed last  chapter offers none
of  the traditional  comforts.  A  fable,  by  virtue  of  its  far-reaching
suggestions,  touches  upon  a  dimension  that most  fiction  does  not-the
dimension  of prophecy. With  the appearance of  the naval officer  it is no
longer possible to accept the evolution of the island society as an isolated
failure.  The  events we have witnessed  constitute a picture  of  realities
which obtain  in  the  world at  large.  There, too, a  legendary beast  has
emerged from the dark wood, come  from the  sea, or fallen from the sky; and
men have gathered for  the communion of the hunt. In retrospect,  the entire
fable  suggests  a  grim  parallel  with  the  prophecies  of  the  Biblical
Apocalypse. According to that vision the weary  repetition of human  failure
is assured by the birth of new  devils for each generation of men. The first
demon, who fathers all the others,  falls from  the  heavens;  the second is
summoned  from  the  sea to make war upon the saints and overcome  them; the
third,  emerging from the earth itself, induces man  to  make and worship an
image of the beast. It also decrees  that this image  "should both speak and
cause that  as  many as should not worship" the beast should be killed. Each
devil in turn lords over the earth for  an era, and then  the long nightmare
of history is broken by the second coming and the divine millennium. In Lord
of the Flies (note some of the chapter tides) we see much the same sequence,
but it occurs in a highly accelerated evolution. The parallel ends, however,
with the  irony  of  Golding's climactic revelation.  The childish  hope  of
rescue perishes  as the beast-man comes  to  the  shore, for he bears in his
nature the bitter promise that things  will remain as they are, and as  they
have been since his first appearance ages and ages ago.
     The  rebirth  of evil  is made certain by the fatal defects inherent in
human nature, and the haunted island we occupy must always be a  fortress on
which enchanted hunters pursue the beast. There is no rescue.  The making of
history  and  the making of myth  are  finally the  selfsame  process-an old
process in which the soul makes its own place, its own reality.
     In spite of its rich and varied metaphor  Lord of the Flies  is  not  a
bookish fable, and Golding has warned that he will concede little or nothing
to  The Golden  Bough.16 There are real  dangers in ignoring this
disclaimer. To do so obscures the contemporary relevance of his  art and its
experiential sources.  During  the period of World War  II he observed first
hand the expenditure of human ingenuity in  the old  ritual  of war.  As the
illusions of  his  early  rationalism  and humanism  fell  away, new  images
emerged, and, as for Simon, a picture  of  "a human at once heroic and sick"
formed in his mind.  When the  war ended, Golding was  ready to write (as he
had not been  before), and it was  natural to find in the traditions he knew
the metaphors which could  define the continuity of the soul's flaws. In one
sense, the "fable" was already written. One had but to trace over  the words
upon the scroll17 and so collaborate with history.

     16.See Golding's reply to Professor Kermode in "The Meaning of It All,"
p. 199 in this volume.
     17.In a letter to me (September, 1962) Professor Frank  Kermode recalls
Golding's remark to  the effect that he  was "tracing  words already on  the
paper" during the writing of Lord of the Flies.

     a novel by

     1. The Sound of the Shell
     2. Fire on the Mountain
     3. Huts on the Beach
     4. Painted Faces and Long Hair
     5. Beast from Water
     6. Beast from Air
     7. Shadows and Tall Trees
     8. Gift for the Darkness
     9. A View to a Death
     10. The Shell and the Glasses
     11. Castle Rock
     12. Cry of the Hunters
     For my mother and father
     The Sound of the Shell

     The  boy with fair hair lowered himself  down the last few feet of rock
and began  to pick  his way toward the lagoon. Though  he had  taken off his
school sweater and trailed it now from one hand, his grey shirt stuck to him
and his  hair  was plastered  to his  forehead. All round him the long  scar
smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat. He was  clambering heavily among
the creepers  and broken trunks  when a bird, a  vision  of red and  yellow,
flashed upwards with a witch-like cry; and this cry was echoed by another.
     "Hi!" it said. "Wait a minute!"
     The  undergrowth  at the side of the scar was shaken and a multitude of
raindrops fell pattering.
     "Wait a minute," the voice said. ' I got caught up."
     The fair boy stopped and jerked his stockings with an automatic gesture
that made the jungle seem for a moment like the Home Counties.
     The voice spoke again.
     "I can't hardly move with all these creeper things."
     The  owner  of the  voice came backing out of  the  undergrowth so that
twigs scratched on a greasy wind-breaker. The naked crooks of his knees were
plump, caught and scratched  by  thorns. He  bent  down,  removed the thorns
carefully, and turned round. He was shorter  than the fair boy and very fat.
He  came forward, searching out safe lodgments for his feet, and then looked
up through thick spectacles.
     "Where's the man with the megaphone?"
     The fair boy shook his head.
     "This is an island. At least I think it's an island.  That's a reef out
in the sea. Perhaps there aren't any grownups anywhere."
     The fat boy looked startled.
     'There was that pilot. But he wasn't in the  passenger cabin, he was up
in front."
     The fair boy was peering at the reef through screwed-up eyes.
     "All them other lads," the fat boy went on. "Some of them must have got
out. They must have, mustn't they?"
     The  fair boy began to pick his way as casually as  possible toward the
water. He tried to be  offhand and not  too obviously uninterested, but  the
fat boy hurried after him.
     "Aren't there any grownups at all?"
     "I don't think so."
     The  fair boy  said  this solemnly; but then the delight  of a realized
ambition overcame him. In  the middle of  the scar he stood on his  head and
grinned at the reversed fat boy.
     "No grownups!"
     The fat boy thought for a moment.
     "That pilot."
     The fair boy allowed his feet to come down and sat on the steamy earth.
     "He must have flown off after he dropped us. He couldn't land here. Not
in a plane with wheels."
     "We was attacked!"
     "He'll be back all right."
     The fat boy shook his head.
     "When we  was  coming down I looked through one of them windows. I  saw
the other part of the plane. There were flames coming out of it."
     He looked up and down the scar.
     "And this is what the cabin done."
     The fair boy reached out and  touched the jagged end  of a trunk. For a
moment he looked interested.
     "What happened to it?" he asked. "Where's it got to now?"
     "That  storm dragged  it  out to sea. It wasn't half dangerous with all
them tree trunks falling. There must have been some kids still in it."
     He hesitated for a moment, then spoke again.
     "What's your name?"
     The fat boy waited to  be asked  his name  in  turn but this proffer of
acquaintance was  not made; the fair boy  called Ralph smiled vaguely, stood
up, and began to make las way once more toward the lagoon. The fat  boy hung
steadily at his shoulder.
     "I expect  there's  a lot more of us scattered about. You  haven't seen
any others, have you?"
     Ralph  shook his  head and increased his speed. Then he  tripped over a
branch and came down with a crash.
     The fat boy stood by him, breathing hard.
     "My  auntie  told me  not  to  run," he  explained, "on  account of  my
     "That's right.  Can't catch me breath. I was the only boy in our school
what  had  asthma," said the  fat boy with a  touch of pride. "And I've been
wearing specs since I was three."
     He  took  off his glasses  and held them out  to  Ralph,  blinking  and
smiling,  and then started to  wipe them against his grubby wind-breaker. An
expression of pain and inward concentration altered the pale contours of his
face. He  smeared  the  sweat  from his  cheeks  and  quickly  adjusted  the
spectacles on his nose.
     "Them fruit."
     He glanced round the scar.
     "Them fruit," he said, "I expect-"
     He  put on his glasses,  waded away from Ralph, and crouched down among
the tangled foliage.
     "Ill be out again in just a minute-"
     Ralph  disentangled himself  cautiously  and  stole  away  through  the
branches. In a few seconds the fat boy's grunts were  behind  him and he was
hurrying toward the screen that still  lay between him  and  the  lagoon. He
climbed over a broken trunk and was out of the jungle.
     The  shore was  fledged  with  palm  trees. These  stood or  leaned  or
reclined against the light and their  green feathers  were a hundred feet up
in  the air. The  ground  beneath them was a bank covered with coarse grass,
torn everywhere  by the upheavals of  fallen trees, scattered  with decaying
coconuts and  palm  saplings. Behind  this  was  the darkness  of the forest
proper and  the open space of the scar. Ralph stood, one hand against a grey
trunk, and  screwed up  his eyes against  the shimmering  water. Out  there,
perhaps a mile away, the white surf flinked on a coral reef, and beyond that
the open sea was dark blue. Within the irregular arc of coral the lagoon was
still as  a mountain lake-blue of all  shades and  shadowy green and purple.
The beach between  the  palm terrace and the water was a thin stick, endless
apparently, for to Ralph's left the perspectives of palm and beach and water
drew to a point at infinity; and always, almost visible, was the heat.
     He jumped down from  the  terrace.  The sand was thick over  his  black
shoes and  the heat hit him. He became conscious  of  the weight of clothes,
kicked his shoes off  fiercely and ripped off each stocking with its elastic
garter in a single movement Then  he leapt  back on the  terrace, pulled off
his shirt,  and stood there among the skull-like coconuts with green shadows
from  the  palms  and  the  forest  sliding  over  his  skin.  He undid  the
snake-clasp of his  belt, lugged off his shorts and  pants, and stood  there
naked, looking at the dazzling beach and the water.
     He was old  enough,  twelve  years and  a  few months, to have lost the
prominent tummy of childhood; and not yet old enough for adolescence to have
made him awkward. You could see now that he might  make a boxer,  as  far as
width and  heaviness of shoulders went, but  there  was a mildness about his
mouth and  eyes that proclaimed no devil.  He patted the palm trunk  softly,
and,  forced  at last to believe  in  the  reality  of  the island,  laughed
delightedly  again and stood on his head.  He turned neatly  on to his feet,
jumped  down to  the beach,  knelt and  swept a double armful of sand into a
pile against his  chest.  Then  he  sat  back and looked at  the  water with
bright, excited eyes.
     The fat  boy  lowered himself over  the terrace and sat down carefully,
using the edge as a seat.
     "I'm sorry I been such a time. Them fruit-"
     He  wiped his  glasses and adjusted them on his  button nose. The frame
had  made a deep, pink "V" on the  bridge.  He looked critically at  Ralph's
golden body and then down at his own clothes. He laid a hand on the end of a
zipper that extended down his chest.
     "My auntie-"
     Then  he  opened  the  zipper  with   decision  and  pulled  the  whole
wind-breaker over his head.
     Ralph looked at him sidelong and said nothing.
     "I  expect we'll want to know all  their names," said the fat boy, "and
make a list. We ought to have a meeting."
     Ralph did not take the hint so the fat boy was forced to continue.
     "I don't care  what  they call me," he said confidentially, "so long as
they don't call me what they used to call me at school.'
     Ralph was faintly interested.
     "What was that?"
     The fat boy glanced over his shoulder, then leaned toward Ralph.
     He whispered.
     "They used to call me 'Piggy.' "
     Ralph shrieked with laughter. He jumped up.
     "Piggy! Piggy!"
     Piggy clasped his hands in apprehension.
     "I said I didn't want-"
     "Piggy! Piggy!"
     Ralph  danced  out into the hot air of the beach and then returned as a
fighter-plane, with wings swept back, and machine-gunned Piggy.
     He dived in the sand at Piggy's feet and lay there laughing.
     Piggy  grinned  reluctantly,  pleased despite himself at even this much
     "So long as you don't tell the others-"
     Ralph giggled into the  sand. The expression of pain and  concentration
returned to Piggy's face.
     "Half a sec'."
     He  hastened back into the forest. Ralph stood up  and trotted along to
the right.
     Here the  beach was interrupted abruptly by  the square  motif  of  the
landscape;  a  great  platform  of pink granite thrust  up  uncompromisingly
through forest and  terrace  and sand and lagoon to make a raised jetty four
feet high. The top of this was covered with a  thin layer of soil and coarse
grass and shaded  with young palm trees. There was not  enough soil for them
to  grow to any height and  when they  reached perhaps twenty feet they fell
and  dried,  forming a criss-cross pattern of trunks, very convenient to sit
on. The palms that still stood made  a green roof, covered  on the underside
with a quivering tangle of reflections from the lagoon. Ralph hauled himself
onto this  platform, noted the coolness and shade, shut one eye, ana decided
that the shadows on his body  were  really green. He  picked his way  to the
seaward edge of  the  platform and stood looking down into the water. It was
clear to the bottom and bright with the efflorescence of  tropical  weed and
coral.  A school  of tiny, glittering fish flicked hither and thither. Ralph
spoke to himself, sounding the bass strings of delight.
     Beyond  the  platform there  was  more  enchantment. Some act of  God-a
typhoon  perhaps,  or  the storm  that had  accompanied his  own arrival-had
banked sand  inside the lagoon so  that there was  a long, deep  pool in the
beach with a high ledge of pink granite at the  further end. Ralph  had been
deceived before now by the specious appearance of depth in a  beach pool and
he approached this one preparing to be disappointed. But the island ran true
to form and the incredible  pool, which clearly was only invaded by  the sea
at high tide, was so  deep at one end as to be dark green.  Ralph  inspected
the whole thirty yards  carefully and then plunged in.  The water was warmer
than his blood and he might have been swimming in a huge bath.
     Piggy appeared again, sat on the rocky ledge, and watched Ralph's green
and white body enviously.
     "You can't half swim."
     Piggy took off his shoes and socks, ranged them carefully on the ledge,
and tested the water with one toe.
     "It's hot!"
     "What did you expect?"
     "I didn't expect nothing. My auntie-"
     "Sucks to your auntie!"
     Ralph  did a surface dive  and swam under water with his eyes open; the
sandy edge of the pool loomed up like a hillside. He  turned  over,  holding
his nose, and a golden light danced and shattered just  over his face. Piggy
was  looking  determined and began to take off his shorts. Presently he  was
palely and fatly naked. He tiptoed down the sandy side of  the pool, and sat
there up to his neck in water smiling proudly at Ralph.
     "Aren't you going to swim?"
     Piggy shook his head.
     "I can't swim. I wasn't allowed. My asthma-"
     "Sucks to your ass-mar!"
     Piggy bore this with a sort of humble patience.
     "You can't half swim well."
     Ralph paddled backwards down the slope,  immersed  his mouth and blew a
jet of water into the air. Then he lifted his chin and spoke.
     "I could swim when I was five. Daddy taught me. He's a commander in the
Navy. When he gets leave hell come and rescue us. What's your father?"
     Piggy flushed suddenly.
     "My dad's dead," he said quickly, "and my mum-"
     He took off  his glasses and looked  vainly for something with which to
clean them.
     "I used to live with my auntie.  She kept  a candy store. I used to get
ever so many candies. As many as I liked. When'll your dad rescue us?"
     "Soon as he can."
     Piggy  rose  dripping  from  the water  and stood  naked, cleaning  his
glasses with a sock.  The only sound that reached them now  through the heat
of the morning was the long, grinding roar of the breakers on the reef.
     "How does he know we're here?"
     Ralph  lolled  in  the water. Sleep  enveloped him  like  the  swathing
mirages that were wrestling with the brilliance of the lagoon.
     "How does he know we're here?"
     Because, thought Ralph, because, because. The roar from the reef became
very distant.
     "They'd tell him at the airport."
     Piggy shook his  head, put on his flashing glasses and looked  down  at
     "Not them. Didn't you  hear what the  pilot said?  About the atom bomb?
They're all dead."
     Ralph  pulled  himself  out  of  the  water,  stood  facing  Piggy, and
considered this unusual problem.
     Piggy persisted.
     "This an island, isn't it?"
     "I climbed a rock," said Ralph slowly, "and I think this is an island."
     "They're all dead," said  Piggy,  "an'  this is an island. Nobody don't
know we're here. Your dad don't know, nobody don t know-"
     His lips quivered and the spectacles were dimmed with mist.
     "We may stay here till we die."
     With that word the heat seemed to increase till it became a threatening
weight and the lagoon attacked them with a blinding effulgence.
     "Get my clothes," muttered Ralph. "Along there."
     He trotted  through the sand,  enduring the  sun's enmity,  crossed the
platform and found his scattered clothes. To put  on a  grey shirt once more
was strangely pleasing. Then he climbed the edge  of the platform and sat in
the  green shade on a  convenient trunk.  Piggy hauled himself up,  carrying
most of his clothes under his arms. Then he sat  carefully on a fallen trunk
near the little cliff  that fronted  the lagoon; and the tangled reflections
quivered over him.
     Presently he spoke.
     "We got to find the others. We got to do something."
     Ralph said  nothing. Here was a  coral island. Protected  from the sun,
ignoring Piggy's ill-omened talk, he dreamed pleasantly.
     Piggy insisted.
     "How many of us are there?"
     Ralph came forward and stood by Piggy.
     "I don't know."
     Here and there,  little breezes crept over  the polished waters beneath
the  haze  of heat. When these breezes reached  the platform the palm fronds
would whisper, so  that spots of blurred  sunlight slid over their bodies or
moved like bright, winged things in the shade.
     Piggy  looked  up  at  Ralph.  All  the shadows  on  Ralph's face  were
reversed; green above, bright below from the  lagoon. A blur of sunlight was
crawling across his hair.
     "We got to do something."
     Ralph looked through him. Here at last was the imagined out never fully
realized  place leaping into  real life.  Ralph's lips parted in a delighted
smile  and  Piggy, taking this smile  to himself  as a  mark of recognition,
laughed with pleasure.
     "If ft really is an island-"
     "What's that?"
     Ralph had  stopped smiling and was pointing  into the lagoon. Something
creamy lay among the ferny weeds.
     "A stone."
     "No. A shell"
     Suddenly Piggy was a-bubble with decorous excitement
     "S'right. It's a shell! I  seen one like that before. On someone's back
wall A  conch he  called it. He used to blow it and then his mum would come.
It's ever so valuable-"
     Near  to  Ralph's  elbow  a  palm sapling leaned  out  over the lagoon.
Indeed, the weight was already pulling a lump from the poor soil and soon it
would fall. He tore out the stem and began to poke about in the water, while
the  brilliant  fish  flicked away on  this  side  and  that.  Piggy  leaned
     "Careful! You'll break it-"
     "Shut up."
     Ralph spoke absently. The shell was interesting and pretty and a worthy
plaything; but the vivid phantoms  of his day-dream still interposed between
him and  Piggy, who  in this context  was an irrelevance. The palm  sapling,
bending, pushed the shell across the weeds. Ralph used one hand as a fulcrum
and pressed  down  with  the other till the shell rose, dripping, and  Piggy
could make a grab.
     Now  the shell was no longer a thing seen but not to be  touched, Ralph
too became excited. Piggy babbled:
     "-a conch;  ever  so expensive. I bet if you wanted  to buy one,  you'd
have to pay  pounds and pounds and pounds -he had it on his garden wall, and
my auntie-"
     Ralph took the shell from Piggy and a little water ran down his arm. In
color  the shell  was deep cream, touched here and  there  with fading pink.
Between  the  point, worn away into a little  hole, and the pink lips of the
mouth,  lay eighteen inches of shell with a slight spiral  twist and covered
with a delicate, embossed pattern. Ralph shook sand out of the deep tube.
     "-mooed like a cow," he said. "He had some white stones too, an' a bird
cage with a green parrot. He didn't blow the white stones, of course, an` he
     Piggy  paused  for breath and stroked the glistening thing that  lay in
Ralph's hands.
     Ralph looked up.
     "We can use this to call the others. Have a meeting. They'll  come when
they hear us-"
     He beamed at Ralph.
     "That was what you meant, didn't  you? That's why you got the conch out
of the water?''
     Ralph pushed back his fair hair.
     "How did your friend blow the conch?"
     "He kind  of spat," said  Piggy.  "My  auntie wouldn't  let  me blow on
account of my asthma. He said you blew from down here." Piggy laid a hand on
his jutting abdomen. "You try, Ralph. You'll call the others."
     Doubtfully, Ralph laid the small end of the shell against his mouth and
blew.  There came a rushing sound  from  its  mouth but nothing more.  Ralph
wiped the salt water off  his lips and tried  again, but  the shell remained
     "He kind of spat."
     Ralph pursed his  lips and squirted air into the shell, which emitted a
low,  farting noise.  This  amused  both boys  so much  that  Ralph  went on
squirting for some minutes, between bouts of laughter.
     "He blew from down here."
     Ralph grasped the idea and hit  the  shell with air from his diaphragm.
Immediately the thing sounded. A  deep, harsh note  boomed under the  palms,
spread  through the intricacies of the  forest and echoed back from the pink
granite  of  the  mountain. Clouds  of birds  rose from  the  tree-tops, and
something squealed and ran in the undergrowth.
     Ralph took the shell away from his lips.
     His ordinary voice sounded like a  whisper  after the harsh note of the
conch. He laid the  conch against his lips, took a deep breath and blew once
more. The note  Doomed again: and then  at  his firmer pressure,  the  note,
fluking up an octave, became a  strident blare more penetrating than before.
Piggy  was shouting  something, his face pleased, his glasses  flashing. The
birds cried,  small  animals  scuttered.  Ralph's  breath failed;  the  note
dropped the octave, became a low wubber, was a rush of air.
     The  conch was  silent, a  gleaming  tusk; Ralph's  face was dark  with
breathlessness and the air  over  the island  was full  of  bird-clamor  and
echoes ringing.
     "I bet you can hear that for miles."
     Ralph found his breath and blew a series of short blasts.
     Piggy exclaimed: "There's one!"
     A  child had appeared among the palms,  about a hundred yards along the
beach. He was a boy of perhaps six years, sturdy and fair, his clothes torn,
his face covered with a sticky mess of fruit. His  trousers had been lowered
for an obvious purpose and had only been pulled back half-way. He jumped off
the palm  terrace  into the sand and his trousers fell  about his ankles; he
stepped out.  of them  and trotted to the platform.  Piggy  helped  him  up.
Meanwhile Ralph continued to  blow  till  voices  shouted in  the forest The
small boy squatted in front of Ralph, looking up brightly and vertically. As
he  received the reassurance of something purposeful  being done he began to
look satisfied, and his only clean digit, a pink thumb, slid into his mouth.
     Piggy leaned down to him.
     "What's yer name?"
     Piggy muttered the name to  himself and  then shouted it to  Ralph, who
was not interested because he was still blowing. His face was dark with  the
violent pleasure  of making  this stupendous noise, and his heart was making
the stretched shirt shake. The shouting in the forest was nearer.
     Signs  of  life  were visible  now  on the beach. The  sand,  trembling
beneath the heat haze, concealed many  figures in its miles of  length; boys
were making their way toward the platform through the hot,  dumb sand. Three
small children, no older than Johnny, appeared from startlingly dose at hand
where they had been  gorging fruit in the forest A dark little boy, not much
younger  than  Piggy,  parted  a  tangle  of  undergrowth, walked  on to the
platform, and  smiled cheerfully at everybody. More and more  of  them came.
Taking their cue from the innocent Johnny, they sat down on the fallen  palm
trunks  and waited. Ralph continued to blow short, penetrating blasts. Piggy
moved among  the crowd,  asking  names  and  frowning to remember them.  The
children gave  him the same simple  obedience that they had given to the men
with  megaphones.  Some  were  naked  and  carrying  their  clothes;  others
half-naked, or more or  less dressed, in  school uniforms, grey, blue, fawn,
jacketed or jerseyed. There  were badges, mottoes even, stripes of  color in
stockings and pullovers. Their heads clustered above the trunks in the green
shade;  heads brown,  fair,  black,  chestnut, sandy,  mouse-colored;  heads
muttering, whispering, heads full of eyes that watched Ralph and speculated.
Something was being done.
     The  children who came along  the beach, singly or in twos, leapt  into
visibility when  they crossed the line from heat haze  to nearer sand. Here,
the eye was first attracted to a black, bat-like creature that danced on the
sand,  and only later perceived the body above it.  The bat was  the child's
shadow, shrunk by the  vertical sun  to  a patch between the hurrying  feet.
Even while he blew, Ralph noticed the last pair of bodies  that reached  the
platform above  a fluttering patch  of Hack. The two boys, bullet-headed and
with  hair  like tow,  flung themselves down and lay grinning and panting at
Ralph like dogs. They were twins, and the eye was shocked and incredulous at
such cheery duplication. They breathed together, they grinned together, they
were chunky  and  vital.  They raised wet lips at  Ralph,  for  they  seemed
provided with not quite enough skin, so that their profiles were blurred and
their mouths pulled open. Piggy bent his flashing glasses  to them and could
be heard between the blasts, repeating their names.
     "Sam, Eric, Sam, Eric."
     Then he  got muddled; the twins shook their heads and  pointed  at each
other and the crowd laughed.
     At last Ralph ceased to blow and sat there, the conch trailing from one
hand, his head  bowed  on his knees. As  the echoes  died  away so  did  the
laughter, and there was silence.
     Within the diamond haze of the beach something dark was fumbling along.
Ralph  saw it first, and watched till the intentness  of his  gaze  drew all
eyes that way. Then the creature  stepped  from mirage on to clear sand, and
they  saw that the darkness  was not all  shadows but  mostly  clothing. The
creature was a party of boys, marching approximately in step in two parallel
lines  and  dressed in  strangely  eccentric clothing.  Shorts,  shirts, and
different garments  they carried in their hands; but each boy wore a  square
black cap  with a silver badge  on it.  Their bodies,  from throat to ankle,
were hidden by black  cloaks which bore  a  long  silver cross  on the  left
breast and each neck was finished off with a hambone frill. The  heat of the
tropics, the descent,  the search for food, and  now this sweaty march along
the blazing  beach had given them the complexions of newly washed plums. The
boy who controlled them was dressed in the same way though his cap badge was
golden. When his party was about  ten yards from  the platform he shouted an
order and they halted, gasping, sweating,  swaying in the fierce  light. The
boy himself came forward, vaulted on to the platform with  his cloak flying,
and peered into what to him was almost complete darkness.
     "Where's the man with the trumpet?"
     Ralph, sensing his sun-blindness, answered him.
     "There's no man with a trumpet. Only me."
     The boy came close and peered down at Ralph, screwing up his face as he
did so.  What  he  saw of the fair-haired boy with  the creamy shell  on his
knees  did not  seem to  satisfy him. He  turned quickly,  his  black  cloak
     "Isn't there a ship, then?"
     Inside the floating cloak he was tall, thin, and bony: and his hair was
red  beneath  the black  cap. His  face was crumpled  and freckled, and ugly
without silliness. Out of.  this face stared two light blue eyes, frustrated
now, and turning, or ready to turn, to anger.
     "Isn't there a man here?" Ralph spoke to his back.
     "No. We're having a meeting. Come and join in."
     The group of cloaked  boys  began to scatter from close line.  The tall
boy shouted at them.
     "Choir! Stand still!"
     Wearily obedient, the choir huddled  into line and stood there  swaying
in the sun. None the less, some began to protest faintly.
     "But, Merridew. Please, Merridew . . . can't we?"
     Then one of the boys flopped on his face in the sand and the line broke
up. They heaved the fallen boy to the platform and let him be. Merridew, his
eyes staring, made the best of a bad job.
     "All right then. Sit down. Let him alone." "But Merridew."
     "He's always throwing  a  faint," said  Merridew. "He  did in Gib.; and
Addis; and at matins over the precentor."
     This last  piece of  shop brought  sniggers from the choir, who perched
like black birds on the criss-cross trunks and examined Ralph with interest.
Piggy asked no names. He was intimidated by this uniformed  superiority  and
the offhand authority in Merridew's voice. He shrank  to the other  side  of
Ralph and busied himself with his glasses.
     Merridew turned to Ralph.
     "Aren't there any grownups?"
     Merridew sat down on a trunk and looked round the circle.
     "Then well have to look after ourselves."
     Secure on the other side of Ralph, Piggy spoke timidly.
     "That's why Ralph made a meeting. So as we can decide what to do. We've
heard names.  That's Johnny. Those two -they're twins, Sam 'n Eric. Which is
Eric-? You? No -you're Sam-"
     "I'm Sam-"
     "'n I'm Eric."
     "We'd better all have names," said Ralph, "so I'm Ralph."
     "We got most names," said Piggy. "Got 'em just now."
     "Kids' names," said Merridew. Why should I be Jack? I'm Merridew."
     Ralph turned to him quickly. This was the voice of one who knew his own
     "Then," went on Piggy, "that boy-I forget-"
     "You're talking too much," said Jack Merridew. "Shut up, Fatty."
     Laughter arose.
     "He s not Fatty," cried Ralph, "his real name's Piggy!"
     "Piggy!" "Piggy!"
     "Oh, Piggy!"
     A storm of laughter arose and even the tiniest child joined in. For the
moment  the  boys  were a closed circuit of sympathy with Piggy  outside: he
went very pink, bowed his head and cleaned his glasses again.
     Finally  the  laughter died  away and the naming continued.  There  was
Maurice, next in size among the choir boys to  Jack, but  broad and grinning
all  the time. There was a slight, furtive boy whom no one knew, who kept to
himself with  an inner  intensity of avoidance and secrecy. He muttered that
his  name was Roger and was  silent again. Bill,  Robert, Harold, Henry; the
choir  boy who had fainted sat  up against a palm trunk, smiled pallidly  at
Ralph and said that his name was Simon.
     Jack spoke.
     "We've got to decide about being rescued."
     There was a buzz.  One of the small boys, Henry, said that he wanted to
go home.
     "Shut up," said Ralph absently. He  lifted the  conch.  "Seems to me we
ought to have a chief to decide things."
     "A chief! A chief!"
     "I ought to  be chief," said  Jack with simple arrogance,  "because I'm
chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp."
     Another buzz.
     "Well then," said Jack, "I-"
     He hesitated. The dark boy, Roger, stirred at last and spoke up.
     "Let's have a vote."
     "Vote for chief!"
     "Let's vote-"
     This toy of voting was almost as pleasing as the conch. Jack started to
protest but  the clamor  changed from  the  general  wish for a chief  to an
election by acclaim of Ralph himself. None of the boys could have found good
reason for  this; what  intelligence had been shown  was  traceable to Piggy
while  the  most  obvious leader was Jack.  But  there was a stillness about
Ralph as  he sat  that  marked him out:  there was his size,  and attractive
appearance;  and most  obscurely,  yet most powerfully, there was the conch.
The being that had blown that, had sat waiting for them on the platform with
the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart.
     "Him with the shell." "Ralph! Ralph!"
     "Let him be chief with the trumpet-thing."
     Ralph raised a hand for silence.
     "All right. Who wants Jack for chief?"
     With dreary obedience the choir raised their hands.
     "Who wants me?"
     Every  hand  outside  the choir except Piggy's  was raised immediately.
Then Piggy, too, raised his hand grudgingly  into  the air.  Ralph  counted.
"I'm chief then." The  circle  of boys  broke into applause. Even the  choir
applauded;  and the freckles on Jack's  face disappeared under  a  blush  of
mortification. He started up, then changed his mind and sat down again while
the air rang. Ralph looked at him, eager to offer something.
     "The choir belongs to you, of course."
     "They could be the army-"
     "Or hunters-"
     "They could be-"
     The  suffusion drained  away  from Jack's face. Ralph waved  again  for
     "Jack's in charge  of the choir. They can be-what do you  want them  to
     Jack and Ralph smiled at each other with shy liking. The rest began  to
talk eagerly.
     Jack stood up.
     "A11 right, choir. Take off your togs."
     As if  released from  class, the choir boys  stood up, chattered, piled
their black cloaks on the grass.  Jack laid his  on the  trunk by Ralph. His
grey  shorts  were  sticking  to  him  with  sweat.  Ralph  glanced at  them
admiringly, and when Jack saw his glance he explained.
     "I tried to get over that hill to see if there was water all round. But
your shell called us."
     Ralph smiled and held up the conch for silence.
     "Listen, everybody.  I've got to have time  to think things out I can't
decide what to  do straight off. If this isn't an island we might be rescued
straight away. So we've got to  decide if this is  an island. Everybody must
stay round here and  wait and not go away. Three of us-if we take more  we'd
get all mixed, and lose  each other-three of us will go on an expedition and
find out. I`ll go, and Jack, and, and...."
     He looked round the circle of eager faces. There was no lack of boys to
choose from.
     "And Simon."
     The boys round Simon giggled, and he stood up, laughing  a little.  Now
that the pallor of his faint was  over, he  was a skinny, vivid  little boy,
with a  glance  coming up from under a hut of straight  hair that hung down,
black and coarse.
     He nodded at Ralph.
     "I'll come."
     "And I-"
     Jack  snatched from  behind  him a sizable sheath-knife and clouted  it
into a trunk. The buzz rose and died away.
     Piggy stirred. "I'll come."
     Ralph turned to him. "You're no good on a job like this."
     "All the same-"
     "We don't want you," said Jack, flatly.
     "Three's enough."
     Piggy's glasses flashed.
     "I was with him when he found the conch. I  was with him  before anyone
else was."
     Jack and the others paid  no  attention. There was a general dispersal.
Ralph, Jack and Simon jumped off the platform and walked along the sand past
the bathing pool. Piggy hung bumbling behind them.
     "If Simon walks in the middle of us," said Ralph, "then  we could  talk
over his head."
     The three  of them fell  into step. This meant that every now  and then
Simon had to  do a  double shuffle to eaten  up with the  others.  Presently
Ralph stopped and turned back to Piggy.
     Jack and Simon pretended to notice nothing. They walked on.
     "You can't come."
     Piggy's glasses were misted again-this time with humiliation.
     "You told 'em. After what I said."
     His face flushed, his mouth trembled. "After I said I didn't want-"
     "What on earth are you talking about?"
     "About being called Piggy. I said I didn't care  as long as they didn't
call me Piggy; an' I said not to tell  and  then  you went an' said straight
     Stillness descended on them. Ralph, looking with more  understanding at
Piggy, saw that he was  hurt and crushed. He hovered between the two courses
of apology or further insult.
     "Better  Piggy  than Fatty,"  he said at  last, with  the directness of
genuine leadership, "and anyway,  I'm  sorry if you feel like  that. Now  go
back, Piggy, and take names. That's your job. So long."
     He turned and raced after  the other two.  Piggy  stood and the rose of
indignation faded slowly from his cheeks. He went back to the platform.
     The three  boys  walked briskly on the sand. The tide was low and there
was a strip of weed-strewn beach  that was almost as firm as a road.  A land
of glamour was spread over them and the scene and they were conscious of the
glamour and made happy by it. They turned to each other, laughing excitedly,
talking,  not listening.  The  air  was  bright Ralph,  faced by the task of
translating  all this into an explanation, stood on  his head and fell over.
When they had  done laughing,  Simon stroked Ralph's arm shyly; and they had
to laugh again.
     "Come on," said Jack presently, "we're explorers."
     "We'll go to the end of  the  island," said Ralph, "and look round  the
     "If it is an island-"
     Now, toward the end  of  the  afternoon,  the mirages were  settling  a
little. They found the end of the island, quite distinct,  and  not magicked
out of shape or sense.  There was a jumble of the usual squareness, with one
great block sitting out in the lagoon. Sea birds were nesting there.
     "Like icing," said Ralph, "on a pink cake.'
     "We shan't see round this corner," said Jack, "because there isn't one.
Only a slow curve-and you can see, the rocks get worse-"
     Ralph  shaded his eyes and followed  the jagged outline of the crags up
toward the mountain. This part of the beach was nearer the mountain than any
other that they had seen.
     "We'll try climbing the  mountain from here," he said. "I should  think
this is the easiest way.  There's less of that jungly  stuff; and  more pink
rock. Come on."
     The three boys  began to scramble up.  Some  unknown force had wrenched
and shattered these cubes so that they lay  askew, often piled diminishingly
on  each other.  The  most usual  feature  of  the  rock  was a  pink  cliff
surmounted by a skewed  block;  and that again  surmounted,  and that again,
till the  pinkness  became a  stack of balanced  rock projecting through the
looped fantasy of the forest creepers. Where the pink cliffs rose out of the
ground there were often narrow tracks winding upwards. They could edge along
them, deep in the plant world, their faces to the rock.
     "What made this track?"
     Jack  paused, wiping the sweat  from  his  face.  Ralph  stood  by him,
     Jack shook his head.
     Ralph peered  into  the darkness under  the trees. The forest  minutely
     "Come on."
     The  difficulty was  not the steep ascent round the shoulders  of rock,
but  the occasional plunges through the undergrowth to get to the next path.
Here the roots and stems of creepers  were in such tangles that the boys had
to thread through them like pliant needles. Their only guide, apart from the
brown  ground and occasional flashes of fight  through  the foliage, was the
tendency of slope: whether  this hole, laced as  it was with the  cables  of
creeper, stood higher than that.
     Somehow, they moved up.
     Immured in these tangles, at perhaps their most difficult moment, Ralph
turned with shining eyes to the others.
     The cause of their pleasure  was not obvious. All three were hot, dirty
and  exhausted.  Ralph was badly scratched. The  creepers  were as thick  as
their thighs  and  left  little but tunnels for further  penetration.  Ralph
shouted experimentally and they listened to the muted echoes.
     "This is real exploring," said Jack. "I bet nobody's been here before."
     "We ought to draw a map," said Ralph, "only we haven't any paper."
     "We could  make scratches  on  bark," said Simon, "and rub  black stuff
     Again came the solemn communion of shining eyes in the gloom.
     There  was  no  place  for  standing on  one's  head. This  time  Ralph
expressed the  intensity  of his emotion  by pretending to Knock Simon down;
and soon they were a happy, heaving pile in the under-dusk.
     When they had fallen apart Ralph spoke first.
     "Got to get on."
     The pink granite of the next cliff  was further  back from the creepers
and trees so that they could trot up the path. This again led into more open
forest so that they had a glimpse of  the spread sea. With openness came the
sun;  it dried the sweat that had soaked their clothes  in  the  dark,  damp
heat. At last the way to the top looked like a scramble over pink rock, with
no more plunging through darkness.  The boys chose their way through defiles
and over heaps of sharp stone.
     "Look! Look!"
     High over this end of the island, the  shattered rocks  lifted up their
stacks  and chimneys. This one,  against  which  Jack  leaned, moved with  a
grating sound when they pushed.
     "Come on-"
     But not "Come on" to the top. The assault on the summit must wait while
the three boys  accepted  this challenge. The rock was  as large as a  small
motor car.
     Sway back and forth, catch the rhythm.
     Increase  the  swing of the  pendulum, increase, increase,  come up and
bear against that point of furthest balance-increase-increase-
     The  great  rock loitered,  poised  on one toe, decided  not to return,
moved through the air,  fell, struck, turned over, leapt droning through the
air and  smashed  a deep hole in the canopy  of the forest. Echoes and birds
flew, white and pink dust floated, the forest further down shook as with the
passage of an enraged monster: and then the island was still.
     "Like a bomb!"
     Not for five minutes could they drag themselves away from this triumph.
But they left at last.
     The way to the top was easy after that As they reached the last stretch
Ralph stopped.
     They were  on the lip of a circular hollow In the side or the mountain.
This was  filled  with a blue flower,  a rock plant of  some sort,  and  the
overflow  hung down  the vent and spilled  lavishly among the canopy  of the
forest. The air was thick with butterflies, lifting, fluttering, settling.
     Beyond the hollow was the square top of the mountain and soon they were
standing on it.
     They had  guessed before that this was an island: clambering among  the
pink rocks,  with the  sea on  either side, and the crystal heights  of air,
they had known by some instinct  that the sea lay on  every side.  But there
seemed something more fitting in leaving the  last word till  they stood  on
the top, and could see a circular horizon of water.
     Ralph turned to the others.
     "This belongs to us."
     It was roughly boat-shaped: humped  near this end with behind them  the
jumbled descent to  the shore. On either side rocks, cliffs, treetops  and a
steep  slope:  forward  there,  the length  of  the boat,  a  tamer descent,
tree-clad, with hints of pink: and then the jungly flat of the island, dense
green, but drawn at the  end to a  pink tail There, where the island petered
out  in water, was another island;  a rock, almost detached, standing like a
fort, facing them across the green with one bold, pink bastion.
     The boys surveyed  all  this, then looked out to sea. They were high up
and the afternoon  had advanced;  the  view was not robbed of  sharpness  by
     "That's a reef. A coral reel. I've seen pictures like that."
     The reef enclosed  more than  one side of the  island, tying  perhaps a
mile out  and parallel to what they now thought of as their beach. The coral
was scribbled  in the sea as though a giant had bent down to  reproduce  the
shape  of  the island  in  a  flowing  chalk line but  tired  before he  had
finished.  Inside  was  peacock  water,  rocks  and  weed  showing as in  an
aquarium; outside was the dark blue of the sea. The tide was running so that
long streaks of foam  tailed away from the reef  and for  a moment they felt
that the boat was moving steadily astern.
     Jack pointed down.
     "That s where we landed."
     Beyond  falls and  cliffs there was a gash  visible in the trees; there
were the splintered trunks  and then the drag, leaving only a fringe of palm
between the scar and the sea. There,  too, jutting into the lagoon,  was the
platform, with insect-like figures moving near it.
     Ralph sketched  a twining  line from the  bald spot on which they stood
down a slope, a gully, through flowers, round and down to the rock where the
scar started.
     "That's the quickest way back."
     Eyes  shining, mouths  open,  triumphant,  they  savored the  right  of
domination. They were lifted up: were friends.
     "There's  no  village smoke, and  no boats," said  Ralph wisely. "We'll
make sure later; but I think it's uninhabited."
     "We'll get food," cried Jack. "Hunt.  Catch things  .  .  . until  they
fetch us."
     Simon looked at them both,  saying nothing  but nodding  till his black
hair flopped backwards and forwards: his face was glowing.
     Ralph looked down the other way where there was no reef.
     "Steeper," said Jack.
     Ralph made a cupping gesture.
     "That bit of forest down there ... the mountain holds it up."
     Every  point of the mountain held up trees-flowers  and trees.  Now the
forest stirred, roared, flailed. The nearer acres  of rock flowers fluttered
and for half a minute the breeze blew cool on their faces.
     Ralph spread his arms.
     "All ours."
     They laughed and tumbled and shouted on the mountain.
     "I'm hungry."
     When Simon mentioned his hunger the others became aware of theirs.
     "Come on," said Ralph. "We've found out what we wanted to know."
     They scrambled down a rock slope, dropped among flowers  and made their
way  under  the trees.  Here they paused and  examined the bushes round them
     Simon spoke first.
     "Like candles. Candle bushes. Candle buds."
     The bushes  were  dark  evergreen and  aromatic  and the many buds were
waxen green and folded up  against the light.  Jack slashed at one with  his
knife and the scent spilled over them.
     "Candle buds."
     "You couldn't light them," said Ralph. "They just look like candles."
     "Green  candles," said  Jack contemptuously. "We  can't eat  them. Come
     They  were in the beginnings of  the  thick forest, plonking with weary
feet on  a track, when they heard the noises -squeakings-and the hard strike
of hoofs on a path. As they pushed forward the squeaking  increased till  it
became  a  frenzy. They  found  a piglet  caught in  a curtain of  creepers,
throwing itself at the elastic traces in all the madness of extreme  terror.
Its  voice  was  thin, needle-sharp  and insistent.  The three  boys  rushed
forward and Jack drew his knife again with  a flourish. He raised his arm in
the air. There  came a pause,  a hiatus, the pig continued to scream and the
creepers to jerk, and the blade continued to flash at the end of a bony arm.
The pause  was  only long enough for them to understand what an enormity the
downward  stroke would be. Then the piglet tore loose  from the creepers and
scurried into the undergrowth. They were left looking at each other  and the
place of terror. Jack's  face was white under the freckles'. He noticed that
he still held the knife  aloft and brought his  arm down replacing the blade
in the sheath. Then they all three laughed ashamedly and began to climb back
to the track.
     "I  was choosing  a place," said Jack. "I was just waiting for a moment
to decide where to stab him."
     "You should stick a pig," said Ralph fiercely. "They always  talk about
sticking a pig."
     "You cut  a pig's throat to let the blood out,"  said  Jack, "otherwise
you can't eat the meat"
     "Why didn't you-?"
     They knew very well why he hadn't: because of the enormity of the knife
descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood.
     "I was going  to," said Jack.  He was ahead of them and they  could not
see his face. "I was choosing a place. Next time-!"
     He  snatched his  knife  out  of the sheath and slammed it into  a tree
trunk. Next time there would be  no mercy. He looked round fiercely,  daring
them  to contradict. Then they broke out into the  sunlight and for a  while
they were busy finding and devouring rood as they moved down the scar toward
the platform and the meeting.

     Fire on the Mountain

     By  the time Ralph finished blowing the conch the platform was crowded.
There were differences between this meeting and the one held in the morning.
The afternoon sun slanted in from the other side of the platform and most of
the children, feeling too late the smart  of sunburn,  had put their clothes
on. The choir, noticeably less of a group, had discarded their cloaks.
     Ralph sat on a fallen trunk, his  left side  to the  sun.  On his right
were most of the  choir; on his left the larger  boys who had not known each
other  before  the  evacuation;  before  him small children squatted in  the
     Silence now. Ralph lifted the cream and pink shell  to  his knees and a
sudden breeze scattered light over the platform. He was uncertain whether to
stand  up or remain  sitting. He looked  sideways to  his  left, toward  the
bathing pool. Piggy was sitting near but giving no help.
     Ralph cleared his throat.
     "Well then."
     All at once he found he could  talk fluently and explain what he had to
say. He passed a hand through his fair hair and spoke.
     "We're on an island. We've been on the mountain top  and seen water all
round. We saw no houses, no smoke, no footprints, no boats, no people. We're
on an uninhabited island with no other people on it."
     Jack broke in.
     "All the same you need an army-for hunting. Hunting pigs-"
     "Yes. There are pigs on the island."
     All  three  of them  tried to convey the sense of the pink  live  thing
struggling in the creepers.
     "We saw-"
     "It broke away-"
     "Before I could kill it-but-next time!"
     Jack slammed his knife into a trunk and looked round challengingly.
     The meeting settled down again.
     "So you see," said Ralph, "we need hunters to get us  meat. And another
     He lifted the shell  on his  knees and  looked  round  the  sun-slashed
     "There aren't any grownups. We shall have to look after ourselves."
     The meeting hummed and was silent.
     "And another thing. We can't have  everybody talking at once. Well have
to have 'Hands up' like at school."
     He held the conch before his face and glanced round the mouth.
     "Then I'll give him the conch."
     "That's  what this shell's  called.  I`11 give  the  conch to  the next
person to speak. He can hold it when he's speaking."
     "And he won't be interrupted. Except by me."
     Jack was on his feet.
     "We'll have  rules!" he  cried excitedly. "Lots  of  rules!  Then  when
anyone breaks 'em-"
     Ralph  felt  the conch lifted from his  lap.  Then Piggy  was  standing
cradling the great cream shell and the shouting died down. Jack, left on his
feet,  looked uncertainly  at Ralph who smiled and patted  the log. Jack sat
down. Piggy took off his glasses and blinked at the  assembly while he wiped
them on his shirt.
     "You're  hindering Ralph.  You're  not  letting him  get  to  the  most
important thing."
     He paused effectively.
     "Who knows we're here? Eh?"
     "They knew at the airport"
     "The man with a trumpet-thing-"
     "My dad."
     Piggy put on his glasses.
     "Nobody knows where we are,"  said Piggy. He was  paler than before and
breathless.  "Perhaps they knew where we was going to; and  perhaps not. But
they don't know where we are 'cos we never got  there." He gaped at them for
a moment, then swayed and sat down. Ralph took the conch from his hands.
     "That's what I was going  to say," he  went on, "when you all, all. . .
." He gazed  at  their intent faces. "The plane was  shot  down  in  flames.
Nobody knows where we are. We may be here a long time."
     The silence was so  complete  that they could hear  the  unevenness  of
Piggy's breathing. The sun slanted in and lay golden over half the platform.
The  breezes that on the  lagoon  had chased their tails like  kittens  were
finding then-way across the  platform and into the forest. Ralph pushed back
the tangle of fair hair that hung on his forehead.
     "So we may be here a long time."
     Nobody said anything. He grinned suddenly.
     "But this  is a good island.  We-Jack,  Simon and  me- we  climbed  the
mountain. It's wizard. There's food and drink, and-"
     "Blue flowers-"
     Piggy, partly  recovered,  pointed to the  conch in Ralph's hands,  and
Jack and Simon fell silent. Ralph went on.
     "While we're waiting we can have a good time on this island."
     He gesticulated widely.
     "It's like in a book."
     At once there was a clamor.
     "Treasure Island-"
     "Swallows and Amazons-"
     "Coral Island-"
     Ralph waved the conch.
     "This is our island. It's a  good island. Until the  grownups  come  to
fetch us we'll have fun."
     Jack held out his hand for the conch.
     There's pigs," he said. "There's food; and bathing water in that little
stream along there-and everything. Didn't anyone find anything else?"
     He handed the conch  back to Ralph and sat  down. Apparently no one had
found anything.
     The older boys first noticed the child when  he resisted. There  was  a
group  of little boys urging him forward and he did not want to go. He was a
shrimp of a boy, about six years old, and  one side of  his face was blotted
out  by a  mulberry-colored  birthmark.  He  stood now,  warped  out  of the
perpendicular by the fierce light of publicity, and he bored into the coarse
grass with one toe. He was muttering and about to cry.
     The other little boys, whispering but serious, pushed him toward Ralph.
     "All right," said Ralph, "come on then."
     The small boy looked round in panic.
     "Speak up!"
     The small boy held out his hands for the conch and the assembly shouted
with laughter; at once 'he snatched back his hands and started to cry.
     "Let him have the conch!" shouted Piggy. "Let him have it!"
     At last Ralph induced him  to hold the  shell  but by then  the blow of
laughter had  taken away the child's  voice. Piggy knelt by him, one hand on
the great shell, listening and interpreting to the assembly.
     "He wants to know what you're going to do about the snake-thing."
     Ralph laughed, and  the  other boys  laughed  with  him. The small  boy
twisted further into himself.
     "Tell us about the snake-thing."
     "Now he says it was a beastie."
     "A snake-thing. Ever so big. He saw it"
     "In the woods."
     Either the wandering  breezes or perhaps the decline of the sun allowed
a little  coolness  to lie  under  the trees. The  boys felt it  and stirred
     "You  couldn't have  a beastie, a snake-thing, on an island this size,"
Ralph explained kindly. "You only get them in big countries, like Africa, or
     Murmur; and the grave nodding of heads.
     "He says the beastie came in the dark."
     "Then he couldn't see it!"
     Laughter and cheers.
     "Did you hear that? Says he saw the thing in the dark-"
     "He still says he saw the beastie. It came and went away again an' came
back and wanted to eat him-"
     "He was dreaming."
     Laughing, Ralph looked for  confirmation round  the  ring of faces. The
older boys agreed; but  here  and there among the little ones  was the doubt
that required more than rational assurance.
     "He  must  have  had  a  nightmare.  Stumbling about  among  all  those
     More grave nodding; they knew about nightmares.
     "He  says he saw the  beastie, the  snake-thing, and will  it come back
     "But there isn't a beastie!"
     "He says in the  morning it  turned into  them things like ropes in the
trees and hung in the branches. He says will it come back tonight?"
     "But there isn't a beastie!"
     There was no  laughter at all now and more grave watching. Ralph pushed
both hands through his hair and looked at the little  boy in mixed amusement
and exasperation.
     Jack seized the conch.
     "Ralph's right of course. There isn't a snake-thing. But if there was a
snake we'd hunt it and kill it. We're going to  hunt  pigs to  get meat  for
everybody. And we'll look for the snake too-"
     "But there isn't a snake!"
     "We'll make sure when we go hunting."
     Ralph was annoyed and, for the moment, defeated. He felt himself facing
something ungraspable. The  eyes that looked so intently at him were without
     "But there isn't a beast!"
     Something he had not known was  there  rose in him and compelled him to
make the point, loudly and again.
     "But I tell you there isn't a beast!"
     The assembly was silent.
     Ralph lifted the conch again and his good humor came back as he thought
of what he had to say next.
     "Now we come  to the most important  thing.  I've been  thinking. I was
thinking while  we were climbing the mountain."  He flashed a conspiratorial
grin at the other two. "And on the beach just now. This is  what  I thought.
We want to have fun. And we want to be rescued."
     The passionate noise of agreement from the assembly hit him like a wave
and he lost his thread. He thought again.
     "We want to be rescued; and of course we shall be rescued."
     Voices babbled.  The simple statement, unbacked  by  any proof  but the
weight of Ralph's new authority, brought light and happiness. He had to wave
the conch before he could make them hear him.
     "My  father's in  the  Navy.  He said  there aren't any unknown islands
left. He says the Queen  has a big room full of  maps and all the islands in
the world are drawn there. So the Queen's got a picture of this island."
     Again came the sounds of cheerfulness and better heart.
     "And sooner or later a  ship will put in here. It might even be Daddy's
ship. So you see, sooner or later, we shall be rescued."
     He paused, with the point  made. The  assembly was lifted toward safety
by his words. They  liked and now respected him. Spontaneously they began to
clap and  presently  the  platform  was loud with applause.  Ralph  flushed,
looking sideways at Piggy's open admiration, and then the other  way at Jack
who was smirking and showing that he too knew how to clap.
     Ralph waved the conch.
     "Shut up! Wait! Listen!"
     He went on in the silence, borne on his triumph.
     "There's another thing.  We can help them  to find us. If a  ship comes
near the island they may not notice us. So we must make  smoke on top of the
mountain. We must make a fire."
     "A fire! Make a fire!"
     At once half the boys were on their feet. Jack clamored among them, the
conch forgotten. "Come on! Follow me!"
     The space under  the  palm  trees was full of noise and movement. Ralph
was  on his feet too, shouting for quiet, but no one heard  him. All at once
the crowd  swayed toward the  island and was  gone-following Jack. Even  the
tiny children went and did their best  among the leaves and broken branches.
Ralph was left, holding the conch, with no one but Piggy.
     Piggy's breathing was quite restored.
     "Like kids!" he said scornfully. "Acting like a crowd of lads!"
     Ralph looked at him doubtfully and laid the conch on the tree trunk.
     "I bet  it's  gone tea-time," said Piggy.  "What do they think  they're
going to do on that mountain?"
     He caressed the shell respectfully, then stopped and looked up.
     "Ralph! Hey! Where you going?"
     Ralph was already clambering  over the  first smashed  swathes  of  the
scar. A long way ahead of him was crashing and laughter.
     Piggy watched him in disgust.
     "Like a crowd of lads-"
     He  sighed,  bent, and  laced  up his  shoes. The  noise  of the errant
assembly  faded up  the mountain.  Then, with the  martyred expression of  a
parent who has to keep up with  the senseless ebullience of the children, he
picked up the  conch, turned toward  the forest,  and began  to pick his way
over the tumbled scar.

     Below the other side of the mountain top was a platform of forest. Once
more Ralph found himself making the cupping gesture.
     "Down there we could get as much wood as we want."
     Jack nodded and pulled at his underlip. Starting perhaps a hundred feet
below  them  on the  steeper side of the mountain, the patch might have been
designed  expressly  for fuel. Trees, forced  by  the damp  heat,  found too
little soil for full growth, fell early and decayed: creepers cradled  them,
and new saplings searched a way up.
     Jack  turned  to  die  choir,  who  stood  ready. Their black  caps  of
maintenance were slid over one ear like berets.
     "Well build a pile. Come on."
     They found the likeliest path down and began tugging at  the dead wood.
And  the small boys  who had reached the top came  sliding too till everyone
but Piggy was busy. Most of the wood was so rotten that  when they pulled it
broke  up into a shower of fragments and woodlice and decay; but some trunks
came out  in one piece. The  twins,  Sam  'n Eric, were the first  to get  a
likely  fog but they  could  do  nothing till  Ralph, Jack, Simon, Roger and
Maurice  found  room  for a hand-hold. Then  they inched the grotesque  dead
thing up the rock  and toppled  it over on top. Each  party of boys added  a
quota,  less or more, and the pile grew.  At the  return Ralph found himself
alone on  a limb  with  Jack and  they grinned  at each other,  sharing this
burden.  Once more, amid the breeze, the shouting, the slanting  sunlight on
the high mountain, was shed  that glamour,  that strange invisible  light of
friendship, adventure, and content.
     "Almost too heavy."
     Jack grinned back.
     "Not for the two of us."
     Together,  joined in effort by  the burden, they staggered up  the last
steep  of the mountain. Together, they chanted One! Two! Three!  and crashed
the  log  on to  the great pile.  Then  they  stepped  back,  laughing  with
triumphant pleasure,  so that  immediately Ralph had  to  stand on his head.
Below them, boys were still laboring, though some of the small ones had lost
interest and were  searching this new forest for fruit. Now the  twins, with
unsuspected intelligence, came up the mountain with armfuls of dried  leaves
and dumped them against the pile. One by  one, as they sensed that the  pile
was complete, the boys stopped going back for more and stood, with the pink,
shattered top of the mountain around them. Breath  came evenly  by  now, and
sweat dried.
     Ralph  and  Jack looked at  each other while society paused about them.
The shameful  knowledge grew  in  them  and they did  not know how  to begin
     Ralph spoke first, crimson in the face.
     "Will your?"
     He cleared his throat and went on.
     "Will you light the fire?"
     Now the absurd situation was open, Jack blushed too. He began to mutter
     "You rub two sticks. You rub-"
     He  glanced  at  Ralph,  who  blurted  out  the   last   confession  of
incompetence. "Has anyone got any matches?"
     "You make a bow and spin the arrow," said Roger. He rubbed his hands in
mime. "Psss. Psss."
     A  little  air was moving over  the mountain. Piggy  came  with it,  in
shorts and  shirt, laboring cautiously out of  the forest with  the  evening
sunlight gleaming from his glasses. He held the conch under his arm.
     Ralph shouted at him.
     "Piggy! Have you got any matches?"
     The other boys took up the cry till the mountain rang.  Piggy shook his
head and came to the pile.
     "My! You've made a big heap, haven't you?"
     Jack pointed suddenly.
     "His specs-use them as burning glasses!"
     Piggy was surrounded before he could back away.
     "Here-let me go!" His voice rose to a shriek of terror as Jack snatched
toe glasses off his face. "Mind out! Give'em back! I can hardly see!  You'll
break the conch!"
     Ralph elbowed him to one side and knelt by the pile.
     "Stand out of the light."
     There was pushing and  pulling and officious  cries.  Ralph  moved  the
lenses back and  forth, this way and that, till a  glossy white image of the
declining  sun lay on a piece of rotten wood. Almost at once a  thin trickle
of smoke rose up and made him cough. Jack knelt too and blew gently, so that
the smoke drifted away,  thickening,  and  a tiny name appeared.  The flame,
nearly  invisible at first in that bright sunlight, enveloped  a small twig,
grew, was enriched with color and reached up to a branch which exploded with
a sharp crack. The flame flapped higher and the boys broke into a cheer.
     "My specs!" howled Piggy. "Give me my specs!"
     Ralph stood away from the pile and put the glasses into Piggy s groping
hands. His voice subsided to a mutter.
     "Jus` blurs, that's all. Hardly see my hand-"
     The boys were dancing.  The  pile was so rotten, and now so tinder-dry,
that  whole  limbs yielded passionately to the  yellow  flames  that  poured
upwards and shook a great beard  of flame twenty feet in the air. For  yards
round  the fire the  heat was like  a  blow, and the breeze  was a  river of
sparks. Trunks crumbled to white dust.
     Ralph shouted.
     "More wood! All of you get more wood!"
     Life became a  race with  the fire  and the boys  scattered through the
upper forest. To keep a clean flag of  flame flying on the mountain  was the
immediate  end and  no  one  looked further. Even  the smallest boys, unless
fruit claimed them, brought little pieces of wood and threw them in. The air
moved a little faster and became a light wind, so that leeward  and windward
side were clearly differentiated.  On one side  the air was cool, but on the
other the  fire thrust out  a  savage arm of heat that crinkled  hair on the
instant. Boys who felt the  evening wind on their damp faces paused to enjoy
the  freshness  of  it  and then  found  they  were  exhausted.  They  flung
themselves down in the shadows that lay among die shattered rocks. The beard
of flame diminished quickly; then the pile fell inwards with a soft, cindery
sound,  and sent a great tree of sparks upwards that leaned away and drifted
downwind. The boys lay, panting like dogs.
     Ralph raised his head off his forearms.
     "That was no good."
     Roger spat efficiently into the hot dust.
     "What d'you mean?"
     "There wasn't any smoke. Only flame."
     Piggy had settled himself  in a space  between two rocks,  and sat with
the conch on his knees.
     "We haven't made a fire," he said, "what's  any use. We couldn't keep a
fire like that going, not if we tried.'
     "A fat lot you tried," said Jack contemptuously. "You just sat."
     "We used  his  specs,"  said Simon, smearing  a  black  cheek with  his
forearm. He helped that way."
     "I got the conch," said Piggy indignantly. "You let me speak!"
     "The  conch  doesn't count on top of the mountain," said  Jack, "so you
shut up."
     "I got the conch in my hand."
     "Put on green branches,"  said Maurice.  "That's the best  way to  make
     "I got the conch-"
     Jack turned fiercely. "You shut up!"
     Piggy wilted. Ralph took the conch from him and looked round the circle
of boys.
     "We've got  to have special people for  looking after the fire. Any day
there  may be a ship out  there"-he  waved his arm at the taut  wire  of the
horizon-"and  if we have a signal going  they'll come and take  us off.  And
another thing. We ought to have more  rules. Where the  conch  is, that's  a
meeting. The same up here as down there."
     They assented.  Piggy opened his mouth to  speak, caught Jack's eye and
shut it again. Jack held  out his hands for the conch and stood  up, holding
the delicate thing carefully in his sooty hands.
     "I agree with Ralph. We've got  to have rules and obey them. After all,
we're not savages. We're English, and the English are best at everything. So
we've got to do the right things."
     He turned to Ralph.
     "Ralph,  I'll split  up the choir-my hunters, that  is-into groups, and
we'll be responsible for keeping the fire going-"
     This generosity brought a spatter of  applause  from the boys,  so that
Jack grinned at them, then waved the conch for silence.
     "We'll  let the fire burn out now. Who would  see smoke at  night-time,
anyway? And we  can start  the fire again whenever  we  like. Altos, you can
keep the fire going this week, and trebles the next-"
     The assembly assented gravely.
     "And  we'll be responsible for  keeping a lookout too. If we see a ship
out  there"-they  followed  the  direction  of  his   bony  arm  with  their
eyes-"we'll put green branches on. Then there'll be more smoke."
     They gazed intently  at the dense blue of the horizon,  as if a  little
silhouette might appear there at any moment.
     The  sun in the west was a  drop  of burning gold that slid nearer  and
nearer the sill of the world. All at once  they were aware of the evening as
the end of light and warmth.
     Roger took the conch and looked round at them gloomily.
     "I've been watching the  sea. There  hasn't been the trace  of a  ship.
Perhaps we'll never be rescued."
     A murmur rose and swept away. Ralph took back the conch.
     "I  said  before  we'll  be  rescued sometime. We've  just got to wait,
that's all."
     Daring, indignant, Piggy took the conch.
     "That's what I said! I  said about our meetings and things and then you
said shut up-"
     His voice lifted into the whine of virtuous recrimination. They stirred
and began to shout him down.
     "You said you wanted a small  fire and you been and built a pile like a
hayrick. If I say anything,' cried Piggy, with bitter realism, "you say shut
up; but if Jack or Maurice or Simon-"
     He paused in  the tumult, standing, looking  beyond them  and down  the
unfriendly side of the mountain to the great patch where they had found dead
wood. Then  he laughed  so strangely that they were  hushed,  looking at the
flash of  his spectacles in astonishment. They followed his gaze to find the
sour joke.
     "You got your small fire all right."
     Smoke was rising here  and there among the creepers that  festooned the
dead or dying trees. As  they watched,  a flash of fire appeared at the root
of one wisp, and then the smoke thickened. Small flames stirred at the trunk
of  a tree and crawled  away  through  leaves  and  brushwood,  dividing and
increasing. One paten touched a  tree trunk and  scrambled up  like a bright
squirrel. The smoke increased, sifted, rolled  outwards.  The squirrel leapt
on  the  wings of  the  wind  and  clung  to  another  standing tree, eating
downwards. Beneath the dark canopy of leaves and smoke the fire laid hold on
the  forest  and  began  to gnaw.  Acres of black  and yellow  smoke  rolled
steadily toward the  sea. At the sight of  the flames  and  the irresistible
course  of  the  fire, the  boys broke  into  shrill, excited  cheering. The
flames, as though they were a kind of wild life, crept as a jaguar creeps on
its belly  toward a  line of  birch-like saplings that fledged an outcrop of
the pink rock. They flapped at the first of the trees, and the branches grew
a  brief  foliage of  fire. The heart of  flame leapt nimbly across the  gap
between  the trees and then went swinging and flaring along the whole row of
them. Beneath  the  capering boys a quarter of a  mile square of  forest was
savage  with smoke and flame. The separate noises of the fire merged into  a
drum-roll that seemed to shake the mountain.
     "You got your small fire all right"
     Startled, Ralph  realized that the boys  were falling still and silent,
feeling  the beginnings  of  awe at the  power  set  free  below  them.  The
knowledge and the awe made him savage.
     "Oh, shut up!"
     "I  got  the conch," said Piggy,  in  a hurt voice. "I  got a right  to
     They looked at him with eyes that lacked interest in what they saw, and
cocked ears at the drum-roll of the fire.  Piggy glanced nervously into hell
and cradled the conch.
     "We got to let that burn out now. And that was our firewood."
     He licked his lips.
     There  ain't  nothing  we  can do. We ought  to  be  more careful.  I'm
     Jack  dragged his eyes  away  from  the  fire.  You're  always  scared.
     "I  got  the conch," said Piggy bleakly. He turned to Ralph. "I got the
conch, ain't I Ralph?"
     Unwillingly Ralph turned away from the splendid, awful sight
     "What's that?"
     "The conch. I got a right to speak."
     The twins giggled together.
     "We wanted smoke-"
     "Now look-!"
     A pall stretched for miles away from the island.  All the  boys  except
Piggy started to giggle; presently they were shrieking with laughter.
     Piggy lost his temper.
     "I  got the conch!  Just you listen!  The first thing  we ought to have
made was shelters down there by the beach. It wasn't half cold down there in
the  night.  But  the first  time Ralph  says  'fire'  you goes howling  and
screaming up this here mountain. Like a pack of kids!"
     By now they were listening to the tirade.
     "How can you expect to be  rescued if you  don't put first things first
and act proper?"
     He took off his glasses and made as if to put  down the conch;  but the
sudden motion  toward  it  of most of the  older  boys changed his mind.  He
tucked the shell under his arm, and crouched back on a rock.
     "Then when you get here you build a bonfire that isn't no  use. Now you
been and set the whole  island on fire. Won't  we look  funny  if  the whole
island  burns up? Cooked  fruit,  that's  what we'll have to  eat, and roast
pork. And that's nothing to laugh at! You said Ralph was chief and you don't
give  him time to  think.  Then  when  he says something you rush off, like,
     He paused for breath, and the fire growled at them.
     "And that's not all. Them kids. The little 'uns. Who took any notice of
'em? Who knows how many we got?"
     Ralph took a sudden step forward.
     "I told you to. I told you to get a list of names!"
     "How could I," cried Piggy indignantly, "all by myself? They waited for
two minutes, then they fell in the sea; they went into the forest; they just
scattered everywhere. How was I to know which was which?"
     Ralph licked pale lips.
     Then you don't know how many of us there ought to be?"
     "How could I with  them little 'uns  running round  like insects?  Then
when  you three came back,  as soon as you said  make a fire, they  all  ran
away, and I never had a chance-"
     "That's enough!"  said Ralph sharply, and snatched  back the conch. "If
you didn't you didn't."
     "-then you come up here an' pinch my specs-"
     Jack turned on him.
     "You shut up!"
     "-and them little  'uns  was wandering about down there where  the fire
is. How d'you know they aren't still there?"
     Piggy stood up and pointed to the smoke and flames. A murmur rose among
the boys and died away. Something strange was happening to Piggy, for he was
gasping for breath.
     That little 'un-"  gasped Piggy-"him with the mark on his face, I don't
see him. Where is he now?"
     The crowd was as silent as death.
     "Him that talked about the snakes. He was down there-"
     A tree exploded in the fire like  a bomb. Tall swathes of creepers rose
for a moment  into  view, agonized, and  went  down  again. The  little boys
screamed at them.
     "Snakes! Snakes! Look at the snakes!"
     In the west,  and unheeded, the sun lay  only an inch or two above  the
sea. Their faces were  lit redly from beneath. Piggy fell against a rock and
clutched it with both hands.
     "That little 'un that  had a mark on  his face-where is -he now? I tell
you I don't see him."
     The boys looked at each other fearfully, unbelieving.
     "-where is he now?"
     Ralph muttered the reply as if in shame.
     "Perhaps he went back to the, the-"
     Beneath  them, on the unfriendly side of  the  mountain,  the drum-roll

     Huts on the Beach

     Jack was  bent double. He was down like a sprinter, his nose only a few
inches from the humid earth. The tree trunks and the creepers that festooned
them lost  themselves in a  green dusk thirty feet above him, and  all about
was the undergrowth. There was only the faintest indication of a trail here;
a cracked twig  and what might be  the impression of one side of a  hoof. He
lowered his chin and stared at the  traces as though  he would force them to
speak  to him. Then dog-like, uncomfortably  on  all fours yet unheeding his
discomfort,  he  stole  forward  five  yards  and stopped. Here  was loop of
creeper  with a tendril pendant from a node. The tendril was polished on the
underside; pigs, passing through the loop,  brushed  it with  their  bristly
     Jack  crouched  with his face a  few inches away  from  this clue, then
stared  forward into  the semi-darkness of  the undergrowth. His sandy hair,
considerably longer than  it had been when they dropped in, was lighter now;
and his bare  back  was  a mass  of dark  freckles  and peeling  sunburn.  A
sharpened stick about five feet long trailed from his right hand, and except
for a pair  of  tattered shorts held up by his knife-belt he was  naked.  He
closed his eyes,  raised  his  head  and  breathed  in  gently  with  flared
nostrils, assessing the current of warm  air for information. The forest and
he were very still.
     At length he let  out his breath  in a  long sigh and opened his  eyes.
They  were bright blue, eyes that in  this  frustration  seemed bolting  and
nearly   mad.  He  passed  his  tongue  across  dry  lips  and  scanned  the
uncommunicative forest  Then  again he stole  forward and cast this way  and
that over the ground.
     The  silence of the forest  was  more oppressive than the heat, and  at
this hour of the day there was not even the whine of insects. Only when Jack
himself roused a  gaudy bird from a primitive nest of sticks was the silence
shattered and echoes  set ringing by a harsh cry that seemed to  come out of
the abyss of ages. Jack himself shrank at this cry  with  a hiss  of indrawn
breath, and for a minute became less a hunter than a furtive thing, ape-like
among  the tangle  of trees. Then the  trail, the frustration,  claimed' him
again and he searched  the ground avidly.  By the trunk of a  vast tree that
grew pale flowers  on  its grey  bark he checked, closed  his eyes, and once
more  drew  in the warm air; and this time his breath came  short, there was
even a  passing pallor  in his face, and  then the surge of  blood again. He
passed like a shadow under  the darkness of the  tree  and crouched, looking
down at the trodden ground at his feet.
     The  droppings  were warm. They lay piled among turned earth. They were
olive  green,  smooth, and they steamed a  little. Jack lifted his head  and
stared at the inscrutable masses of creeper that lay across  the trail. Then
he  raised his  spear  and sneaked  forward. Beyond  the creeper, the  trail
joined a pig-run that was  wide enough and trodden enough  to be a path. The
ground  was hardened by  an accustomed tread and as  Jack rose to  his  full
height he  heard something  moving on it. He swung back  his  right arm  and
hurled the spear with all his  strength. From  the pig-run came  the  quick,
hard patter of hoofs, a castanet sound, seductive,  maddening-the promise of
meat. He  rushed out  of the  undergrowth  and snatched  up his  spear.  The
pattering of pig's trotters died away in the distance.
     Jack  stood there,  streaming with  sweat, streaked with  brown  earth,
stained by all the vicissitudes of  a day's hunting. Swearing, he turned off
the trail  and pushed  his way through until the  forest opened a little and
instead of bald trunks supporting a dark roof there  were light grey  trunks
and crowns of feathery palm. Beyond  these was the glitter of the sea and he
could hear voices.  Ralph was standing by a contraption  of palm  trunks and
leaves, a rude shelter that faced the lagoon and seemed very near to falling
down. He did not notice when Jack spoke.
     "Got any water?"
     Ralph looked up,  frowning, from the complication of leaves. He did not
notice Jack even when he saw him.
     "I said have you got any water? I'm thirsty."
     Ralph withdrew his attention from the shelter and  realized Jack with a
     "Oh, hullo. Water? There by the tree. Ought to be some left."
     Jack took up a coconut shell that brimmed with fresh water from among a
group that was arranged in the shade, and drank. The water splashed over his
chin and neck and chest. He breathed noisily when he had finished.
     "Needed that."
     Simon spoke from inside the shelter.
     "Up a bit."
     Ralph turned to the shelter and lifted a branch with  a whole tiling of
     The  leaves  came  apart  and  fluttered down.  Simon's  contrite  face
appeared in the hole.
     Ralph surveyed the wreck with distaste.
     "Never get it done."
     He flung himself down at Jack's feet Simon remained, looking out of the
hole in the shelter. Once down, Ralph explained.
     "Been working for days now. And look!"
     Two shelters were in position, but shaky. This one was a ruin.
     "And  they keep running off. You remember the meeting? How everyone was
going to work hard until the shelters were finished?"
     "Except me and my hunters-"
     "Except the hunters. Well, the littluns are-"
     He gesticulated, sought for a word.
     "They're  hopeless.  The older ones aren't  much better. D'you see? All
day I've been  working with  Simon.  No one  else.  They're off bathing,  or
eating, or playing."
     Simon poked his head out carefully.
     "You're chief. You tell 'em off."
     Ralph lay flat and looked up at the palm trees and the sky.
     "Meetings. Don't we love meetings? Every day. Twice a day. We talk." He
got on one  elbow.  "I  bet  if  I  blew the conch this minute,  they'd come
running. Then we'd be, you know, very solemn, and someone would say we ought
to  build  a jet, or a submarine, or a  TV set. When the  meeting  was  over
they'd work for five minutes, then wander off or go hunting."
     Jack flushed.
     "We want meat."
     "Well, we haven't got any yet. And we want  shelters. Besides, the rest
of your hunters came back hours ago. They've been swimming."
     "I went on," said Jack. "I let them go. I had to go on. I-"
     He tried to  convey  the compulsion  to  track down  and kill that  was
swallowing him up.
     "I went on. I thought, by myself-"
     The madness came into his eyes again.
     "I thought I might loll."
     "But you didn't."
     "I thought I might."
     Some hidden passion vibrated in Ralph's voice.
     "But you haven't yet."
     His  invitation  might  have  passed as casual,  were it  not  for  the
     "You wouldn't care to help with the shelters, I suppose?"
     "We want meat-"
     "And we don't get it."
     Now the antagonism was audible.
     "But  I  shall! Next time!  I've  got  to get a barb  on this spear! We
wounded a pig and the spear fell out. If we could only make barbs-"
     "We need shelters."
     Suddenly Jack shouted in rage.
     "Are you accusing-?"
     "All I'm saying is we've worked dashed hard. That's all."
     They were  both  red  in  the  face  and  found looking at  each  other
difficult. Ralph rolled on his stomach and began to play with the grass.
     "If it rains like when we dropped in well need shelters all right.  And
then another thing. We need shelters because of the-"
     He  paused for a moment and  they both pushed their anger away. Then he
went on with the safe, changed subject.
     "You've noticed, haven't you?"
     Jack put down his spear and squatted.
     'Noticed what?"
     "Well. They're frightened."
     He rolled over and peered into Jack's fierce, dirty face.
     "I mean the way things are. They dream. You can hear 'em. Have you been
awake at night?"
     Jack shook his head.
     "They talk and scream. The littluns. Even some of the others. As if-"
     "As if it wasn't a good island." .
     Astonished at the interruption, they looked up at Simon's serious face.
     "As if," said Simon, "the beastie, the beastie or  the snake-thing, was
real. Remember?"
     The two  older  boys  flinched when  they heard  the shameful syllable.
Snakes were not mentioned now, were not mentionable.
     "As  if  this wasn't a  good island," said  Ralph slowly. "Yes,  that's
     Jack sat up and stretched out his legs.
     "Crackers. Remember when we went exploring?"
     They grinned at each other,  remembering the glamour of the first  day.
Ralph went on.
     "So we need shelters as a sort of-"
     "That's right."
     Jack drew up his legs,  clasped  his knees, and frowned in an effort to
attain clarity.
     "All  the same-in the  forest. I mean  when  you're  hunting, not  when
you're getting fruit, of course, but when you're on your own-"
     He paused for a moment, not sure if Ralph would take him seriously.
     "Go on."
     "If you're hunting  sometimes  you  catch yourself  feeling as  if-" He
flushed suddenly. "There's nothing  in it of course. Just a feeling. But you
can feel  as  if you're not  hunting,  but-being hunted,  as if  something's
behind you all the time in the jungle."
     They  were silent again: Simon intent,  Ralph  incredulous and  faintly
indignant. He sat up, rubbing one shoulder with a dirty hand.
     "Well, I don't know."
     Jack leapt to his feet and spoke very quickly.
     "That's how  you can feel in  the  forest. Of course there's nothing in
it. Only-only-"
     He took a few rapid steps toward the beach, then came back.
     "Only I know how they feel. See? That's all."
     "The best thing we can do is get ourselves rescued."
     Jack  had to  think  for a  moment before he could remember what rescue
     "Rescue? Yes, of course! All the same, I'd like to  catch a pig first-"
He snatched up his  spear and dashed  it into  the: ground. The opaque,  mad
look came into his eyes again.  Ralph  looked at  him critically through his
tangle of fair hair.
     "So long as your hunters remember the fire-"
     "You and your fire-"
     The two boys trotted down  the beach, and, turning at the water's edge,
looked  back  at the pink  mountain.  The trickle of smoke sketched a chalky
line up the solid blue of the sky, wavered high up and faded. Ralph frowned.
     "I wonder how far off you could see that"
     "We don't make enough smoke."
     The  bottom part  of  the trickle,  as  though conscious of their gaze,
thickened to a creamy blur which crept up the feeble column.
     "They've put on green branches," muttered Ralph. "I wonder!" He screwed
up his eyes and swung round to search the horizon."
     "Got it!"
     Jack shouted so loudly that Ralph jumped.
     "What? Where? Is it a ship?"
     But Jack was pointing to the  high  declivities that  led down from the
mountain to the flatter part of the island.
     "Of course! They'll Be up there-they must, when the sun's too hot-"
     Ralph gazed bewildered at his rapt face.
     "-they get up high. High up and in the shade,  resting during the heat,
like cows at home-"
     "I thought you saw a ship!"
     "We could steal up on one-paint our faces so they  wouldn't see-perhaps
surround them and then-"
     Indignation took away Ralph's control.
     "I  was talking about smoke! Don't  you want to be rescued? All you can
talk about is pig, pig, pig!"
     "But we want meat!"
     "And I work all  day with nothing but Simon and you come back and don't
even notice the huts!"
     "I was working too-"
     "But you like it!" shouted Ralph. "You want to hunt! While I-"
     They faced  each other  on the bright beach,  astonished at the rub  of
feeling. Ralph looked away first, pretending interest in a group of littluns
on the sand. From beyond the platform came  the  shouting  of the hunters in
the swimming pool. On  the end of the platform Piggy was lying flat, looking
down into the brilliant water.
     "People don't help much."
     He wanted to explain how people were never quite what  you thought they
     "Simon. He helps." He pointed at the shelters.
     "All the rest rushed off. He's done as much as I have. Only-"
     "Simon's always about."
     Ralph started back to the shelters with Jack by his side.
     "Do a bit for you," muttered Jack, "before I have a bathe."
     "Don't bother."
     But when  they reached the shelters Simon was not to be seen. Ralph put
his head in the hole, withdrew it, and turned to Jack.
     "He's buzzed off."
     "Got fed up," said Jack, "and gone for a bathe."
     Ralph frowned.
     "He's queer. He's funny."
     Jack nodded, as much for the sake of agreeing as anything, and by tacit
consent they left the shelter and went toward the bathing pool.
     "And  then," said Jack, "when  I've had a  bathe and something  to eat,
I'll just trek over to the  other side of the mountain  and see if I can see
any traces. Coming?"
     "But the sun's nearly set!"
     "I might have time-"
     They walked along, two continents of experience  and feeling, unable to
     "If I could only get a pig!"
     "I'll come back and go on with the shelter."
     They looked at each other, baffled, in love and hate. All the warm salt
water of the bathing  pool and the shouting and splashing and  laughing were
only just sufficient to bring them together again.

     Simon was not in the bathing pool as they had expected.
     When  the other two  had  trotted  down  the beach to look back  at the
mountain he had followed them for a few yards and then stopped. He had stood
frowning down at a pile of sand on the beach where somebody had been  trying
to  build  a little house or hut Then he  turned his back on this and walked
into the forest with an air of purpose. He was a small, skinny boy, his chin
pointed, and his  eyes so  bright they had deceived Ralph  into thinking him
delightfully gay and wicked. The coarse mop of black hair was long and swung
down, almost concealing a low, broad forehead. He wore the remains of shorts
and  his feet  were bare like Jack's. Always  darkish in  color,  Simon  was
burned by the sun to a deep tan that glistened with sweat.
     He picked his  way up the  scar, passed  the great rock where Ralph had
climbed on the first morning, then turned  off to his right among the trees.
He walked  with an accustomed tread through  the acres of fruit trees, where
the  least  energetic  could find an easy  if unsatisfying  meal. Flower and
fruit grew together  on  the  same  tree  and everywhere was  the  scent  of
ripeness and the booming of a million bees at pasture. Here the littlums who
had run after him caught up with him. They talked, cried out unintelligibly,
lugged him  toward  the trees. Then,  amid the roar of bees in the afternoon
sunlight, Simon found for them the  fruit they  could not reach,  pulled off
the choicest from up in the foliage,  passed them  back down to the endless,
outstretched hands. When he had satisfied them  he paused and  looked round.
The littluns watched him inscrutably over double handfuls of ripe fruit.
     Simon turned away from them  and went where the just  perceptible  path
led him. Soon  high  jungle  closed  in. Tall  trunks  bore unexpected  pale
flowers all  the way up to the dark canopy where  life  went on clamorously.
The  air  here was dark too, and the creepers dropped their  ropes like  the
rigging of foundered ships.  His  feet left prints in the soft  soil and the
creepers shivered throughout their lengths when he bumped them.
     He came at last to a place where more sunshine fell. Since they had not
so far to go for light the creepers had woven  a great mat  that hung at the
side of an open space in the jungle; for here a patch of rock came close  to
the  surface and  would not allow more than little plants and ferns to grow.
The whole space was walled with dark aromatic bushes, and was a bowl of heat
and light. A  great  tree, fallen across one comer, leaned against the trees
that  still stood arid a rapid climber flaunted red and  yellow sprays right
to the top.
     Simon paused. He looked over his shoulder as Jack had done at the close
ways behind him and  glanced swiftly round to  confirm  that  he was utterly
alone. For a moment his movements were almost furtive. Then he bent down and
wormed his way into the center of the mat. The creepers  and the bushes were
so close that he left his sweat on them and they pulled together behind him.
When he  was secure in the middle he was in a little cabin screened off from
the open  space by a few  leaves. He squatted  down, parted  the leaves arid
looked out into the clearing. Nothing moved but a  pair of gaudy butterflies
that danced round each  other in the hot air. Holding his breath he cocked a
critical ear at the sounds  of the  island. Evening was advancing toward the
island; the sounds of the bright  fantastic birds,  the bee-sounds, even the
crying  of  the gulls that were  returning to their roosts among the  square
rocks,  were fainter. The deep sea  breaking miles away on the  reef made an
undertone less perceptible than the susurration of the blood.
     Simon dropped the screen of  leaves back into place. The  slope  of the
bars of honey-colored sunlight decreased; they  slid up the  bushes,  passed
over the green candle-like  buds, moved up  toward tile canopy, and darkness
thickened under the  trees. With the fading of  the light the riotous colors
died  and the heat and  urgency cooled away. The candle-buds stirred.  Their
green  sepals drew back  a  little and the white  tips of  the flowers  rose
delicately to meet the open air.
     Now the sunlight had lifted clear of the open space and  withdrawn from
the sky. Darkness poured out, submerging the ways between the trees tin they
were dim and strange as the bottom of the  sea. The candle-buds opened their
wide white flowers glimmering  under  the light that pricked down  from  the
first stars. Their scent spilled out into the air and took possession of the

     Painted Faces and Long Hair

     The first rhythm that they became used to was  the slow swing from dawn
to quick dusk. They accepted the pleasures of morning,  the  bright sun, the
whelming sea and sweet  air, as a time  when  play was good and life so full
that hope  was not  necessary and  therefore  forgotten. Toward noon, as the
floods of light fell more  nearly to the perpendicular, the stark colors  of
the morning were  smoothed in pearl and opalescence; and the  heat-as though
the impending sun's height gave it momentum- became a blow that they ducked,
running to the shade and lying there, perhaps even sleeping.
     Strange  things happened at midday. The glittering sea  rose up,  moved
apart in planes of blatant impossibility; the coral reef and the few stunted
palms  that clung to the more  elevated parts would  float up into the  sky,
would quiver, be plucked apart, run like raindrops on  a wire or be repeated
as in an odd succession of mirrors. Sometimes land loomed where there was no
land and flicked out like a bubble as the children watched. Piggy discounted
all this learnedly as a "mirage"; and since no boy could reach even the reef
over  the stretch  of water  where  the  snapping sharks waited,  they  grew
accustomed to  these mysteries  and  ignored them, just  as they ignored the
miraculous, throbbing stars. At midday the illusions merged into the sky and
there  the  sun gazed down  like  an angry  eye.  Then, at  the end  of  the
afternoon, the  mirage  subsided and  the horizon became level and  blue and
clipped  as the sun declined. That was another time of comparative  coolness
but menaced  by the coming of the dark. When the sun sank,  darkness dropped
on  the  island like  an extinguisher and  soon  the shelters  were full  of
restlessness, under the remote stars.
     Nevertheless,  the northern European tradition of work, play, and  food
right  through  the day, made  it impossible for them to  adjust  themselves
wholly  to this  new rhythm. The littlun Percival  had early crawled  into a
shelter and stayed there for  two  days, talking,  singing, and crying, till
they  thought him batty and were faintly amused. Ever since then he had been
peaked,  red-eyed,  and  miserable;  a littlun  who played little and  cried
     The smaller boys were known now by the generic title of "littluns." The
decrease in size, from Ralph  down, was  gradual;  and  though  there  was a
dubious region  inhabited by Simon and Robert  and Maurice, nevertheless  no
one had any difficulty in recognizing biguns  at one end and littluns at the
other. The undoubted littluns, those aged about  six, led a  quite distinct,
and at the same  time intense, life of their  own. They ate most of the day,
picking  fruit where  they could reach it and not  particular about ripeness
and quality. They  were used now  to stomach-aches  and  a  sort  of chronic
diarrhoea. They suffered untold terrors in the dark and huddled together for
comfort. Apart from food and  sleep, they  found  time for play, aimless and
trivial, in the white sand by the bright water. They cried for their mothers
much less often  than  might have been  expected;  they were very brown, and
filthily dirty.  They obeyed the summons of  the conch, partly because Ralph
blew  it,  and  he  was big  enough  to be a link  with  the adult world  of
authority;  and  partly  because  they  enjoyed  the  entertainment  of  the
assemblies.  But otherwise  they seldom  bothered with  the biguns and their
passionately emotional and corporate life was their own.
     They had  built castles in the sand  at  the  bar of the little  river.
These castles  were  about  one  foot high  and were decorated  with shells,
withered flowers, and interesting stones. Round the castles was a complex of
marks,  tracks,  walls,  railway lines, that were  of  significance only  if
inspected with the eye  at  beach-level. The littluns  played  here, if  not
happily at least with absorbed attention; and often as many as three of them
would play the same game together.
     Three were playing here now. Henry was the biggest of them. He was also
a distant relative of that other boy whose mulberry-marked face had not been
seen  since  the evening  of the great  fire; but  he  was not old enough to
understand this, and if he had been told that the other boy had gone home in
an aircraft, he would have accepted the statement without fuss or disbelief.
     Henry was a bit of a leader this afternoon, because the other two  were
Percival  and  Johnny,  the  smallest  boys  on  the  island.  Percival  was
mouse-colored and  had not been very attractive even to  his  mother; Johnny
was  well built, with fair hair and a natural  belligerence. Just now he was
being obedient  because he was  interested; and the three children, kneeling
in the sand, were at peace.
     Roger and Maurice came out  of the forest. They were relieved from duty
at the fire and had come down for a swim. Roger led the way straight through
the castles, kicking them  over, burying the  flowers, scattering the chosen
stones. Maurice followed, laughing, and added to  the destruction. The three
littluns paused in their game and looked up. As it happened,  the particular
marks  in which  they were interested had  not been touched, so they made no
protest. Only  Percival began to whimper with an eyeful of sand  and Maurice
hurried  away.  In his  other life  Maurice  had received  chastisement  for
filling a younger eye with sand. Now, though there was no parent to let fall
a  heavy  hand, Maurice still felt the unease of wrongdoing.  At the back of
his mind  formed the uncertain outlines of an excuse. He  muttered something
about a swim and broke into a trot.
     Roger  remained,  watching the  littluns. He was not noticeably  darker
than when he had dropped in, but the shock  of black hair, down his nape and
low on his forehead, seemed to suit his gloomy face and made what had seemed
at  first  an  unsociable  remoteness  into  something forbidding.  Percival
finished his whimper and went  on playing, for the tears had washed the sand
away. Johnny watched  him with china-blue eyes; then began to fling  up sand
in a shower, and presently Percival was crying again.
     When Henry tired of  his  play and wandered off along the beach,  Roger
followed him,  keeping beneath  the palms and drifting casually in  the same
direction. Henry walked  at a distance from  the palms and the shade because
he was too young to keep himself out of the sun. He went down the beach and.
busied himself at the water's edge. The great Pacific tide was coming in and
every few seconds the relatively  still water of the  lagoon heaved forwards
an inch, There were creatures that lived in this last fling of the sea, tiny
transparencies that came questing in  with the water over the hot, dry sand.
With impalpable organs of sense they  examined this  new field. Perhaps food
had  appeared  where  at  the  last  incursion  there  had been  none;  bird
droppings, insects  perhaps, any of the strewn  detritus of  landward  life.
Lake a myriad of tiny teeth  in  a saw,  the transparencies  came scavenging
over the beach.
     This was fascinating to Henry. He poked about with a bit of stick, that
itself was wave-worn and  whitened and a vagrant,  and  tried to control the
motions of the scavengers. He  made little runnels that  the tide filled and
tried to crowd them with creatures. He became absorbed beyond mere happiness
as he felt himself exercising control over living things. He talked to them,
urging them, ordering  them. Driven back by the tide, his footprints  became
bays in which they were trapped and gave him the  illusion  of  mastery.  He
squatted  on  his  hams  at the  water's edge,  bowed, with a shock  of hair
falling over his  forehead and past his  eyes, and the afternoon sun emptied
down invisible arrows.
     Roger waited too. At  first  he  had hidden behind  a great  palm;  but
Henry's absorption with the transparencies was so  obvious  that at last  he
stood out in full  view. He looked  along  the beach. Percival had gone off,
crying, and  Johnny was left in triumphant possession of the castles. He sat
there,  crooning to  himself and  throwing  sand  at an imaginary  Percival.
Beyond him, Roger could see the platform and the glints of spray where Ralph
and  Simon  and  Piggy  and  Maurice were diving  in  the  pool. He listened
carefully but could only just hear them.
     A sudden breeze  shook the  fringe  of palm trees, so  that the  fronds
tossed and fluttered. Sixty feet above Roger, several nuts, fibrous lumps as
big as rugby balls, were loosed from their stems. They fell about him with a
series of  hard thumps and  he  was  not touched. Roger did not consider his
escape, but looked from the nuts to Henry and back again.
     The subsoil beneath the palm trees was a  raised beach, and generations
of palms had worked loose  in this the stones that had lain on the  sands of
another  shore. Roger stooped,  picked  up  a stone, aimed, and threw  it at
Henry  -  threw it  to miss.  The stone,  that  token  of preposterous time,
bounced five yards to Henry's  right and fell in the water. Roger gathered a
handful of stones and  began  to  throw them. Yet  there  was a space  round
Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into  which, he  dare not throw. Here,
invisible  yet  strong, was the taboo of  the old life.  Round the squatting
child was the protection of  parents and  school and policemen and  the law.
Roger's  arm was conditioned by  a civilization that knew nothing of him and
was in ruins.
     Henry  was  surprised by the plopping sounds in the water. He abandoned
the noiseless transparencies and  pointed at  the  center of  the  spreading
rings like a  setter.  This side  and that the stones fell, and Henry turned
obediently but always  too late to see the stones in the air. At last he saw
one and laughed, looking for the friend who  was teasing him. But Roger  had
whipped behind the palm again, was leaning against it breathing quickly, his
eyelids fluttering. Then Henry lost interest in stones and wandered off..
     Jack was standing under a tree about  ten yards away. When Roger opened
his eyes  and saw him, a  darker shadow crept beneath the swarthiness of his
skin; but Jack noticed nothing. He was eager,  impatient, beckoning, so that
Roger went to him.
     There was a small pool at the end of the river, dammed back by sand and
full  of white water-lilies  and  needle-like reeds. Here  Sam and Eric were
waiting, and Bill Jack, concealed from the sun, knelt by the pool and opened
the  two large leaves that he carried. One of them contained white clay, and
the other red. By them lay a stick of charcoal brought down from the fire.
     Jack explained to Roger as he worked.
     "They don't smell me. They  see me, I think. Something pink, under  the
     He smeared on the clay.
     "If only I'd some green!"
     He   turned  a  halt-concealed  face  up  to  Roger  and  answered  the
incomprehension of his gaze.
     "For hunting. Like in the war. You know-dazzle paint Like things trying
to look like something else-" He twisted in the  urgency of  telling. "-lake
moths on a tree trunk."
     Roger  understood  and  nodded gravely. The twins moved toward Jack and
began to protest timidly about something. Jack waved them away.
     "Shut up."
     He  rubbed the charcoal  stick between the  patches of red and white on
his face.
     "No. You two come with me."
     He peered  at  his reflection and disliked it. He bent  down, took up a
double handful of lukewarm water and rubbed the mess from his face. Freckles
and sandy eyebrows appeared.
     Roger smiled, unwillingly.
     "You don't half look a mess."
     Jack planned his  new face. He made one cheek and one eye-socket white,
then he rubbed red over the  other half of  his face and slashed a black bar
of charcoal across from right ear to left jaw. He looked in the pool for his
reflection, but his breathing troubled the mirror.
     "Samneric. Get me a coconut. An empty one."
     He knelt,  holding the shell of water. A rounded patch of sunlight fell
on his face and a brightness appeared in the depths of the water. He  looked
in astonishment,  no longer at himself but at an awesome stranger.  He spilt
the water  and leapt to  his feet, laughing excitedly.  Beside the  pool his
sinewy body held up a mask that drew their eyes  and appalled them. He began
to dance and his laughter became  a bloodthirsty snarling. He capered toward
Bill, and the mask was  a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated
from shame and self-consciousness. The face of red and white and black swung
through the  air and  jigged  toward Bill. Bill  started  up laughing;  then
suddenly he fell silent and blundered away through the bushes.
     Jack rushed toward the twins.
     "The rest are making a line. Come on!"
     "Come on! I'll creep up and stab-"
     The mask compelled them.

     Ralph climbed out of the  bathing pool and trotted up the beach and sat
in the  shade  beneath  the  palms.  His fair  hair  was plastered over  his
eyebrows and he pushed it back. Simon was  floating in the water and kicking
with  his feet, and Maurice was practicing  diving. Piggy was mooning about,
aimlessly  picking up things and discarding  them. The rock-pools  which  so
fascinated him were covered by the tide, so he was without an interest until
the tide went back. Presently, seeing Ralph under the palms, he came and sat
by him.
     Piggy wore the remainders of a pair of  shorts, his fat body was golden
brown, and the  glasses still flashed when he looked at anything. He was the
only boy  on  the island whose  hair never  seemed  to  grow. The rest  were
shock-headed, but  Piggy's hair  still  lay in wisps over his head as though
baldness were his natural state and  this imperfect  covering would soon go,
like the velvet on a young stag's antlers.
     "I've been thinking,"  he said, "about a clock. We could make a sundial
We could put a stick in the sand, and then-"
     The  effort  to express  the mathematical  processes  involved was  too
great. He made a few passes instead.
     "And  an  airplane, and a  TV  set," said Ralph sourly,  "and  a  steam
     Piggy shook his head.
     "You have to have  a lot of metal things  for that,"  he said, "and  we
haven't got no metal. But we got a stick."
     Ralph  turned and smiled involuntarily. Piggy was a bore;  his fat, his
ass-mar  and his matter-of-fact ideas were  dull,  but  there was  always  a
little pleasure to be  got out of  pulling his leg, even  if  one  did it by
     Piggy saw the smile  and  misinterpreted  it as friendliness. There had
grown up tacitly  among the biguns the  opinion that Piggy  was an outsider,
not  only  by accent,  which did not  matter,  but by fat, and ass-mar,  and
specs, and a certain disinclination  for  manual  labor.  Now, finding  that
something  he  had  said  made  Ralph smile, he  rejoiced  and  pressed  his
     "We got a lot  of sticks. We  could have a sundial each. Then we should
know what the time was."
     "A fat lot of good that would be."
     "You said you wanted things done. So as we could be rescued."
     "Oh, shut up."
     He leapt to his feet and trotted back to the pool, just as
     Maurice did a rather  poor dive. Ralph was glad  of  a chance to change
the subject. He shouted as Maurice came to the surface.
     "Belly flop! Belly flop!"
     Maurice flashed a smile at Ralph who slid easily into the water. Of all
the boys, he was the most at home  there; but today, irked by the mention of
rescue, the useless,  footling mention  of rescue, even the  green depths of
water and the shattered, golden sun held no balm. Instead  of  remaining and
playing, he  swam  with steady  strokes under Simon  and  crawled out of the
other side of the pool to lie there, sleek and streaming like a seal. Piggy,
always clumsy, stood up and came to stand by him, so mat Ralph rolled on his
stomach and pretended not to  see. The mirages had died away and gloomily he
ran his eye along the taut blue line of the horizon.
     The next moment he was on his feet and shouting.
     "Smoke! Smoke!"
     Simon tried to sit up in the water and got a mouthful. Maurice, who had
been standing  ready to dive, swayed back on his heels, made a bolt for  the
platform, then  swerved back to the grass  under the palms. There he started
to pull on his tattered shorts, to be ready for anything.
     Ralph stood, one hand holding  back his hair, the other clenched. Simon
was  climbing out of the water. Piggy was rubbing his glasses on his  shorts
and squinting at the sea. Maurice had  got both legs through  one leg of his
shorts. Of all the boys, only Ralph was still.
     1 can't see no smoke," said Piggy incredulously. "I can't see no smoke,
Ralph-where is it?"
     Ralph said nothing. Now both his  hands were clenched over his forehead
so that the fair hair was  kept out of  his eyes. He was leaning forward and
already the salt was whitening his body.
     "Ralph-where s the ship?"
     Simon stood by, looking from Ralph  to the horizon. Maurice's  trousers
gave way with a sigh and he abandoned  them  as a wreck, rushed  toward  the
forest, and then came back again.
     The  smoke was a tight little knot  on  the  horizon  and was uncoiling
slowly. Beneath the smoke was a dot that might be a funnel. Ralph's face was
pale as he spoke to himself.
     They'll see our smoke."
     Piggy was looking in the right direction now.
     "It don't look much."
     He turned round and peered up at the mountain. Ralph continued to watch
the  ship, ravenously. Color was coming  back into his  face. Simon stood by
him, silent.
     "I  know  I  can't  see very  much,"  said Piggy, "but have we got  any
     Ralph moved impatiently, still watching the ship.
     "The smoke on the mountain."
     Maurice came running, and stared out to sea. Both Simon and Piggy  were
looking up at the mountain. Piggy screwed up his face but Simon cried out as
though he had hurt himself.
     "Ralph! Ralph!"
     The quality of his speech twisted Ralph on the sand.
     "You tell me," said Piggy anxiously. "Is there a signal?"
     Ralph looked  back at  the dispersing smoke  on the horizon, then up at
the mountain.
     "Ralph-please! Is there a signal?"
     Simon put out his hand, timidly, to  touch  Ralph; but Ralph started to
run,  splashing through the shallow end of the bathing pool, across the hot,
white  sand  and under the palms.  A moment later  he was battling  with the
complex undergrowth that  was  already  engulfing the scar.  Simon ran after
him, then Maurice. Piggy shouted.
     "Ralph! Please-Ralph!"
     Then he  too started to run, stumbling over  Maurice's discarded shorts
before  he was across  the terrace. Behind  the  four boys, the  smoke moved
gently along the horizon; and on the beach,  Henry and Johnny were  throwing
sand at  Percival  who was  crying  quietly  again;  and all  three were  in
complete ignorance of the excitement.
     By the time Ralph had reached the landward end of the scar he was using
precious  breath to swear. He did desperate violence to his naked body among
the  rasping  creepers so  that blood was sliding over him.  Just  where the
steep ascent of the mountain began, he stopped. Maurice was only a few yards
behind him.
     "Piggy's  specs!"  shouted Ralph. "If  the fire's all  out,  well  need
     He  stopped  shouting  and swayed  on  his  feet. Piggy  was only  just
visible, bumbling up from the beach. Ralphlooked at the horizon,  then up to
the mountain. Was it better to fetch Piggy's glasses, or would the ship have
gone? Or if they climbed on, supposing the fire was all out, and they had to
watch Piggy crawling nearer and the ship sinking under the horizon? Balanced
on a high peak of need, agonized by indecision, Ralph cried out:
     "Oh God, oh God!"
     Simon, struggling with bushes, caught his breath. His face was twisted.
Ralph blundered on, savaging himself, as the wisp of smoke moved on.
     The fire  was dead. They  saw that  straight  away;  saw  what they had
really known down on the beach when the smoke of home had beckoned. The fire
was out,  smokeless and dead; the watchers were gone. A pile  of unused fuel
lay ready.
     Ralph turned to  the  sea. The horizon stretched, impersonal once more,
barren of all but the faintest trace of smoke. Ralph ran stumbling along the
rocks,  saved  himself on the edge of  the pink cliff,  and screamed  at the
     "Come back! Come back!"
     He  ran backwards and forwards along the cliff, his face always  to the
sea, and his voice rose insanely.
     "Come back! Come back!"
     Simon and Maurice  arrived. Ralph looked at them with  unwinking  eyes.
Simon turned away, smearing the water from his  cheeks. Ralph reached inside
himself for the worst word he knew.
     "They let the bloody fire go out."
     He looked down the unfriendly side of the mountain. Piggy  arrived, out
of  breath and whimpering like a  littlun. Ralph clenched his fist and  went
very red. The intent-ness of his  gaze, the bitterness of his voice, pointed
for him.
     "There they are."
     A procession had appeared, far down among the pink stones that lay near
the water's edge.  Some of the boys wore black caps but otherwise  they were
almost naked.  They lifted sticks in the air together whenever they came  to
an easy patch. They were chanting, something to do with the bundle  that the
errant twins  carried  so  carefully. Ralph picked  out Jack easily, even at
that distance, tall, red-haired, and inevitably leading the procession.
     Simon looked  now, from  Ralph to Jack, as he  had looked from Ralph to
the horizon, and what he saw seemed  to make him afraid. Ralph  said nothing
more, but waited while the procession came nearer. The chant was audible but
at that  distance  still wordless. Behind Jack walked the  twins, carrying a
great stake on their  shoulders. The gutted carcass of  a pig swung from the
stake, swinging heavily as the twins toiled over the uneven ground. The pigs
head hung down  with gaping neck  and seemed to search for something on  the
ground. At  last the words of the chant floated  up to them, across the bowl
of blackened wood and ashes.
     "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood."
     Yet as the words became audible,  the  procession reached  the steepest
part of  the mountain, and in a minute or two the chant had died away. Piggy
sniveled and Simon shushed him quickly as though he had spoken too loudly in
     Jack, his face smeared with clays,  reached the  top  first  and hailed
Ralph excitedly, with lifted spear.
     "Look! We've killed a pig-we stole up on them-we got in a circle-"
     Voices broke in from the hunters.
     "We got in a circle-"
     "We crept up-"
     The pig squealed-"
     The  twins  stood  with  the pig swinging between them,  dropping black
gouts  on the rock. They  seemed to share one wide, ecstatic grin.  Jack had
too  many things to tell Ralph at once.  Instead, he  danced a step  or two,
then remembered his dignity and stood  still,  grinning. He noticed blood on
his hands and grimaced distastefully, looked for something on which to clean
them, then wiped them on his shorts and laughed.
     Ralph spoke.
     "You let the fire go out."
     Jack checked, vaguely irritated  by  this  irrelevance but too happy to
let it worry him.
     "We can light the  fire again.  You should have been with us, Ralph. We
had a smashing time. The twins got knocked over-"
     "We hit the pig-"
     "-I fell on top-"
     "I cut the pig's throat,"  said Jack, proudly, and yet twitched  as  he
said it. "Can I borrow yours, Ralph, to make a nick in the hilt?"
     The boys chattered and danced. The twins continued to grin.
     There was lashings of blood,"  said Jack, laughing and shuddering, "you
should have seen it!"
     "We'll go hunting every day-"
     Ralph spoke again, hoarsely. He had not moved.
     "You let the fire go out."
     This repetition made Jack uneasy.  He looked at the twins and then back
at Ralph.
     "We had  to have them in  the hunt," he said, "or  there  wouldn't have
been enough for a ring."
     He flushed, conscious of a fault.
     "The fire's only been out an hour or two. We can light up again-"
     He noticed Ralph's scarred  nakedness,  and  the  sombre silence of all
four of them. He sought, charitable in his happiness, to include them in the
thing that had happened. His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the
knowledge that had come to them  when they closed in on the  struggling pig,
knowledge that  they  had outwitted a living  thing, imposed their will upon
it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink.
     He spread his arms wide.
     "You should have seen the blood!"
     The hunters were more silent now, but at this they buzzed again.  Ralph
flung  back his  hair. One arm  pointed at  the empty horizon. His voice was
loud and savage, and struck them into silence.
     "There was a ship."
     Jack,  faced at once with too many awful implications, ducked away from
them.  He laid  a hand on the pig and drew his knife. Ralph brought  his arm
down, fist clenched, and his voice shook.
     "There was a ship.  Out there. You said you'd  keep the  fire going and
you let it out!" He took a step toward Jack, who turned and faced him.
     "They might have seen us. We might have gone home-"
     This was too bitter for  Piggy, who forgot his timidity in the agony of
his loss. He began to cry out, shrilly:
     "You and your blood, Jack Merridew! You and your hunting! We might have
gone home-"
     Ralph pushed Piggy to one side.
     "I  was chief, and you were going to do  what I said. You talk. But you
can't even build huts-then you go off hunting and let out the fire-"
     He  turned away, silent for a moment.  Then his  voice came  again on a
peak of feeling.
     "There was a ship-"
     One  of  the  smaller  hunters  began  to wail.  The  dismal truth  was
filtering through to everybody. Jack went very red as he  hacked  and pulled
at the pig.
     "The job was too much. We needed everyone."
     Ralph turned.
     "You could have had  everyone when the shelters were finished.  But you
had to hunt-"
     "We needed meat."
     Jack stood up as  he said this, the bloodied knife in his hand. The two
boys faced each other.  There was the brilliant world  of  hunting, tactics,
fierce exhilaration,  skill; and there was the world  of longing and baffled
common-sense. Jack transferred the knife to his left hand  and smudged blood
over his forehead as he pushed down the plastered hair.
     Piggy began again.
     "You  didn't ought to have let that  fire out.  You said you'd keep the
smoke going-"
     This from Piggy, and  the wails of agreement from some  of the hunters,
drove Jack  to violence. The bolting look came into his blue eyes. He took a
step, and able at last to hit someone, stuck his  fist into Piggy's stomach.
Piggy sat down with a grunt. Jack stood over him. His voice was vicious with
     "You would, would you? Fatty!"
     Ralph  made  a step forward  and  Jack smacked  Piggy's  head.  Piggy's
glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks. Piggy cried out in terror:
     "My specs!"
     He went  crouching and feeling over the rocks but Simon, who  got there
first,  found  them for  him. Passions beat  about Simon on the mountain-top
with awful wings.
     "One side's broken."
     Piggy grabbed and put on the glasses. He looked malevolently at Jack.
     "I got to have them specs. Now I only got one eye. Jus` you wait-"
     Jack made a move toward Piggy who scrambled away till a great  rock lay
between them. He thrust his head over the top and glared at Jack through his
one flashing glass.
     "Now I only got one eye. Just you wait-"
     Jack mimicked the whine and scramble.
     "Jus' you wait-yah!"
     Piggy  and  the parody were so funny  that the  hunters began to laugh.
Jack felt encouraged. He went on scrambling  and the laughter rose to a gale
of hysteria.  Unwillingly Ralph felt  his lips twitch;  he  was  angry  with
himself for giving way.
     He muttered.
     "That was a dirty trick."
     Jack broke out of his gyration and  stood facing Ralph.  His words came
in a shout.
     "All right, all right!"
     He looked at Piggy, at the hunters, at Ralph.
     "I'm sorry. About the fire, I mean. There. I-"
     He drew himself up.
     "-I apologize."
     The  buzz from the  hunters  was  one  of admiration  at this  handsome
behavior. Clearly  they were of the  opinion  that Jack had done the  decent
thing,  had put himself  in  the right by his  generous apology  and  Ralph,
obscurely, in the wrong. They waited for an appropriately decent answer.
     Yet Ralph's throat refused to pass one.  He resented, as an addition to
Jack's misbehavior, this verbal trick. The fire was dead, the ship was gone.
Could they not see? Anger instead of decency passed his throat.
     "That was a dirty trick."
     They were silent on the mountain-top while the opaque look  appeared in
Jack's eyes and passed away.
     Ralph's final word was an ungracious mutter.
     "All right. Light the fire."
     With some  positive action before them, a  little of  die tension died.
Ralph said no  more, did nothing, stood  looking down at the ashes round his
feet. Jack was loud  and  active.  He  gave orders,  sang,  whistled,  threw
remarks  at the  silent Ralph-remarks  that  did  not  need an  answer,  and
therefore could not invite a snub; and still Ralph was  silent. No one,  not
even Jack, would ask him to  move and in the end  they had to build the fire
three yards away and in a place not really as convenient. So Ralph  asserted
his chieftainship and could not have chosen a  better way  if he had thought
for  days. Against this  weapon, so indefinable  and  so effective, Jack was
powerless and  raged  without knowing why.  By the time  the pile was built,
they were on different sides of a high barrier.
     When  they had dealt with the fire  another  crisis arose. Jack had  no
means of lighting it. Then to his surprise, Ralph went to Piggy and took the
glasses from  him. Not even Ralph  knew now a link between him  and Jack had
been snapped and fastened elsewhere.
     'I'll bring 'em back."
     "I'll come too."
     Piggy stood behind him, islanded in a sea  of meaningless color,  while
Ralph knelt and focused the glossy spot. Instantly the fire was alight Piggy
held out his hands and grabbed the glasses back.
     Before  these  fantastically attractive flowers  of violet and red  and
yellow, unkindness melted  away. They became  a circle of boys round a  camp
fire and even Piggy and Ralph were half-drawn in. Soon some of the boys were
rushing down the slope for more wood while  Jack hacked  the pig. They tried
holding the whole carcass on a stake over the fire, but the stake burnt more
quickly than the pig  roasted.  In the  end  they skewered bits  of meat  on
branches and held them in the flames: and even  then almost  as much boy was
roasted as meat.
     Ralph's mouth  watered. He meant to  refuse meat  but his  past diet of
fruit and nuts, with an odd crab or fish, gave him too little resistance. He
accepted a piece of half-raw meat and gnawed it like a wolf.
     Piggy spoke, also dribbling.
     "Aren't I having none?"
     Jack  had meant to  leave him in doubt,  as an assertion of power;  but
Piggy by advertising his omission made more cruelty necessary.
     "You didn't hunt."
     "No more did  Ralph,"  said  Piggy  wetly,  "nor Simon."  He amplified.
"There isn't more than a ha'porth of meat in a crab."
     Ralph stirred uneasily. Simon,  sitting between  the  twins  and Piggy,
wiped  his mouth and shoved his piece of meat  over the rocks  to Piggy, who
grabbed it. The twins giggled and Simon lowered his face in shame.
     Then  Jack leapt to  his feet, slashed  off a  great hunk  of meat, and
flung it down at Simon's feet.
     "Eat! Damn you!"
     He glared at Simon.
     "Take it!"
     He spun on his heel, center of a bewildered circle of boys.
     "I got you meat!"
     Numberless  and  inexpressible frustrations  combined to make his  rage
elemental and awe-inspiring.
     "I painted my face-I stole up. Now you eat-all of you -and I-"
     Slowly the silence  on the mountain-top deepened till the click  of the
fire and the soft hiss of roasting meat could be  heard clearly. Jack looked
round for understanding but found only respect. Ralph stood  among the ashes
of the signal fire, his hands full of meat, saying nothing.
     Then at last Maurice broke the  silence. He changed  the subject to the
only one that could bring the majority of them together.
     "Where did you find the pig?"
     Roger pointed down the unfriendly side. "They were there-by the sea."
     Jack, recovering, could not  bear  to have  his story told. He broke in
     "We  spread  round. I crept, on  hands and knees.  The spears fell  out
because they hadn't barbs on. The pig ran away and made an awful noise-"
     "It turned back and ran into the circle, bleeding-"
     All the boys were talking at once, relieved and excited.
     "We closed in-"
     The first blow had  paralyzed its  hind quarters,  so  then  the circle
could close in and beat and beat-
     "I cut the pig's throat-"
     The  twins, still sharing their identical grin, jumped up and ran round
each other. Then the rest joined in, making pig-dying noises and shouting.
     "One for his nob!"
     "Give him a fourpenny one!"
     Then Maurice pretended to be the pig and ran squealing into the center,
and the hunters, circling still, pretended to beat him. As they danced, they
     "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in"
     Ralph  watched them, envious and  resentful. Not till they flagged  and
the chant died away, did he speak.
     "I'm calling an assembly."
     One by one, they halted, and stood watching him.
     "With  the conch. I'm calling a  meeting even  if we have to go on into
the dark. Down on the platform. When I blow it. Now."
     He turned away and walked off, down the mountain.

     Beast from Water

     The tide was coming in and there was only a narrow  strip of firm beach
between the  water  and the white, stumbling stuff  near  the palm  terrace.
Ralph chose the firm strip  as  a path because he needed to think,  and only
here could he allow his feet to move without having to watch them. Suddenly,
pacing by the  water,  he  was overcome with astonishment. He found  himself
understanding  the wearisomeness  of  this life, where  every  path  was  an
improvisation  and a  considerable  part  of  one's  waking  life  was spent
watching  one's  feet. He stopped,  facing  the strip;  and remembering that
first  enthusiastic  exploration  as  though  it  were  part  of a  brighter
childhood, he smiled jeeringly. He  turned then and walked  back toward  the
platform with the sun in his face. The time had come for the assembly and as
he walked into  the concealing splendors of  the sunlight  he went carefully
over the points of his speech. There must be no mistake about this assembly,
no chasing imaginary. . . .
     He lost himself in a  maze of thoughts that were rendered  vague by his
lack of words to express them. Frowning, he tried again.
     This meeting must not be fun, but business.
     At  that  he  walked  faster,  aware  all at once  of urgency  and  the
declining sun and a little wind created by his speed that breathed about his
face.  This  wind pressed  his  grey  shirt against  his  chest so  that  he
noticed-in this  new mood  of  comprehension-how  the folds were stiff  like
cardboard,  and unpleasant; noticed too  how the  frayed edges of his shorts
were making an uncomfortable,  pink area on the front of  his thighs. With a
convulsion of the mind, Ralph discovered dirt and decay, understood how much
he  disliked perpetually flicking the tangled  hair  out of his eyes, and at
last,  when the  sun was  gone, rolling noisily to rest among dry leaves. At
that he began to trot.
     The beach near the bathing pool was dotted with groups of boys  waiting
for the assembly. They made way for him silently, conscious of his grim mood
and the fault at the fire.
     The place  of assembly in  which he stood was  roughly a  triangle; but
irregular and sketchy, like everything they made. First there was the log on
which  he himself  sat; a dead tree that must  have been quite exceptionally
big for the  platform. Perhaps one of  those legendary storms of the Pacific
had shifted it here. This palm trunk lay parallel to the beach, so that when
Ralph  sat he  faced the island but to the boys was a darkish figure against
the shimmer  of the lagoon.  The two sides of the triangle  of which the log
was  base  were less  evenly defined.  On  the  right was a  log polished by
restless seats  along the top,  but not so large  as the chiefs and  not  so
comfortable.  On  the  left  were   four  small   logs,   one  of   them-the
farthest-lamentably springy.  Assembly  after  assembly  had  broken  up  in
laughter  when someone had  leaned too far  back and the log had whipped and
thrown half a dozen boys backwards into  the grass. Yet now,  he saw, no one
had had the wit-not himself nor Jack,  nor Piggy-to bring  a stone and wedge
the  thing. So  they  would  continue  enduring  the  ill-balanced  twister,
because, because. . . . Again he lost himself in deep waters.
     Crass was worn away in front of each trunk but  grew tall and untrodden
in tile center of the triangle. Then, at the apex, the grass was thick again
because no one sat  there. All round the place of assembly  the grey  trunks
rose, straight  or leaning,  and supported  the  low roof of leaves.  On two
sides was the  beach;  behind,  the  lagoon; in front, the  darkness  of the
     Ralph turned  to the chief's seat. They  had  never had  an assembly as
late  before. That was why  the  place  looked  so different.  Normally  the
underside of the green roof was lit by  a  tangle of golden reflections, and
their faces  were lit  upside  down-like, thought  Ralph,  when  you hold an
electric torch in your  hands. But now  the sun was slanting in at one side,
so that the shadows were where they ought to be.
     Again he fell into that strange mood of speculation that was so foreign
to him. If  faces were  different  when  lit from above or below-what  was a
face? What was anything?
     Ralph moved  impatiently. The trouble was, if you were a  chief you had
to think, you  had to be  wise. And then the occasion slipped by so that you
had  to  grab at  a decision.  This made you  think; because thought  was  a
valuable thing, that got results. . . .
     Only, decided  Ralph as he faced the chiefs  seat,  I  can't think. Not
like Piggy.
     Once  more that  evening  Ralph had  to adjust  his values. Piggy could
think. He could go step by step inside that fat head of  his, only Piggy was
no chief. But Piggy, for  all his ludicrous body, had  brains. Ralph  was  a
specialist in thought now, and could recognize thought in another.
     The sun in his eyes reminded him how time  was passing, so he  took the
conch down from the tree and examined the surface.  Exposure  to the air had
bleached the  yellow and pink to  near-white, and transparency. Ralph felt a
land of affectionate reverence for the conch, even though he had  fished the
thing out of  the lagoon himself. He faced the place of assembly and put the
conch to his lips.
     The others were waiting for this and came straight away. Those who were
aware that a ship had passed  the island while the fire was out were subdued
by the thought of Ralph's anger; while those, including the littluns who did
not know,  were impressed by the  general air  of  solemnity. The  place  of
assembly filled  quickly;  Jack, Simon, Maurice,  most  of  the  hunters, on
Ralph's right; the  rest  on the left,  under the sun. Piggy came  and stood
outside the triangle. This indicated that he wished to listen, but would not
speak; and Piggy intended it as a gesture of disapproval
     "The thing is: we need an assembly."
     No one  said  anything  but  the faces turned to Ralph were  intent. He
flourished the conch. He had learnt as a practical business that fundamental
statements  like  this  had to be  said  at  least  twice,  before  everyone
understood them. One had to sit, attracting all eyes to the conch,  and drop
words like  heavy  round stones among  the little  groups  that crouched  or
squatted. He  was searching his  mind  for  simple  words  so that even  the
littluns  would  understand  what  the  assembly  was about. Later  perhaps,
practiced  debaters-Jack, Maurice, Piggy-would use their  whole art to twist
the meeting: but now at the beginning the subject of the debate must be laid
out clearly.
     "We need an assembly. Not for fun. Not for laughing and falling off the
log"-the  group  of littluns  on the  twister  giggled and  looked  at  each
other-"not for making  jokes, or for"-he  lifted the  conch in an effort  to
find the compelling word-"for cleverness.  Not for these things. But to  put
things straight.''
     He paused for a moment.
     "I've been alone. By myself I went, thinking what's what I know what we
need. An assembly to put things straight And first of all, I'm speaking."
     He paused for  a moment  and  automatically pushed back his hair. Piggy
tiptoed  to  the triangle,  his  ineffectual  protest  made, and  joined the
     Ralph went on.
     "We have lots  of  assemblies.  Everybody  enjoys  speaking  and  being
together. We decide  things. But they don't get done. We were going  to have
water brought from the stream and left in  those coconut shells  under fresh
leaves. So it was, for a few days. Now there's no water. The shells are dry.
People drink from the river."
     There was a murmur of assent.
     "Not  that  there's anything wrong with drinking from the river. I mean
I'd sooner  have  water  from  that  place- you  know,  the  pool  where the
waterfall is-than out of an  old  coconut shell.  Only we said we'd have the
water  brought And  now  not  There  were  only two full  shells  there this
     He licked his lips.
     "Then there's huts. Shelters."
     The murmur swelled again and died away.
     "You mostly sleep in shelters. Tonight, except  for Sam-neric up by the
fire, you'll all sleep there. Who built the shelters?"
     Clamor rose at once. Everyone had built the shelters. Ralph had to wave
the conch once more.
     "Wait  a  minute!  I mean, who built all three? We all built  the first
one,  four of us  the second one, and me 'n Simon built  the  last one  over
there. That's why it's so tottery. No. Don't laugh. That shelter might  fall
down if the rain comes back. We'll need those shelters then."
     He paused and cleared his throat.
     "There's another  thing. We chose  those rocks  right along beyond  the
bathing pool as a lavatory. That was sensible too. The tide cleans the place
up. You littluns know about that."
     There were sniggers here and there and swift glances.
     "Now  people seem  to  use anywhere.  Even  near the  shelters and  the
platform. You littluns, when you're getting fruit; if you're taken short-"
     The assembly roared.
     "I  said if  you're taken short  you keep away from  the  fruit. That's
     Laughter rose again.
     "I said that's dirty!"
     He plucked at his stiff, grey shirt.
     "That's  realty  dirty.  If  you're taken short you go  right along the
beach to the rocks. See?"
     Piggy held out his  hands  for the conch but Ralph shook his head. This
speech was planned, point by point.
     "We've all got to use the rocks again. This place is getting dirty." He
paused.  The assembly, sensing a crisis, was  tensely  expectant. "And then:
about the fire."
     Ralph  let out his spare breath with a little gasp  that  was echoed by
his  audience. Jack started to chip a piece  of  wood  with  his  knife  and
whispered something to Robert, who looked away.
     "The fire is the most important thing on the island. How can we ever be
rescued  except by luck, if  we don't keep a fire going? Is a fire  too much
for us to make?"
     He flung out an arm.
     "Look  at  us! How many are we? And yet we  can't  keep a fire going to
make  smoke. Don't you  understand? Can't  you see  we ought to-ought to die
before we let the fire out?"
     There was a self-conscious giggling among the hunters. Ralph  turned on
them passionately.
     "You hunters! You can laugh! But I tell you the smoke is more important
than the pig, however often you kill one. Do all of you see?"  He spread his
arms wide and turned to the whole triangle.
     "We've got to make smoke up there-or die."
     He paused, feeling for his next point
     "And another thing."
     Someone called out.
     "Too many things."
     There came mutters of agreement. Ralph overrode them.
     "And  another  thing.  We nearly set  the whole island  on fire. And we
waste  time, rolling rocks, and  making little cooking fires. Now I say this
and make it a rule, because I'm  chief. We won't have a fire anywhere but on
the mountain. Ever."
     There  was  a  row immediately. Boys stood  up  and  shouted  and Ralph
shouted back.
     "Because if you want a fire to cook fish or crab, you can jolly well go
up the mountain. That way we'll be certain."
     Hands were reaching for the conch in the light of the  setting  sun. He
held on and leapt on the trunk.
     "All this I meant to say. Now I've said it. You voted me for chief. Now
you do what I say."
     They quieted, slowly, and at last were seated again. Ralph dropped down
and spoke in his ordinary voice.
     "So remember.  The rocks  for a lavatory. Keep the fire going and smoke
showing as a signal. Don't take fire  from the mountain.  Take your  food up
     Jack stood up, scowling in the gloom, and held out his hands.
     "I haven't finished yet"
     "But you've talked and talked!"
     "I've got the conch."
     Jack sat down, grumbling.
     "Then the last mine. This is what people can talk about."
     He waited till the platform was very still.
     "Things are breaking up. I don't understand why. We began well; we were
happy. And then-"
     He moved the conch gently, looking beyond  them at nothing, remembering
the beastie, the snake, the fire, the talk of fear.
     "Then people started getting frightened."
     A murmur,  almost  a  moan,  rose  and  passed away.  Jack had  stopped
whittling. Ralph went on, abruptly.
     "But that's  littluns' talk. We'll get that straight. So the last part,
the bit we can all talk about, is kind of deciding on the fear."
     The hair was creeping into his eyes again.
     "We've got to talk about  this fear and  decide  there's nothing in it.
I'm frightened  myself, sometimes; only that's nonsense!  Like bogies. Then,
when we've  decided, we can start again and be careful about things like the
fire."  A  picture  of  three  boys walking along the  bright beach  flitted
through his mind. "And be happy."
     Ceremonially,  Ralph laid the conch on the trunk beside  him  as a sign
that the speech was over. What sunlight reached them was level.
     Jack stood up and took the conch.
     "So this  is a  meeting  to find out  what's what, I`ll tell you what's
what. You littluns started all this, with the fear talk. Beasts! Where from?
Of course we're frightened sometimes but  we  put up with being  frightened.
Only Ralph says you scream in the night. What does that mean but nightmares?
Anyway, you  don't  hunt  or build  or help-you're a  lot  of cry-babies and
sissies. That's what.  And as for the fear- you'll have to put  up with that
like the rest of us."
     Ralph looked at Jack open-mouthed, but Jack took no notice.
     'The thing is-fear  can't  hurt you any more than a dream. There aren't
any beasts  to  be afraid  of on this island." He  looked  along the row  of
whispering littluns. "Serve you right if  something did get you, you useless
lot of cry-babies! But there is no animal-"
     Ralph interrupted him testily.
     "What is all this? Who said anything about an animal?"
     "You  did,  the other  day.  You  said they dream and cry out Now  they
talk-not only the littluns, but my hunters sometimes-talk of a thing, a dark
thing, a beast, some sort of animal I've heard. You thought not, didn't you?
Now listen. You  don't get big animals on small islands. Only pigs. You only
get lions and tigers in big countries like Africa and India-"
     "And the Zoo-"
     "I've got  the conch. I'm not talking about the fear. I'm talking about
the beast. Be frightened if you like. But as for the beast-"
     Jack paused, cradling the conch, and turned to his hunt" ers with their
dirty black caps.
     "Am I a hunter or am I not?"
     They nodded, simply. He was a hunter all right. No one doubted that.
     "Well then-I've  been all over this island. By myself. If  there were a
beast  I'd have seen it Be frightened because  you're like that-but there is
no beast in the forest"
     Jack handed back the conch and sat down.  The  whole assembly applauded
him with relief. Then Piggy held out his hand.
     "I don't agree with all Jack said, but with some. `Course there isn't a
beast in the forest How could there be? What would a beast eat?"
     "We eat pig."
     "I  got the conch!"  said Piggy indignantly. "Ralph- they ought to shut
up, oughtn't they? You shut up,  you littluns! What I  mean is that I  don't
agree about this here fear. Of course there isn't nothing to be afraid of in
the forest Why-I been there myself! You'll be talking  about ghosts and such
things next We know  what goes  on  and if there's  something wrong, there's
someone to put it right."
     He took off his glasses and blinked at them. The sun had gone as if the
light had been turned off.
     He proceeded to explain.
     "If you get a pain  in your stomach, whether it's a little one or a big
     "Yours is a big one."
     "When you done laughing perhaps we can get on with the  meeting. And if
them  littluns climb  back on the twister  again they'll only  fall off in a
sec. So  they might  as well sit  on  the ground and  listen.  No.  You have
doctors for everything, even the inside of your  mind. You don't really mean
that  we  got to be  frightened all the time  of nothing?  Life," said Piggy
expansively, "is scientific, that's  what  it is. In a year  or two when the
war's over  they'll  be traveling  to Mars and  back. I know there isn't  no
beast-not with claws and all that, I  mean-but I know there  isn't  no fear,
     Piggy paused.
     Ralph moved restlessly.
     "Unless what?"
     "Unless we get frightened of people."
     A sound,  half-laugh,  half-jeer, rose  among  the seated  boys.  Piggy
ducked his head and went on hastily.
     "So lets hear from that littlun who talked about a beast and perhaps we
can show him how silly he is."
     The littluns began to jabber among themselves, then one stood forward.
     "What's your name?"
     For a  littlun he  was self-confident, holding out  his hands, cradling
the conch  as Ralph did,  looking round at them  to collect their  attention
before he spoke.
     "Last night I had a dream, a horrid  dream, fighting with things. I was
outside  the shelter by myself, fighting with things, those twisty things in
the trees."
     He paused, and the other littluns laughed in horrified sympathy.
     "Then I was frightened and  I woke up. And I was outside the shelter by
myself in the dark and the twisty things had gone away."
     The vivid horror  of this, so possible and so  nakedly terrifying, held
them  all  silent. The child's  voice went piping  on from behind the  white
     "And I was frightened and started to call out for Ralph and then  I saw
something moving among the trees, something big and horrid."
     He  paused,  half-frightened  by the  recollection  yet  proud  of  the
sensation he was creating.
     "That was a nightmare," said Ralph. "He was walking in his sleep."
     The assembly murmured in subdued agreement.
     The littlun shook his head stubbornly.
     "I was asleep when  the twisty things were  fighting and when they went
away I was awake, and I saw something big and horrid moving in the trees."
     Ralph held out his hands for the conch and the littlun sat down.
     "You  were  alseep.  There  wasn't anyone  there.  How could anyone  be
wandering about in the forest at night? Was anyone? Did anyone go out?"
     There was a long pause while the assembly grinned at
     the thought of anyone going out  in the darkness.  Then Simon stood  up
and Ralph looked at him in astonishment
     "You! What were you mucking about in the dark for?"
     Simon grabbed the conch convulsively.
     "I wanted-to go to a place-a place I know."
     "What place?"
     "Just a place I know. A place in the jungle."
     He hesitated.
     Jack settled the question for them with that contempt in his voice that
could sound so funny and so final.
     "He was taken short"
     With a feeling  of  humiliation on Simon's behalf,  Ralph took back the
conch, looking Simon sternly in the face as he did so.
     "Well, don't do it again. Understand? Not at night There's enough silly
talk about beasts, without the litthlus seeing you gliding about like a-"
     The derisive laughter that rose  had fear in it and condemnation. Simon
opened his mouth to speak but Ralph had the conch, so he backed to his seat
     When the assembly was silent Ralph turned to Piggy.
     "Well, Piggy?"
     "There was another one. Him."
     The  littlums  pushed  Percival forward, then left  him by  himself. He
stood knee-deep in the central grass, looking  at his hidden feet, trying to
pretend he was in  a  tent Ralph remembered another small boy who  had stood
like this  and he flinched  away from  the memory. He had pushed the thought
down  and out  of sight,  where only some positive reminder like this  could
bring it  to the  surface. There  had  been no  further  numberings  of  the
littluns,  partly  because there was  no means of insuring  that all of them
were accounted for and partly because Ralph knew  the answer to at least one
question Piggy  had asked on the mountain-top. There were little boys, fair,
dark,  freckled,  and all dirty, but their faces were all dreadfully free of
major blemishes. No  one had seen the mulberry-colored birthmark  again. But
that time Piggy had coaxed and bullied. Tacitly admitting that he remembered
the unmentionable, Ralph nodded to Piggy.
     "Go on. Ask him."
     Piggy knelt, holding the conch.
     "Now then. What's your name?"
     The small boy  twisted  away  into  his tent Piggy turned helplessly to
Ralph, who spoke sharply.
     "What's your name?"
     Tormented  by  the silence  and the refusal the assembly broke  into  a
     "What's your name? What's your name?"
     Ralph peered at the child in the twilight
     "Now tell us. What's your name?"
     "Percival  Wemys  Madison,  The  Vicarage, Harcourt St. Anthony, Hants,
telephone, telephone, tele-"
     As if  this information was  rooted  far down in the springs of sorrow,
the littlun wept. His face puckered,  the tears  leapt  from  his eves,  his
mouth opened till  they  could see a  square black  hole. At first  he was a
silent effigy of sorrow; but then the lamentation rose out of him, loud  and
sustained as the conch.
     "Shut up, you! Shut up!"
     Percival Wemys Madison would not shut up. A spring had been tapped, far
beyond the reach of authority or even physical intimidation. The crying went
on, breath  after breath, and seemed  to sustain him upright as  if  he were
nailed to it.
     "Shut up! Shut up!"
     For now the littluns were no longer silent. They were reminded of their
personal sorrows; and perhaps felt themselves to share in a sorrow  that was
universal.  They  began to  cry in sympathy,  two of them  almost as loud as
     Maurice saved them. He cried out.
     "Look at me!"
     He pretended to fall over. He rubbed his rump and sat on the twister so
that  he fell in the grass. He clowned  badly, but  Percival  and the others
noticed and  sniffed  and  laughed.  Presently they  were  all  laughing  so
absurdly that the biguns joined in.
     Jack was the first to make himself heard. He had not got  the conch and
thus spoke against the rules; but nobody minded.
     "And what about the beast?"
     Something strange  was happening to Percival. He  yawned and staggered,
so that Jack seized and shook him.
     "Where does the beast live?"
     Percival sagged in Jack's grip.
     "That's a clever beast," said Piggy, jeering, "if  it  can hide on this
     "Jack's been everywhere-"
     "Where could a beast live?"
     "Beast my foot!"
     Percival  muttered  something  and  the  assembly laughed again.  Ralph
leaned forward.
     "What does he say?"
     Jack listened to Percival's answer  and  then let  go of him. Percival,
released, surrounded by the comfortable presence of humans, fell in the long
grass and went to sleep.
     Jack cleared his throat then reported casually.
     "He says the beast comes out of the sea."
     The last laugh  died away. Ralph turned  involuntarily, a black, humped
figure against the lagoon. The assembly looked with him, considered the vast
stretches  of  water,  the  high  sea beyond,  unknown  indigo  of  infinite
possibility, heard silently the sough and whisper from the reef.
     Maurice spoke, so loudly that they jumped.
     "Daddy said they haven't found all the animals in the sea yet"
     Argument started again. Ralph held out the glimmering conch and Maurice
took it obediently. The meeting subsided.
     "I mean  when  Jack  says you  can  be  frightened because  people  are
frightened  anyway that's all  right. But when he says there's  only pigs on
this  island  I  expect  he's right  but  he doesn't know,  not  really, not
certainly I mean-' Maurice  took a breath. "My  daddy  says  there's things,
what d`you call'em that make ink-squids-that are hundreds or  yards long and
eat  whales  whole." He  paused again ana laughed gaily. "I don't believe in
the beast of course. As Piggy says, life's scientific, but we don't know, do
we? Not certainly, I mean-"
     Someone shouted.
     "A squid couldn't come up out of the water!"
     In a moment the platform was full of arguing, gesticulating shadows. To
Ralph,  seated, this seemed  the  breaking  up  of sanity. Fear, beasts,  no
general agreement that the fire was all-important: and when one tried to get
the thing straight  the argument sheered off, bringing up fresh,  unpleasant
     He could see  a  whiteness in the  gloom near him so he grabbed it from
Maurice  and  blew  as loudly  as he  could. The assembly  was shocked  into
silence. Simon was  close  to him, laying hands on  the conch.  Simon felt a
perilous necessity to speak; but  to speak in assembly was a terrible  thing
to him.
     "Maybe," he said hesitantly, "maybe there is a beast."
     The assembly cried out savagely and Ralph stood up in amazement.
     "You, Simon? You believe in this?"
     "I don't know," said Simon. His heartbeats were choking him. "But ..."
     The storm broke.
     "Sit down!"
     "Shut up!"
     "Take the conch!"
     "Sod you!"
     "Shut up!"
     Ralph shouted.
     "Hear him! He's got the conch!"
     "What I mean is . . . maybe it's only us."
     That was from Piggy, shocked out of decorum. Simon want on.
     "We could be sort of. . . ."
     Simon became inarticulate in his effort to express mankind's  essential
illness. Inspiration came to him.
     "What's the dirtiest thing there is?"
     As an  answer  Jack  dropped  into  the  uncomprehending  silence  that
followed it  the  one crude expressive syllable.  Release was immense. Those
littluns  who had  climbed back on  the twister fell off again  and  did not
mind. The hunters were screaming with delight
     Simon's  effort fell about him in ruins; the laughter beat him  cruelly
and he shrank away defenseless to his seat.
     At last the assembly was silent again. Someone spoke out of turn.
     "Maybe he means it's some sort of ghost"
     Ralph Lifted the conch and  peered into  the gloom. The  lightest thing
was the pale beach.  Surely the littluns were nearer? Yes-there was no doubt
about  it, they were  huddled  into a tight knot  of  bodies in the  central
grass. A flurry of wind made the palms talk and  the noise  seemed very loud
now that darkness and silence  made it so noticeable. Two grey trunks rubbed
each other with an evil squeaking that no one had noticed by day.
     Piggy took the conch out of his hands. His voice was indignant.
     "I don't believe in no ghosts-ever!"
     Jack was up too, unaccountably angry.
     "Who cares what you believe--Fatty!"
     "I got the conch!"
     There was the sound of a brief tussle and the conch moved to and fro.
     "You gimme the conch back!"
     Ralph pushed between them and got a thump on  the chest. He wrested the
conch from someone and sat down breathlessly.
     "There's too much talk about ghosts. We ought to have left all this for
     A hushed and anonymous voice broke in.
     "Perhaps that's what the beast is-a ghost."
     The assembly was shaken as by a wind.
     "There's too  much talking out of turn," Ralph  said, "because we can't
have proper assemblies if you don't stick to the rules."
     He stopped again. The careful plan of this assembly had broken down.
     "What d'you want me to say then? I was wrong  to call this assembly  so
late.  Well  have a vote on  them;  on ghosts  I  mean;  and then go to  the
shelters  because  we're all tired.  No-Jack  is it?-wait a minute. I'll say
here and now that I don t  believe in ghosts. Or I don't  think I  do. But I
don't like the thought  of  them. Not now that is, in  the dark. But we were
going to decide what's what."
     He raised the conch for a moment
     "Very  well then. I suppose what's what is whether there  are ghosts or
     He thought for a moment, formulating the question.
     "Who thinks there may be ghosts?"
     For a long time there was silence and no apparent  movement. Then Ralph
peered into the gloom and made out the hands. He spoke flatly.
     "I see."
     The  world, that understandable and  lawful world, was  slipping  away.
Once there was this and that; and now-and the ship had gone.
     The conch was snatched from his hands and Piggy's voice shrilled.
     "I didn't vote for no ghosts!"
     He whirled round on the assembly.
     "Remember that, all of you!"
     They heard him stamp.
     "What are we?  Humans? Or animals? Or savages? What's grownups going to
think? Going off-hunting pigs-letting fires out-and now!"
     A shadow fronted him tempestuously.
     "You shut up, you fat slug!'
     There was a  moment's struggle and  the glimmering conch  jigged up and
down. Ralph leapt to his feet.
     "Jack! Jack! You haven't got the conch! Let him speak."
     Jack's face swam near him.
     "And you  shut up!  Who are you,  anyway? Sitting  there telling people
what to do. You cant hunt, you can't sing-"
     "I'm chief. I was chosen."
     "Why should choosing make any difference? Just giving orders that don't
make any sense-"
     "Piggy's got the conch."
     That's right-favor Piggy as you always do-"
     "Jack's voice sounded in bitter mimicry.
     "Jack! Jack!"
     "The rules!" shouted Ralph. "You're breaking the rules!"
     "Who cares?"
     Ralph summoned his wits.
     "Because the rules are the only thing we've got!"
     But Jack was shouting against him.
     "Bollocks to the rules! We're strong-we hunt! If there's a beast, we'll
hunt it down! Well close in and beat and beat and beat-!"
     He gave  a wild whoop and leapt  down  to the  pale sand.  At once  the
platform  was  full  of  noise  and  excitement,  scramblings,  screams  and
laughter.  The  assembly shredded away  and became  a discursive and  random
scatter  from  the  palms  to the  water  and away  along the beach,  beyond
night-sight.  Ralph  found  his cheek touching  the  conch and  took it from
     "What's grownups going to say?" cried Piggy again. "Look at 'em!"
     The sound of  mock  hunting,  hysterical laughter and  real terror came
from the beach.
     "Blow the conch, Ralph."
     Piggy was so close that Ralph could see the glint of his one glass.
     "There's the fire. Can't they see?"
     "You got to be tough now. Make 'em do what you want."
     Ralph answered in the cautious voice of one who rehearses a theorem.
     "If  I  blow the  conch and they don't come back; then we've had it. We
shan't keep the fire going. We'll be like animals. We'll never be rescued."
     "If you don't  blow, we'll soon be  animals anyway.  I  can't  see what
they're doing but I can hear."
     The dispersed figures had  come together on  the sand  and were a dense
black mass that revolved. They were chanting something and littluns that had
had enough were staggering away, howling. Ralph raised the conch to his lips
and then lowered it.
     "The trouble is: Are there ghosts, Piggy? Or beasts?"
     "Course there aren't."
     "Why not?"
     "'Cos  things wouldn't  make  sense.  Houses an`  streets,  an'-TV-they
wouldn't work."
     The dancing, chanting boys had worked themselves  away till their sound
was nothing but a wordless rhythm.
     "But  s'pose they don't make sense? Not here, on this island? Supposing
things are watching us and waiting?"
     Ralph  shuddered  violently  and moved  closer  to Piggy, so that  they
bumped frighteningly.
     "You stop talking like that! We got enough trouble, Ralph, an' I've had
as much as I can stand. If there is ghosts-"
     "I ought to give up being chief. Hear 'em."
     "Oh lord! Oh no!"
     Piggy gripped Ralph's arm.
     "If Jack was chief he'd have all hunting and no fire. We'd be here till
we died."
     His voice ran up to a squeak.
     "Who's that sitting there?"
     "Me. Simon."
     "Fat lot of good we are," said Ralph. "Three blind mice, I`ll give up."
     "If you give up," said Piggy, in an  appalled whisper, "what `ud happen
to me?"
     "He hates me. I dunno  why.  If he could do what  he  wanted-you're all
right, he respects you. Besides- you'd hit him."
     "You were having a nice fight with him just now."
     "I had the conch," said Piggy simply. "I had a right to speak."
     Simon stirred in the dark.
     "Go on being chief."
     "You shut up, young Simon! Why couldn't you say there wasn't a beast?"
     "I'm scared of  him," said Piggy, "and that's why I know him. If you're
scared of someone you  hate him but you can't stop  thinking about  him. You
Kid yourself he's all  right really,  an' then when  you see him again; it's
like asthma an` you  can't  breathe.  I  tell you what. He  hates  you  too,
     "Me? Why me?"
     "I dunno. You got him over the fire; an` you're chief an` he isn't."
     "But he's, he's, Jack Merridew!"
     "I been in bed  so  much  I done some thinking. I know  about people. I
know about me. And him.  He can't hurt you: but  if you stand out of the way
he'd hurt the next thing. And that's me."
     "Piggy's right, Ralph. There's you and Jack. Go on being chief."
     "We're all  drifting  and things are  going  rotten. At home there  was
always a grownup. Please, sir; please, miss; and then you got an answer. How
I wish!"
     "I wish my auntie was here."
     "I wish my father . . . Oh, what's the use?"
     "Keep the fire going."
     The dance was over and the hunters were going back to the shelters.
     "Grownups know things," said Piggy. "They  ain't  afraid of  the  dark.
They'd meet and have tea and discuss. Then things 'ud be all right-"
     "They wouldn't set fire to the island. Or lose-"
     "They'd build a ship-"
     The three boys stood in the darkness, striving unsuccessfully to convey
the majesty of adult life.
     "They wouldn't quarrel-"
     "Or break my specs-"
     "Or talk about a beast-"
     "If only they  could get a message to us," cried Ralph desperately. "If
only they could send us something grown-up . . . a sign or something."
     A  thin wail out of the darkness chilled them and set them grabbing for
each  other. Then  the  wail  rose, remote and  unearthly, and  turned to an
inarticulate gibbering.  Percival Wemys  Madison, of the Vicarage,  Harcourt
St.  Anthony, lying  in the long grass, was living through  circumstances in
which the incantation of his address was powerless to help him.

     Beast from Air

     There  was  no light  left  save  that of  the  stars.  When  they  had
understood what made this  ghostly noise and Percival was quiet again, Ralph
and Simon  picked him up unhandily and carried him  to a shelter. Piggy hung
about near for all his brave words, and the three bigger boys went  together
to the next shelter. They lay  restlessly and noisily  among the dry leaves,
watching  the  patch  of  stars  that  was the  opening toward  the  lagoon.
Sometimes a littlun cried out from the other shelters and once a bigun spoke
in the dark. Then they too fell asleep.
     A sliver of moon rose over  the horizon, hardly  large enough to make a
path of light even when it sat right down on the water; but there were other
lights  in the sky, that moved fast, winked, or went out, though  not even a
faint popping came down from  the battle fought  at ten miles' neight. But a
sign came down  from the world of grownups, though  at the time there was no
child awake to read it. There was a sudden bright explosion  and a corkscrew
trail across the sky; then darkness again and stars. There was a speck above
the  island,  a figure  dropping swiftly beneath a parachute,  a figure that
hung with  dangling limbs. The  changing winds of various altitudes took the
figure where they would. Then, three miles up, the wind steadied and bore it
in a descending curve round the sky and swept it in a great slant across the
reef and the  lagoon toward the mountain. The figure fell and crumpled among
the blue flowers of the mountain-side, but  now there was a gentle breeze at
this height  too and the parachute flopped  and  banged and pulled.  So  the
figure, with  feet that dragged  behind it, slid up  the  mountain. Yard  by
yard, puff by puff, the breeze hauled the  figure through the blue  flowers,
over the boulders  and red stones,  till it lay huddled  among the shattered
rocks  of  the mountain-top.  Here  the breeze  was fitful  and  allowed the
strings of  the  parachute to tangle  and festoon;  and the figure  sat, its
helmeted head  between its knees, held by a complication  of lines. When the
breeze blew, the  lines  would strain taut and some  accident  of this  pull
kited the bead and  chest upright  so that the  figure seemed to peer across
the brow of the mountain. Then,  each time me wind dropped, the lines  would
slacken  and  the figure bow forward again,  sinking  its  head  between its
knees.  So  as  the  stars  moved  across  the  sky,  the figure sat  on the
mountain-top and bowed and sank and bowed again.
     In the darkness of early morning there  were noises by a rock a  little
way  down  the side  of the mountain.  Two  boys  rolled out  of a  pile  of
brushwood and dead leaves, two dim shadows  talking sleepily to  each other.
They were the  twins, on duty at  the fire. In  theory one  should have been
asleep and one on watch.  But they  could never manage to do things sensibly
if  that meant acting  independently, and since staying awake all night  was
impossible, they had  both  gone  to sleep. Now  they approached  the darker
smudge that had been the signal  fire, yawning, rubbing their eyes, treading
with practiced  feet When they readied it they stopped yawning,  and one ran
quickly back for brushwood and leaves.
     The other knelt down.
     "I believe it's out."
     He fiddled with the sticks that were pushed into his hands.
     He lay down and put his  lips close to the  smudge and blew softly. His
face appeared, lit redly. He'stopped blowing for a moment.
     "Sam-give us-"
     "-tinder wood."
     Eric  bent  down and blew softly again  till  the patch was  bright Sam
poked  the  piece of tinder wood into the hot spot,  then a branch. The glow
increased and the branch took fire. Sam piled on more branches.
     "Don't burn the lot," said Eric, "you're putting on too much."
     "Let's warm up."
     "We'll only have to fetch more wood."
     "I'm cold."
     "So'm I."
     "Besides, it's-"
     "-dark. All right, then."
     Eric squatted back and  watched Sam make up the fire. He built a little
tent of dead wood and the fire was safety alight.
     "That was near."
     "He'd have been-"
     For  a  few  moments  the twins watched the fire in silence. Then  Eric
     "Wasn't he waxy?"
     "About the-"
     "Fire and the pig."
     "Lucky he went for Jack, 'stead of us."
     "Huh. Remember old Waxy at school?"
     " 'Boy-you-are-driving-me-slowly-insane!'"
     The twins shared their identical laughter, then remembered the darkness
and other  things  and glanced  round uneasily. The flames,  busy about  the
tent, drew their eyes  back again.  Eric watched the scurrying woodlice that
were  so frantically unable  to avoid the flames,  and thought of the  first
fire-just  down there, on  the steeper  side of the mountain, where  now was
complete darkness. He did not tike to remember  it, and  looked  away at the
     Warmth radiated now, and beat pleasantly on them. Sam amused himself by
fitting branches into  the fire as closely as possible. Eric  spread out his
hands, searching for the distance at which the  heat was just bearable. Idly
looking beyond the  fire, he resettled the scattered  rocks from their  fiat
shadows into daylight  contours. Just there was the big  rock, and the three
stones there, that split rock, and there beyond was a gap-just there-
     The flames  were  mastering the  branches,  the bark  was  curling  and
falling away, the wood exploding. The  tent  fell inwards  and flung  a wide
circle of light over the mountain-top.
     "Sam! Sam!"
     Sam  looked  at Eric irritably. The  intensity of  Eric's gaze made the
direction  in  which he  looked terrible,  for Sam had  his back  to  it. He
scrambled  round the fire, squatted by Eric, and  looked to see. They became
motionless, gripped in each  other's arms, four unwinking eyes aimed ana two
mouths open.
     Far beneath them, the trees of the forest sighed, then roared. The hair
on their  foreheads fluttered and flames blew out  sideways  from the  fire.
Fifteen yards away from them came the plopping noise of fabric blown open.
     Neither of the  boys  screamed but the grip of their arms tightened and
their  mouths grew peaked. For perhaps ten seconds  they crouched  tike that
while the flailing fire sent smoke and  sparks and waves of inconstant tight
over the top of the mountain.
     Then  as  though they  had but one  terrified  mind  between  them they
scrambled away over the rocks and fled.

     Ralph  was  dreaming. He  had fallen asleep after  what seemed hours of
tossing  and  turning  noisily  among  the dry  leaves.  Even the  sounds of
nightmare from the other shelters no longer reached him, for  he was back to
where he came from, feeding the ponies with sugar over the garden wall. Then
someone was shaking his arm, telling him that it was time for tea.
     "Ralph! Wake up!"
     The leaves were roaring tike the sea.
     "Ralph, wake up!"
     "What's the matter?"
     "We saw-"
     "-the beast-"
     "Who are you? The twins?"
     "We saw the beast-"
     "Quiet. Piggy!"
     The leaves were roaring still. Piggy bumped into him and a twin grabbed
him as he made tor the oblong of paling stars.
     "You can't go out-it's horrible!"
     "Piggy-where are the spears?"
     "I can hear the-"
     "Quiet then. Lie still."
     They lay  there listening,  at  first with doubt but then with tenor to
the description the twins breathed at them between bouts of extreme silence.
Soon the darkness was full of daws, full of the awful unknown and menace. An
interminable dawn faded  the  stars out, and  at last  light,  sad and grey,
filtered  into  the  shelter. They  began  to stir  though  still tile world
outside  the  shelter was impossibly  dangerous. The  maze of  the  darkness
sorted into near and  far, and  at the high  point of  the sky the cloudlets
were warmed with color. A single sea bird flapped upwards  with a hoarse cry
that was echoed presently, and something squawked in  the forest Now streaks
of cloud near the horizon began to glow rosily, and the feathery tops of the
palms were green.
     Ralph knelt in the entrance to the shelter and peered cautiously  round
     "Sam `n Eric. Call them to an assembly. Quietly. Go on."
     The  twins,  holding tremulously  to each other, dared the few yards to
the next shelter and spread the dreadful news. Ralph stood up and walked for
the sake  of dignity, though with his back pricking,  to the platform. Piggy
and Simon followed him and the other boys came sneaking after.
     Ralph took the conch from where it lay on the polished seat and held it
to  his lips; but then he hesitated and did not blow.  He held  the shell up
instead and showed it to them and they understood.
     The rays  of the sun that  were fanning upwards  from below the horizon
swung downwards to eye-level Ralph looked  for a moment at the growing slice
of gold  that  lit  them  from the  right hand  and  seemed  to make  speech
possible. The circle of boys before him bristled with hunting spears.
     He handed the conch to Eric, the nearest of the twins.
     "We've seen the beast with our own eyes. No-we weren't asleep-"
     Sam took up the story. By custom now one conch  did for both twins, for
their substantial unity was recognized.
     "It was furry.  There was something moving  behind its head-wings.  The
beast moved too-"
     "That was awful. It kind of sat up-"
     "The fire was bright-"
     "We'd just made it up-"
     "-more sticks on-"
     "There were eyes-"
     "We ran as fast as we could-"
     "Bashed into things-"
     The beast followed us-"
     "I saw it slinking behind the trees-"
     "Nearly touched me-"
     Ralph  pointed fearfully  at  Eric's face, which was striped with scars
where the bushes had torn him.
     "How did you do that?"
     Eric felt his face.
     "I'm all rough. Am I bleeding?"
     The  circle of boys shrank away in horror. Johnny, yawning still, burst
into noisy tears and was slapped by Bill  till he choked on them. The bright
morning was full  of threats and  the  circle began to change. It faced out,
rather than in,  and  the spears of  sharpened wood  were like a fence. Jack
called them back to the center.
     "This'll be a real hunt! Who'll come?"
     Ralph moved impatiently.
     "These spears are made of wood. Don't be silly."
     Jack sneered at him.
     " 'Course I'm frightened. Who wouldn't be?"
     He turned to the twins, yearning but hopeless.
     "I suppose you aren't pulling our legs?"
     The reply was too emphatic for anyone to doubt them.
     Piggy took the conch.
     "Couldn't we-kind of-stay here? Maybe the beast won't come near us."
     But for the sense of something watching them, Ralph  would have shouted
at him.
     "Stay here? And be  cramped into this bit  of the island, always on the
lookout? How should we get our food? And what about the fire?"
     "Let's be moving," said Jack restlessly, "we're wasting time."
     "No we're not. What about the littluns?" "Sucks to the littluns!''
     "Someone's got to look after them."
     "Nobody has so far."
     "There was no need! Now there is. Piggy`ll look after them."
     "That's right. Keep Piggy out of danger."
     "Have some sense. What can Piggy do with only one eye?"
     The rest of the boys were looking from Jack to Ralph, curiously.
     "And another thing. You can't have an ordinary hunt  because  the beast
doesn't leave tracks. If it did you'd  have seen them. For all  we know, the
beast may swing through the trees like what's its name."
     They nodded.
     "So we've got to think."
     Piggy took off his damaged glasses and cleaned the remaining lens.
     "How about us, Ralph?"
     "You haven't got the conch. Here."
     "I  mean-how about us? Suppose the beast comes when  you're all away. I
can't see proper, and if I get scared-"
     Jack broke in, contemptuously.
     "You're always scared."
     "I got the conch-"
     "Conch!  Conch!"  shouted Jack. "We  don't need the conch any  more. We
know who  ought to say things. What good did  Simon do speaking, or Bill, or
Walter? It's  time  some people knew  they've  got to  keep quiet and  leave
deciding things to the rest of us."
     Ralph  could  no longer  ignore his speech. The blood  was  hot in  his
     "You haven't got the conch," he said. "Sit down."
     Jack's face  went so white  that the  freckles showed as  clear,  brown
flecks. He licked his lips and remained standing.
     "This is a hunter's job."
     The  rest  of  the  boys  watched  intently.   Piggy,  finding  himself
uncomfortably embroiled,  slid the conch to Ralph's knees  and sat down. The
silence grew oppressive and Piggy held his breath.
     "This  is more than a hunter's job,"  said  Ralph at last, "because you
can't track the beast And don't you want to be rescued?"
     He turned to the assembly.
     "Don't you all want to be rescued?"
     He looked back at Jack.
     "I said before, the fire is the main thing. Now the fire must be out-"
     The old exasperation saved him and gave him the energy to attack.
     "Hasn't anyone got any sense? We've got to relight that fire. You never
thought or that, Jack, did you? Or don't any of you want to be rescued?"
     Yes, they wanted to be rescued, there was no doubt about that; and with
a violent swing to Ralph's side, the crisis passed. Piggy let out his breath
with  a gasp, reached for it again and  failed. He  lay against  a  log, his
mouth gaping, blue shadows creeping round his lips. Nobody minded frim.
     "Now think, Jack. Is there anywhere on the island you haven't been?"
     Unwillingly Jack answered.
     "There's only-but of course! You remember? The tail-end part, where the
rocks  are all  piled up.  I've been  near there.  The rock makes a  sort of
bridge. There's only one way up."
     And the thing might live there."
     All the assembly talked at once.
     "Quite!  All  right That's where well look. If  the beast  isn't  there
we'll go up the mountain and look; and light the fire."
     "Let's go."
     "We'll eat first. Then go." Ralph paused. "We'd better take spears."
     After they had eaten, Ralph and  the biguns  set out  along  the beach.
They  left  Piggy propped up  on the platform.  This  day promised, like the
others, to be a sunbath under a blue dome. The  beach stretched away  before
them in a gentle  curve till perspective drew it  into one  with the forest;
for  the day was not advanced enough to be obscured by the shifting veils of
mirage. Under Ralph's  direction, they picked a careful way  along the  palm
terrace, rather than dare  the hot sand down by the water.  He let Jack lead
the way; and Jack trod with theatrical  caution though they could  have seen
an  enemy  twenty yards  away.  Ralph  walked in the rear,  thankful to have
escaped responsibility for a time.
     Simon, walking in front of Ralph, felt a flicker of incredulity-a beast
with claws that scratched, that sat on a  mountain-top, that  left no tracks
and yet was not fast enough to catch Samneric. However  Simon thought of the
beast,  there  rose before  his inward sight the picture of  a human at once
heroic and sick.
     He sighed.  Other people  could  stand  up and  speak  to  an assembly,
apparently, without that dreadful feeling  of  the pressure of  personality;
could say what they would as  though they were speaking to only one  person.
He stepped aside and looked back.  Ralph was coming along, holding his spear
over his  shoulder. Diffidently, Simon allowed  his pace to slacken until he
was walking side by side with Ralph and looking up at him through the coarse
black hair  that  now  fell  to  his eyes.  Ralph glanced  sideways,  smiled
constrainedly as  though  he  had  forgotten that Simon had  made a  fool of
himself,  then  looked away again at nothing. For a  moment or two Simon was
happy  to be accepted  and  then  he ceased to  think about himself. When he
bashed into a tree Ralph looked sideways impatiently  and Robert  sniggered.
Simon reeled and a white spot on his forehead turned red and trickled. Ralph
dismissed Simon  and returned to his  personal  hell  They  would reach  the
castle some time; and the chief would have to go forward.
     Jack came trotting back.
     "We're in sight now."
     "All right. We'll get as close as we can."
     He followed Jack toward the castle where the ground  rose  slightly. On
their left was at. impenetrable tangle of creepers and trees.
     "Why couldn't there be something in that?"
     "Because you can see. Nothing goes in or out."
     "What about the castle then?"
     Ralph  parted the screen of grass and looked out. There were only a few
more yards of stony ground  and then the two sides of the island came almost
together  so  that one  expected a peak  of headland. But instead  of this a
narrow ledge of rock, a  few yards wide and perhaps  fifteen long, continued
the  island out  into  the sea. There lay  another  of those pieces of  pink
squareness that  underlay  the structure of  the  island.  This  side of the
castle, perhaps a hundred feet high, was the pink bastion they had seen from
the  mountain-top. The rock of the cliff was split and the top littered with
great lumps that seemed to totter.
     Behind Ralph  the  tall  grass had  filled  with  silent hunters. Ralph
looked at Jack.
     "You're a hunter."
     Jack went red.
     "I know. All right. Something deep in Ralph spoke for him."
     "I'm chief. I'll go. Don t argue."
     He turned to the others.
     "You. Hide here. Wait for me."
     He found his  voice tended either to disappear or to come out too loud.
He looked at Jack.
     "Do you-think?"
     Jack muttered. I've been all over. It must be here."
     "I see."
     Simon mumbled confusedly: "I don't believe in the beast."
     Ralph answered him politely, as if agreeing about the weather.
     "No. 1 suppose not."
     His mouth was tight and pale. He put back his hair very slowly.
     "Well. So long."
     He  forced his feet to  move until  they had carried him  out on to the
neck of land.
     He  was  surrounded on all sides  by chasms  of empty  air.  There  was
nowhere to hide, even if one did not  nave to go on. He paused on the narrow
neck and looked down. Soon, in a matter of centuries, the sea would make  an
island of the castle. On the right hand was the lagoon, troubled by the open
sea; and on the left-
     Ralph  shuddered. The lagoon  had protected  them from the Pacific: and
for  some reason only Jack  had gone right down to the  water on  the  other
side. Now he saw  the landsman's view of the  swell  and  it seemed like the
breathing of some  stupendous  creature. Slowly the  waters  sank among  the
rocks, revealing pink  tables of  granite,  strange growths of coral, polyp,
and weed.  Down, down, the waters went,  whispering like the wind among  the
heads of the forest. There was one flat rock there, spread like a table, and
the waters sucking down on the four weedy sides made them seem like  cliffs.
Then  the  sleeping  leviathan  breathed  out, the  waters  rose,  the  weed
streamed, and the water boiled over the table rock with a roar. There was no
sense of the passage of waves; only this minute-long fall and rise and fall.
     Ralph turned away to the red cliff. They were waiting behind him in the
long grass, waiting  to see  what he  would do. He noticed that the sweat in
his palm was  cool now; realized with surprise that he did not really expect
to meet any beast and didn't know what he would do about it if he did.
     He saw that  he could climb the  cliff but this  was not necessary. The
squareness of the rock allowed  a  sort of plinth  round it, so  mat to  the
right, over the lagoon, one could inch along a ledge and turn the corner out
of sight. It was easy going, and soon he was peering round the rock.
     Nothing  but what  you might expect:  pink, tumbled boulders with guano
layered on them like icing; and a steep slope up to the shattered rocks that
crowned the bastion.
     A sound behind him made him turn. Jack was edging along the ledge.
     Couldn't let you do it on your own."
     Ralph said nothing.  He led the way over the rocks, inspected a sort of
half-cave that held nothing more terrible than a clutch of rotten eggs,  and
at last sat down, looking round him and tapping  the  rock with the  butt of
his spear.
     Jack was excited.
     "What a place for a fort!"
     A column of spray wetted them.
     "No fresh water."
     "What's that then?"
     There was indeed a long green smudge half-way up the rock. They climbed
up and tasted the trickle of water.
     "You could keep a coconut shell there, filling all the time."
     "Not me. This is a rotten place."
     Side by side  they scaled the last height to where the diminishing pile
was crowned by the last broken  rock. Jack struck the near one with his fist
and it grated slightly.
     "Do you remember-?"
     Consciousness  of the  bad  times in  between  came to them  both. Jack
talked quickly.
     "Shove a palm trunk under that and if an enemy came -look!"
     A  hundred feet  below them was  the narrow  causeway,  then  the stony
ground, then the grass dotted with heads, and behind that the forest.
     "One heave," cried Jack, exulting, "and-wheee-!"
     He made a sweeping  movement  with his  hand.  Ralph looked toward  the
     "What's the matter?"
     Ralph turned.
     "You were looking-I don't know why."
     "There's no signal now. Nothing to show."
     "You're nuts on the signal."
     The taut blue horizon encircled them, broken only by the mountain-top.
     "That's all we've got"
     He  leaned  his  spear  against  the  rocking stone and pushed back two
handfuls of hair.
     "We'll  have to go back and climb the  mountain. That's  where they saw
the beast."
     "The beast won't be there."
     "What else can we do?"
     The others, waiting in the grass, saw Jack and Ralph unharmed and broke
cover into  the  sunlight. They  forgot  the  beast  in  the  excitement  of
exploration.  They  swarmed across the  bridge and  soon  were  climbing and
shouting.  Ralph stood now, one  hand against an enormous red block, a block
large as a mill wheel  that had been split off and hung, tottering. Somberly
he watched the mountain. He clenched  his fist  and  beat hammer-wise on the
red wall at his right His lips were  tightly compressed and his eyes yearned
beneath the fringe of hair.
     He sucked his bruised fist.
     "Jack! Come on."
     But Jack was not there. A knot of boys, making  a  great  noise that he
had not noticed, were heaving and pushing at  a rock. As he turned, the base
cracked and the  whole mass toppled into the sea so that, a thunderous plume
of spray leapt half-way up the cliff.
     "Stop it! Stop it!"
     His voice struck a silence among them.
     A  strange thing  happened  in his  head. Something flittered  there in
front of his mind like a bat's wing, obscuring his idea.
     At once the ideas were back, and the anger.
     "We want smoke. And you go wasting your time. You roll rocks."
     Roger shouted.
     "We've got plenty of time!"
     Ralph shook his head.
     "We'll go to-the mountain."
     The clamor broke out. Some of  the boys wanted to go back to the beach.
Some wanted to roll more rocks. The sun was bright and danger had faded with
the darkness.
     "Jack. The beast might be on the other side. You can lead again. You've
     "We could go by the shore. There's fruit."
     Bill came up to Ralph.
     "Why can't we stay here for a bit?"
     "That's right."
     "Let's have a fort."
     "There's no food here," said  Ralph, "and  no  shelter. Not  much fresh
     "This would make a wizard fort"
     "We can roll rocks-"
     "Right onto the bridge-"
     "I  say  we'll go  on!"  shouted  Ralph  furiously. "We've got to  make
certain. We'll go now."
     "Let's stay here-"
     "Back to the shelter-"
     "I'm tired-"
     Ralph struck the skin off his knuckles. They did not seem to hurt.
     "I'm chief. We've got  to  make  certain. Can't you see  the  mountain?
There's no signal showing.  There  may be a  ship out there. Are you all off
your rockers?"
     Mutinously, the boys fell silent or muttering.
     Jack led the way down the rock and across the bridge.

     Shadows and Tall Trees

     The  pig-run kept close to the  jumble of rocks that  lay  down  by the
water on  the other side and  Ralph was content to follow  Jack along it. If
you could  shut your ears to the slow  suck down  of the sea and boil of the
return, if you could forget how dun and unvisited were the  ferny coverts on
either side, then there  was  a chance  that you might put the beast  out of
mind and  dream  for a while.  The sun had swung over the vertical  and  the
afternoon heat was closing in on the island. Ralph passed a message  forward
to Jack and when they next came to fruit the whole party stopped and ate.
     Sitting, Ralph was aware  of the heat for  the first time that day.  He
pulled  distastefully  at  his  grey  shirt  and  wondered whether  he might
undertake the adventure of washing  it. Sitting under what seemed an unusual
heat, even for this island, Ralph planned his  toilet. He would like to have
a pair of  scissors and cut this hair-he flung the mass back-cut this filthy
hair right back to half an  inch. He  would  like to have  a  bath, a proper
wallow  with soap.  He passed his tongue  experimentally over  his teeth and
decided  that a  toothbrush  would come in  handy  too.  Then there were his
     Ralph turned his hand over and examined them. They were bitten  down to
the quick though he could not remember when  he had restarted this habit nor
any time when he indulged it.
     "Be sucking my thumb next-"
     He looked round, furtively. Apparently  no one had heard.  The  hunters
sat, stuffing themselves with this easy meal,  trying to convince themselves
that  they  got sufficient  kick out of bananas  and that  other olive-grey,
jelly-like  fruit With  the memory of his sometime clean self as a standard,
Ralph looked them over.  They  were dirty, not with  the spectacular dirt of
boys who have  fallen into mud or been brought down hard on a rainy day. Not
one of them  was an  obvious  subject for a shower, and  yet-hair,  much too
long,  tangled  here and there, knotted round a dead  leaf or a  twig; faces
cleaned fairly well by the process  of eating and sweating but marked in the
less accessible angles with a kind of shadow; clothes, worn away, stiff like
his own with sweat, put on, not for decorum or  comfort  but out of  custom;
the skin of the body, scurfy with brine-
     He  discovered  with a  little  fall of the heart  that these were  the
conditions he took as normal now and  that  he did  not mind. He  sighed and
pushed  away the  stalk from which he had stripped the  fruit.  Already  the
hunters were stealing away to  do their business in the woods or down by the
rocks. He turned and looked out to sea.
     Here, on the other  side of the island, the view was utterly different.
The filmy enchantments of mirage could not endure the  cold ocean  water and
the horizon was hard, clipped blue.  Ralph wandered down to the rocks.  Down
here, almost on a  level  with the sea, you  could follow  with your eye the
ceaseless, bulging passage of  the deep sea waves.  They  were  miles  wide,
apparently not breakers or the banked ridges of shallow water. They traveled
the length  of the island  with  an air of disregarding  it and being set on
other business; they  were less a progress than a momentous rise and fall or
the whole ocean. Now the sea would suck down, making cascades and waterfalls
of retreating water, would sink past the rocks and plaster down the  seaweed
like shining hair: then,  pausing, gather and rise with a roar, irresistibly
swelling over point and outcrop, climbing the little cliff, sending  at last
an arm of surf up a gully to end a yard or so from him in fingers of spray.
     Wave after wave, Ralph  followed the  rise  and fall until something of
the  remoteness of  the  sea numbed  his  brain.  Then gradually the  almost
infinite  size  of this  water forced itself on his attention. This  was the
divider,  the barrier.  On the other side of  the island,  swathed at midday
with mirage, defended by the shield of  the quiet lagoon, one might dream of
rescue; but here, faced by the brute obtuseness of the  ocean, the miles  of
division, one was  clamped down, one was  helpless, one was  condemned,  one
     Simon was speaking almost in  his  ear. Ralph found  that  he  had rock
painfully gripped  in both hands,  found his body arched, the muscles of his
neck stiff, his mouth strained open.
     "You'll get back to where you came from."
     Simon nodded as he spoke.  He  was  kneeling on  one knee, looking down
from a  higher rock which he held  with  both hands; his other leg stretched
down to Ralph's level.
     Ralph was puzzled and searched Simon's face for a clue.
     "It's so big, I mean-"
     Simon nodded.
     "All the same. You'll get back all right. I think so, anyway."
     Some  of the strain  had gone from Ralph's body.  He glanced at the sea
and then smiled bitterly at Simon.
     "Got a ship in your pocket?"
     Simon grinned and shook his head.
     "How do you know, then?"
     When Simon was still silent Ralph said curtly, "You're batty."
     Simon  shook  his  head violently  till  the  coarse  black  hair  flew
backwards and forwards across his face.
     "No, I'm not. I just think you'll get back all right."
     For  a moment  nothing more was said. And then  they suddenly smiled at
each other.

     Roger called from the coverts.
     "Come and see!"
     The ground was turned  over  near the pig-run and there were  droppings
that steamed. Jack bent down to them as though he loved them.
     "Ralph-we need meat even if we are hunting the other thing."
     "If you mean going the right way, well hunt."
     They  set  off  again, the  hunters  bunched a little  by  fear of  the
mentioned beast, while Jack quested ahead. They went  more slowly than Ralph
had bargained for; yet  in a  way he was glad to loiter, cradling his spear.
Jack  came  up against some emergency of his craft and  soon the  procession
stopped. Ralph leaned against a tree and at once the daydreams came swarming
up.  Jack was  in charge  of the mint and there would be time to get  to the
     Once, following his father from Chatham to Devonport, they had lived in
a cottage on the  edge of the moors. In the succession of  houses that Ralph
had  known, this  one stood out with  particular clarity  because after that
house  he had  been sent  away to school. Mummy had still been with them and
Daddy  had come home every day. Wild  ponies came to the  stone wall  at the
bottom of the garden, and it had snowed. Just behind the cottage there was a
sort of shed and you could lie  up there, watching the flakes swirl past You
could see the damp spot where each flake died, then you could mark the first
flake  that lay down without melting and watch the whole  ground turn white.
You could go indoors  when you  were  cold and look out of the window,  past
that bright copper kettle and the plate with the little blue men.
     When  you went  to  bed there was a bowl of  cornflakes  with sugar and
cream.  And the  books-they stood on the shelf by the bed, leaning  together
with always two or three laid flat on top because he had not bothered to put
them back properly. They were dog-eared and scratched. There was the bright,
shining one  about  Topsy and Mopsy that he  never read because it was about
two girls;  there  was the one about the magician which you read with a kind
of  tied-down terror, skipping page twenty-seven with  the awful  picture of
the spider; there  was  a book about people who had dug  things up, Egyptian
things; there was The Boy's Book of Trains, The Boy's Book of Ships. Vividly
they came before him; he could have reached up and  touched them, could feel
the weight  and slow  slide with which The Mammoth  Book for Boys would come
out and slither  down. .  .  . Everything  was  all  right;  everything  was
good-humored and friendly.
     The bushes crashed ahead of them. Boys flung themselves wildly from the
pig track and  scrabbled in  the creepers, screaming. Ralph  saw Jack nudged
aside  and  fall.  Then there was a creature  bounding  along the  pig track
toward  him, with tusks  gleaming and an intimidating grunt. Ralph  found he
was  able to measure the  distance coldly and take aim. With the  boar  only
five yards away, he flung  the foolish wooden stick that he  carried, saw it
hit the great snout and hang  there for a moment. The boar's note changed to
a  squeal  and it swerved aside into  the covert.  The  pig-run filled  with
shouting  boys again,  Jack  came  running back,  and  poked  about  in  the
     Through here-"
     "But he'd do us!"
     "Through here, I said-"
     The  boar  was floundering away from them.  They found  another pig-run
parallel  to the first and  Jack  raced away.  Ralph was  lull of  night and
apprehension and pride.
     "I hit him! The spear stuck in-"
     Now they came, unexpectedly, to an open space  by the  sea.  Jack  cast
about on the bare rock and looked anxious.
     "He's gone."
     "I hit him," said Ralph again, "and the spear stuck in a bit."
     He felt the need of witnesses.
     "Didn't you see me?"
     Maurice nodded.
     "I saw you. Right bang on his snout- Wheee!"
     Ralph talked on, excitedly.
     "I hit him all right The spear stuck in. I wounded him!"
     He  sunned himself in  their new respect and felt that hunting was good
after all.
     "I walloped him properly. That was the beast, I think!" Jack came back.
     "That wasn't the beast That was a boar."
     "I bit him."
     "Why didn't you grab him? I tried-"
     Ralph's voice ran up.
     "But a boar!"
     Jack flushed suddenly.
     "You said  he'd do us. What did you want  to throw for? Why  didn't you
     He held out his arm.
     He turned his left forearm  for  them all  to see. On the outside was a
rip; not much, but bloody. . "He did mat with his tusks.  I couldn't  get my
spear down in time."
     Attention focused on Jack.
     "That's  a  wound,"  said  Simon,  "and  you  ought  to  suck  it  Like
     Jack sucked.
     "I hit  him,"  said  Ralph  indignantly.  "I  bit  him with my spear, I
wounded him."
     He tried for their attention.
     "He was coming along the path. I threw, like this-"
     Robert  snarled at  him.  Ralph  entered into the  play  and  everybody
laughed. Presently they were all jabbing at Robert who made mock rushes.
     Jack shouted.
     "Make a ring!"
     The  circle moved in and round. Robert squealed in mock terror, then in
real pain.
     "Ow! Stop it! You're hurting!"
     The butt end of a spear fell on his back as he blundered among them.
     "Hold him!"
     They  got  his arms and  legs. Ralph, carried  away by a  sudden  thick
excitement, grabbed Eric's spear and jabbed at Robert with it.
     "Kill him! Kill him!"
     All at once, Robert  was screaming and struggling  with the strength of
frenzy. Jack had him by the  hair and  was brandishing his knife. Behind him
was Roger,  fighting to get close. The  chant rose ritually, as  at the last
moment of a dance or a hunt.
     "Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!"
     Ralph too  was  fighting to  get near, to  get a handful of that brown,
vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering.
     Jack's  arm came down; the  heaving circle cheered and  made  pig-dying
noises.  Then they  lay  quiet,  panting, listening  to  Robert's frightened
snivels. He wiped his face with a dirty arm, and  made an effort to retrieve
his status.
     "Oh, my bum!"
     He rubbed his rump ruefully. Jack rolled over.
     "That was a good game."
     "Just a  game," said  Ralph uneasily. "I got jolly badly hurt at rugger
     "We  ought  to  have  a  drum,"  said Maurice, "then  we  could  do  it
     Ralph looked at him.
     "How properly?"
     "I dunno. You want a fire,  I think,  and  a drum, and you keep time to
the drum."
     "You want a pig," said Roger, "Like in a real hunt."
     "Or someone to pretend," said Jack. "You could get  someone to dress up
as a pig  and then  he could act-you know, pretend to knock  me over and all
     "You want a real pig," said Robert, still caressing  his rump, "because
you've got to kill him."
     "Use a littlun," said Jack, and everybody laughed.

     Ralph sat up.
     "Well. We shan't find what we're looking for at this rate."
     One by one they stood up, twitching rags into place.
     Ralph looked at Jack.
     "Now for the mountain."
     "Shouldn't we go back to Piggy," said Maurice, "before dark?"
     The twins nodded like one boy.
     "Yes, that's right. Let's go up there in the morning."
     Ralph looked out and saw the sea.
     "We've got to start the fire again."
     "You haven't got Piggy's specs," said Jack, "so you can't."
     "Then we'll find out if the mountain's clear."
     Maurice spoke, hesitating, not wanting to seem a funk.
     "Supposing the beast's up there?"
     Jack brandished his spear.
     "We`1l kill it."
     The sun seemed a little cooler. He slashed with the spear.
     "What are we waiting for?"
     "I suppose," said Ralph, "if we keep on by the sea this  way, well come
out below the burnt bit and then we can climb the mountain."
     Once  more  Jack led them along by the suck  and heave of the  blinding
     Once  more Ralph  dreamed,  letting  his skillful feet  deal  with  the
difficulties  of the  path. Yet  here his  feet seemed  less  skillful  than
before. For most of the way they were forced right down to the  bare rock by
the water and had to edge along between that and the dark luxuriance of  the
forest  There were  little cliffs  to  be scaled, some  to be used as paths,
lengthy traverses where one used hands as well as  feet. Here and there they
could clamber over wave-wet  rock, leaping across clear pools  that the tide
had  left. They  came to a gully  that split  the  narrow foreshore  like  a
defense. This seemed to have no bottom and they peered awe-stricken into the
gloomy crack where water gurgled. Then the wave  came back, the gully boiled
before  them and spray dashed up to  the very creeper so that  the boys were
wet and shrieking. They tried the forest  but ft  was thick and woven like a
bird's nest In the end they had to  jump one by one,  waiting till the water
sank; and even so, some of them got a second drenching. After that the rocks
seemed to  be growing impassable so they sat for a time, letting their  rags
dry and watching the clipped  outlines  of the rollers that  moved so slowly
past the island. They found  fruit in  a haunt  of bright little  birds that
hovered like insects. Then Ralph said they were going too slowly. He himself
climbed  a  tree and parted the canopy,  and  saw  the  square head  of  the
mountain seeming still  a great way off. Then they tried to hurry  along the
rocks  and  Robert cut his  knee quite badly and they  had to recognize that
this path must be taken slowly  if they were  to be safe. So  they proceeded
after that as if they  were climbing a dangerous  mountain, until the  rocks
became an uncompromising cliff, overhung with impossible jungle and  falling
sheer into the sea.
     Ralph looked at the sun critically.
     "Early evening. After tea-time, at any rate."
     "I don't remember this cliff," said Jack, crestfallen, "so this must be
the bit of the coast I missed."
     Ralph nodded.
     "Let me think."
     By now,  Ralph had no self-consciousness  in public thinking but  would
treat the day's  decisions as though he were playing chess. The only trouble
was  that  he would never be a very  good  chess player. He thought  of  the
littluns  and  Piggy.  Vividly  he imagined Piggy by himself,  huddled in  a
shelter that was silent except for the sounds of nightmare.
     "We can't leave the littluns alone with Piggy. Not all night."
     The other boys said nothing but stood round, watching him.
     "If we went back we should take hours."
     Jack cleared his throat and spoke in a queer, tight voice.
     "We mustn't let anything happen to Piggy, must we?"
     Ralph tapped his teeth with the dirty point of Eric's spear.
     "If we go across-"
     He glanced round him.
     "Someone's got to  go  across the island and  tell  Piggy we'll be back
after dark."
     Bill spoke, unbelieving.
     "Through the forest by himself? Now?"
     "We can't spare more than one."
     Simon pushed his way to Ralph's elbow.
     "I'll go if you like. I don't mind, honestly."
     Before Ralph  had time to reply, he smiled quickly, turned and  climbed
into the forest
     Ralph looked  back at  Jack, seeing  him,  infuriatingly, for the first
     "Jack-that time you went the whole way to the castle rock."
     Jack glowered.
     "You came alone part of this shore-below the mountain, beyond there."
     "And then?"
     "I found a pig-run. It went for miles."
     "So the pig-run must be somewhere in there."
     Ralph nodded. He pointed at the forest
     Everybody agreed, sagely.
     "All right then. We'll smash a way through till we find the pig-run."
     He took a step and halted.
     "Wait a minute though! Where does the pig-run go to?"
     "The mountain,"  said Jack, "I told you. He sneered. "Don't you want to
go to the mountain?"
     Ralph  sighed, sensing  the rising antagonism, understanding  that this
was how Jack felt as soon as he ceased to lead.
     "I was thinking of the light. We'll be stumbling about."
     "We were going to look for the beast."
     "There won't be enough light."
     "I don't mind going, said Jack hotly. "Ill go  when we get there. Won't
you? Would you rather go back to the shelters and tell Piggy?"
     Now it was Ralph's turn  to flush but he spoke despairingly, out of the
new understanding that Piggy had given him.
     "Why do you hate me?"
     The boys stirred uneasily, as  though something indecent had been said.
The silence lengthened.
     Ralph, still hot and hurt, turned away first.
     "Come on."
     He led the way and set himself as by right to hack at the tangles. Jack
brought up the rear, displaced and brooding.
     The pig-track was a dark tunnel, for the sun was sliding quickly toward
the edge of the  world and in the forest shadows were never-far to seek. The
track was broad and beaten and they ran along at a swift trot, Then the roof
of  leaves broke up and  they halted, breathing  quickly, looking at the few
stars that pricked round the head of the mountain.
     "There you are."
     The boys peered at each other doubtfully. Ralph made a decision.
     "We'll go straight across to the platform and climb tomorrow."
     They murmured agreement; but Jack was standing by his shoulder.
     "If you're frightened of course-"
     Ralph turned on him.
     "Who went first on the castle rock?"
     "I went too. And that was daylight."
     "All right. Who wants to climb the mountain now?"
     Silence was the only answer.
     "Samneric? What about you?"
     "We ought to go an' tell Piggy-"
     "-yes, tell Piggy that-"
     "But Simon went!"
     "We ought to tell Piggy-in case-"
     "Robert? Bill?"
     They were going straight back to the platform now. Not, of course, that
they were afraid-but tired.
     Ralph turned back to Jack.
     "You see?"
     "I'm going  up  the mountain." The words came from  Jack  viciously, as
though  they were a curse. He looked  at  Ralph,  his thin body  tensed, his
spear held as if he threatened him.
     "I'm going up the mountain to look for the beast-now." Then the supreme
sting, the casual, bitter, word. "Coming?"
     At  that  word the other  boys  forgot their urge to be gone and turned
back to sample this  fresh rub of two spirits in the  dark. The word was too
good, too bitter, too successfully daunting to be repeated. It took Ralph at
low water when  his nerve was relaxed  for the return to the shelter and the
still, friendly waters of the lagoon.
     "I don't mind."
     Astonished, he heard his voice  come out, cool and  casual, so that the
bitterness of Jack's taunt fell powerless.
     "If you don't mind, of course."
     "Oh, not at all."
     Jack took a step.
     "Well then-"
     Side by side, watched by silent boys, the two started up the mountain.
     Ralph stopped.
     "We're silly. Why should only two go? If we find anything, two won't be
     There  came  the sound of  boys scuttling away.  Astonishingly,  a dark
figure moved against the tide.
     "That's three, then."
     Once more they set out to climb the slope of the mountain. The darkness
seemed to flow round them like a  tide. Jack, who had said nothing, began to
choke and cough, and a gust  of wind set all three spluttering. Ralph's eyes
were blinded with tears.
     "Ashes. We're on the edge of the burnt patch."
     Their footsteps and the occasional breeze were stirring up small devils
of dust.  Now  that they stopped again,  Ralph had  time while he coughed to
remember  how silly  they  were. If there was  no beast-and almost certainly
there was no beast-in  tiiat case, well and good; but if there was something
waiting  on  top  of  the  mountain-what  was  the  use  of  three of  them,
handicapped by the darkness and carrying only sticks?
     "We're being fools."
     Out of the darkness came the answer.
     Irritably Ralph shook himself. This was all Jack's fault
     " 'Course I am. But we're still being fools."
     "If you don't want to go on," said the voice sarcastically,
     Ralph heard the mockery and hated Jack. The sting of ashes in his eyes,
tiredness,  fear, enraged  him.  "Go on  then!  We'll wait  here." There was
     "Why don't you go? Are you frightened?"
     A stain in  the darkness, a  stain that  was Jack, detached  itself and
began to draw away. "All right. So long."
     The stain vanished. Another took its place.
     Ralph  felt his knee against something hard and rocked a  charred trunk
that was  edgy to  the touch. He felt the sharp cinders  that had been  bark
push against the back of his knee and knew that Roger had sat  down. He felt
with  his hands and  lowered himself beside Roger,  while  the  trunk rocked
among invisible  ashes. Roger, uncommunicative  by nature,  said nothing. He
offered no opinion on the beast nor told  Ralph why he had chosen to come on
this  mad expedition.  He  simply  sat  and rocked the  trunk gently.  Ralph
noticed a rapid and  infuriating  tapping noise and realized  that Roger was
banging his silly wooden stick against something.
     So they sat, the rocking, tapping,  impervious Roger and Ralph, fuming;
round  them the close sky was loaded  with stars,  save  where the  mountain
punched up a hole of blackness.
     There was  a  slithering noise high  above  them, the sound  of someone
taking giant and dangerous strides on rock or ash. Then Jack found them, and
was shivering and croaking in a voice they could just recognize as his.
     "I saw a thing on top."
     They heard him blunder against the trunk which rocked violently. He lay
silent for a moment, then muttered.
     "Keep a good lookout. It may be following."
     A shower of ash pattered round them. Jack sat up.
     "I saw a thing bulge on the mountain."
     "You only imagined  it,"  said Ralph  shakily,  "because nothing  would
bulge. Not any sort of creature."
     Roger spoke; they jumped, for they had forgotten him.
     "A frog."
     Jack giggled and shuddered.
     "Some frog.  There was a  noise  too. A kind of  'plop' noise. Then the
thing bulged."
     Ralph surprised himself, not so much by the quality of his voice, which
was even, but by the bravado of its intention.
     "We'll go and look."
     For the first time  since he had first known Jack, Ralph could feel him
     His voice spoke for him.
     "Of course."
     He got off the  trunk and  led the  way across  the clinking cinders up
into the dark, and the others followed.
     Now  that his physical voice was silent the inner  voice of reason, and
other voices  too,  made themselves  heard.  Piggy  was  calling him  a kid.
Another voice  told  him not to be  a fool; and the  darkness and  desperate
enterprise gave the night a kind of dentist's chair unreality.
     As they came to the last slope, Jack and Roger  drew near, changed from
the  ink-stains to distinguishable figures. By common consent  they  stopped
and crouched together.  Behind them, on the horizon,  was a patch of lighter
sky where  in  a moment the moon would  rise. The  wind  roared once in  the
forest and pushed their rags against them.
     Ralph stirred.
     "Come on."
     They crept forward, Roger lagging a little. Jack  and  Ralph turned the
shoulder of the mountain together. The  glittering lengths of the lagoon lay
below them and  beyond  that a long white smudge that  was the  reef.  Roger
joined them.
     Jack whispered.
     "Let's creep forward on hands and knees. Maybe it's asleep."
     Roger and Ralph moved on, this time leaving Jack  in  the rear, for all
his brave words. They came to the fiat top where the rock was hard to  hands
and knees. A creature that bulged.
     Ralph put his hand in the cold, soft ashes  of the fire and smothered a
cry.  His  hand and shoulder  were twitching  from the unlooked-for contact.
Green  lights of nausea appeared  for  a moment  and ate  into the darkness.
Roger lay behind him and Jack's mouth was at his ear.
     "Over there,  where there used to  be a  gap  in  the rock.  A sort  of
     Ashes blew into Ralph's face from  the dead fire. He could not see  the
gap or  anything else,  because  the green  lights  were opening  again  and
growing, and the top of the mountain was sliding sideways.
     Once more, from a distance, he heard Jack's whisper.
     Not scared so much as paralyzed; hung up here immovable on the top of a
diminishing, moving mountain. Jack slid away from him, Roger bumped, fumbled
with a hiss of breath, and passed onwards. He heard them whispering.
     "Can you see anything?"
     In front  of them, only three or four yards away, was a rock-like  hump
where no rock  should  be. Ralph  could hear a tiny chattering  noise coming
from somewhere-perhaps  from  his own mouth. He bound himself  together with
his will, fused  his fear and loathing into  a hatred, and stood up. He took
two leaden steps forward.
     Behind them the sliver of  moon had  drawn dear of  the horizon. Before
them, something like a  great ape  was sitting  asleep with its head between
its knees. Then the wind  roared in the forest,  there was confusion in  the
darkness and the creature lifted its head, holding toward them the ruin of a
     Ralph found himself taking  giant strides among the  ashes, heard other
creatures crying out and leaping and dared the impossible on the dark slope;
presently the mountain was deserted, save for the three abandoned sticks and
the thing that bowed.

     Gift for the Darkness

     Piggy  looked  up  miserably  from  the  dawn-pale  beach to  the  dark
mountain. "Are you sure? Really sure, I mean?"
     "I told you a dozen times now," said Ralph, "we saw it."
     "D'you think we're safe down here?"
     "How the hell should I know?"
     Ralph jerked away from him and walked a few paces along the beach. Jack
was kneeling and drawing a circular pattern in the sand with his forefinger.
Piggy's voice came to them, hushed.
     "Are you sure? Really?"
     "Go up and see," said Jack contemptuously, "and good riddance."
     "No fear."
     "The beast had teeth," said Ralph, "and big black eyes."
     He shuddered  violently. Piggy took  off his  one round  of  glass  and
polished the surface.
     "What we going to do?"
     Ralph turned toward the  platform. The conch glimmered among the trees,
a white blob against the place where the sun would rise. He pushed back  his
     "I don't know."
     He remembered the panic flight down the mountainside.
     "I  don't think we'd ever  fight a thing that size, honestly, you know.
We'd talk but we wouldn't fight a tiger. We'd hide. Even Jack 'ud hide."
     Jack still looked at the sand.
     "What about my hunters?"
     Simon came stealing out of the shadows by  the  shelters. Ralph ignored
Jack's question. He pointed to the touch of yellow above the sea.
     "As long as there's  light we're  brave  enough. But then? And now that
thing squats by the fire as though it didn't want us to be rescued-"
     He was twisting his hands now, unconsciously. His voice rose.
     "So we can't have a signal fire. . . . We're beaten."
     A  point  of  gold  appeared above the  sea  and  at once  all  the sky
     "What about my hunters?"
     "Boys armed with sticks."
     Jack got to his feet. His face was red as he marched away. Piggy put on
his one glass and looked at Ralph.
     "Now you done it. You been rude about his hunters."
     "Oh shut up!"
     The sound of the inexpertly blown conch  interrupted them. As though he
were serenading the  rising sun, Jack went on blowing till the shelters were
astir  and the  hunters crept to the platform  and the littluns whimpered as
now they so frequently did. Ralph rose obediently, and Piggy, and they  went
to the platform.
     "Talk," said Ralph bitterly, "talk, talk, talk."
     He took the conch from Jack.
     "This meeting-"
     Jack interrupted him.
     "I called it."
     "If you hadn't called it I should have. You just blew the conch."
     "Well, isn't that calling it?"
     "Oh, take it! Go on-talk!"
     Ralph thrust the conch into Jack's arms and sat down on the trunk.
     "I've called an assembly,"  said  Jack,  "because of a lot  of  things.
First, you know now, we've seen the beast. We crawled up. We were only a few
feet away. The beast sat  up and looked at us. I don't know what it does. We
don't even know what it is-"
     "The beast comes out of the sea-"
     "Out of the dark-"
     "Quiet!" shouted  Jack. "You,  listen.  The beast is  sitting up there,
whatever it is--"
     "Perhaps it's waiting-"
     "Yes, hunting."
     "Hunting," said Jack. He remembered his  age-old tremors in the forest.
"Yes. The  beast is a  hunter.  Only-  shut  up! The next  thing is that  we
couldn't  kill it. And the next thing is that  Ralph said my hunters are  no
     "I never said that!"
     "I've got the conch. Ralph thinks you're cowards, running away from the
boar and the beast. And that's not all."
     There was a  kind of  sigh on the platform as if everyone knew what was
coming. Jack's voice went  on, tremulous yet determined, pushing against the
uncooperative silence.
     "He's like Piggy. He says things like Piggy. He isn't a proper chief."
     Jack clutched the conch to him.
     "He's a coward himself."
     For a moment he paused and then went on.
     "On top, when Roger and me went on-he stayed back."
     "I went too!"
     The two boys glared at each other through screens of hair.
     "I went on too," said Ralph, "then I ran away. So did you."
     "Call me a coward then."
     Jack turned to the hunters.
     He's not a hunter. He'd never have got us meat  He  isn't a prefect and
we don't know anything about him. He just gives orders and expects people to
obey for nothing. All this talk-"
     "All this talk!" shouted Ralph. "Talk,  talk! Who wanted it? Who called
the meeting?"
     Jack turned, red in the face, his chin sunk back.  He glowered up under
his eyebrows.
     "All right then,"  he  said in tones  of  deep meaning, and menace, all
     He held the conch  against his chest  with one hand and stabbed the air
with his index finger.
     "Who thinks Ralph oughtn't to be chief?"
     He looked expectantly at the  boys ranged  round, who had frozen. Under
the palms there was deadly silence.
     "Hands up," said Jack strongly, "whoever wants Ralph not to be chief?"
     The  silence continued, breathless and heavy and  full of shame. Slowly
the red drained  from Jack's cheeks, then came  back with a painful rush. He
licked  his lips and turned his  head at an angle, so that his  gaze avoided
the embarrassment of linking with another's eye.
     "How many think-"
     His voice tailed off. The hands that held the  conch shook. He  cleared
his throat, and spoke loudly.
     "All right then."
     He laid  the  conch with  great  care  in  the grass  at  his feet. The
humiliating tears were running from the comer of each eye.
     "I'm not going to play any longer. Not with you."
     Most of the  boys  were looking down now,  at the grass  or their feet.
Jack cleared his throat again.
     "I'm not going to be part of Ralph's lot-"
     He  looked along  the right-hand logs,  numbering  the hunters that had
been a choir.
     "I'm going off  by myself. He can catch his  own pigs. Anyone who wants
to hunt when I do can come too."
     He blundered out of the triangle toward the drop to the white sand.
     Jack turned and looked back at Ralph.  For a moment he paused  and then
cried out, high-pitched, enraged.
     He leapt down from the platform and ran along the beach, paying no heed
to the steady fall of his tears; and until he  dived into the  forest  Ralph
watched him.
     Piggy was indignant.
     "I been talking, Ralph, and you just stood there like-"
     Softly, looking at Piggy and not seeing him, Ralph spoke to himself.
     "He'll come back. When the sun goes  down he'll come." He looked at the
conch in Piggy's hand.
     "Well there!"
     Piggy gave up the attempt to  rebuke Ralph. He polished his glass again
and went back to his subject.
     "We can do without  Jack Merridew. There's  others besides  him on this
island. But  now we really  got a beast,  though  I can't hardly believe it,
well need to stay close to  the platform; there'll be  less need of him  and
his hunting. So now we can really decide on what's what."
     "There's no help, Piggy. Nothing to be done."
     For a while they sat in depressed silence. Then Simon stood up and took
the conch from Piggy, who was so  astonished that he  zremained on his feet.
Ralph looked up at Simon.
     "Simon? What is it this time?"
     A half-sound of jeering ran round the circle and Simon shrank from it.
     "I thought there might be something to do. Something we-"
     Again die pressure of  the assembly took his voice  away. He sought for
help and sympathy and  chose Piggy. He turned half toward him, clutching the
conch to his brown chest
     "I think we ought to climb the mountain."
     The circle shivered with dread. Simon broke off and turned to Piggy who
was looking at him with an expression of derisive incomprehension.
     "What's the good of climbing  up to this here beast when Ralph and  the
other two couldn't do nothing?"
     Simon whispered his answer.
     "What else is there to do?"
     His speech made, he allowed Piggy to lift the  conch  out of his hands.
Then he retired and sat as far away from the others as possible.
     Piggy was  speaking  now  with more  assurance  and with  what, if  the
circumstances had- not been so serious, the  others would have recognized as
     "I said we could all do without a certain  person. Now I  say we got to
decide on what can be done.  And I think I could tell you what Ralph's going
to say next. The  most  important thing on the island  is the smoke  and you
can't have no smoke without a fire."
     Ralph made a restless movement.
     "No go, Piggy.  We've got no fire. That thing  sits up there-we'll have
to stay here."
     Piggy lifted the conch as though to add power to his next words.
     "We got no fire  on the mountain.  But  what's wrong with a  fire  down
here?  A fire  could be built on them  rocks. On the  sand, even.  We'd make
smoke just the same."
     "That's right!"
     "By the bathing pool!"
     The boys began to babble. Only Piggy could have the intellectual daring
to suggest moving the fire from the mountain.
     "So well have the fire down here," said Ralph. He looked about him. "We
can  build it just here  between  the  bathing pool  and  the  platform.  Of
     He broke off,  frowning, thinking  the thing out, unconsciously tugging
at the stub of a nail with his teeth.
     "Of  course the smoke won't show so much, not be seen  so far away. But
we needn't go near, near the-"
     The  others nodded in  perfect comprehension. There would be no need to
go near.
     "We'll build the fire now."
     The greatest ideas are  the simplest Now there was something to be done
they worked with passion. Piggy was so full of delight and expanding liberty
in Jack's  departure, so full of pride in his contribution to  the  good  of
society, that he  helped to fetch wood.  The wood  he fetched  was  close at
hand, a fallen tree on the platform that they did not need for the assembly,
yet to the others  the sanctity of  the platform had protected even what was
useless there. Then the twins realized they would have a fire near them as a
comfort in the night and this set a few littluns dancing and clapping hands.
     The wood was not so dry as the fuel they had used on the mountain. Much
of it was  damply rotten and full  of insects that scurried;  logs had to be
lined from the soil with care or they crumbled into sodden powder. More than
this, in order to avoid  going deep into the  forest the boys worked near at
hand on any fallen wood no matter how tangled with new growth. The skirts of
the forest  and the scar were familiar, near the conch and the shelters  and
sufficiently friendly in daylight. What they might become in darkness nobody
cared  to  think. They worked therefore with  great energy and cheerfulness,
though as time crept by  there was a suggestion of panic  in the energy  and
hysteria in  the cheerfulness.  They built a  pyramid  of  leaves and twigs,
branches and togs, on the  bare sand  by the platform. For the first time on
the  island, Piggy himself removed his one glass, knelt down and focused the
sun on tinder. Soon there was a ceiling of smoke and a bush of yellow flame.
     The  littluns who had seen few fires since the first catastrophe became
wildly excited. They danced and  sang and there was a partyish air about the
     At  last Ralph stopped work and stood  up, smudging the  sweat from his
face with a dirty forearm.
     "We'll have to have a small fire. This one's too big to keep up."
     Piggy sat down carefully on the sand and began to polish his glass.
     "We  could experiment. We could find out  how to make a  small hot fire
and then put green branches  on  to  make smoke. Some of them leaves must be
better for that than the others."
     As the  fire died  down so did  the  excitement  The  littluns  stopped
singing and dancing  and drifted  away toward the sea or the fruit trees  or
the shelters.
     Ralph flopped down in the sand.
     "We'll have to make a new list of who's to took after the fire."
     "If you can find 'em."
     He looked round.  Then for the first time he saw how  few biguns  there
were and understood why the work had been so hard.
     "Where's Maurice?"
     Piggy wiped his glass again.
     "I expect ... no, he wouldn't go into the forest by himself, would he?"
     Ralph jumped up,  ran swiftly round  the  fire-  and  stood  by  Piggy,
holding up his hair.
     "But we've got to have a list! There's you and me and Samneric and-"
     He would not look at Piggy but spoke casually.
     "Where's Bill and Roger?"
     Piggy leaned forward and put a fragment of wood on the fire.
     "I expect they've gone. I expect they won't play either."
     Ralph sat  down  and  began to  poke little  holes in  the sand. He was
surprised  to see that one had a drop  of blood by it He examined his bitten
nail  closely and watched the little globe  of blood that gathered where the
quick was gnawed away.
     Piggy went on speaking.
     "I seen  them stealing off when we  was gathering  wood. They went that
way. The same way as he went himself."
     Ralph  finished his inspection and looked up into the air. The sky,  as
if in sympathy with the great changes among them, was different today and so
misty  that in some places the hot air seemed white. The disc of the sun was
dull silver as though it were nearer and not so hot, yet the air stifled.
     "They always been making trouble, haven't they?"
     The voice came near his shoulder and sounded anxious.
     "We can do without 'em. We'll be happier now, won't we?"
     Ralph sat. The twins came, dragging a  great log  and grinning in their
triumph. They dumped the log among the embers so that sparks flew.
     "We can do all right on our own, can't we?"
     For a  long time while  the log dried, caught fire and turned  red hot,
Ralph sat in the sand and said nothing. He did not see Piggy go to the twins
and whisper with them, nor how the three boys went together into the forest.
     "Here you are."
     He  came to himself with a jolt. Piggy and the  other  two were by him.
They were laden with fruit
     "I thought perhaps," said Piggy, "we ought to have a feast, kind of."
     The three boys  sat down. They had a great mass of  the fruit with them
and all of it properly ripe. They grinned at Ralph as he took some and began
to eat.
     'Thanks," he said. Then with an accent of pleased surprise-"Thanks!"
     "Do  all right on  our  own,"  said  Piggy. "It's them that haven't  no
common sense that  make trouble  on  this  island. We'll  make a  little hot
     Ralph remembered what had been worrying him.
     "Where's Simon?"
     "I don't know."
     "You don't think he's climbing the mountain?"
     Piggy broke into noisy laughter and took more fruit.
     "He might be." He gulped his mouthful. "He's cracked."
     Simon had passed through the area of fruit trees but today the littluns
had  been  too busy with the fire  on the beach and they had not pursued him
there. He went on among the creepers until he reached the great mat that was
woven by the open space and  crawled inside. Beyond the screen of leaves the
sunlight pelted down and the butterflies danced in the middle their unending
dance. He  knelt down and the arrow of the sun fell on him. That other  time
the air had seemed to vibrate  with heat; but now  it  threatened. Soon  the
sweat was running from his long coarse hair. He shifted restlessly but there
was no avoiding the sun. Presently he was thirsty, and then very thirsty.
     He continued to sit

     Far  off alone  the beach,  Jack was standing before  a  small group of
boys. He was looking brilliantly happy.
     "Hunting," he said. He sized them up. Each of them  wore the remains of
a black cap and ages ago they had stood in two demure rows and  their voices
had been the song of angels.
     "We'll hunt. I'm going to be chief."
     They nodded, and the crisis passed easily.
     "And then-about the beast."
     They moved, looked at the forest.
     "I say this. We aren't going to bother about the beast."
     He nodded at them.
     "We're going to forget the beast."
     "That's right!"
     "Forget the beast!"
     If Jack was astonished by their fervor he did not show it.
     "And another thing. We shan't dream so much down here. This is near the
end of the island."
     They  agreed  passionately out of the depths of their tormented private
     "Now listen. We might go later to the castle rock. But now I'm going to
get more of the biguns away from the conch and all that We'll kill a pig and
give  a feast." He paused and went on more slowly. "And about the beast When
we  kill we'll  leave some  of  the kill  for  it. Then it won't  bother us,
     He stood up abruptly.
     "We'll go into the forest now and hunt."
     He  turned and  trotted  away  and  after  a moment  they  followed him
     They spread  out, nervously, in the forest. Almost at  once Jack  found
the dung and scattered roots that told of pig and soon the track  was fresh.
Jack signaled the  rest of the hunt to be quiet and went forward by himself.
He was happy and wore the damp darkness of the  forest like his old clothes.
He crept down a slope to rocks and scattered trees by the sea.
     The  pigs lay,  bloated bags of fat,  sensuously  enjoying the  shadows
under the trees. There was no wind and they  were unsuspicious; and practice
had made Jack silent as the  shadows. He stole away again and instructed his
hidden hunters.  Presently they  all began  to inch  forward sweating in the
silence  and heat. Under the trees an ear flapped idly.  A little apart from
the rest, sunk in deep maternal bliss, lay  the largest sow of the lot.  She
was black and pink; and the great  bladder of  her belly was fringed  with a
row of piglets that slept or burrowed and squeaked.
     Fifteen  yards from the drove Jack stopped, and his arm, straightening,
pointed at the sow.  he looked round in inquiry to make sure  that  everyone
understood and  the  other boys nodded  at him. The row of right  arms  slid
     The drove  of pigs started up; and  at  a  range of only ten yards  the
wooden  spears with  fire-hardened points flew toward  the  chosen  pig. One
piglet, with a demented  shriek, rushed into the sea  trailing Roger's spear
behind it. The sow gave a gasping squeal and staggered up,  with two  spears
sticking in her fat flank. The boys shouted and rushed forward, the  piglets
scattered and the  sow burst the  advancing  line  and  went  crashing  away
through the forest.
     "After her!"
     They raced along the pig-track, but the forest was too dark and tangled
so that Jack, cursing, stopped them  and cast among the trees.  Then he said
nothing for a time  but breathed fiercely so that  they were awed by him and
looked  at each other in uneasy admiration. Presently he stabbed down at the
ground with his finger.
     Before  the  others could examine the drop of  blood, Jack had  swerved
off,  judging  a  trace,  .touching a  bough  that  gave.  So  he  followed,
mysteriously right and assured, and the hunters trod behind him.
     He stopped before a covert.
     "In there."
     They surrounded the covert  but  the sow  got  away with the  sting  of
another  spear in her  flank. The trailing butts hindered her and the sharp,
cross-cut  points were a torment She blundered into a tree,  forcing a spear
still deeper; and after that any  of the hunters could  follow her easily by
the drops of vivid blood. The afternoon wore on, hazy and dreadful with damp
heat; the sow staggered  her way ahead of them,  bleeding  and  mad, and the
hunters followed, wedded to her in lust, excited  by the  long chase and the
dropped  blood. They could  see  her  now, nearly got  up with her,  out she
spurted with her last strength and held ahead of them again.  They were just
behind  her when she staggered into  an open space where bright flowers grew
and butterflies danced round each other and the air was hot and still.
     Here, struck down  by  the heat,  the sow fell  and  the hunters hurled
themselves  at her. This dreadful eruption  from an  unknown world made  her
frantic; she squealed and bucked and the air was full of sweat and noise and
blood and terror. Roger ran round the heap, prodding with his spear whenever
pigflesh  appeared. Jack was on top of the sow,  stabbing  downward with his
knife. Roger found a lodgment for his point  and began  to  push till he was
leaning with his whole weight The spear  moved  forward inch by inch and die
terrified squealing became a high-pitched scream. Then Jack found the throat
and  the hot  blood spouted over his hands. The sow collapsed under them and
they  were heavy  and  fulfilled  upon her. The  butterflies  still  danced,
preoccupied in the center of die clearing.
     At last  the immediacy of the  kill  subsided.  The boys drew back, and
Jack stood up, holding out his hands.
     He  giggled and  flicked  them while  the boys laughed at  his  reeking
palms. Then Jack grabbed Maurice and rubbed the stuff over his cheeks. Roger
began  to withdraw his spear  and the  boys noticed it  for  the first time.
Robert stabilized the thing in a phrase which was received uproariously.
     "Right up her ass!"
     "Did you hear?"
     "Did you hear what he said?"
     "Right up her ass!"
     This time Robert and Maurice acted the two  parts; and Maurice's acting
of the pig's efforts to avoid the advancing spear was so funny that the boys
cried with laughter.
     At length even this palled. Jack began to clean his bloody hands on the
rock. Then he started work on the  sow and paunched her, lugging out the hot
bags  of colored guts, pushing them into a pile on the rock while the others
watched him. He talked as he worked.
     "We'll take the meat along the beach. I'll go back  to the platform and
invite them to a feast That should give us time."
     Roger spoke.
     "How can we make a fire?"
     Jack squatted back and frowned at the pig.
     "We'll  raid them  and take fire. There must  be four of you; Henry and
you, Bill and Maurice.  We'll put on paint and sneak  up; Roger can snatch a
branch while I say what I want. The rest  of you  can get this back to where
we were. We'll build the fire there. And after that-"
     He paused and stood  up,  looking at  the shadows  under the trees. His
voice was lower when he spoke again.
     "But we'll leave part of the kill for ..."
     He knelt down again and was busy with his knife. The boys crowded round
him. He spoke over his shoulder to Roger.
     "Sharpen a stick at both ends."
     Presently he stood up, holding the dripping sow's head in his hands.
     "Where's that stick?"
     "Ram one end in the earth. Oh-it's rock. Jam it in that crack. There."
     Jack  held up the  head and  jammed the soft throat down on the pointed
end of the stick which pierced through into the mouth. He stood back and the
head hung there, a little blood dribbling down the stick.
     Instinctively the boys drew  back too; and  the forest was very  still.
They  listened, and  the loudest noise was  the buzzing  of  flies over  the
spilled guts.
     Jack spoke in a whisper.
     ''Pick up the pig."
     Maurice and Robert  skewered the carcass, lifted the  dead weight,  and
stood  ready. In the silence,  and standing  over the dry blood, they looked
suddenly furtive.
     Jack spoke loudly.
     "This head is for the beast. It's a gift."
     The silence accepted the gift and  awed them.  The head remained there,
dim-eyed, grinning  faintly, blood blackening between the teeth. All at once
they were running away, as fast as they could, through the forest toward the
open beach.

     Simon  stayed where he was, a  small  brown  image,  concealed  by  the
leaves.  Even if he  shut his  eyes the  sow's  head still  remained like an
after-image. The half-shut eyes were dim with the infinite cynicism of adult
life. They assured Simon that everything was a bad business.
     "I know that."
     Simon discovered that he had spoken  aloud. He opened his eyes  quickly
and there was the head grinning  amusedly in the strange  daylight, ignoring
the flies, the spilled guts,  even ignoring the indignity of being spiked on
a stick.
     He looked away, licking his dry lips.
     A gift for the  beast. Might not  the  beast come for it?  The head, he
thought, appeared  to  agree with him. Run away, said the  head silently, go
back  to the others.  It was a joke really-why should  you  bother? You were
just wrong,  that's all. A little headache, something  you ate,  perhaps. Go
back, child, said the head silently.
     Simon looked up, feeling the weight of  his  wet hair, and gazed at the
sky. Up  there, for once,  were clouds, great bulging  towers  that sprouted
away  over  the island, grey and cream and  copper-colored. The clouds  were
sitting on  the land; they  squeezed, produced moment by  moment this close,
tormenting  heat.  Even  the butterflies deserted  the  open space where the
obscene thing grinned and dripped. Simon lowered his head, carefully keeping
his  eyes  shut, then sheltered them with his  hand. There were  no  shadows
under the  trees but  everywhere a pearly  stillness, so  that what was real
seemed illusive and without definition. The pile of guts was a black blob of
flies that buzzed like a saw. After a while these flies found Simon. Gorged,
they  alighted by  his runnels  of  sweat and drank. They  tickled under his
nostrils and played leap-frog on his  thighs. They were black and iridescent
green and  without number; and in front of Simon, the Lord of the Flies hung
on his stick and  grinned. At last  Simon gave up and looked back;  saw  the
white teeth and  dim eyes, the  blood-and his gaze was held by that ancient,
inescapable recognition.  In Simon's  right temple, a pulse began to beat on
the brain.

     Ralph and Piggy lay in the sand, gazing at the  fire  and idly flicking
pebbles into its smokeless heart.
     "That branch is gone."
     "Where's Samneric?"
     "We ought to get some more wood. We're out of green branches."
     Ralph sighed and stood up. There were no shadows under the palms on the
platform; only this strange  light that  seemed to come  from everywhere  at
once. High up among the bulging clouds thunder went off like a gun.
     "We're going to get buckets of rain."
     "What about the fire?"
     Ralph trotted into the forest  and returned with a wide spray  of green
which  he dumped on the fire. The branch crackled, the leaves curled and the
yellow smoke expanded.
     Piggy made an aimless little pattern in the sand with his fingers.
     "Trouble is, we haven't got enough people for a  fire. You got to treat
Samneric as one turn. They do everything together-"
     "Of course."
     "Well, that isn't fair. Don't you see? They ought to do two turns."
     Ralph considered this  and understood. He was vexed  to find how little
he thought like a grownup and sighed again. The island was getting worse and
     Piggy looked at the fire.
     "You'll want another green branch soon."
     Ralph rolled over.
     "Piggy. What are we going to do?"
     "Just have to get on without 'em."
     "But-the fire."
     He frowned at the black and white mess in which lay the unburnt ends of
branches. He tried to formulate.
     "I'm scared."
     He saw Piggy look up; and blundered on.
     "Not  of  the  beast. I mean I'm  scared  of that  too. But nobody else
understands about  the fire.  If  someone  threw  you a rope  when  you were
drowning. If a doctor  said take this  because if you  don't  take it you'll
die-you would, wouldn't you? I mean?"
     " 'Course I would."
     "Can't they  see? Can't they understand? Without the smoke signal we'll
die here? Look at that!"
     A wave of heated air  trembled above the ashes but  without a trace  of
     "We can't keep one fire going.  And they don't  care. And what's more-"
He looked intensely into Piggy's streaming face.
     "What's  more, I don't sometimes. Supposing I  got like the  others-not
caring. What 'ud become of us?"
     Piggy took off his glasses, deeply troubled.
     "I dunno, Ralph. We just got to go on, that's all. That's what grownups
would do."
     Ralph, having begun the business of unburdening himself, continued.
     "Piggy, what's wrong?"
     Piggy looked at him in astonishment.
     "Do you mean the-?"
     "No, not it ... I mean . . . what makes things break up like they do?"
     Piggy rubbed his glasses slowly and thought. When he understood how far
Ralph had gone toward accepting him he flushed pinkly with pride.
     "I dunno, Ralph. I expect it's him."
     "Jack." A taboo was evolving round that word too.
     Ralph nodded solemnly.
     "Yes," he said, "I suppose it must be."
     The forest near them  burst into uproar. Demoniac figures with faces of
white  and  red  and green  rushed out  howling,  so that the littluns  fled
screaming.  Out  of  the corner of  his  eye, Ralph  saw Piggy running.  Two
figures rushed  at  the fire and  he prepared  to  defend  himself  but they
grabbed half-burnt branches and raced away along the beach. The three others
stood still, watching  Ralph;  and he saw  that  the tallest of  them, stark
naked save for paint and a belt, was Jack.
     Ralph had his breath back and spoke.
     Jack ignored him, lifted his spear and began to shout.
     "Listen all of you. Me and  my hunters, we're living along the beach by
a  flat rock. We hunt and  feast and have  fun. If you want to join my tribe
come and see us. Perhaps I'll let you join. Perhaps not."
     He   paused   and   looked   round.   He   was   safe   from  shame  or
self-consciousness behind the mask  of his  paint and could look  at each of
them in  turn. Ralph was kneeling by the remains of the fire like a sprinter
at his mark and his face  was half-hidden by hair  and smut. Samneric peered
together  round  a palm tree  at the  edge  of the forest A littlun  howled,
creased and crimson, by the  bathing pool and Piggy stood  on the  platform,
the white conch gripped in his hands.
     '"Tonight we're having a feast We've killed a pig and  we've  got meat.
You can come and eat with us if you like."
     Up  in the  cloud canyons  the thunder boomed again. Jack and  the  two
anonymous  savages with  him swayed, looking up,  and  then  recovered.  The
littlun  went  on  howling. Jack  was waiting for  something.  He  whispered
urgently to the others.
     "Go on-now!"
     The two savages murmured. Jack spoke sharply.
     "Go on!"  The two  savages looked  at each  other, raised their  spears
together and spoke in time.
     "The Chief has spoken."
     Then the three of them turned and trotted away.
     Presently  Ralph rose  to his feet,  looking  at  the  place where  the
savages had vanished. Samneric came, talking in an awed whisper.
     "I thought it was-"
     "-and I was-"
     Piggy stood above them on the platform, still holding the conch.
     "That was Jack and Maurice and Robert," said Ralph. "Aren't they having
     "I thought I was going to have asthma."
     "Sucks to your ass-mar."
     "When I saw Jack I was sure he'd go for the conch. Can't think why."
     The group  of boys looked at the white shell with affectionate respect.
Piggy  placed  it in  Ralph's hands  and the littluns,  seeing the  familiar
symbol, started to come back.
     "Not here."
     He turned toward the platform, feeling the need for  ritual. First went
Ralph, the white conch cradled,  then Piggy very grave, then the twins, then
the littluns and the others.
     "Sit down  all of you. They raided us for fire. They're having fun. But
     Ralph was puzzled by the shutter that flickered in his brain. There was
something he wanted to say; then the shutter had come down.
     "But the-"
     They were regarding  him gravely, not yet troubled  by any doubts about
his sufficiency. Ralph pushed  the idiot hair out of his eyes and looked  at
     "But the ... oh ... the fire! Of course, the fire!"
     He started to laugh, then stopped and became fluent instead.
     "The  fire's the  most  important thing. Without the  fire we  can't be
rescued. I'd like to put on war-paint and be a savage. But we  must keep the
fire burning. The fire's the  most  important  thing on the island, because,
     He paused again and the silence became full of doubt and wonder.
     Piggy whispered urgently. "Rescue."
     "Oh yes. Without the fire  we  can't be rescued. So we must stay by the
fire and make smoke."
     When he stopped no one said anything. After the many brilliant speeches
that had been made  on  this very spot Ralph  s remarks seemed lame, even to
the littluns. At last Bill held out his  hands for the conch.  "Now we can't
have the fire up there-because we can't  have the fire up there-we need more
people  to keep it going. Let's  go to  this feast and  tell them the fire's
hard on  the  rest of  us.  And the hunting  and all that,  being  savages I
mean-it must be jolly good fun."
     Samneric took the conch.
     "That must be fun like Bill says-and as he's invited us-"
     "-to a feast-"
     "-I could do with some meat-"
     Ralph held up his hand.
     "Why shouldn't we get our own meat?"
     The twins looked at each other. Bill answered.
     "We don't want to go in the jungle."
     Ralph grimaced.
     "He-you know-goes."
     "He's a hunter. They're all hunters. That's different."
     No one spoke for a moment, then Piggy muttered to the sand.
     The littluns sat, solemnly  thinking of meat, and  dribbling.  Overhead
the cannon boomed again and the dry  palm fronds clattered in a sudden  gust
of hot wind.

     "You are a  silly little  boy,"  said the Lord  of the Flies,  "just an
ignorant, silly little boy."
     Simon moved his swollen tongue but said nothing.
     "Don't you agree?" said the Lord of the Flies. "Aren't you just a silly
little boy?"
     Simon answered him in the same silent voice.
     "Well then," said the Lord of the Flies, "you'd better run off and play
with  the  others. They think  you're batty.  You don't want  Ralph to think
you're batty, do you? You like Ralph a lot, don't you? And Piggy, and Jack?"
     Simon's head was tilted slightly up. His  eyes could not break away and
the Lord of the Flies hung in space before him.
     "What are you doing out here all alone? Aren't you afraid of me?"
     Simon shook.
     "There isn't anyone to help you. Only me. And I'm the Beast."
     Simon's mouth labored, brought forth audible words.
     "Pig's head on a stick."
     "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 echoed with  the parody of 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
what they are?"
     The laughter shivered again.
     "Come now," said  the  Lord of  the Flies. "Get back to  the others and
we'll forget the whole thing."
     Simon's head wobbled. His  eyes  were  half closed  as  though he  were
imitating the obscene thing on the stick.  He knew that one of his times was
coming on. The Lord of the Flies was expanding like a balloon.
     "This is ridiculous. You know perfectly well  you'll  only meet me down
there-so don't try to escape!"
     Simon's body was arched  and stiff. The Lord of the Flies  spoke in the
voice of a schoolmaster.
     "This has gone quite far enough. My poor, misguided child, do you think
you know better than I do?"
     There was a pause.
     "I'm warning you. I'm going to get angry. D'you see? You're not wanted.
Understand?  We are going  to  have  fun on this island.  Understand? We are
going to have fun on this island! So don't try it on, my poor misguided boy,
or else-"
     Simon  found  he  was  looking into  a vast  mouth. There was blackness
within, a blackness that spread.
     "-Or else," said the Lord of the Flies, "we shall do you. See? Jack and
Roger and Maurice and Robert and Bill and Piggy and Ralph. Do you. See?"
     Simon was inside the mouth. He fell down and lost consciousness.

     A View to a Death

     Over  the island the build-up  of clouds continued. A steady current of
heated air rose all  day  from the mountain  and was  thrust to ten thousand
feet; revolving masses of gas piled up the static until the air was ready to
explode. By early evening the sun had gone and a brassy glare  had taken the
place of clear daylight. Even the  air that pushed in from  the sea was  hot
ana  held  no refreshment.  Colors  drained  from  water and  trees and pink
surfaces of rock, and the  white and brown clouds brooded, Nothing prospered
but the  flies who blackened their  lord and made the spilt guts look like a
heap of glistening coal Even  when the vessel broke in Simon's nose  and the
blood gushed out they left him alone, preferring the pig's high flavor.
     With  the running of the blood Simon's fit passed into the weariness of
sleep. He  lay in the mat of  creepers  while the  evening  advanced and the
cannon continued to play. At last he woke and saw dimly the dark earth close
by his cheek. Still he did not move but lay there, his face side-ways on the
earth, his eyes looking dully before him. Then he turned over, drew his feet
under  him  and laid  hold  of the creepers to  pull  himself up.  When  the
creepers shook the flies  exploded from  the  guts with a  vicious note  and
clamped back on  again. Simon got to  his feet. The light was unearthly. The
Lord of the Flies hung on his stick like a black ball.
     Simon spoke aloud to the clearing.
     "What else is there to do?"
     Nothing  replied.  Simon  turned away from the open  space and  crawled
through  the creepers  till he was  in  the dusk of  the  forest.  He walked
drearily between the trunks, his face empty of expression, and the blood was
dry  round  his mouth  and chin.  Only  sometimes  as he lifted the ropes of
creeper aside and chose his direction from the trend of the land, he mouthed
words that did not reach the air.
     Presently the creepers  festooned  the trees less frequently  and there
was  a scatter of pearly light from the sky down through the trees. This was
the backbone of the  island, the  slightly higher land  that lay beneath the
mountain where the  forest was no longer deep Jungle. Here there  were  wide
spaces interspersed with thickets and huge trees and the trend of the ground
led him up as the forest opened. He pushed on, staggering sometimes with his
weariness but  never stopping. The usual brightness was  gone  from his eyes
and he walked with a sort of glum determination like an old man.
     A  buffet  of wind  made him  stagger and he saw that he was out in the
open, on  rock, under a brassy  sky.  He found his  legs  were weak and  his
tongue gave him pain all the time. When the wind reached the mountain-top he
could see something happen, a flicker of blue stuff against brown clouds. He
pushed  himself forward and the wind came again, stronger  now,  cuffing the
forest heads till they ducked and  roared. Simon saw a humped thing suddenly
sit up on the top and look down at him. He hid his face, and toiled on.
     The flies had found the figure too. The life-like movement would  scare
them off for a moment so that they made a dark cloud round the head. Then as
the blue material of the  parachute collapsed the corpulent figure would bow
forward, sighing, and the flies settle once more.
     Simon  felt his  knees  smack the rock. He  crawled forward and soon he
understood.  The tangle of lines showed him the mechanics of this parody; he
examined the white  nasal bones, the teeth, the colors of corruption. He saw
how pitilessly the layers  of rubber and  canvas held together the poor body
that should be rotting away. Then the wind blew again and the figure lifted,
bowed,  and  breathed foully at  him. Simon knelt on all  fours and was sick
till his  stomach was  empty. Then he took  the lines in his hands; he freed
them from the rocks and the figure from the wind's indignity.
     At last he turned away  and looked down at the beaches. The fire by the
platform appeared to be out, or at least making  no smoke. Further along the
beach, beyond the little river and near a great slab of rock, a thin trickle
of smoke was climbing into the sky. Simon, forgetful of the lies, shaded his
eyes with both hands  and peered  at the smoke. Even at that distance it was
possible to see most of the  boys-perhaps all the boys-were  there. So  they
had shifted camp then, away from the beast. As Simon thought this, he turned
to  the poor  broken  thing that sat  stinking by  his side.  The beast  was
harmless and horrible;  and  the  news must  reach  the others  as  soon  as
possible. He  started down  the mountain and his legs gave beneath him. Even
with great care the best he could do was a stagger.

     "Bathing," said Ralph, "that's the only thing to do."
     Piggy was inspecting the looming sky through his glass.
     "I  don't  like them  clouds.  Remember how  it  rained  just  after we
     "Going to rain again."
     Ralph  dived into the  pool. A couple  of littluns were playing  at the
edge, trying to extract comfort from a wetness warmer than blood. Piggy took
off his glasses, stepped primly into the  water and then put  them on again.
Ralph came to the surface and squirted a jet of water at him.
     "Mind my specs," said Piggy. "If  I get water on the glass I got to get
out and clean 'em."
     Ralph squirted again and missed. He laughed at Piggys  expecting him to
retire meekly as usual and in pained  silence. Instead, Piggy beat the water
with his hands.
     "Stop it!" he shouted. "D`you hear?"
     Furiously he drove the water into Ralph's face.
     "All right, all right," said Ralph. "Keep your hair on."
     Piggy stopped beating the water.
     "I got a pain in my head. I wish the air was cooler."
     "I wish the rain would come."
     "I wish we could go home."
     Piggy lay back against the  sloping sand side of the  pool. His stomach
protruded and the water dried on it Ralph squirted up at the sky.  One could
guess at the movement of the sun by the progress of a light  patch among the
clouds. He knelt in the water and looked round.
     "Where's everybody?"
     Piggy sat up.
     "P`raps they're lying in the shelter."
     "Where's Samneric?"
     "And Bill?"
     Piggy pointed beyond the platform.
     "That's where they've gone. Jack's parry."
     "Let them go," said Ralph, uneasily, "I don't care."
     "Just for some meat-"
     "And for  hunting,"  said Ralph, wisely, "and for  pretending  to be  a
tribe, and putting on war-paint."
     Piggy stirred the sand under water and did not look at Ralph.
     "P'raps we ought  to go  too." Ralph looked  at him quickly  and  Piggy
blushed, "I mean-to make sure nothing happens." Ralph squirted water again.

     Long before  Ralph and Piggy  came up with  Jack's lot, they could hear
the party. There was a  stretch of grass  in a place where the  palms left a
wide band of turf between the forest and the snore. Just  one step down from
the edge of  the turf was the white, blown  sand of above high water,  warm,
dry,  trodden. Below that  again was  a rock that stretched away  toward the
lagoon. Beyond was a short stretch of sand and then the edge of the water. A
fire burned on the  rock and fat dripped from the roasting pig-meat into the
invisible flames.  All the boys of the  island, except Piggy, Ralph,  Simon,
and  the two tending the pig, were grouped on  the turf. They were laughing,
singing, lying,  squatting,  or standing on the grass, holding food in their
hands.  But to judge by the greasy faces, the meat  eating  was almost done;
and  some  held coconut  shells in their hands  and were drinking from them.
Before the party had started a great log had been dragged into the center of
the lawn and Jack, painted and garlanded, sat there like an idol. There were
piles  of meat on green leaves  near him, and fruit, and coconut shells full
of drink.
     Piggy  and Ralph came to the edge of the grassy platform; and the boys,
as they noticed  them, fell silent one by one till only the boy next to Jack
was talking. Then  the silence intruded even there and Jack turned where  he
sat For a time he looked at them and the crackle of the fire was the loudest
noise over the  droning  of the  reef,  Ralph looked away; and Sam, thinking
that Ralph  had turned  to him accusingly, put down  his  gnawed bone with a
nervous giggle. Ralph  took an uncertain  step, pointed to a palm tree,  and
whispered something  inaudible  to  Piggy; and  they both giggled like  Sam.
Lifting  his feet high out of the sand,  Ralph started to stroll past. Piggy
tried to whistle.
     At this  moment the boys who  were cooking at  the fire suddenly hauled
off a  great  chunk of meat and ran  with  it toward the grass.  They bumped
Piggy, who was burnt, and  yelled  and danced.  Immediately, Ralph  and  the
crowd of boys were united and relieved  by a  storm of laughter.  Piggy once
more  was the center of social  derision so that  everyone felt cheerful and
     Jack stood up and waved his spear.
     "Take them some meat."
     The boys with  the  spit gave  Ralph and Piggy  each a succulent chunk.
They  took the gift,  dribbling.  So they stood and  ate beneath  a  sky  of
thunderous brass that rang with the storm-coming.
     Jack waved his spear again.
     "Has everybody eaten as much as they want?"
     There was still food left, sizzling on the wooden spits, heaped  on the
green platters. Betrayed by  his stomach, Piggy threw a picked bone  down on
the beach and stooped for more.
     Jack spoke again, impatiently.
     "Has everybody eaten as much as they want?"
     His tone conveyed  a warning, given out of the pride  of ownership, and
the  boys  ate  faster  while there  was still  time.  Seeing  there was  no
immediate likelihood of  a pause. Jack rose from the log that was his throne
and sauntered to the edge of the grass. He looked down from behind his paint
at Ralph and Piggy. They moved  a little farther off over the sand and Ralph
watched the fire  as he  ate. He  noticed,  without  understanding, how  the
flames were visible now against the  dull light. Evening was  come, not with
calm beauty but with the threat of violence.
     Jack spoke.
     "Give me a drink."
     Henry brought him a shell and he drank,  watching Piggy and Ralph  over
the jagged rim.. Power lay in the brown swell of his forearms: authority sat
on his shoulder and chattered in his ear like an ape.
     "All sit down."
     The boys  ranged themselves in  rows on  the grass before him but Ralph
and Piggy stayed a foot lower, standing  on the soft sand. Jack ignored them
for the moment,  turned his mask down to the seated boys and pointed at them
with the spear.
     "Who is going to join my tribe?"
     Ralph made a sudden movement that became a  stumble.  Some of  the boys
turned toward him.
     "I gave you food," said Jack, "and my hunters will protect you from the
beast. Who will join my tribe?"
     "I'm chief,"  said Ralph, "because you chose me. And  we  were going to
keep the fire going. Now you run after food-"
     "You ran yourself !" shouted Jack. "Look at that bone in your hands!"
     Ralph went crimson.
     "I said you were hunters. That was your job."
     Jack ignored him again.
     "Who'll join my tribe and have fun?"
     I'm chief," said Ralph  tremulously. "And what about the fire? And I've
got the conch-"
     "You haven't  got  it with  you,"  said  Jack,  sneering. "You  left it
behind. See, clever? And the conch doesn't count at this end of the island-"
     All at  once the thunder struck. Instead of the dull boom there  was  a
point of impact in the explosion.
     "The conch counts here too," said Ralph, "and all over the island."
     "What are you going to do about it then?"
     Ralph examined the ranks of boys.  There was  no help  in  them  and he
looked away, confused and sweating. Piggy whispered.
     "The fire-rescue."
     "Who'll join my tribe?"
     "I will."
     "I will."
     "I'll blow the conch," said Ralph breathlessly, "and call an assembly."
     "We shan't hear it."
     "Come away. There's going to be trouble. And we've had our meat."
     There was a blink of  bright  light beyond  the forest and  the thunder
exploded  again so that a littlun  started to  whine. Big drops of rain fell
among them making individual sounds when they struck.
     "Going to  be a storm," said Ralph,  "and you'll have rain like when we
dropped here. Who's clever now? Where  are your shelters? What are you going
to do about that?"
     The hunters were looking uneasily at the sky, flinching from the stroke
of  the  drops.  A wave  of  restlessness set the  boys swaying  and  moving
aimlessly. The flickering light became brighter and the blows of the thunder
were only just bearable. The littluns began to run about, screaming.
     Jack leapt on to the sand.
     "Do our dance! Come on! Dance!"
     He ran  stumbling  through the thick  sand  to the open space  of  rock
beyond  the  fire.  Between the flashes of  lightning the  air was dark  and
terrible; and the  boys followed him, clamorously.  Roger  became  the  pig,
grunting  and  charging  at Jack,  who side-stepped.  The hunters took their
spears, the cooks  took  spits, and the  rest  clubs of firewood, A circling
movement developed and a chant  While Roger mimed the terror of the pig, the
littluns ran and jumped OB the outside of the circle. Piggy and Ralph, under
the threat of  the sky,  found  themselves  eager  to  take a place  in this
demented but partly secure society. They were glad to touch  the brown backs
of the fence that hemmed in the terror and made it governable.
     "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!"
     The movement became regular while the chant  lost its first superficial
excitement and began to beat like a steady pulse. Roger ceased to  be a  pig
and became a hunter, so that the center of the ring yawned emptily. Some  of
the littluns started a ring on their own; and the complementary circles went
round and round as though repetition would  achieve safety of itself.  There
was tie throb and stamp of a single organism.
     The dark sky was shattered by  a  blue-white scar. An instant later the
noise was on them like the blow of a gigantic whip. The chant rose a tone in
     "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!
     Now out of the terror rose another desire, thick, urgent, blind.
     "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!"
     Again  the  blue-white  scar  Jagged  above  them  and  the  sulphurous
explosion beat down. The littluns screamed and blundered about, fleeing from
the edge  of  the forest, and  one  of them broke the ring of biguns  in his
     "Him! Him!"
     The circle became a horseshoe. A thing was crawling out of  the forest.
It came darkly, uncertainly. The shrill screaming that rose before the beast
was like a pain. The beast stumbled into the horseshoe.
     "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!"
     The blue-white scar  was constant,  the  noise  unendurable.  Simon was
crying out something about a dead man on a hill.
     "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Do him in!"
     The sticks fell and the mouth of  the new circle crunched and screamed.
The beast was on its knees in the center, it's arms folded over its face. It
was crying out  against the abominable  noise  something about a body on the
hill. The beast struggled forward,  broke the  ring and  fell over the steep
edge of  the rock  to the sand by  the water. At once the crowd surged after
it, poured  down  the rock, leapt on to  the beast, screamed,  struck,  bit,
tore.  There were no words,  and no movements  but the tearing of  teeth and
     Then  the  clouds opened and let  down the rain like  a waterfall.  The
water  bounded  from  the  mountain-top,  tore leaves and branches  from the
trees, poured like  a  cold shower over the  straggling heap  on  the  sand.
Presently  the heap broke up and figures  staggered away. Only the beast lay
still, a few yards from the sea. Even in the rain they could see how small a
beast it was; and already its blood was stain-log the sand.
     Now  a great wind blew the rain sideways, cascading the  water from the
forest trees. On the mountain-top the parachute filled and moved; the figure
slid, rose to its feet,  spun, swayed down through a vastness of wet air and
trod with ungainly feet the tops of the high  trees; falling, still falling,
it sank toward the  beach and the boys  rushed screaming into the  darkness.
The  parachute took the figure forward, furrowing  the lagoon, and bumped it
over the reef and out to sea.
     Toward midnight  the rain  ceased and  the clouds drifted away, so that
the sky was scattered once more with the incredible lamps of stars. Then the
breeze died  too and  there was no noise save  the drip and trickle of water
that ran out of clefts and spilled down, leaf by leaf, to the brown earth of
the island. The air was cool, moist, and clear; and presently even the sound
of  the  water was still. The beast lay huddled on the  pale beach  and  the
stains spread, inch by inch.
     The  edge  of  the  lagoon became  a  streak of  phosphorescence  which
advanced  minutely, as  the great  wave of the tide flowed.  The clear water
mirrored the clear sky and the  angular bright  constellations. The  line of
phosphorescence bulged  about  the sand grains and  little pebbles; it  held
them  each in a  dimple of  tension, then  suddenly  accepted them  with  an
inaudible syllable and moved on.
     Along the shoreward  edge  of the shallows the  advancing clearness was
full of strange, moonbeam-bodied creatures with fiery eyes. Here and there a
larger pebble clung to its own air and was covered  with  a coat of  pearls.
The tide swelled in  over" the rain-pitted sand and smoothed everything with
a layer of silver. Now it touched the  first of the stains that  seeped from
the  broken body and the  creatures made a moving  patch  of  light as  they
gathered at the edge. The water rose farther and dressed Simon's coarse hair
with brightness. The line of his cheek silvered and the turn of his shoulder
became  sculptured marble. The strange attendant creatures, with their fiery
eyes and  trailing vapors, busied themselves round his head. The body lifted
a fraction of  an inch from the  sand and a  bubble of air escaped  from the
mouth with a wet plop. Then it turned gently in the water.
     Somewhere  over the darkened curve of the  world the  sun and moon were
pulling,  and the film of  water  on  the  earth  planet was  held,  bulging
slightly on one side while the solid core turned. The great wave of the tide
moved farther along the island and the water lifted. Softly, surrounded by a
fringe of inquisitive  bright  creatures, itself a silver shape  beneath the
steadfast constellations, Simon's dead body moved out toward the open sea.

     The Shell and the Glasses

     Piggy  eyed the advancing figure carefully. Nowadays he sometimes found
that he saw  more clearly if he removed his glasses and shifted the one lens
to the other eye;  but even through  the good eye, after what had  happened,
Ralph  remained  unmistakably Ralph. He  came  now out of the coconut trees,
limping, dirty, with dead leaves hanging from  his shock of yellow hair. One
eye was a slit in his puffy cheek and a great scab had formed on  his  right
knee. He paused for a moment and peered at the figure on the platform.
     "Piggy? Are you the only one left?"
     "There's some littluns."
     "They don't count. No biguns?"
     "Oh-Samneric. They're collecting wood."
     "Nobody else?"
     "Not that I know of."
     Ralph climbed on  to the platform carefully. The coarse grass was still
worn away  where  the assembly used to sit;  the fragile  white conch  still
gleamed by the polished seat Ralph  sat down  in the grass facing the chiefs
seat and the conch. Piggy knelt at his left, and for a long minute there was
     At last Ralph cleared his throat and whispered something.
     Piggy whispered back.
     "What you say?"
     Ralph spoke up.
     Piggy said nothing but nodded, solemnly. They  continued to sit, gazing
with impaired sight at the chief's seat and the glittering lagoon. The green
light and the glossy patches of sunshine played over their befouled bodies.
     At  length Ralph got  up and went  to  the  conch.  He took  the  shell
caressingly with both hands and knelt, leaning against the trunk.
     "What we going to do?"
     Piggy nodded at the conch.
     "You could-"
     "Call an assembly?"
     Ralph laughed sharply as he said the word and Piggy frowned.
     "You're still chief."
     Ralph laughed again.
     "You are. Over us."
     "I got the conch."
     "Ralph! Stop laughing  like  that. Look,  there  ain't no need,  Ralph!
What's the others going to think?"
     At last Ralph stopped. He was shivering.
     "That was Simon." "You said that before."
     "That was murder."
     "You stop  it!" said Piggy,  shrilly.  "What good're you doing  talking
like that?"
     He jumped to his feet and stood over Ralph.
     "It was dark. There was that-that bloody dance. There was lightning and
thunder and rain. We was scared!"
     "I wasn't scared," said Ralph slowly, "I was-I don't know what I was."
     "We was  scared!"  said Piggy excitedly. "Anything might have happened.
It wasn't-what you said."
     He was gesticulating, searching for a formula.
     "Oh, Piggy!"
     Ralph's voice, low and stricken, stopped Piggy's gestures. He bent down
and waited. Ralph, cradling the conch, rocked himself to and fro.
     "Don't you understand, Piggy? The things we did-"
     "He may still be-"
     "P'raps he was only pretending-"
     Piggy's voice trailed off at the sight of Ralph's face.
     "You were outside. Outside the circle. You never really came in. Didn't
you see what we-what they did?"
     There was loathing, and at the same time a kind of feverish excitement,
in his voice.
     "Didn't you see, Piggy?"
     "Not all  that well. I only  got one eye  now. You ought to know  that,
     Ralph continued to rock to and fro.
     "It was an  accident,"  said Piggy  suddenly,  "that's what it  was. An
accident." His  voice  shrilled  again.  "Coming  in the  dark-he hadn't  no
business crawling like that out of the dark. He was batty. He asked for  it.
He gesticulated widely again. "It was an accident."
     "You didn't see what they did-"
     "Look, Ralph. We got to forget this. We can't do no good thinking about
it, see?"
     "I'm frightened. Of us. I want to go home. Oh God, I want to go home."
     "It was an accident," said Piggy stubbornly, "and that's that."
     He  touched Ralph's bare shoulder and  Ralph  shuddered  at  the  human
     "And look, Ralph"-Piggy glanced round quickly, then leaned close-"don't
let on we was in that dance. Not to Samneric."
     "But we were! All of us!"
     Piggy shook his head.
     "Not  us till last. They never noticed in the  dark.  Anyway you said I
was only on the outside."
     "So was I," muttered Ralph, "I was on the outside too."
     Piggy nodded eagerly.
     "That's right. We  was on the outside. We never done  nothing, we never
seen nothing."
     Piggy paused, then went on.
     "We'll live on our own, the four of us-"
     "Four of us. We aren't enough to keep the fire burning."
     "We'll try. See? I lit it."
     Samneric came dragging a great log out of the forest. They dumped it by
the fire and turned to the pool. Ralph jumped to his feet.
     "Hi! You two!"
     The twins checked a moment, then walked on.
     "They're going to bathe, Ralph."
     "Better get it over."
     The twins were very  surprised to  see Ralph. They flushed  and  looked
past him into the air.
     "Hullo. Fancy meeting you, Ralph."
     "We just been in the forest--"
     "-to get wood for the fire-"
     "-we got lost last night."
     Ralph examined his toes.
     "You got lost after the . . ."
     Piggy cleaned his lens.
     "After the  feast," said  Sam  in a  stifled voice. Eric nodded.  "Yes,
after the feast."
     "We left early," said Piggy quickly, "because we were tired."
     "So did we-"
     "-very early-"
     "-we were very tired."
     Sam touched a scratch on  his forehead and then hurriedly took his hand
away. Eric fingered his split lip.
     "Yes. We were  very  tired," repeated Sam, "so  we left early. Was it a
     The air was  heavy with unspoken knowledge. Sam twisted and the obscene
word shot out of him. "-dance?"
     Memory  of the dance that none of them had attended shook all tour boys
     "We left early."

     When  Roger came to the neck of land that joined the Castle Rock to the
mainland he was not surprised to be challenged. He had  reckoned, during the
terrible night,  on finding at least some of the tribe holding  out  against
the horrors of the island in the safest place.
     The voice rang  out sharply from on high, where  the  diminishing crags
were balanced one on another.
     "Halt! Who goes there?"
     "Advance, friend."
     Roger advanced.
     "The chief said we got to challenge everyone."
     Roger peered up.
     "You couldn't stop me coming if I wanted."
     "Couldn't I? Climb up and see."
     Roger clambered up the ladder-like cliff.
     "Look at this."
     A log  had been  jammed under the topmost rock and another lever  under
that. Robert leaned lightly on the lever and the rock groaned. A full effort
would send the rock thundering down to the neck of land. Roger admired.
     "He's a proper chief, isn't he?"
     Robert nodded.
     "He's going to take us hunting."
     He jerked his  head  in  the direction of  the distant shelters where a
thread of white smoke climbed up the sky. Roger, sitting on the very edge of
the cliff, looked somberly back at the island as he worked with his  fingers
at  a loose tooth. His gaze settled on  the top of the  distant mountain and
Robert changed the unspoken subject.
     "He's going to beat Wilfred."
     "What for?"
     Robert shook his head doubtfully.
     "I don't know. He didn't say. He got angry and made us tie Wilfred  up.
He's been"-he giggled excitedly- "he's been tied for hours, waiting-"
     "But didn't the chief say why?'
     "I never heard him."
     Sitting on the tremendous rocks in the torrid  sun, Roger received this
news  as  an illumination.  He ceased to  work at his tooth  and  sat still,
assimilating  the  possibilities  of irresponsible authority. Then,  without
another word, he climbed down the back of the rocks  toward the cave and the
rest of the tribe.
     The  chief was sitting  there, naked to the waist, his face blocked out
in white and red. The tribe lay in a semicircle before him. The newly beaten
and untied Wilfred  was  sniffing noisily in  the background. Roger squatted
with the rest.
     "Tomorrow," went on the chief, "we shall hunt again."
     He pointed at this savage and that with his spear.
     "Some of you will stay here  to improve the cave and defend the gate. I
shall take a few  hunters with me and bring  back meat. The defenders of the
gate will see that the others don't sneak in."
     A savage raised  his hand  and the  chief turned a  bleak, painted face
toward him.
     "Why should they try to sneak in, Chief?"
     The chief was vague but earnest.
     "They  will. They'll try to spoil things we  do. So the watchers at the
gate must be careful. And then-"
     The chief paused. They saw a triangle of  startling pink dart out, pass
along his lips and vanish again.
     "-and then,  the  beast might try  to  come  in.  You remember  how  he
     The semicircle shuddered and muttered in agreement.
     "He came-disguised. He may  come again even though we gave him the head
of our kill to eat. So watch; and be careful."
     Stanley lifted  his forearm off the rock and held  up an  interrogative
     "But didn't we, didn't we-?"
     He squirmed and looked down.
     In the  silence  that followed,  each  savage  flinched away  from  his
individual memory.
     "No! How could we-kill-it?"
     Half-relieved, half-daunted  by the implication of further terrors, the
savages murmured again.
     "So  leave the mountain alone," said the  chief, solemnly, "and give it
the head if you go hunting."
     Stanley flicked his finger again.
     "I expect the beast disguised itself."
     "Perhaps," said the chief. A theological speculation  presented itself.
"We'd  better keep  on the right side of him, anyhow. You can't tell what he
might do."
     The tribe  considered this; and then were shaken,  as if  by a flaw  of
wind. The chief saw the effect of his words and stood abruptly.
     "But tomorrow we'll hunt and when we've got meat we'll have a feast-"
     Bill put up his hand.
     "What'll we use for lighting the fire?"
     The chiefs  blush was  hidden by  the  white  and  red  clay  Into  his
uncertain  silence the tribe spilled their murmur once more. Then the  chief
held up his hand.
     "We shall take fire from the others. Listen. Tomorrow well hunt and get
meat. Tonight Ill go along with two hunters-who'll come?"
     Maurice and Roger put up their hands.
     "Yes, Chief?"
     "Where was their fire?"
     "Back at the old place by the fire rock."
     The chief nodded.
     "The rest of you can go to sleep as soon as the sun sets. But us three,
Maurice, Roger  and  me,  we've  got  work to  do. We'll leave  just  before
     Maurice put up his hand.
     "But what happens if we meet-"
     The chief waved his objection aside.
     "We'll keep along by the sands. Then if he comes well do our, our dance
     "Only the three of us?"
     Again the murmur swelled and died away.

     Piggy handed  Ralph his glasses and waited to  receive back his  sight.
The wood was damp; and this  was the  third time they  had lighted it  Ralph
stood back, speaking to himself.
     "We don't want another night without fire."
     He looked  round guiltily at  the three boys standing by. This  was the
first  time he had admitted  the  double function of the fire. Certainly one
was to send up a beckoning column of smoke; but the other was to be a hearth
now and a comfort until they slept. Eric breathed on the wood till it glowed
and  sent out a little flame. A billow of  white and yellow smoke reeked up.
Piggy took back his glasses and looked at the smoke with pleasure.
     "If only we could make a radio!"
     "Or a plane-"
     "-or a boat."
     Ralph dredged in his fading knowledge of the world.
     "We might get taken prisoner by the Reds."
     Eric pushed back his hair.
     "They'd be better than-"
     He would not  name people and Sam  finished the  sentence  for  him  by
nodding along the beach.
     Ralph remembered the ungainly figure on a parachute.
     "He said something about  a dead man."  He  flushed painfully  at  this
admission that he had been present at  the dance.  He made urging motions at
the smoke with his body. "Don't stop-go on up!"
     "Smoke's getting thinner."
     "We need more wood already, even when it's wet."
     "My asthma-"
     The response was mechanical.
     "Sucks to your ass-mar."
     "If I pull logs about, I get my asthma bad. I wish I didn't, Ralph, but
there it is."
     The three boys went into the forest and fetched armfuls of rotten wood.
Once more the smoke rose, yellow and thick.
     "Let's get something to eat."
     Together they went to the fruit  trees, carrying  their  spears, saying
little,  cramming in haste. When  they came out of the forest again the  sun
was setting and only embers glowed in the fire, and there was no smoke.
     "I can't carry any more wood," said Eric. "I'm tired."
     Ralph cleared his throat.
     "We kept the fire going up there."
     "Up there it was small. But this has got to be a big one."
     Ralph carried a fragment to the fire and watched the smoke that drifted
into the dusk.
     ''We've got to keep it going."
     Eric flung himself down.
     "I'm too tired. And what's the good?"
     "Eric!" cried Ralph in a shocked voice. "Don't talk like that!"
     Sam knelt by Eric.
     "Well-what is the good?"
     Ralph tried  indignantly to remember. There was something good about  a
fire. Something overwhelmingly good.
     "Ralph's told  you often enough," said Piggy moodily.  "How else are we
going to be rescued?"
     "Of course! If we don't make smoke-"
     He squatted before them in the crowding dusk.
     "Don't  you understand? What's  the  good  of  wishing for  radios  and
     He held out his hand and twisted the fingers into a fist
     "There's only one thing  we can do to get out of this mess.  Anyone can
play at hunting, anyone can get us meat-"
     He looked from  face  to face. Then,  at the moment of greatest passion
and conviction, that curtain flapped in his head and he  forgot  what he had
been driving at. He knelt there, his fist clenched, gazing solemnly from one
to the other. Then the curtain whisked back.
     "Oh, yes. So we've got to make smoke; and more smoke-"
     "But we can't keep it going! Look at that!"
     The fire was dying on them.
     "Two to  mind the  fire," said  Ralph,  half to himself, "that's twelve
hours a day."
     "We can't get any more wood, Ralph-"
     "-not in the dark-"
     "-not at night-"
     "We can light it every morning," said Piggy. "Nobody ain't going to see
smoke in the dark.'
     Sam nodded vigorously.
     "It was different when the fire was-"
     "-up there."
     Ralph  stood  up,  feeling  curiously  defenseless  with  the  darkness
pressing in.
     "Let the fire go then, for tonight."
     He  led  the  way  to  the  first shelter,  which still  stood,  though
battered. The bed leaves lay within, dry and noisy to the touch. In the next
shelter  a  littlun was talking in his sleep. The four biguns crept into the
shelter and burrowed under  the leaves. The twins lay together and Ralph and
Piggy at the other end. For a while there was the continual creak and rustle
of leaves as they tried for comfort.
     "All right?"
     "S'pose so."
     At length,  save for an occasional rustle, the shelter was  silent.  An
oblong of blackness  relieved with brilliant spangles hung  before them  and
there was the  hollow sound of surf  on  the reef. Ralph settled himself for
his nightly game of supposing. . . .
     Supposing  they could be transported home by jet,  then  before morning
they would land at that big airfield in Wiltshire. They would go by car; no,
for  things to be  perfect they would go by train; all the way down to Devon
and take that cottage again. Then at the foot of the  garden the wild ponies
would come and look over the wall. . . .
     Ralph turned restlessly in the leaves.  Dartmoor was  wild and  so were
the ponies. But the attraction of wildness had gone.
     His mind skated to a consideration of a tamed town where savagery could
not set foot. What  could  be safer  than the bus  center with its lamps and
     All  at once, Ralph was dancing round a lamp standard.  There was a bus
crawling out of the bus station, a strange bus. . . .
     "Ralph! Ralph!"
     "What is it?"
     "Don't make a noise like that-"
     From the darkness of the further  end of  the shelter  came a  dreadful
moaning and they shattered the leaves in their fear. Sam and Eric, locked in
an embrace, were fighting each other.
     "Sam! Sam!"
     Presently all was quiet again.
     Piggy spoke softly to Ralph.
     "We got to get out of this."
     "What d`you mean?"
     "Get rescued."
     For the first  time that day, and despite the crowding blackness, Ralph
     "I mean it,' whispered  Piggy.  "If  we don't get  home soon  we'll  be
     "Round the bend."
     "Bomb happy."
     Ralph pushed the damp tendrils of hair out of his eyes.
     "You write a letter to your auntie."
     Piggy considered this solemnly.
     "I  don't  know  where she is now. And I haven't got  an envelope and a
stamp. An' there isn't a mailbox. Or a postman."
     The  success of  his  tiny  joke  overcame  Ralph.  His sniggers became
uncontrollable, his body jumped and
     Piggy rebuked him with dignity.
     "I haven't said anything all that funny."
     Ralph  continued  to  snigger  though  his chest  hurt.  His twitchings
exhausted him till he lay, breathless and  woebegone,  waiting for  the next
spasm. During one of these pauses he was ambushed by sleep.
     "Ralph! You been making a noise again. Do be quiet, Ralph-because."
     Ralph heaved over  among the leaves. He had reason to  be thankful that
his dream was broken, for the bus had been nearer and more distinct
     "Be quiet-and listen."
     Ralph lay down carefully, to  the accompaniment of a long sigh from the
leaves. Eric moaned something and then lay still. The darkness, save for the
useless oblong of stars, was blanket-thick.
     "I can't hear anything,"
     "There's something moving outside."
     Ralph's head prickled. The sound of his blood drowned all else and then
     "I still can't hear anything."
     "Listen. Listen for a long time."
     Quite clearly and emphatically, and  only a  yard or  so  away from the
back  of the shelter, a  stick cracked.  The  blood roared  again in Ralph's
ears, confused images  chased each other  through his  mind.  A composite of
these things was  prowling  round the shelters.  He could feel Piggy's  head
against his shoulder and the convulsive grip of a hand.
     "Ralph! Ralph!"
     "Shut up and listen."
     Desperately, Ralph prayed that the beast would prefer littluns.
     A voice whispered horribly outside.
     "It's come! gasped Piggy. It's real!"
     He clung to Ralph and reached to get his breath.
     "Piggy, come outside. I want you, Piggy."
     Ralph's mouth was against Piggy's ear.
     "Don't say anything."
     "Piggy-where are you, Piggy?"
     Something brushed against the back of the shelter. Piggy kept still for
a moment, then he had his asthma. He arched  his back and crashed  among the
leaves with his legs. Ralph rolled away from him.
     Then there  was a vicious snarling in the mouth  of the shelter and the
plunge  and thump  of living  things. Someone tripped over Ralph and Piggy's
corner  became a complication of snarls and crashes and flying limbs.  Ralph
hit out; then he and  what seemed like a dozen others  were rolling over and
over, hitting, biting, scratching. He was torn and jolted, found  fingers in
his mouth ana bit them. A fist withdrew and came back like a piston, so that
the whole shelter exploded into  light Ralph twisted  sideways on  top of  a
writhing body and felt  hot breath on his cheek He  began to pound the mouth
below him,  using his  clenched fist  as a hammer; he hit with more and more
passionate hysteria as the face became  slippery.  A knee jerked up  between
his legs and he fell  sideways, busying himself with his pain, and the fight
rolled over  him. Then  the shelter collapsed with  smothering finality; and
the  anonymous shapes fought their way out  and  through. Dark  figures drew
themselves out  of  the wreckage  and flitted away,  till the screams of the
littluns and Piggy's gasps were once more audible.
     Ralph called out in a quavering voice.
     "All you littluns, go to sleep. We've bad  a fight with the others. Now
go to sleep."
     Samneric came close and peered at Ralph.
     "Are you two all right?"
     "I think so-"
     "-I got busted."
     "So did I. How's Piggy?"
     They hauled Piggy clear  of the wreckage and leaned him against a tree.
The night was cool and purged of immediate terror. Piggy's  breathing  was a
little easier.
     "Did you get hurt, Piggy?"
     "Not much."
     "That was Jack and his hunters," said  Ralph bitterly.  "Why can't they
leave us alone?"
     "We gave them something to think  about," said Sam.  Honestly compelled
him to go on. "At least you did. I got mixed up with myself in a corner."
     "I gave one  of 'em what for," said Ralph, 1  smashed him up all right.
He won't want to come and fight us again in a hurry."
     "So  did  I,"  said Eric.  "When  I woke up one  was kicking  me in the
face... I got an  awful bloody  face,  I think, Ralph. But  I did him in the
     "What did you do?"
     "I got my knee up," said Eric with simple pride, "and I hit him with it
in the pills. You  should  have  heard him holler!  He won't come  back in a
hurry either. So we didn't do too badly."
     Ralph moved suddenly in the dark; but then he heard Eric working at his
     "What's the matter?"
     "Jus' a tooth loose."
     Piggy drew up his legs.
     "You all right, Piggy?"
     "I thought they wanted the conch."
     Ralph trotted  down the pale  beach and  jumped on to the platform. The
conch still glimmered by the chiefs seat He gazed for a  moment or two, then
went back to Piggy.
     "They didn't take the conch."
     "I know. They didn't come for the conch. They came for something  else.
Ralph-what am I going to do?"
     Far off along the bowstave of beach, three  figures trotted  toward the
Castle  Rock.  They  kept away  from the  forest  and  down  by  the  water.
Occasionally they sang softly; occasionally  they turned cartwheels down  by
the moving streak of phosphorescence. The chief led them, trotting steadily,
exulting in  his  achievement He  was  a  chief now in  truth;  and  he made
stabbing motions with his spear. From his left  hand  dangled Piggy's broken

     Castle Rock

     In the  short chill of  dawn  the four  boys gathered round  the  black
smudge  where the fire had been, while Ralph knelt and  blew. Grey, feathery
ashes  scurried  hither and  thither  at his breath but no spark shone among
them  The twins watched anxiously and Piggy  sat expressionless  behind  the
luminous  wall  of his  myopia.  Ralph continued to blow till his  ears were
singing with the  effort, but then the first breeze of dawn took the job off
his  hands and  blinded him  with ashes. He squatted back, swore, and rubbed
water out of his eyes.
     "No use."
     Eric looked down at  him through a mask of dried blood. Piggy peered in
the general direction of Ralph.
     " 'Course it's no use, Ralph. Now we got no fire."
     Ralph brought his face within a couple of feet of Piggy`s.
     "Can you see me?"
     "A bit."
     Ralph allowed the swollen flap of his cheek to close his eye again.
     "They've got our fire."
     Rage shrilled his voice.
     "They stole it!"
     "That's them," said Piggy.  They blinded me. See? That's Jack Merridew.
You call an assembly, Ralph, we got to decide what to do."
     "An assembly for only us?"
     "It's all we got. Sam-let me hold on to you."
     They went toward the platform.
     "Blow the conch," said Piggy. "Blow as loud as you can."
     The forest re-echoed;  and birds lifted, crying out of the treetops, as
on  that  first morning  ages ago. Both  ways  the beach was deserted.  Some
littluns came from the shelters. Ralph sat down  on the  polished trunk  and
the three others stood before him.  He nodded, and Samneric sat down  on the
right. Ralph pushed the conch into Piggy's hands. He held the shining tiling
carefully and blinked at Ralph.
     "Go on, then."
     "I just take the conch to  say this.  I can't see no more and I got  to
get  my glasses back. Awful things has been done on this island. I voted for
you for chief. He's  the  only one  who  ever got anything done. So now  you
speak, Ralph, and tell us what. Or else-"
     Piggy broke off, sniveling. Ralph took back the conch as he sat down.
     "Just  an  ordinary fire. You'd think  we could do that,  wouldn't you?
Just a smoke signal so we can  be rescued. Are  we savages or what? Only now
there's  no signal going up.  Ships may  be passing. Do you  remember how he
went hunting and the fire went out  and a ship passed by? And they all think
he's best as chief. Then there was, there was  . . . that's his fault,  too.
If it hadn't been for him it would never have happened. Now Piggy can't see,
and they came, stealing-" Ralph's voice ran  up "-at night, in darkness, and
stole our fire. They stole it.  We'd have given them  fire if they'd  asked.
But they stole it and the signal's out  and we can't  ever be rescued. Don't
you  see what I  mean? We'd have  given them fire  for  themselves only they
stole it. I-"
     He paused lamely as  the curtain flickered in his brain. Piggy held out
his hands for the conch.
     "What you goin' to do,  Ralph? This is  jus'  talk  without deciding. I
want my glasses."
     "I'm trying to  think Supposing  we go, looking like we used to, washed
and hair brushed-after all  we aren't savages really and being rescued isn't
a game-"
     He opened the flap of his cheek and looked at the twins.
     "We could smarten up a bit and then go-"
     "We ought to take spears," said Sam. "Even Piggy."
     "-because we may need them."
     "You haven't got the conch!"
     Piggy held up the shell.
     "You can  take  spears if you  want but I shan't. What's the good? I'll
have to be led like a dog, anyhow. Yes, laugh. Co on, laugh. There's them on
this island as would laugh at anything. And what happened?  What's grown-ups
goin' to  think? Young Simon was murdered. And there was that other kid what
had a mark on his face. Who's seen him since we first come here?"
     "Piggy! Stop a minute!"
     "I got the conch. I'm going to that Jack Merridew an` tell him, I am."
     "You'll get hurt."
     "What can he do more than he has? I'll tell him what's what. You let me
carry the conch, Ralph. I'll show him the one thing he hasn't got."
     Piggy paused for a  moment  and  peered  round at the dim  figures. The
shape of the old assembly, trodden in the grass, listened to him.
     "I'm going to him with this conch  in my hands.  I'm going to  hold  it
out. Look, I'm goin' to say, you're stronger  than I am and you  haven't got
asthma. You can see,  I'm goin' to say,  and with both eyes. But I don't ask
for my glasses back, not  as a  favor. I don't ask you  to be  a sport, I'll
say, not because you're strong, but because what's right's right. Give me my
glasses, I'm going to say-you got to!"
     Piggy ended, flushed  and trembling.  He pushed the conch  quickly into
Ralph's hands as though in a hurry  to be rid of it and wiped the tears from
his eyes. The green light was gentle about them and the conch lay at Ralph's
feet, fragile  and white. A single  drop of water  that had escaped  Piggy's
fingers now flashed on the delicate curve like a star.
     At last Ralph sat up straight and drew back his hair.
     "All right. I mean-you can try if you like. Well go with you."
     "He'll be painted," said Sam, timidly. "You know how he`ll be-"
     "-he won't think much of us-"
     "-if he gets waxy we've had it-"
     Ralph scowled at Sam. Dimly he remembered something that Simon had said
to him once, by the rocks.
     "Don't be silly," he said. And then he added quickly, "Let's go."
     He held out the conch to Piggy who flushed, this time with pride.
     "You must carry it."
     "When we're ready I'll carry it-"
     Piggy sought in his mind for words to convey his passionate willingness
to carry the conch against all odds.
     "I don't mind. I'll be glad, Ralph, only I'll have to be led."
     Ralph put the conch back on  the  shining log. "We  better eat and then
get ready." They made their way  to  the  devastated fruit  trees. Piggy was
helped to his food and found some by touch. While they ate, Ralph thought of
the afternoon.
     "We'll be like we were. We'll wash-"
     Sam gulped down a mouthful and protested.
     "But we bathe every day!"
     Ralph looked at the filthy objects before him and sighed.
     "We ought to comb our hair. Only it's too long."
     "I've got both socks left in the shelter," said Eric,
     "so we could pull them over our heads tike caps, sort of."
     "We could find some stuff," said Piggy, "and tie your hair back."
     "Like a girl!"
     "No. 'Course not."
     "Then  we must  go  as  we  are,"  said Ralph,  "and they won't  be any
     Eric made a detaining gesture.
     "But they'll be painted! You know how it is."
     The  others nodded.  They understood only too well the  liberation into
savagery that the concealing paint brought.
     "Well, we won't be painted," said Ralph, "because we aren't savages."
     Samneric looked at each other.
     "All the same-" Ralph shouted.
     "No paint!"
     He tried to remember.
     "Smoke," he said, "we want smoke."
     He turned on the twins fiercely.
     "I said 'smoke'! We've got to have smoke."
     There was silence, except for the multitudinous murmur of the bees.  At
last Piggy spoke, kindly.
     "Course we have. 'Cos the smoke's  a signal and we can't be rescued  if
we don't have smoke."
     "I knew that!" shouted Ralph. He  pulled his arm away from  Piggy. "Are
you suggesting-?"
     "I'm jus' saying what you always say," said Piggy hastily. "I'd thought
for a moment-"
     "I  hadn't,"  said Ralph  loudly. "I  knew it  all  the  time. I hadn't
     Piggy nodded propitiatingly.
     "You're chief, Ralph. You remember everything."
     "I hadn't forgotten."
     "'Course not."
     The twins were  examining Ralph curiously, as  though they  were seeing
him for the first time.

     They set off along the beach in formation. Ralph went first,  limping a
little, his  spear carried  over  one  shoulder.  He  saw  things partially,
through the tremble of the  heat  haze  over the flashing sands, and his own
long hair and injuries. Behind him came the twins, worried  now for  a while
but full of unquenchable vitality. They said little but trailed the butts of
their wooden spears; for Piggy had found that, by looking down and shielding
his tired sight from the sun, he could just see these moving along the sand.
He walked between the trailing  butts,  therefore, the conch  held carefully
between his two hands. The boys made a compact little group that moved  over
the beach, four plate-like  shadows dancing and mingling beneath them. There
was no  sign  left of the storm, and the beach was swept clean  like a blade
that has been scoured. The sky and the mountain were at an immense distance,
shimmering in  the heat;  and the  reef was lifted by mirage, floating in  a
land of silver pool halfway up the sky.
     They  passed the place where the tribe  had  danced. The charred sticks
still lay on the rocks where the rain had quenched them but the sand by  the
water was smooth again. They passed this in silence. No one doubted that the
tribe would be found  at the Castle Rock and  when they came in sight of  it
they stopped  with one accord. The densest tangle on  the island, a mass  of
twisted stems, black  and green and impenetrable, lay on their left and tall
grass swayed before them. Now Ralph went forward.
     Here was the  crushed grass where they had all lain when he had gone to
prospect. There was the neck of land, the ledge  skirting the rock, up there
were the red pinnacles.
     Sam touched his arm.
     There  was a tiny  smudge  of smoke wavering into the air  on the other
side of the rock.
     "Some fire-I don't think."
     Ralph turned.
     "What are we hiding for?"
     He stepped through the screen of grass on to the little open space that
led to the narrow neck.
     "You two  follow behind. I'll go  first, then Piggy a  pace behind  me.
Keep your spears ready."
     Piggy peered anxiously into the luminous veil that hung between him and
the world.
     "Is it safe? Ain't there a cliff? I can hear the sea."
     "You keep right close to me."
     Ralph moved forward on to the neck.  He kicked  a stone and it  bounded
into the  water. Then  the sea sucked down,  revealing  a red, weedy  square
forty feet beneath Ralph's left arm.
     "Am I safe?" quavered Piggy. "I feel awful-"
     High above  them from  the  pinnacles came  a sudden shout and then  an
imitation war-cry that was answered by a dozen voices from behind the rock.
     "Give me the conch and stay still."
     "Halt! Who goes there?"
     Ralph bent back his head and glimpsed Roger's dark face at the top.
     "You can see who I am!" he shouted. "Stop being silly!"
     He  put the  conch to his lips  and began  to  blow.  Savages appeared,
painted  out of recognition,  edging round the ledge toward  the neck.  They
carried spears and disposed themselves to defend the entrance. Ralph went on
blowing and ignored Piggy's terrors.
     Roger was shouting.
     "You mind out-see?"
     At length Ralph took his  lips away  and paused to get his breath back.
His first words were a gasp, but audible.
     "-calling an assembly."
     The savages  guarding the  neck muttered among themselves but  made  no
motion. Ralph walked forwards a couple of steps. A voice whispered  urgently
behind him.
     "Don't leave me, Ralph."
     "You kneel down," said Ralph sideways, "and wait till I come back."
     He  stood halfway  along the  neck and gazed at  the savages  intently.
Freed by the paint, they  had tied their hair back and were more comfortable
than he was. Ralph made  a resolution to tie his own back afterwards. Indeed
he felt Eke telling them  to wait and doing it there and then; but  that was
impossible. The savages sniggered a bit  and  one gestured at Ralph with his
spear. High above, Roger  took his hands off the lever and leaned out to see
what was going on. The boys on the neck stood in a pool of their own shadow,
diminished to shaggy heads. Piggy crouched, his back shapeless as a sack.
     "I'm calling an assembly."
     Roger  took up a small stone and flung it between the twins, aiming  to
miss. They started and Sam only just kept his  footing. Some source of power
began to pulse in Roger's body.
     Ralph spoke again, loudly.
     "I'm calling an assembly."
     He ran his eye over them.
     "Where's Jack?"
     The  group of boys stirred and consulted. A painted face spoke with the
voice of Robert.
     "He's hunting. And he said we weren't to let you in."
     "I've come to see  about  the  fire," said  Ralph,  "and  about Piggy's
     The  group in front of him shifted and laughter shivered outwards  from
among them, light, excited laughter that went echoing among the tall rocks.
     A voice spoke from behind Ralph.
     "What do you want?"
     The twins made a bolt past Ralph and got between  him and the entry. He
turned  quickly.  Jack,  identifiable  by  personality  and  red  hair,  was
advancing from the forest A hunter crouched  on either side. All three  were
masked  in  black  and  green. Behind  them on the grass  the  headless  and
paunched body of a sow lay where they had dropped it.
     Piggy wailed.
     "Ralph! Don't leave me!"
     With ludicrous care he embraced the rock,  pressing himself to it above
the sucking sea. The sniggering of the savages became a loud derisive jeer.
     Jack shouted above the noise.
     "You go away, Ralph. You keep to your end. This is my end and my tribe.
You leave me alone."
     The jeering died away.
     "You pinched Piggy`s  specs," said Ralph, breathlessly. "You've got  to
give them back."
     "Got to? Who says?"
     Ralph's temper blazed out.
     "I  say! You  voted  for  me for chief.  Didn't you hear the conch? You
played a dirty trick-we'd have given you fire if you'd asked for it-"
     The blood was flowing in his cheeks and the bunged-up eye throbbed.
     "You could have had fire whenever you wanted. But you  didn't. You came
sneaking up like a thief and stole Piggy's glasses!"
     "Say that again!"
     "Thief! Thief!"
     Piggy screamed.
     "Ralph! Mind me!"
     Jack  made  a rush and stabbed at  Ralph's chest with his spear.  Ralph
sensed the position of the  weapon from the  glimpse he caught of Jack's arm
and put the thrust aside with his own butt.  Then he brought  the  end round
and  caught Jack  a  stinger  across  the  ear. They  were  chest to  chest,
breathing fiercely, pushing and glaring.
     "Who's a thief?"
     "You are!"
     Jack wrenched free and swung at Ralph with his spear. By common consent
they  were using  the  spears  as sabers  now,  no longer daring the  lethal
points. The blow struck Ralph's spear  and slid down, to fall agonizingly on
his fingers. Then they were  apart once more, their positions reversed, Jack
toward the Castle Rock and Ralph on the outside toward the island.
     Both boys were breathing very heavily.
     "Come on then-"
     "Come on-"
     Truculently they squared up to each other but kept just out of fighting
     "You come on and see what you get!"
     "You come on-"
     Piggy  clutching the ground  was  trying to attract  Ralph's attention.
Ralph moved, bent down, kept a wary eye on Jack.
     "Ralph-remember what we came for. The fire. My specs."
     Ralph nodded.  He  relaxed  his  fighting  muscles,  stood  easily  and
grounded the  butt of his spear  Jack watched him  inscrutably  through  his
paint. Ralph glanced up at the pinnacles, then toward the group of savages
     "Listen. We've come to say this. First you've got to give back  Piggy's
specs. If he hasn't got them he can't see You aren't playing the game-"
     The  tribe of  painted savages giggled  and Ralph's  mind  faltered. He
pushed  his hair up and gazed at the green and black mask before him, trying
to remember what Jack looked like.
     Piggy whispered.
     "And the fire."
     "Oh yes. Then about  the fire.  I say this  again.  I've been saying it
ever since we dropped in."
     He held out his spear and pointed at the savages.
     "Your only hope is keeping a signal fire going as long as there's light
to see.  Then maybe  a ship`ll notice the  smoke and come and  rescue us and
take us home. But without that smoke we've got to wait till some ship  comes
by accident. We might wait years; till we were old-"
     The shivering, silvery, unreal laughter  of the savages sprayed out and
echoed away. A gust of rage shook Ralph His voice cracked.
     "Don't you  understand, you painted fools?  Sam, Eric,  Piggy and me-we
aren't  enough. We tried  to keep the fire  going, but we couldn't. And then
you, playing at hunting. . . ."
     He pointed past them to where  the trickle  of  smoke dispersed  in the
pearly air.
     "Look  at  that!  Call that a signal  fire? That's  a cooking fire  Now
you'll eat and there'll  be no smoke. Don't you understand?  There may be  a
ship out there-"
     He  paused, defeated by the silence  and  the painted  anonymity of the
group  guarding the  entry. Jack opened a pink mouth and addressed Samneric,
who were between him and his tribe.
     "You two. Get back."
     No  one answered him. The twins, puzzled,  looked at each Other;  while
Piggy,  reassured by  the  cessation of violence, stood up  carefully.  Jack
glanced back at Ralph and then at the twins.
     "Grab them!"
     No one moved. Jack shouted angrily.
     "I said 'grab them'!"
     The  painted group moved  round  Samneric nervously and unhandily. Once
more the silvery laughter scattered.
     Samneric protested out of the heart of civilization.
     "Oh, I say!"
     Their spears were taken from them.
     "Tie them up!"
     Ralph cried out hopelessly against the black and green mask.
     "Go on. Tie them."
     Now the painted group felt the otherness of Samneric, felt the power in
their  own hands.  They  felled the  twins clumsily and excitedly.  Jack was
inspired. He knew that Ralph would attempt a rescue. He struck in a  humming
circle  behind  him and Ralph only just  parried the blow.  Beyond them  the
tribe and the twins were  a loud  and  writhing heap.  Piggy crouched again.
Then the twins lay, astonished, and the  tribe stood round them. Jack turned
to Ralph and spoke between his teeth.
     "See? They do what I want."
     There  was  silence  again. The twins  lay, inexpertly tied up, and the
tribe watched Ralph to see what he would do.  He  numbered them  through his
fringe, glimpsed the ineffectual smoke.
     His temper broke. He screamed at Jack.
     "You're a beast and a swine and a bloody, bloody thief!"
     He charged.
     Jack, knowing this was the  crisis, charged too.  They  met with a jolt
and  bounced apart. Jack swung with his fist  at Ralph and aught  him on the
ear. Ralph hit Jack in the stomach and made him grunt. Then they were facing
each  other  again,  panting and  furious,  but  unnerved  by  each  other's
ferocity.  They  became aware of the noise  that was the background  to this
fight, the steady shrill cheering of the tribe behind them.
     Piggy's voice penetrated to Ralph.
     "Let me speak."
     He was  standing in the dust of  the fight,  and as the  tribe saw  his
intention the shrill cheer changed to a steady booing.
     Piggy  held up  the conch and  the booing sagged a little, then came up
again to strength.
     "I got the conch!"
     He shouted.
     "I tell you, I got the conch!"
     Surprisingly,  there was silence now;  the tribe  were curious  to hear
what amusing thing he might have to say.
     Silence and  pause;  but in the silence a curious  air-noise, close  by
Ralphs head. He give it half  his attention-and  there it was again; a faint
"Zup!"  Someone was  throwing stones: Roger  was dropping them, his one hand
still on the lever. Below him, Ralph was a shock of hair  and Piggy a bag of
     "I got this to say. You're acting like a crowd of lads."
     The booing rose and died again as Piggy lifted the white, magic shell.
     "Which is better-to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be
sensible like Ralph is?"
     A great clamor rose among the savages. Piggy shouted again.
     "Which is better-to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?"
     Again the clamor and again--"Zup!"
     Ralph shouted against the noise.
     "Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?"
     Now  Jack was veiling too and Ralph could no longer make himself heard.
Jack had backed right against the tribe and they were a solid mass of menace
that bristled with spears. The intention of a charge was forming among them;
they were working up to  it and the neck  would be swept  clear. Ralph stood
facing them, a little to one side, his spear ready. By him stood Piggy still
holding out  the talisman, the  fragile,  shining beauty of  the shell.  The
storm of sound beat at them, an incantation of hatred. High overhead, Roger,
with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever.
     Ralph heard  the great  rock long before  he saw  it. He was aware of a
jolt in the  earth that came to him through the  soles of  his feet, and the
breaking sound of  stones  at  the top  of the cliff. Then the monstrous red
thing, bounded  across  the neck  and he flung himself fiat  while the tribe
     The rock  struck  Piggy  a glancing blow from chin  to knee;  the conch
exploded into a  thousand white fragments and ceased to exist. Piggy, saying
nothing, with no time  for even a  grunt,  traveled through the air sideways
from the rock, turning over as he  went. The rock bounded twice and was lost
in  the forest. Piggy fell forty feet  and  landed  on his back across  that
square red rock in  the sea. His head opened  and stuff came out  and turned
red.  Piggy's arms and legs twitched a bit, like  a pig's after it has  been
killed. Then the sea breathed  again in a long, slow sigh, the water  boiled
white and pink over the rock; and when it went, sucking back again, the body
of Piggy was gone.
     This  time the silence was complete. Ralph's  lips formed a word but no
sound came.
     Suddenly Jack bounded out from the tribe and began screaming wildly.
     "See? See? That's what  you'll get! I meant  that!  There isn't a tribe
for you any morel The conch is gone-"
     He ran forward, stooping.
     "I'm chief!"
     Viciously, with full intention, he hurled his spear at Ralph. The point
tore the skin and flesh over Ralph's ribs, then  sheared off and fell in the
water. Ralph stumbled, feeling  not pain but panic, and the tribe, screaming
now like the chief, began to  advance. Another  spear, a bent one that would
not fly straight, went past his face  and one fell from on high  where Roger
was. The  twins lay hidden behind the tribe and  the anonymous devils' faces
swarmed across the neck. Ralph turned and ran. A great noise as of sea gulls
rose behind him. He obeyed an instinct that he did not know he possessed and
swerved  over the  open space  so  that the  spears  went wide. He  saw  the
headless body  of the sow and jumped  in time. Then he  was crashing through
foliage and small boughs and was hidden by the forest.
     The chief stopped by the pig, turned and held up his hands.
     "Back! Back to the fort!"
     Presently the  tribe returned noisily to the neck  where  Roger  joined
     The chief spoke to him angrily.
     "Why aren't you on watch?"
     Roger looked at him gravely.
     "I just came down-"
     The hangman's horror clung round him. The chief said no more to him but
looked down at Samneric.
     "You got to join the tribe."
     "You lemme go-"
     "-and me."
     The chief snatched one of the few spears that  were  left and poked Sam
in the ribs.
     "What d'you mean by it, eh?"  said the chief fiercely, "What d'you mean
by coming with spears? What d'you mean by not joining my tribe?"
     The prodding became rhythmic. Sam yelled.
     "That's not the way."
     Roger edged  past  the chief, only  just avoiding pushing him  with his
shoulder. The yelling ceased, and  Samneric lay looking up in quiet  terror.
Roger advanced upon them as one wielding a nameless authority.

     Cry of the Hunters

     Ralph lay  in  a  covert, wondering about his wounds. The bruised flesh
was  inches in diameter  over his right ribs, with a swollen and bloody scar
where the spear had hit him. His hair was full of  dirt  and tapped like the
tendrils of a creeper. All over he was scratched and bruised from his flight
through the forest.  By the time  his  breathing  was  normal  again, he had
worked  out  that bathing these injuries  would have  to wait. How could you
listen for naked feet if you were splashing in water? How could you  be safe
by the little stream or on the open beach?
     Ralph listened. He was not really far from the Castle Rock, and  during
the first panic he had thought he heard  sounds of  pursuit But  the hunters
had  only  sneaked into  the  fringes  of  the greenery,  retrieving  spears
perhaps, and  then had rushed back to  the sunny rock as if terrified of the
darkness under the leaves. He  had even glimpsed one of them, striped brown,
black, and red, and had judged that  it was Bill. But really, thought Ralph,
this was not Bill. This was a savage  whose image refused to blend with that
ancient picture of a boy in shorts and shirt.
     The afternoon died away; the circular spots of  sunlight moved steadily
over green fronds and brown fiber but no sound came from behind the rock. At
last  Ralph wormed out of the ferns and sneaked forward to  the edge of that
impenetrable thicket that fronted the neck of land. He peered with elaborate
caution  between branches at the edge and could see Robert sitting  on guard
at the top of the cliff. He held a spear in his left hand and was tossing up
a pebble and catching it again with the  right. Behind him a column of smoke
rose thickly,  so that  Ralph's nostrils  flared and his  mouth dribbled. He
wiped his nose and mouth with the back of his  hand and  for the first  time
since the morning  felt hungry. The tribe must  be sitting  round the gutted
pig, watching the fat ooze and burn among the ashes. They would be intent
     Another figure, an unrecognizable  one, appeared by Robert and gave him
something, then turned and went back  behind the rock. Robert laid his spear
on the  rock beside him and  began to gnaw between his  raised hands. So the
feast was beginning and the watchman had been given his portion.
     Ralph saw that for the time being he  was safe. He limped  away through
the  fruit  trees, drawn  by the thought of the poor food yet bitter when he
remembered the feast. Feast today, and then tomorrow. . . .
     He argued unconvincingly  that they would let him alone,  perhaps  even
make an outlaw of him. But  then the fatal unreasoning knowledge came to him
again.  The breaking of the conch and the deaths of Piggy and Simon lay over
the island like a vapor. These painted savages would go further and further.
Then  there was  that indefinable connection  between himself  and Jack; who
therefore would never let him alone; never.
     He paused, sun-flecked, holding up a bough, prepared to duck under it A
spasm of terror set him shaking and he cried aloud.
     "No. They're not as bad as that. It was an accident."
     He ducked under the bough, ran clumsily, then stopped and listened.
     He came to the  smashed  acres  of fruit  and ate greedily.  He saw two
littluns and, not having any idea  of his own appearance,  wondered why they
screamed and ran.
     When  he had eaten he went toward  the beach. The sunlight was slanting
now into  the palms by the  wrecked  shelter. There was the platform and the
pool. The best thing to do was to ignore this leaden feeling about the heart
and rely on  their  common sense, their daylight  sanity. Now that the tribe
had eaten,  the  thing  to do was to try again. And anyway, he couldn't stay
here all night in an empty shelter by the deserted platform. His flesh crept
and he shivered in the  evening sun. No fire; no smoke; no rescue. He turned
and limped away through the forest toward Jack's end of the island.
     The slanting sticks of sunlight were lost among the branches. At length
he came to  a clearing  in the forest where rock  prevented vegetation  from
growing. Now it was a  pool of shadows and Ralph nearly flung himself behind
a tree when  he saw something  standing  in the center; but then he saw that
the white face was bone and that the pig's skull grinned at him from the top
of  a stick. He  walked  slowly  into the middle of the  clearing and looked
steadily at the skull  that gleamed as white as  ever the conch had done and
seemed  to jeer at him cynically. An inquisitive  ant was busy in one of the
eye sockets but otherwise the thing was lifeless.
     Or was it?
     Little prickles of sensation ran up and  down his  back. He  stood, the
skull about on a level with his face, and held up his hair with  two  hands.
The teeth grinned, the empty sockets seemed to hold his gaze masterfully and
without effort.
     What was it?
     The skull regarded Ralph  like one who knows all  the answers and won't
tell.  A  sick  fear and rage swept him.  Fiercely  he hit out at the filthy
thing  in front of him  that bobbed like a toy and came back, still grinning
into his  face, so  that he  lashed and cried  out in loathing. Then he  was
licking his bruised knuckles and looking at the bare  stick, while the skull
lay  in two  pieces, its grin now six feet across. He wrenched the quivering
stick  from  the crack  and held it as  a spear between  him and  the  white
pieces. Then he backed away, keeping his face to the skull that lay grinning
at the sky.
     When  the green glow had gone  from  the  horizon and night  was  fully
accomplished, Ralph came  again to  the thicket in front of the Castle Rock.
Peeping through,  he  could  see  that the  height  was still  occupied, and
whoever it was up there had a spear at the ready.
     He knelt among  the shadows and felt his  isolation bitterly. They were
savages  it  was  true; but  they were human, and the ambushing fears of the
deep night were coming on.
     Ralph moaned faintly. Tired though he  was, he could not relax and fall
into a well of sleep for fear of the tribe. Might it not be possible to walk
boldly into the fort, say-"I've got pax,"  laugh lightly and sleep among the
others?  Pretend they were still boys, schoolboys who  had said,  "Sir, yes,
Sir"-and worn caps?  Daylight  might have answered yes; but darkness and the
horrors of  death said no. Lying there  in the darkness, he  knew he was  an
     " 'Cos I had some sense."
     He rubbed his cheek along his forearm, smelling the acrid scent of salt
and sweat and the  staleness of  dirt. Over to  the left, the waves of ocean
were breathing, sucking down, then boiling back over the rock.
     There  were  sounds  coming  from  behind  the  Castle  Rock  Listening
carefully, detaching his mind  from the swing of  the sea, Ralph could  make
out a familiar rhythm.
     "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!"
     The tribe was dancing. Somewhere on  the other side  of this rocky wall
there would  be  a dark  circle, a glowing  fire,  and meat. They  would  be
savoring food and the comfort of safety.
     A noise nearer at hand made  him quiver. Savages were clambering up the
Castle  Rock, right  up  to  the top, and he  could hear voices. He  sneaked
forward a few  yards and saw  the  shape  at the  top of the rock change and
enlarge. There were  only  two boys on the  island who  moved or talked like
     Ralph put his head down on his forearms and accepted this new fact like
a  wound. Samneric were part of the tribe now. They were guarding the Castle
Rock against him.  There was no  chance  of rescuing them and building up an
outlaw tribe at the other end of the island. Samneric were  savages like the
rest; Piggy was dead, and the conch smashed to powder.
     At length the guard climbed down.  The two that remained seemed nothing
more than a dark extension of the  rock. A star appeared behind them and was
momentarily eclipsed by some movement.
     Ralph edged  forward, feeling his way over the uneven surface as though
he were bund.  There were miles of vague water at his right and the restless
ocean  lay under his left hand, as awful as the shaft of a pit. Every minute
the  water  breathed  round  the  death rock and flowered  into  a  field of
whiteness. Ralph crawled until he found the ledge of the entry in his grasp.
The lookouts were immediately  above him and he could see the end of a spear
projecting over the rock.
     He called very gently.
     There was no reply. To carry he must speak louder; and this would rouse
those striped and inimical creatures from their feasting by the fire. He set
his  teeth and started to  climb, finding the holds by touch. The stick that
had supported a skull hampered  him but he would not be parted from his only
weapon. He was nearly level with the twins before he spoke again.
     He  heard a cry and a flurry from the rock. The twins had  grabbed each
other and were gibbering.
     "It's me. Ralph."
     Terrified that  they would run and give the alarm, he hauled himself up
until his head and shoulders stuck over the top. Far below his armpit he saw
the luminous flowering round the rock.
     "It's only me. Ralph."
     At length they bent forward and peered in his face.
     "We thought it was-"
     "-we didn't know what it was-"
     "-we thought-"
     Memory of their new and shameful loyalty came  to them. Eric was silent
but Sam tried to do his duty.
     "You got to go, Ralph. You go away now-"
     He wagged his spear and essayed fierceness.
     "You shove off. See?"
     Eric nodded agreement and jabbed his spear in the air.  Ralph leaned on
his arms and did not go.
     "I came to see you two."
     His  voice was  thick. His  throat was  hurting him  now  though it had
received no wound.
     "I came to see you two-"
     Words could not express the dull pain of these things.  He fell silent,
while the vivid stars were spilt and danced all ways.
     Sam shifted uneasily.
     "Honest, Ralph, you'd better go."
     Ralph looked up again.
     "You two aren't painted. How can you-? If it were light-"
     If  it  were light shame would burn them at admitting these things. But
the  night  was  dark.  Eric took  up;  and  then  the  twins  started their
antiphonal speech.
     "You got to go because it's not safe-"
     "-they made us. They hurt us-"
     "Who? Jack?"
     "Oh no-"
     They bent to him and lowered their voices.
     "Push off, Ralph-'
     "-it's a tribe-"
     "-they made us-"
     "-we couldn't help it-"
     When Ralph spoke again his voice was low, and seemed breathless.
     "What have I done? I liked him-and I wanted us to be rescued-"
     Again the stars spilled about the sky. Eric shook his head, earnestly.
     "Listen, Ralph. Never mind what's sense. That's gone-"
     "Never mind about the chief-"
     "-you got to go for your own good."
     "The chief and Roger-"
     "-yes, Roger-"
     "They hate you, Ralph. They're going to do you."
     "They're going to hunt you tomorrow."
     "But why?"
     "I dunno. And Ralph, Jack, the chief, says it'll be dangerous-"
     "-and we've got to be careful and throw our spears like at a pig."
     "We're going to spread out in a line across the island-"
     "-we're going forward from this end-"
     "-until we find you."
     "We've got to give signals like this."
     Eric raised his head and achieved a faint ululation  by beating  on his
open mouth. Then he glanced behind him nervously.
     "Like that-"
     "-only louder, of course."
     "But I've done nothing," whispered Ralph,  urgently. I  only  wanted to
keep up a fire!"
     He paused for a moment,  thinking miserably of  the morrow. A matter of
overwhelming importance occurred to him.
     "What are you-?"
     He could  not bring himself to be specific at first; but then fear  and
loneliness goaded him.
     "When they find me, what are they  going to do?" The twins were silent.
Beneath him, the death rock flowered again.
     "What are they-oh God! I'm hungry-"
     The towering rock seemed to sway under him.
     The twins answered his question indirectly.
     "You got to go now, Ralph."
     "For your own good."
     "Keep away. As far as you can."
     "Won't you come with me? Three of us-we'd stand a chance.".
     After a moment's silence, Sam spoke in a strangled voice.
     "You don't know Roger. He's a terror."
     "And the chief-they're both-"
     "-only Roger-"
     Both boys froze. Someone was climbing toward them from the tribe.
     "He's coming to see if we're keeping watch. Quick, Ralph!"
     As  he prepared to  let himself  down  the cliff, Ralph snatched at the
last possible advantage to be wrung out of this meeting.
     "I'll lie up close; in that thicket down there," he whispered, "so keep
them away from it. They'll never think to took so close-"
     The footsteps were still some distance away.
     "Sam-I'm going to be all right, aren't I?"
     The twins were silent again.
     "Here!" said Sam suddenly. "Take this-"
     Ralph felt a chunk of meat pushed against him and grabbed it.
     "But what are you going to do when you catch me?"
     Silence above. He sounded silly to himself. He lowered himself down the
     "What are you going to do-?"
     From the top of the towering rock came the incomprehensible reply.
     "Roger sharpened a stick at both ends."
     Roger sharpened a stick at both  ends.  Ralph tried to attach a meaning
to this but could not. He used all the bad words he could think  of in a fit
of temper that passed into yawning. How long could  you go without sleep? He
yearned for a bed and sheets-but the only whiteness  here was the slow spilt
milk, luminous round  the rock  forty feet below, where  Piggy  had  fallen.
Piggy was everywhere, was on this neck, was become terrible  in darkness and
death.  If Piggy were  to come back now  out  of the water,  with his  empty
head-Ralph whimpered and yawned like a littlun. The stick in his hand became
a crutch on which he reeled.
     Then he tensed again. There were voices raised on the top of the Castle
Rock. Samneric were arguing  with  someone. But the ferns and the grass were
near. That  was the  place to be  in, hidden,  and next  to the thicket that
would serve for  tomorrow's hide-out. Here-and his hands touched grass-was a
place to be in for the night, not far from the tribe, so that if the horrors
of the supernatural emerged one could at least  mix with humans for the time
being, even if it meant . . .
     What did  it mean? A  stick sharpened at both  ends. What was there  in
that? They  had thrown  spears and missed;  all but one. Perhaps  they would
miss next time, too.
     He  squatted down in the tall grass, remembered the meat that  Sam  had
given him, and began to tear at it ravenously. While he was eating, he heard
fresh noises-cries of pain from Samneric, cries of panic, angry voices. What
did it mean? Someone besides himself was in trouble, for at least one of the
twins was catching it.  Then  the  voices passed away down  the  rock and he
ceased  to think of them. He felt with  his  hands and  found cool, delicate
fronds backed against the thicket. Here then was the  night's lair. At first
light he would  creep into the thicket, squeeze between  the twisted  stems,
ensconce  himself so deep  that  only  a  crawler like  himself  could  come
through,  and  that crawler would  be  jabbed. There  he would sit, and  the
search would  pass him  by,  and  the cordon waver  on, ululating along  the
island, and he would be free.
     He pulled himself  between the  ferns, tunneling in. He  laid the stick
beside him, and  huddled himself down in the blackness. One must remember to
wake at first light, in order to diddle the  savages-and he did not know how
quickly sleep came and hurled him down a dark interior slope.
     He was awake  before his  eyes were open, listening to a noise that was
near. He opened an eye, found the  mold an inch or so from his  face and his
fingers gripped  into it, light filtering between the fronds of fern. He had
just time to realize that the age-long nightmares of falling and death  were
past and that the morning was come, when he heard  the sound again.'  It was
an ululation over by the seashore -and  now the next savage answered and the
next. The  cry swept by  him across the narrow end of the island from sea to
lagoon, like the  cry  of a flying bird.  He  took no time  to  consider but
grabbed his sharp stick and wriggled back among the ferns. Within seconds he
was worming  his way  into  the thicket; but  not before he had glimpsed the
legs of a savage coming toward him. The ferns were thumped and beaten and he
heard legs  moving  in the long grass.  The savage, whoever he was, ululated
twice; and the  cry was repeated in  both  directions, then died away. Ralph
crouched still, tangled in the ferns, and for a time he heard nothing.
     At  last he  examined the thicket itself. Certainly no one could attack
him here-and  moreover  he had  a stroke  of  luck. The great rock  that had
killed Piggy had bounded into  this  thicket and bounced there, right in the
center, making a smashed space a few feet in extent each way. When Ralph had
wriggled into this he felt  secure,  and clever. He sat down carefully among
the smashed  stems and waited for the hunt to  pass. Looking up  between the
leaves he  caught  a glimpse of something red.  That must  be the top of the
Castle  Rock,  distant  and unmenacing. He composed himself triumphantly, to
hear the sounds of the hunt dying away.
     Yet no one made a sound; and as the minutes passed, in the green shade,
his feeling of triumph faded.
     At last he heard a voice-Jack's voice, but hushed.
     "Are you certain?"
     The savage addressed said nothing. Perhaps he made a gesture.
     Roger spoke.
     "If you're fooling us-"
     Immediately after this, there came a gasp, and a squeal  of pain. Ralph
crouched  instinctively. One of  the twins  was there, outside  the thicket,
with Jack and Roger.
     "You're sure he meant in there?"
     The twin moaned faintly and then squealed again.
     "He meant he'd hide in there?"
     Silvery laughter scattered among the trees.
     So they knew.
     Ralph picked up his stick and prepared for  battle. But what could they
do? It would  take  them  a  week  to break a path through the thicket;  and
anyone  who wormed his way  in would be helpless. He felt  the  point of his
spear with his thumb  and grinned without amusement Whoever tried that would
be stuck, squealing like a pig.
     They were going away, back to the tower rock. He could hear feet moving
and then  someone  sniggered. There came again that high, bird-like cry that
swept along the line, So some were still watching for him; but some-?
     There was a long, breathless silence. Ralph found  that he had  bark in
his mouth from the gnawed spear. He stood  and peered upwards to the  Castle
     As he did so, he heard Jack's voice from the top.
     "Heave! Heave! Heave!"
     The red rock that he  could see at the top of the cliff vanished like a
curtain, and  he  could see  figures and  blue sky. A moment later the earth
jolted, there was a rushing sound in the air, and the top of the thicket was
cuffed as with a gigantic hand. The  rock bounded on,  thumping and smashing
toward  the  beach, while a shower of broken  twigs and leaves fell on  him.
Beyond the thicket, the tribe was cheering.
     Silence again.
     Ralph put his fingers  in his mouth  and bit  them. There was  only one
other rock up  there that they might conceivably move; but that  was half as
big as a cottage, big as a car, a  tank. He visualized its probable progress
with agonizing  clearness-that one  would start  slowly, drop from  ledge to
ledge, trundle across the neck like an outsize steam roller.
     "Heave! Heave! Heave!"
     Ralph  put down his spear, then picked it up again.  He pushed his hair
back irritably,  took  two hasty steps across the little space and then came
back. He stood looking at the broken ends of branches.
     Still silence.
     He caught sight of the rise and fall of his diaphragm and was surprised
to see how quickly  he was breathing.  Just  left of center  his heart-beats
were visible. He put the spear down again.
     "Heave! Heave! Heave!"
     A shrill, prolonged cheer.
     Something boomed up on the red rock, then the earth jumped and began to
shake  steadily, while the noise  as steadily increased. Ralph was shot into
the air, thrown down, dashed against branches. At his right hand, and only a
few  feet away, the whole thicket bent  and the roots screamed  as they came
out of the earth together. He saw something red that turned over slowly as a
mill  wheel. Then  the  red  thing was  past  and  the elephantine  progress
diminished toward the sea.
     Ralph knelt  on the plowed-up soil, and waited for the  earth  to  come
back. Presently the white, broken stumps, the split sticks and the tangle of
the thicket refocused. There was a kind of heavy feeling in  his body  where
he had watched his own pulse.
     Silence again.
     Yet  not entirely so. They  were whispering out there; and suddenly the
branches were shaken furiously  at two places on  his right. The pointed end
of a stick appeared. In  panic, Ralph thrust his own stick through the crack
and struck with all his might.
     His spear twisted a little in his hands and then he withdrew it again.
     Someone was moaning  outside  and a  babble  of  voices rose.  A fierce
argument was going on and the wounded  savage kept groaning. Then when there
was silence, a single voice spoke and Ralph decided that it was not Jack's.
     "See? I told you-he's dangerous."
     The wounded savage moaned again.
     What else? What next?
     Ralph  fastened  his hands  round the chewed spear  and  his hair fell.
Someone was muttering,  only  a few  yards  away toward  the Castle Rock. He
heard a  savage say "No!"  in a shocked voice; and then there was suppressed
laughter. He squatted back on his heels and showed his teeth at the  wall of
branches. He raised his spear, snarled a little, and waited.
     Once more the invisible group sniggered.  He heard a  curious trickling
sound and  then a  louder  crepitation as if  someone were unwrapping  great
sheets  of cellophane. A  stick snapped  and  he stifled a cough.  Smoke was
seeping  through the branches in  white and yellow wisps,  the patch of blue
sky  overhead  turned  to the  color  of a storm cloud, and  then the  smoke
billowed round him.
     Someone laughed excitedly, and a voice shouted.
     He wormed his way through the thicket toward the forest, keeping as far
as possible beneath the smoke.  Presently he saw  open space, and  the green
leaves  of the edge of the thicket. A  smallish savage was  standing between
him and the rest of the forest, a savage striped red and white, and carrying
a spear. He was coughing and smearing the paint about his eyes with the back
of his hand as he tried to see through the increasing smoke. Ralph  launched
himself  like a  cat;  stabbed,  snarling, with  the  spear,  and the savage
doubled up. There  was  a shout from beyond the thicket  and then Ralph  was
running  with  the swiftness  of  fear through the undergrowth. He came to a
pig-run,  followed  it for perhaps a hundred yards,  and  then  swerved off.
Behind  him the ululation swept across the  island  once more  and  a single
voice shouted  three  times. He guessed that  was the  signal to advance and
sped away again, till his chest  was  like fire.  Then he flung himself down
under a bush and waited for a moment till his breathing  steadied. He passed
his  tongue  tentatively  over his teeth and  lips  and heard  far  off  the
ululation of the pursuers.
     There were many things he could do. He could climb a tree; but that was
putting all  his eggs in one basket. If he were  detected, they  had nothing
more difficult to do than wait.
     If only one had time to think!
     Another double  cry at the same distance gave him a clue to their plan.
Any savage balked in the forest would utter the double shout and hold up the
line  till  he was free again. That  way they might hope to keep the  cordon
unbroken right across the island. Ralph thought of the boar  that had broken
through them with such ease. If necessary, when the chase came too close, he
could charge the  cordon while  it was  still  thin, burst through,  and run
back.  But run back where? The cordon would turn  and sweep again. Sooner or
later he would have  to sleep or  eat-and  then  he would  awaken with hands
clawing at him; and the hunt would become a running down.
     What was to be done, then? The tree? Burst the line like a boar? Either
way the choice was terrible.
     A single cry quickened his heart-beat and, leaping up,  be dashed  away
toward the ocean  side  and the thick  jungle  till  he  was  hung up  among
creepers; he stayed  there for a moment  with his calves quivering.  If only
one could have quiet, a long pause, a time to think!
     And  there again,  shrill  and inevitable,  was the  ululation sweeping
across the island. At  that sound he shied like a horse  among  the creepers
and ran once more till he was  panting. He flung himself down by some ferns.
The tree, or the charge? He mastered  his breathing for  a moment, wiped his
mouth, and  told himself to be  calm. Samneric were somewhere in that  line,
and  hating it.  Or were  they? And supposing, instead of  them,  he met the
chief, or Roger who carried death in his hands?
     Ralph  pushed back his tangled hair and wiped the sweat out of his best
eye. He spoke aloud.
     What was the sensible thing to do?
     There  was no Piggy  to  talk  sense. There was no  solemn assembly for
debate nor dignity of the conch.
     Most,  he  was beginning to dread the curtain that  might waver  in his
brain, blacking out the sense of danger, making a simpleton of him.
     A  third idea would be  to hide  so well that the advancing  line would
pass without discovering him.
     He jerked his head off the ground and listened. There was another noise
to attend  to now, a deep grumbling noise, as  though the forest itself were
angry with him,  a somber noise across which  the  ululations were scribbled
excruciatingly as  on slate. He  knew he had  heard it before somewhere, but
had no time to remember.
     Break the line.
     A tree.
     Hide, and let them pass.
     A nearer cry  stood him on  his feet and immediately he was away again,
running fast among thorns and brambles. Suddenly he blundered into the open,
found himself again in that open space-and there was the fathom-wide grin of
the skull, no longer ridiculing a deep blue patch of sky but jeering up into
a  blanket of smoke. Then Ralph was running  beneath trees, with the grumble
of the forest explained. They had smoked him out and set the island on fire.
     Hide was  better than a tree because you had a chance  of breaking  the
line if you were discovered.
     Hide, then.
     He  wondered  it  a pig  would agree, and grimaced at nothing. Find the
deepest thicket, the  darkest  hole on the island,  and creep in. Now, as he
ran, he peered about him. Bars and splashes of sunlight flitted over him and
sweat made glistening streaks on his dirty body. The cries were far now, and
     At last  he  found  what  seemed  to  him  the right place, though  the
decision was desperate. Here, bushes and a wild tangle of creeper made a mat
that kept  out  all the light of the sun. Beneath it was  a space, perhaps a
foot high, though it was pierced everywhere by parallel and rising stems. If
you wormed  into the middle of  that you would be five yards from  the edge,
and hidden, unless the savage chose  to lie down  and look for you; and even
then, you would be in darkness-and if the  worst  happened and  he saw  you,
then you had a chance to burst out at him, fling the whole line out of  step
and double back.
     Cautiously, his stick trailing behind him,  Ralph  wormed  between  the
rising stems. When he reached the middle of the mat he lay and listened.
     The fire was  a big one and the  drum-roll that he had thought was left
so far behind was nearer. Couldn't a fire outrun a galloping horse? He could
see  the sun-splashed ground over  an area of perhaps fifty yards from where
he lay,  and as he watched, the sunlight in every patch blinked at him. This
was so  like  the  curtain that flapped  in his brain that  for a  moment he
thought the blinking  was  inside  him.  But then  the  patches blinked more
rapidly, dulled and went out, so that he saw that a great heaviness of smoke
lay between the island and the sun.
     If anyone peered under the bushes and chanced to glimpse human flesh it
might be Samneric who would pretend not to see and say nothing. He  laid his
cheek  against the chocolate-colored earth, licked his  dry lips and  closed
his eyes. Under  the  thicket,  the earth  was vibrating  very  slightly; or
perhaps there was  a  sound beneath the  obvious  thunder  of  the fire  and
scribbled ululations that was too low to hear.
     Someone cried out. Ralph jerked his cheek off the earth and looked into
the dulled light. They must be near now, he  thought, and his chest began to
thump. Hide, break the line, climb  a tree-which was the best after all? The
trouble was you only had one chance.
     Now the fire was nearer; those volleying shots were great limbs, trunks
even, bursting. The fools! The  fools! The fire  must be almost at the fruit
trees-what would they eat tomorrow?
     Ralph  stirred restlessly in his narrow bed. One chanced nothing!  What
could they do? Beat him? So what? Kill him? A stick sharpened at both ends.
     The  cries, suddenly  nearer,  jerked him up. He  could  see a  striped
savage moving hastily out of a green tangle, and coming toward the mat where
he hid, a savage who  carried  a spear.  Ralph gripped his fingers into  the
earth. Be ready now, in case.
     Ralph fumbled to hold his spear so that it was point  foremost; and now
he saw that the stick was sharpened at both ends.
     The savage stopped fifteen yards away and uttered his cry.
     Perhaps he can hear my heart over the noises of the fire. Don't scream.
Get ready.
     The savage  moved forward so that you could only see him from the waist
down. That was  the butt of  his spear. Now you could see him from  the knee
down. Don't scream. A herd of pigs came squealing out of the greenery behind
the  savage and  rushed  away  into the forest.  Birds  were screaming, mice
shrieking, and a little hopping thing came under the mat and cowered.
     Five yards away the savage stopped,  standing right by the thicket, and
cried out. Ralph drew  his feet up and crouched. The stake was in his hands,
the  stake sharpened at  both ends, the stake that vibrated  so wildly, that
grew long, short, light, heavy, light again.
     The ululation spread from shore to  shore. The savage knelt down by the
edge of the thicket, and there were lights flickering in  the  forest behind
him.  You  could see  a knee disturb the mold. Now the other.  Two  hands. A
     A face.
     The savage peered  into the  obscurity beneath  the thicket.  You could
tell  that  he  saw  light  on  this  side  and  on  that,  but not  in  the
middle-there. In the middle  was a  blob of dark and the  savage wrinkled up
his face, trying to decipher the darkness.
     The  seconds lengthened  Ralph  was looking straight into  the savage's
     Don't scream.
     You'll get back.
     Now he's seen you. He's making sure. A stick sharpened.
     Ralph screamed, a scream of fright and anger and desperation. His  legs
straightened, the screams  became continuous  and foaming.  He shot forward,
burst  the  thicket,  was in the open, screaming, snarling, bloody. He swung
the stake and the savage tumbled  over; but there were  others coming toward
him, crying out.  He swerved  as a  spear  flew past  and  then was  silent,
running. All at once the lights flickering ahead of him merged together, the
roar of the  forest rose to  thunder  and a tall  bush directly in  his path
burst  into  a  great  fan-shaped  flame.  He  swung  to the  right, running
desperately fast, with the heat beating on his left side and the fire racing
forward  like a tide.  The ululation rose behind  him and  spread  along,  a
series of short sharp cries, the sighting call. A brown figure  showed up at
his right and fell away. They were all  running,  all  crying out madly.  He
could  hear them crashing  in the undergrowth and on the left was  the  hot,
bright thunder of the fire. He forgot his wounds, his hunger and thirst, and
became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet, rushing through the forest toward
the  open beach. Spots jumped before his  eyes  and turned into red  circles
that  expanded quickly  till they passed out  of sight.  Below him someone's
legs were getting tired and the desperate  ululation advanced like  a jagged
fringe of menace and was almost overhead.
     He stumbled over  a root and the cry that pursued him rose even higher.
He  saw  a  shelter burst  into flames  and the  fire flapped  at his  right
shoulder and there was the glitter  of water. Then he was down, rolling over
and over in the warm sand, crouching with arm up  to ward off, trying to cry
for mercy.

     He  staggered to his feet, tensed for more terrors, and  looked up at a
huge peaked cap. It was a white-topped cap, and above the green shade or the
peak was a crown, an anchor, gold foliage. He saw white drill, epaulettes, a
revolver, a row of gilt buttons down the front of a uniform.
     A naval officer  stood on  the  sand, looking  down  at  Ralph in  wary
astonishment. On  the beach behind him was a cutter, her bows  hauled up and
held  by  two ratings. In the stern-sheets another rating held a sub-machine
     The ululation faltered and died away.
     The officer looked at Ralph doubtfully for a moment, then took his hand
away from the butt of the revolver.
     Squirming  a little, conscious of his filthy appearance, Ralph answered
     The officer nodded, as if a question had been answered.
     "Are there any adults-any grownups with you?"
     Dumbly,  Ralph  shook  his head. He turned a half-pace  on the sand.  A
semicircle  of little boys, their bodies  streaked with colored clay,  sharp
sticks in their hands, were standing on the beach making no noise at all.
     "Fun and games," said the officer.
     The  fire  reached  the coconut palms by the  beach and swallowed  them
noisily. A flame,  seemingly detached, swung  like an acrobat and licked  up
the palm heads on the platfonn. The sky was black.
     The officer grinned cheerfully at Ralph.
     "We  saw  your  smoke.  What have  you  been doing?  Having  a  war  or
     Ralph nodded.
     The  officer  inspected the little scarecrow in  front of  him. The kid
needed a bath, a haircut, a nose-wipe and a good deal of ointment.
     "Nobody killed, I hope? Any dead bodies?"
     "Only two. And they've gone."
     The officer leaned down and looked closely at Ralph.
     "Two? Killed?"
     Ralph nodded again.  Behind  him, the whole island  was shuddering with
flame. The officer knew, as a rule, when people  were telling the truth.  He
whistled softly.
     Other boys were appearing  now, tiny tots some of them, brown, with the
distended bellies of small savages. One of them came dose to the officer and
looked up.
     "I'm, I'm-"
     But there was no  more to come.  Percival Wemys  Madison sought in  his
head for an incantation that had faded clean away.
     The officer turned back to Ralph.
     "We'll take you off. How many of you are there?"
     Ralph  shook his  head.  The officer  looked  past him to  the group of
painted boys.
     "Who's boss here?"
     "I am," said Ralph loudly.
     A little boy who wore the remains  of an extraordinary black cap on his
red hair and  who carried the remains  of a pair of spectacles at his waist,
started forward, then changed his mind and stood still.
     "We saw your smoke. And you don't know how many of you there are?"
     "No, sir."
     "I should have  thought," said the officer as he visualized the  search
before  him, "I should have thought that  a pack of British  boys-you're all
British,  aren't you?-would  have  been  able to put up  a  better show than
that-I mean-"
     "It was like that at first," said Ralph, "before things-"
     He stopped.
     "We were together then-"
     The officer nodded helpfully.
     "I know. Jolly good show. Like the Coral Island."
     Ralph looked  at him dumbly. For a moment  he had a fleeting picture of
the strange glamour that had once invested  the beaches. But  the island was
scorched  up  like dead wood-Simon was dead-and  Jack  had. . .  . The tears
began to flow and sobs shook  him. He  gave  himself up to them now  for the
first time  on the island; great, shuddering  spasms of grief that seemed to
wrench his  whole body. His  voice  rose  under the  black  smoke before the
burning wreckage  of  the  island; and  infected  by that emotion, the other
little  boys  began to shake and sob  too. And in  the middle  of them, with
filthy  body, matted  hair,  and  unwiped nose, Ralph  wept for  the end  of
innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air  of the
true, wise friend called Piggy.
     The  officer,  surrounded  by  these noises, was  moved  and  a  little
embarrassed. He  turned away to give  them time to pull themselves together;
and waited, allowing his eyes to rest on the trim cruiser in the distance.

     Interview with William Golding1

     Purdue University; May 10, 1962

     Question:  It  has  often  been  said  that  wars  are  caused  by  the
dictatorial few. Do you feel this to be so, or do you think anyone given the
power is capable of such inhuman atrocity?
     Answer: Well, I think wars are much more complicated than that. Some of
them have been caused by a few. On the other hand if some of them are surely
the bursting of some vicious growth, almost, in civilization, then who knows
who  applies the  lancer  to it?  There's  all the difference  in the  world
between the wars of 1917-the Communist Revolution-on  the one hand,  and the
wars of Genghis Khan on the other, isn't there?
     Q.:  Yes. Obviously, in Lord of  the Flies society plays little part in
determining the corruption and violence in man. You've  said this is true in
society, that it does play  a minor  role, but  do  you feel  that there are
societies that will enhance the possibility of man becoming good? And are we
working toward this in democracy?
     A.: By  instinct and training, and by birth and by position on the face
of the globe, I'm pretty well bound  to subscribe to a  democratic doctrine,
am I not? This is so deeply  woven into the way we live, or at least the way
we live at  home  in England, that I don't  suppose one  really questions it
much. I think I would say democracy is moving in the right

     1.This interview is printed  here by permission of William  Golding and
James Keating. (c) 1964 by James Keating and William Golding.

     direction, or the democratic  way is the way in which to move; equally,
it  seems  to  me that a democracy  has  inherent  weaknesses in it-built-in
weaknesses. You can't give people freedom  without  weakening society  as an
implement of war, if you like, and so this is very  much  like a sheep among
wolves. It's not a question with me as to whether democracy is the right way
so much,  as to  whether democracy can survive and  remain what it is. Every
time  democracy  pulls  itself  together  and  says, "Well,  now  I'm  being
threatened by a totalitarian regime,"  the first thing it  has to do is give
up some of its own principles. In England during the Second World War we had
to  give up a tremendous  number of principles  in order  to achieve the one
pointed unity which could  possibly withstand Hitler. It's possible  to look
at the  question in this way and say, "Is  the  remedy  not  as  bad  as the
disease?" I don't know.
     Q.: Well, the innocence in man, for example, that you bring  out  among
the boys in this novel, would you say it was an inherent kind of thing which
materializes,  or is it a thing from without  which  is  taken on  during  a
transitional process from  innocence to non-innocence? Are the boys innocent
of themselves or are they innocent of evil from without and evil of others?
     A.: They're innocent of their own natures. They don't  understand their
own  natures and  therefore,  when they  get to this island,  they can  look
forward  to  a  bright future, because they don't understand the things that
threaten it. This seems  to me  to  be innocence; I suppose you could almost
equate it  with ignorance of men's  basic attributes, and this is inevitable
with  anything which  is born and begins  to grow up.  Obviously, it doesn't
understand its own nature.
     Q.: Then  it's more a combination of innocence of their own and other's
     A.: Yes. I think, quite simply, that  they don't understand what beasts
there are in the human psyche which have to be curbed. They're too  young to
look  ahead and really put the curbs on their own nature and implement them,
because giving way to these  beasts  is always a pleasure, in some ways, and
so  their society breaks  down.  Of course, on the  other hand, in an  adult
society it is possible  society will not break down. It may be  that  we can
put sufficient curbs on our own natures to prevent it from breaking down. We
may have  the  very common sense to  say  that if we have atom bombs and  so
on-H-bombs-well, we cannot possibly use these things.
     Now   that  is,  in  a   sense,  the  lowest  possible  bit  of  common
sense-obviously we can't-but  you know as well as I do that there is a large
chance that those weapons will be used and  we'll be  done for. I think that
democratic attitude  of voluntary curbs  put on one's own nature is the only
possible way for humanity, but I wouldn't like to  say that  it's  going  to
work out, or survive.
     Q.:  You  recently  stated  your  belief  that humanity would either be
saved, or save itself. Is that correct?
     A.: Yes, but  here again  this is because  I'm  basically  an optimist.
Intellectually I can see man's balance is about fifty-fifty, and his chances
of blowing himself up are about one to  one.  I  can't see  this any way but
intellectually. I'm just emotionally unable to believe that he will do this.
This means that I am by nature an optimist and by  intellectual conviction a
pessimist, I suppose.
     Q.: The reason I posed that comment was because in your published notes
in Lord of the Flies . . .
     A.: They aren't my notes.
     Q.: I'm sorry. I thought Mr. Epstein2 quoted you.
     A.: Did he?
     Q.: In the summation . . .
     A.: Oh, yes.
     Q.: In  the end  the question is, who will  rescue the  adult  and  his
cruiser?  This  seems to  me a little fatalistic; it conveys the notion that
there isn't really any hope.
     A.: Yes, but there again you can take . . . there are two answers here;
I think they are both valid answers. The first one is the one I made before,
and  that is  that  the  quotation  there  is  what  I said  is intellectual
fatalism.  It's  making  the  thing a sort of series of Chinese  boxes,  one
inside  of the  Other.  The other thing  is to  say that as the fabulist  is

     2.E. L.  Epstein,  "Notes  on Lord of the  Flies" reprinted  below,  p.

     a moralist, he is always overstating his  case, because he  has a point
he wishes to drive home. I  would prefer to  say if you don't curb yourself,
then this is what will happen to you.
     Q.: Again, in Lord of the Flies, I noticed a very definite relationship
between Simon and his brutal death and Christ and his crucifixion. Would you
care to discuss this, or give any omniscient judgment?
     A.: Well,  I can't give an  omniscient judgment.  I can only say what I
intended.  First you've got  to remember I haven  t read  this  book for ten
years, so I may be  a bit off.  I  intended a  Christ figure in  the  novel,
because  Christ figures  occur  in humanity, really, but I couldn't have the
full picture, or as near as full a  possible  picture of human potentiality,
unless one was potentially a Christ figure. So Simon is the little  boy  who
goes off into  the bushes to pray. He  is the only one to take any notice of
the little  'uns-who actually hands  them food, gets food  from places where
they can't reach it and hands it down to them. He is the  one who is tempted
of the devil: he  has this interview with the pig's head on the stick,  with
Beelzebub, or  Satan,  the  devil, whatever  you'd like to call it,  and the
devil says, "Clear off, you're not wanted. Just go back to the others. We'll
forget the whole thing."
     Well,  this is, of course,  the perennial temptation to the saint, as I
conceive it, to just go and be like  ordinary  men and  let  the whole thing
slide. Instead  of that, Simon  goes up the hill and  takes  away  from  the
island,  removes, discovers what  this  dead  hand of history is that's over
them, undoes the threads so that the wind can blow this dead thing away from
the island, and then when he tries  to take the good news  back to  ordinary
human society, he's crucified for it. This is as far as I was able to find a
Christ parallel, you see.3
     Q.: You mentioned that you couldn't  give  any omniscient judgment, and
you've earlier said that an author cannot really say, after he has written a
work, what he has  given  from himself  or created.4  What do you
feel the role of the

     4.For  a  further  discussion of  the  role of  Simon,  see  Donald  R.
Spangler, "Simon," p. 211 in this volume.-Eds.
     5. Compare  Gelding's remarks here with his statements in the interview
with Frank Kermode, p. 199 in this volume.-Eds.

     critic is here? Do you  feel  the critic  has the right to  bring these
things out?
     A.: Well, isn't this really a  question without much  meaning?  Because
whether a critic  has rights or not he is going to do these things to a book
which has got out of the author's control,  and therefore you  might just as
well ask whether a  man has a right to  five fingers on each hand. This is a
thing that happens. Are you really meaning do I think the critic has, by his
nature or by his  training, a  better chance  of saying what's in this  book
than the author has? Is that at all it?
     Q.: Yes, that's mainly it. As an artist,  do  you  feel the critics are
     A.: Some of them. As a practical matter some of them say things which I
agree with and some say things which I don t agree with. I don't see there's
much  generalization that can be made here.  The critic has as much right as
any man to get what he can out of  a book, and I would say that I think some
critics that  I've read have been  extremely perceptive -or else  I've  been
very  lucky-in  that they've seemed to put their fingers  on certain  things
which I had deliberately intended and which I would have thought were rather
subtle,  and they have contrived to get hold of these. Equally, I would have
to say that some critics seem to me to be miles off beam.
     Q.: Well, perhaps Mr. Gindin5  was  a little off beam in his
article which discusses  your use of gimmicks. He mentions the saving of the
boys as a gimmick that  didn't  quite fulfill  the manifestations that  were
opened in the book ... it didn't resolve diem, I should think, as well as he
would have liked. Do you feel this is justifiable criticism?
     A.: I've been haunted by that word, "gimmick," ever since I  used it in
an interview explaining that I liked a sharp reversal at the end which would
show  the  book  in an entirely  different light  so that the  reader  would
presumably be forced to  rethink the book, which seems to  me a useful thing
to do. I don't know, in that event, whether the saving

     5.James  Gindin,  " 'Gimmick'  and  Metaphor in the Novels  of  William
Golding," Modern Fiction Studies, 6 (Summer, 1960), 145-152.-Eds.

     of  the  boys  at the end is a  gimmick or not.  The  reason  for  that
particular ending was twofold. First I originally conceived the book  as the
change  from innocence-which is ignorance  of self-to a tragic knowledge. If
my boys hadn't been saved, I couldn't-at that time, at any  rate-see any way
of  getting some one  of them  to the point where he would  have this tragic
knowledge. He would  be dead.  If I'd gone  on  to the death of Ralph, Ralph
would never have  had time to understand  what  had  happened to  him,  so I
deliberately saved him so that at this moment he could  see -look  back over
what's happened-and weep for the  end of innocence and the darkness of man's
heart, which was what I was getting at. That's half the answer.
     The other answer is that if, as  in that  quotation there, the book  is
supposed to show how  the detects of society are  directly traceable  to the
defects of the individual, then you rub that awful moral lesson in much more
by  having an ignorant, innocent adult  come to the  island  and  say,  "Oh,
you've been having fun, haven't you?"  Then in the last sentence you let him
turn away and look  at  the cruiser,  and of course the  cruiser,  the adult
thing, is  doing  exactly  what  the hunters  do-that is,  hunting  down and
destroying the enemy-so that  you say, in effect, to your reader, "Look, you
think you've been reading about little boys, but in fact you've been reading
about the distresses and the wickednesses of humanity. If this is a gimmick,
I still approve of it.
     Q.: I  think it fulfills what you said about the use  of the gimmick at
the end of a novel, making a reader go back and take another look at things.
     Did  the work  by Richard  Hughes,  High  Wind  in  Jamaica,  have  any
influence on your writing Lord of the Flies?
     A.: This is an interesting question. I can  answer it simply: I've read
this book and I liked it but  I read it after I'd written Lord of the Flies.
And if you're going to come around to Conrad's Heart of Darkness, I might as
well confess I've never read that.
     Q.: Then  if you hadn't  read High Wind in  Jamaica until you'd written
Lord  of the Flies,  how do you feel  about the  thematic presentation,  the
parallel between the two works?
     A.: There is a parallel, I  think, but like so  many literary parallels
it's the plain fact that if people engage in writing
     about  humanity,  they're  likely  in  certain  circumstances  io   see
something  the same  thing.  They're  both  looking, after all  at  the same
object, so  it  would really  be very  surprising if  there weren't literary
parallels to be drawn between this book and that.


     Q.: I have one more question about Lord of the Flies. Mr. Epstein talks
about sex symbols in  this work.6 You have recently said that you
purposely left man and woman off of the island to remove the ...
     A.: Remove the "red herring."
     Q.: Yes. I wonder if you concur with Mr. Epstein's observations.
     A.: You're probably thinking of the moment when they kill apig . . .
     Q.: Yes.
     A.:  And I'm assured that this is a sexual symbol and it has affinities
of the Oedipadian wedding  night.  What am I  to  say to this? I suppose the
only thing  I can really say is there are in those circumstances, after all,
precious few ways of killing a pig. The  same  thing's just as  true  of the
Oedipadian wedding night.

     6.See below, p. 279.-Eds.

     The Meaning of It All1
     Broadcast on the BBC Third Programme, August 28, 1959

     KERMODE: I should like to begin,  Golding,  by talking about an article
on  your  work  which  I  know  you  liked  which  appeared  in  the  Kenyon
Review2 about  a year  ago in which  he says many admiring things
about all your books but introduces a distinction between  fable and fiction
and puts you very much on the fable side, arguing, for example, that in Lord
of  the Flies you  incline occasionally not to give a full-body presentation
of people  living and behaving, so  much as an illustration of a  particular
theme; would you accept this as a fair comment on your work?
     GOLDING: Well, what I would regard as a tremendous compliment to myself
would be if someone would substitute the word "myth"  for "fable"  because I
think a myth is a much profounder and more significant thing than a fable. I
do feel  fable  as being an  invented  thing on the surface  whereas myth is
something which comes  out from  the roots of things in the ancient sense of
being the key to existence, the whole meaning of life,  and experience as  a
     KERMODE: You're not primarily interested in giving the sort of body and
pressure  of  lived life in a wide society;  obviously not, because all your
books  have been  concerned with either  persons  or  societies, unnaturally
isolated in  some sense. It is legitimate  to assume  from that that you are
concerned with people in this kind of extremity of solitariness.

     1.The  following interview  was  reprinted  in this  form in Books  and
Bookmen, 5  (October, 1959), 9-10, and is printed in part here by permission
of Frank Kermode and William Golding.
     2.John  Peter,  "The Fables  of William  Golding," Kentyon Re-view,  19
(Autumn, 1957), 577-592. Reprinted below, pp. 229-234.-Eds.

     GOLDING: Well, no, I don't think it is legitimate. My own feeling about
it is that their isolation is  a  convenient one, rather  than an  unnatural
one. Do you see what I mean?
     KERMODE: Yes, I  do see, but I'm not  sure  about the word "convenient"
here.  Convenient  to you because you  want  to treat boys in the absence of
grown-ups, is this what you mean?
     GOLDING: Yes, I  suppose so. You  see  it  depends  how  far you regard
intentions as  being readable.  Now, you  know  and  I  know about  teaching
people; we both do it as our daily bread. Well, you see, perhaps, people who
are not  quite as immature as those I see, but my own  immature boys I watch
carefully and there does come a point which is very legible in their society
at which  you can see all  those things (as shown  in Lord of the Flies) are
within a second of being  carried out-it's the master who gets the right boy
by the scruff of the  neck and hauls him back. He is  God who stops a murder
being committed.
     KERMODE:  Yes, this is why one of your boys, Piggy, often refers to the
absence  of grown-ups  as  the most  important conditioning  factor  in  the
situation.  The argument is, then,  that out of a  human group of this kind,
the  human invention  of  evil  will  proceed,  provided that certain  quite
arbitrary checks are not present
     GOLDING: Yes, I  think so; I think  that the arbitrary checks  that you
talk  about are nothing but the fruit of bitter experience of people who are
adult  enough to realise, "Well, I,  I myself am vicious  and  would like to
kill that man, and he is  vicious  and would like to kill me, and therefore,
it is sensible that  we  should both  have an  arbitrary scheme of things in
which three other people come in and separate us."
     KERMODE:  This makes  it interesting,  I  think, to  consider the place
among your boys of the boy, Simon,  in Lord of the  Flies,  who is different
from the others  and who  understands something  like the  situation  you're
describing. He understands, for example,  that the evil that  the boys fear,
the beast they fear,  is substantially of their  own invention, but when, in
fact, he announces this, he himself is regarded as
     evil  and killed accordingly. Are  we  allowed to infer from  your myth
that there will always be a person of that order in  a group, or is this too
     GOLDING:  It is, I think, a bit unfair  not  so  much because it  isn't
germane, but simply  because it brings up too much. You see,  I think on the
one hand  that it  is true that  there will always  be  people  who will see
something particularly clearly, and will not be listened to, and if they are
a  particularly outstanding example of  their sort,  will probably be killed
for it. But, on the other hand, that in itself brings up such a vast kind of
panorama. What so many intelligent people and particularly, if I may say so,
so may literary people find, is that  Simon is incomprehensible.  But, he is
comprehensible to the illiterate person.  The illiterate  person knows about
saints and sanctity, and Simon is a saint.3
     KERMODE: Yes, well he's a land of scapegoat, I suppose,
     GOLDING:  No,  I won't agree. You  are really flapping a kind of Golden
Bough  over  me, or waving it over my head,  but I don't  agree. You  see, a
saint isn't  just a scapegoat, a saint is somebody who in  the last analysis
voluntarily embraces his fate,  which is a pretty sticky one,  and he is for
the illiterate a proof of the existence of God because the illiterate person
who is not brought up  on logic  and  not brought up always to hope for  the
worst  says, "Well, a person  like this  cannot  exist without a good  God."
Therefore the illiterate  person finds  Simon extremely  easy to understand,
someone who voluntarily embraces this beast goes . . . and tries to  get rid
of  him and goes  to give the good news  to the ordinary  bestial man on the
beach, and gets killed for it.
     KERMODE: Yes,  but  may I  introduce the  famous Lawrence  caveat here,
"Never trust the teller, trust the tale"?
     GOLDING: Oh, that's absolute nonsense.  But of course the man who tells
the tale if  he has a tale worth telling will know exactly  what he is about
and this  business of the artist as a sort of starry-eyed inspired creature,
dancing along, with  his feet two or  three  feet  above the  surface of the
earth,  not really  knowing what sort  of prints he's leaving behind him, is
nothing like the truth.

     3.Compare the following remarks with Donald R. Spangler's essay "Simon"
on pp. 211-215 in this volume.-Eds.

     KERMODE:  Well,  I  don't think it's necessary  to state  it  quite  so
extremely. What I had  in mind here was simply that Simon in fact  is coming
down  from  the  top  of the  hill  where  he's  seen the dead  body  of the
parachutist,  in order to tell the other people  that all is well. He's  not
embracing  his  faith  which is to  be killed by the other people; he thinks
he's going to put them right.
     GOLDING:  Ah, well, that's  again a  question  of scale,  isn't ft? The
point  was that  out of all the people on that  island who  would ascend the
mountain, Simon was the one who saw it was the thing to do, and actually did
it; nobody else dared. That is embracing your fate, you see.
     KERMODE: Ah, yes, without really any sense that what will happen in the
end is that he shall become the beast, which is what he does.
     COLDINC: No, he doesn't become the beast, he becomes the beast in other
people's opinions.
     KERMODE: He becomes  the beast in the text also: "The beast was on  its
knees in the centre, its arms folded over its face." Of course,  you're here
reporting  what the boys in their  orgiastic  fury thought  Simon was, but I
should have said that  that way of reporting allows a  certain  ambiguity of
interpretation here, which you cannot, in fact, deny us.
     GOLDING: I thought of it myself  originally, I think, as a metaphor-the
kind of metaphor of existence if you like, and the dead body on the mountain
I  thought of as  being history, as the past.  There's a point  a  couple of
chapters before where these children on the  island have got themselves into
a hell of a mess, they're-it's the things that have crawled out of their own
bones and  their  own veins, they don't know whether  it's a beast from sky,
air or where  it's coming but there's  something terrible about it as one of
the conditions of existence.
     At  the  moment when  they're  all most  anguished they  say, "If  only
grown-ups  could  get a  sign to  us, if  only  they  could  tell us  what's
what"-and what happens is that  a dead man comes out of the sky. Now that is
not God being dead, as  some people have  said, that is history. He's  dead,
but he won't lie clown.  All that we can give our children is to pass on  to
them this distressing  business of a  United States of  Europe, which  won't
work, because we  all grin at  each  other across borders and so  on  and so
forth. And if you turn round to your parents and say "Please help  me," they
are really part of the old  structure, the old  system, the old world, which
ought to be good but at the moment is making the world and the air more  and
more radioactive.
     KERMODE: I find  it's  extraordinarily  interesting  to think  of  that
explanation in connection  with the Ballantyne4 treatment of  the
same theme.  I don't know whether you would like to say just how far and how
ironically we ought to treat this connection.
     COLDING: Well, I think, fairly deeply, but again, not ironically in the
bad sense, but in almost a compassionate sense. You see, really, I'm getting
at myself in this. What I'm saying to myself is,  "Don't be such a fool, you
remember when you were a boy, a small boy, how you lived on that island with
Ralph and Jack and Peterkin" 5 (who is Simon,  by  the way, Simon
called Peter, you see. It was worked out  very carefully  in  every possible
way, this novel). I said to myself finally, "Now you are  grown up,  you are
adult; it's taken you a long time  to become adult, but now you've got there
you can see that people are not like that; they would  not  behave like that
if they were God-fearing  English gentlemen, and they went to an island like
that." Their savagery would not be found in natives on an island. As like as
not they would  find savages  who were kindly and uncomplicated and that the
devil would  rise  out of the intellectual  complications of the three white
men  on the  island itself.  It  is really  a  pretty  big  connection [with
     KERMODE: In fact it's a kind of black mass version of Ballantyne, isn't
     GOLDING: Well, I don't really think I ought to accept that. But I think
I see what you mean. No,  no, I disagree with ft entirely, I think  it is in
fact a realistic view of the Ballantyne situation.

     4.R. M. Ballantyne's The Coral Island was published in 1857 in England.
See  Carl  Niemeyer's "The  Coral  Island  Revisited,"  College English,  22
(January, 1961), 241-245. Reprinted in this volume on pp. 217-223.-Eds.
     5.Characters in The Coral Island.-Eds.

     The Novels of William Golding]

     Lord   of   the   Flies   has   "a   pretty    big   connection"   with
Ballantyne.2 In  The  Cored Island  Ralph, Jack  and Peterkin are
cast away  on a  desert  island,  where they  live  active,  civilised,  and
civilising lives. Practical difficulties are  easily surmounted;  they light
fires  with bowstrings  and spy-glasses, hunt pigs for  food,  and kill them
with much  ease and  a total absence of guilt-indeed of bloodshed. (They are
all Britons-a term they use to compliment each other-all brave, obedient and
honourable.)  There is  much useful information conveyed concerning tropical
islands, including field-workers' reporting of the conduct of cannibals: but
anthropology  is something  nasty  that  clears  up  on  the  arrival  of  a
missionary, and Jack himself prevents  an act of cannibalism by  telling the
flatnoses  not to  be  such  blockheads  and presenting them with six  newly
slaughtered pigs. The parallel  between the island  and the Earthly Paradise
causes a trace of literary sophistication: "Meat and drink on the same tree!
My dear boys, we're set up for life; it must be the ancient paradise-hurrah!
.  . . We  afterwards found, however, that  these lovely islands  were  very
unlike  Paradise  in  many  things."  But  these "things" are  non-Christian
natives and, later, pirates; the boys themselves are

     1.This  selection is taken  from  a longer  essay that appeared  in the
International  Literary  Annual,  III  (1961), 11-29, and  is  reprinted  by
permission of John Calder Limited.
     2. The  relationship  of R.  M. Ballantyne's novel The  Coral Island to
Lord  of  the  Flies  is  taken  up  by  Carl  Niemeyer, "The  Coral  Island
Revisited," reprinted on pp. 217-223 in this volume. See also  the  Foreword
to this volume.-Eds.

     cleanly  (cold baths recommended) and godly-regenerate, empire-building
boys, who know by instinct how to turn paradise into a British protectorate.
     The Coral Island could be  used as a document in  the history of ideas;
it belongs inseparably  to the period  when boys were  sent out of Arnoldian
schools  certified  free  of Original  Sin.  Golding  takes  Ralph, Jack and
Peterkin  (altering  this  name  to  Simon "called  Peter")3  and
studies them against an altered  moral landscape.  He is a schoolmaster, and
knows boys well enough to make their collapse  into  savagery plausible,  to
see  them as  cannibals; the authority of  the grown-ups is all there  is to
prevent savagery. If you dropped these  boys into an  Earthly Paradise "they
would not behave like God-fearing English gentlemen" but "as like as not . .
. find savages who were kindly and uncomplicated. . . . The devil would rise
out of  the  intellectual  complications of  the  three white  men." Golding
leaves the noble savages out of Lord of the Flies, but this  remark is worth
quoting because it states the intellectual position in its basic simplicity.
It is the civilised who are corrupt, out of phase with natural rhythm. Their
guilt is the price of evolutionary  success; and our awareness  of this fact
can  be  understood  by duplicating Ballantyne's  situation,  borrowing  his
island,  and letting his  theme  develop in this  new and  more  substantial
context. Once more  every prospect pleases; but  the vileness  proceeds, not
from cannibals, but from the boys, though Man is not so much vile as "heroic
and sick."  Unlike Ballantyne's boys, these are dirty and  inefficient; they
have some notion of  order, symbolised by the  beautiful conch which heralds
formal meetings; but  when  uncongenial effort  is required to  maintain it,
order disappears. The shelters  are inadequate, the signal fire goes out  at
the very  moment  when  Jack first succeeds  in killing  a pig. Intelligence
fades;  irrational  taboos and  blood rituals make hopeless the  task of the
practical  but partial intellect  of Piggy; his glasses, the firemakers, are
smashed and  stolen, and  in  the end he himself is  broken to pieces  as he
holds  the  conch.  When  civilised  conditioning fades-how  tedious Piggy's
appeal to what adults might do or think!-the children are capable of neither
savage nor civil gentleness. Always a

     3.  It is  interesting  to  ask why Golding  changed the name. See  the
Foreword to this volume.-EDS.

     little nearer to raw humanity than  adults, they  slip into a condition
of  animality depraved  by mind, into  the  cruelty of  hunters  with  their
devil-liturgies  and torture: they make  an unnecessary, evil fortress, they
steal, they abandon all operations aimed at restoring them to civility. Evil
is  the natural  product  of their consciousness. First,  the smallest  boys
create, a beastie,  a snake-"as if it wasn't a good island." Then a beast is
created in good earnest, and defined in a wonderful narrative sequence.  The
emblem of  this  evil  society  is the  head  of a  dead  pig,  fixed,  as a
sacrifice,  on  the  end  of  a  stick  and  animated by  flies and  by  the
imagination of the voyant, Simon.
     Simon  is Golding's first "saint, and a most  important figure." He  is
for the  illiterate a proof of the existence  of God because  the illiterate
(to whom we  are tacitly but unmistakably expected  to attribute  a  correct
insight here)  will say, "Well, a  person like this  cannot  exist without a
good God." For Simon "voluntarily  embraces the beast . . . and tries to get
rid of  him." What he understands-and  this  is wisdom  Golding treats  with
awe-is  that evil  is "only us." He climbs  up  to where  the  dead fire  is
dominated by  the beast, a dead airman  in a parachute, discovers  what this
terrible  thing really is, and  rushes off with  the good news to the beach,
where the maddened boys at their beast-slaying ritual mistake  Simon himself
for  the beast and kill him.  As Piggy, the dull practical  intelligence, is
reduced  to blindness and futility,  so Simon,  the visionary,  is  murdered
before he  can communicate  his comfortable  knowledge.4 Finally,
the whole Paradise is destroyed under the puzzled eyes of an adult observer.
Boys will be boys.
     The  difference of  this  world  from Ballantyne's simpler construction
from similar  materials is not merely a matter of incomparability of the two
talents at work; our  minds  have, in  general, darker  needs  and  obscurer
comforts. It would be absurd to suppose that the change has impoverished us;
but it has seemed to divide  our world into "two cultures"-the followers  of
Jack and the  admirers  of Simon, those who  build fortresses  and those who
want to name the beast.

     4.Cf. Donald R. Soangler's "Simon" on pp.  211-215 in  this  volume and
also Golding's remarks on Simon  in  the  interview  with James Keating,  p.

     Lord  of  the  Flies  "was  worked  out  carefully  in  every  possible
way,"5 and its author holds that the "programme"  of the book  is
its meaning. He  rejects Lawrence's doctrine, "Never trust the artist, trust
the tale" and its consequence, "the proper function of the critic is to save
the tale from the artist." He is wrong, I think; insofar as the book differs
from its  programme  there is, as  a matter of common  sense,  material over
which  the writer has no absolute authority.  This means not only that there
are  possible readings which he cannot veto, but even that some  of  his own
views on the book  may be in a sense wrong.  The interpretation of  the dead
parachutist is  an  example.  This began  in  the  "programme"  as  straight
allegory; Golding  says  that  this dead man  "is" History.6 "All
that  we can  give  our  children"  in their trouble is this  monstrous dead
adult,  who's  "dead, but won't lie down"; an  ugly emblem of war  and decay
that broods over the paradise and provides the only objective equivalent for
the  beasts  the  boys imagine. Now this limited  allegory (I may even  have
expanded  it  in  the telling)  seems  to me not  to  have  got out  of  the
"programme" into the  book; what does  get in is more valuable because  more
like  myth-  capable, that  is,  of  more various  interpretation  than  the
rigidity of Golding's scheme allows. And in writing of this kind all depends
upon the author's mythopoeic power to transcend the "programme."

     5.Golding makes this statement in the interview with Frank Kermode, The
Meaning of It All." See above, p. 201.-Eds.
     6.In the interview "The Meaning of It All," p. 200.-Eds.

     E. M. FORSTER

     It  is a  pleasure  and an honour  to  write  an  introduction  to this
remarkable  book,  but there is also a  difficulty, for the  reason that the
book contains surprises, and its reader ought to encounter them for himself.
If he knows too much he will lean back  complacently. And complacency is not
a  quality  that Mr.  Golding values.  The universe, in  his view,  secretes
something that we  do not expect  and shall  probably  dislike, and he  here
presents  the universe,  under  the guise of a  school adventure  story on a
coral island.
     How romantically it starts! Several bunches of boys are being evacuated
during  a  war. Their plane is shot down, but  the "tube" in which they  are
packed is  released, falls  on an island, and having peppered them  over the
jungle slides into  the  sea.  None  of  them  are hurt, and  presently they
collect and prepare to have a high old time. A most improbable start But Mr.
Golding's magic  is already at work  and  he persuades us to  accept it. And
though the  situation is  improbable the boys are not. He  understands  them
thoroughly, partly through innate sympathy, partly because he has spent much
of  his Me  teaching. He  makes us feel at once that  we are with real human
beings, even if they  are small  ones, and thus lays a solid  foundation for
the horrors to come.
     Meet three boys.
     Ralph is aged a little  over twelve. He is fair and  well  built, might
grow into a boxer but never into a devil, for he

     1. Mr. Forster's Introduction  appears  in Lord of the Flies, New York:
Coward-McCann,  Inc.,  1962.  It is  reprinted  here  by  permission  of the

     is  sunny and decent, sensible,  considerate.  He  doesn't understand a
lot, but has  two things clear: firstly, they will  soon be rescued-why, his
daddy is in the Navy!-and  secondly, until they are rescued they  must  hang
together.  It  is  he who finds the conch and arranges  that when there is a
meeting he who holds the conch  shall speak.  He  is chosen as leader. He is
democracy.  And  as  long as the conch remains,  there is  some semblance of
cooperation. But it gets smashed.
     Meet Piggy.
     Piggy is stout, asthmatic,  shortsighted,  underprivileged and wise. He
is the  brains of the party. It is the lenses  of his spectacles that kindle
fire. He  also possesses the wisdom  of the heart. He is loyal to Ralph, and
tries to stop him from making mistakes, for he knows where mistakes may lead
to in an unknown island. He  knows that nothing is safe, nothing  is  neatly
ticketed.  He is  the  human spirit, aware that  the  universe  has not been
created for his  convenience,2 and doing the best he can.  And as
long as he survives there is some semblance of intelligence. But he too gets
smashed. He hurtles through the air under a rock dislodged  by savages.  His
skull cracks and his brains spill out.
     Meet Jack.
     Jack is head of a choir-a bizarre  assignment considering his  destiny.
He marches  them two  and two up the sundrenched beach. He loves  adventure,
excitement, foraging in groups, orders when issued by himself, and though he
does not yet know  it and shrinks from it  the first time, he loves shedding
blood. Ralph he rather  likes, and  the liking is mutual.  Piggy he despises
and insults. He is dictatorship versus democracy. It is possible to read the
book at a political level, and to see in its tragic trend the tragedy of our
inter-war  world.  There is no doubt as to whose side the author is on here.
He is on Ralph's. But if one shifts the

     2.While there is no  question as to Piggy's  intelligence, one must not
overestimate the  range of his awareness.  His physical deficiencies suggest
the weakness in his point of view. Piggy denies  the  existence of the beast
and  insists  that  "life is  scientific";  even after  the triumph  of  the
hunters, he expects to enter Jack's  fortress and reason with him for return
or   the  bifocals.  Like  all   of  Golding's  rationalists,  Piggy  has  a
one-dimensional view of human nature: he fails to perceive "the darkness  of
man's heart."-Eds.

     vision to a still  deeper level-the psychological-he is on the side  of
Piggy. Piggy knows that things mayn't  go  well because he  knows  what boys
are,  and he knows that the island,  for  all its apparent friendliness,  is
     The  hideous accidents that promote the reversion to savagery fill most
of the book, and the reader must be left  to endure them-and also to embrace
them, for somehow or other they  are entangled with beauty. The greatness of
the vision transcends what is visible. At the  close, when the boys are duly
rescued by the  trim  British  cruiser, we find ourselves on their side.  We
have  shared  their  experience and resent  the  smug  cheeriness  of  their
rescuers.   The   naval   officer  is  a  bit  disappointed  with  what   he
finds-everyone  filthy  dirty, swollen bellies, faces daubed with clay,  two
missing at least and the island afire. It ought to have been more like Coral
Island, he suggests.

     Ralph looked  at him dumbly. For  a moment he had a fleeting picture of
the strange glamour that  had once  invested the beaches. But the island was
scorched up like dead wood-Simon was dead-and Jack had . , . The tears began
to flow  and sobs shook  him. He gave  himself up to  them now for the first
time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that  seemed to wrench
his whole  body.  His voice  rose under the black smoke before  the  burning
wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other  little boys
began  to shake  and sob too. And in the  middle  of them, with filthy body,
matted hair,  and unwiped  nose,  Ralph wept for the end of  innocence,  the
darkness of man's  heart, and the  fall through  the  air of  the true, wise
friend called Piggy.

     This passage-so pathetic-is also revealing.  Phrases like  "the  end of
innocence"  and "the darkness of  man's heart" show us the author's attitude
more clearly than has appeared hitherto. He believes  in the Fall of Man and
perhaps in Original Sin. Or  if he does not exactly  believe,  he fears; the
same fear infects his second novel, a difficult and profound work called The
Inheritors. Here the innocent (the boys as it were) are Neanderthal Man, and
the  corrupters are Homo Sapiens, our own ancestors,  who eat other animals,
discover  intoxicants,  and  destroy. Similar  notions  occur  in his  other
     Thus his attitude approaches the Christian: we are all  born in sin, or
will all lapse into it. But he does not complete the Christian attitude, for
the  reason that he never introduces the idea of a  Redeemer.  When  a deity
does  appear,  he  is  the  Lord of  the  Flies, Beelzebub, and  he  sends a
messenger to prepare his way before him.
     The approach of doom is  gradual.  When the  little boys  land they are
delighted to find  that there are no  grown-ups  about. Ralph stands  on his
head with  joy, and led by him they  have a short period  of happiness. Soon
problems arise, work  has to be assigned and executed, and  Ralph  now feels
"we must make a good job  of  this, as grown-ups would, we mustn't let  them
down." Problems increase and become terrifying. In his desperation the child
cries, "If only they could get a message to us, if  only they could send  us
something  grown-up  ... a  sign  or  something." And  they  do.  They  send
something grown-up. A dead parachutist floats down from the upper air, where
they have been  killing each other,  is carried  this way  and  that  by the
gentle winds, and hooks onto the top of the island.
     This is not the end of the horrors. But it is the supreme irony. And it
remains with us  when the breezy rescuers arrive at the close and wonder why
a better show wasn't put up.
     Lord of the Flies is  a  very serious  book which  has to be introduced
seriously.  The danger of such an introduction is  that it  may suggest that
the book is stodgy.  It is not. It is written with taste and liveliness, the
talk is natural, the descriptions of scenery enchanting. It is certainly not
a comforting book. But it may help a few grown-ups to be less complacent and
more compassionate,  to  support  Ralph,  respect  Piggy, control  Jack  and
lighten  a little the darkness of man's  heart. At the present  moment (if I
may speak personally) it is  respect for  Piggy that seems needed  most I do
not find it in our leaders.

     King's College
     Cambridge May 14,


     IN Lord of the Flies the character Simon has about  him a general  aura
of  saintliness. Critics have  suggested that Simon  is a Christ figure. And
William Golding, on the  artist's part, has said that he intended to present
a Christ  figure in the  novel, intimating that Simon  is  the character  he
meant  so  to  present.2 Accordingly,  it might  be  of  value to
examine what textual evidence there  is to document the function of Simon as
a Christ or "saint" in Lord of the Flies.
     Even before identified by name Simon is introduced as the choir boy who
had fainted, an oblique bit of characterization that, in retrospect, is seen
to  have  impressed   upon   the  reader  the  hallucinatory,   and   hence,
mystical-religious  proclivities of  a boy who is  subject to "spells."  His
name, when we are  given  it,  reveals in its etymology  the  distinguishing
"attunedness"  of the  mystic-Simon,  "the hearkening." And the Mother Goose
appellative, simple, hints of the "holy idiot" folk-type.
     Simon  is  skinny,  a  trait  that,  in  a child,  suggests  the  adult
correlative  of  ascetic  self-abnegation.  A "vivid  little  boy," his face
"glows," radiant after the manner of nimbus and halo.  Jungle  buds rejected
by  the  others  because  inedible,  Simon's religious  imagination sees  as
"candles." (The buds open at night into aromatic white flowers, whose scent-
incense-prayer-and   color-white-innocence-confirm   the   value   that   he
singularly had sensed them to have.)3 And

     1. This article was written for this volume.
     2.James Keating, "Interview with William Golding," May 10, 1962. See p.
192 in this volume.
     3.The  buds  also  appear  in  Ballantyne's  The   Coral   Island,  but
significant here is the rejection of them by everyone but Simon.

     when the lethargic Piggy fails to help  gather fire wood, Simon defends
him to  the  others by observing that the fire had been started with Piggy's
glasses,  that Piggy had "helped that way," a ratiocination on  Simon's part
the casuistry of which is surely offset by its overriding compassion.
     In the  scene in which Simon "suffers the little children to come  unto
him," Golding's  description  unmistakably evokes  the Biblical  accounts of
Christ amid the bread-hungry masses:

     Then, amid the roar of bees in the afternoon sunlight, Simon  found for
them the fruit they could not reach, pulled off the choicest from up in  the
foliage, passed them  back down to the endless, outstretched  hands. When he
had satisfied them he paused and looked round.

     In  this  passage  and  elsewhere Simon's abstinence  from eating  meat
contributes to the impression of  his saintliness,  particularly  since  the
novel implies  that the  hunt for meat as  food  disguises the blood-lust to
kill for  killing's sake, and  further, that carnivorousness is linked  with
carnality (by the symbolic coitus of the sow killing) ,4
     As  a  repeated object  of  ridicule,  snickered over and  laughed  at,
Simon's predicament  recalls  the New  Testament details of the  centurions'
mocking of Jesus. And as Golding has pointed out, the Biblical temptation of
Christ  has  its parallel in Lord of the Flies, in the confrontation between
the  boy and the "beast," between  Simon and  the sow's head, which tries to
while him into complacency.
     To Ralph, Simon  prophesies that,  "  'You'll  get back  where you came
from,' " and by excluding himself from the  predicted rescue,  prophesies in
that same breath his  own fate, not to be rescued. Not  to be rescued is not
necessarily to die, but  the attendant analogues being what they are,  there
seems  to  be a clear  correspondence between Simon's foresight  and that of
Christ, as accounts hold  Christ to have  anticipated  the imminence of  his
     Images of Gethsemane  and  Golgotha amass in the description of Simon's
agony in his thicket sanctum, transfixed by the impaled  head-the apparition
of the beast in the

     4.Compare  E. L. Epstein, "Notes on Lord  of the Flies"  p. 280 in this
volume  and,  further, Golding's  own remarks in  the interview  with  James
Keating, p. 195 in this volume.-Eds.

     forest that induces  in Simon his  apprehension of the beast  in  man's
heart, the boy-mystic's vision, to paraphrase Richard Wilbur, of how much we
are the beast that prowls our woods.  The  incidents of Simon's kneeling and
sweating accord directly  with the story of Gethsemane; moreover, Gold-ing's
description  reinforces those associations by half raising popular pictorial
renderings  of the  person of Jesus and  of the Agony in  the Garden:  Simon
kneeling in an "arrow of sun," with "head tilted slightly up," sweat running
from his "long, coarse hair." (The deft advantage to which Golding here puts
calendar-art graphics is noteworthy.)
     As the thicket is the setting for incidents  that recall Gethsemane, it
is the setting also for  events that evoke images of  Golgotha. Simon falls,
in  accord with gospel accounts  of Jesus' ascent to  the  cross, and losing
consciousness, regains it only after shedding blood, the  nosebleed  of  the
boy  analogous  to  the  lance-wounding of  Jesus  in  the  details  of  the
     It is as sacrificial  victim, however, that Simon most clearly  emerges
as  a Christ  figure.  A  lad whose  feet  "left prints  in  the soil"  (the
dirt-road treks  of the teaching Master?), he is described as "burned by the
sun,"  not  tanned to gold  like  the other boys,  but burnt, offering-like.
When, after he has received  the revelation  that the  "beast," the  "thing"
really to fear,  is  man's nature, it is  with  Christ-like  resignation  to
inevitability  ("What else  is there to do?"  /"Let Thy will be done.") that
Simon sets out to discover what the "beast on the mountain" really is, since
it  is  not a  thing  to  fear.  When  he finds the body  of the chutist and
disentangles the lines, Simon is seen as ministering to the dead, committing
the body to the earth  so that the processes  of  decomposition can complete
the return "to earth." However, because the wind takes hold of the chute and
carries off the corpse, Simon becomes  the exorcist  from the island  of the
false  menace, the  mistakenly feared  dead man. (Golding  recollects in the
Keating  interview-after explaining  that  his  memory of the novel might be
blurred-that  Simon releases the body  "so that the wind can [italics  mine]
blow this  dead thing away  from the  island," implying intention on Simon's
part.) In  any event, Simon's Christ-role is confirmed  when, following  his
discovery  that the "beast on the mountain"  is only the dead  airman, Simon
comes  down  from the mountain-the "heights  of truth"-to save the boys from
their  false fears and to turn their sights  inward upon their own behavior,
sharing  the knowledge that, while the  dead are not to be feared,  the live
are. (It might better be said that, while the dead are not to be feared, the
killed are.)
     The responsibility for the martyrdom of Simon, like  the responsibility
for that of Jesus, can be ascribed either to secular or sacred interests. At
first  the tribe  maintains that it  was not Simon they had killed,  but the
terrorizing "beast" and Simon is made a scapegoat, the capital-punishment of
whom satisfies the established state (the tribe)  by eliminating  a supposed
enemy. Later on the boys  admit that it was not  the  "beast"  that they had
killed,  but Simon,  rationalizing  that the  human  sacrifice  will finally
appease the "beast," which  they  have been  placating with pigs' heads; and
Simon  is  made  a  human  offering, the  immolation  of  whom assuages  the
established god (the "beast"), the priests of which the "celebrants" of  the
sacrificial feast become.
     However,  the  analogue  between  Golding's  Simon  and  Christianity's
Saviour stops short of soteriology. Only Simon has hearkened. From his  life
and death no help accrues to that microcosm of humanity, on its island Earth
in a space of  sea,  lost,  and in need to be "saved." Upon  Golding's Simon
Peter  no  church  is  founded, no  mechanism for salvation.  In  fact,  the
implication of the novel is.  that the beast in man can never be  recognized
because  it causes imagined "beasts" forever to  be  misidentified and slain
before identified  correctly, so that, unrecognized, the beast  endures. The
beast  is  man's inability to recognize his  own responsibility for  his own
     Of  course,  what  constitutes  self-destruction   the  centuries  have
quarreled  over. (What "good" is  really evil, what "evil" really good? Does
man  destroy himself in being himself, or in trying  not to be himself? What
is his nature, for him to be guilty in response to, innocent in accord with,
or guilty  in  accord  with and  innocent in response  to?  The physics  and
metaphysics of "self" produce the paradoxes  of guilt: does  man react to  a
basically  innocent  nature with misguided guilt, or  react  to a  basically
guilty nature  with unrecognizing  innocence?)  Apollo  and  Dionysus  still
wrestle.  Nevertheless, whatever  in  man is to  blame, what is to  blame is
something in man. It is the shifting by man of responsibility onto  "beasts"
outside himself, his refusal to confront
     his own nature, that the sow's head symbolizes and Golding excoriates.
     What finally happens to Simon the  saviour the  four paragraphs closing
Chapter  Nine relate,  in detailing  the  disposition of Simon's body. These
paragraphs  emphasize the material assimilation of the corpse  back into the
material universe. It  is true that the last glimpse Golding provides of the
body is that of its  drifting "out to sea," in the ancient  symbolic act  of
the  soul's  "crossing over," but the absence of evidence  that  Simon is to
have a conscious  afterlife,  that he  will  remain  in any way  intact as a
person,  makes the decorporealization seem  very  permanent. The body  glows
ironically, with the luminescence of  scavengers, metamorphosing it into the
subhuman  world of ragged  claws. Even as Simon's body is seen, at the close
of Chapter  Nine, to be  a  "silver form under the steadfast constellations"
(the  body to  disintegrate,  the  stars to  prevail),  the  intimations  of
immortality are  quite evanescent.  The romantic  metaphor of its becoming a
star  obviates the  urgent  practicalities of the Christian's "getting  into
heaven,"  Simon's  soul  (breath-spirit)  leaves him with  a  last  gruesome
"plop." At best the prospect seems to be the certainly non-Christian  one of
Simon's  disembodied spirit's  remaining forever disembodied.  The  drift of
these  paragraphs of  Lord  of  the  Flies  seems  to  counter the Christian
anticipation  of an  eventual hylozoic reunion of  human body and  soul. And
though  the reader's sympathies  yearn  that  the  beauty of Simon's  spirit
preclude  its  extinction, that beauty in  the end  only  makes the oblivion
Simon comes to more poignant.

     The Coral Island Revisited1

     ONE interested in finding out about Golding for oneself should probably
begin with Lord of  the Flies, now available in a  paperback.  The story  is
simple. In  a way  not  clearly explained,  a  group of children, all  boys,
presumably evacuees in a future war, are dropped from a plane just before it
is destroyed, onto an uninhabited tropical island. The stage is thus set for
a  reworking of  a  favorite  subject  in  children's  literature:  castaway
children  assuming adult responsibilities without adult supervision. Golding
expects his readers  to recall the  classic  example of such a  book,  R. M.
Ballantyne's The Coral Island (1857),2 where the boys rise to the
occasion  and behave as admirably  as would adults. But in Lord of the Flies
everything goes wrong from the beginning. A few boys representing sanity and
common  sense, led by Ralph and Piggy, see  the necessity for  maintaining a
signal fire to attract a rescue.  But they are thwarted by the hunters,  led
by red-haired Jack, whose lust for blood  is finally not to be satisfied  by
killing merely wild pigs. Only the timely arrival of a British cruiser saves
us from an ending almost literally too horrible to think about Since Golding
is  using  a naive literary form to express sophisticated reflections on the
nature of man and society, and since he refers obliquely

     1.This article appeared in College English, 22 (January, 1961), 241-45,
and  is  reprinted here  in slightly  shortened  form by permission  of  the
National Council of the Teachers of English and the author.
     2.It is worthwhile to compare Frank  Kermode's  discussion of The Coral
Island  with Niemeyer's. See  "The Novels of  William Golding," reprinted in
this volume on pp. 203-206. See also the Foreword to this volume.-Eds.

     to Ballantyne many times throughout  the book, a  glance at  The  Coraf
Island is appropriate.
     Ballantyne  shipwrecks  his  three   boys-Jack,  eighteen;  Ralph,  the
narrator,  aged  fifteen;  and Peterkin  Gay,  a  comic  sort  of boy,  aged
thirteen-somewhere in the South Seas on an uninhabited coral island. Jack is
a  natural leader, but both  Ralph and Peterkin have  abilities valuable for
survival. Jack  has the most common  sense and foresight, but Peterkin turns
out to be a skillful killer of pigs, and Ralph, when later in the book he is
temporarily separated  from his  friends and  alone  on  a schooner,  coolly
navigates it back to  Coral  Island  by dead reckoning, a feat  sufficiently
impressive,  if not quite equal to  Captain Bligh's. The  boys' life on  the
island is idyllic; and  they are  themselves without  malice or  wickedness,
though there are a few curious episodes in which Ballantyne seems to hint at
something  he  himself  understands as little  as do his characters.  One is
Peterkin's wanton killing  of an old sow,  useless  as  food, which the  boy
rationalizes by saying he needs leather for shoes, This and one or two other
passages  suggest that Ballantyne was aware of some darker aspects of boyish
nature, but for the most part he emphasizes  the  paradisiacal  life  of the
happy castaways. Like Golding's,  however,  Ballantyne's  story  raises  the
problem of evil, but whereas Golding finds evil in  the boys own natures, it
comes to  Ballantyne's  boys not from within themselves but from the outside
world.  Tropical  nature,  to  be  sure,  is  kind,  but  the  men  of  this
non-Christian world are bad. For example,  the island is visited  by  savage
cannibals, one canoeful  pursuing another,  who  fight  a cruel  and  bloody
battle, observed by the horrified boys, and then go away. A little later the
island is  again visited, this time by pirates  (i.e.,  white men  who  have
renounced  or  scorned their  Christian heritage), who succeed in  capturing
Ralph. In  due  time the pirates are deservedly destroyed, and in the  final
episode  of  the  book the  natives  undergo  an  unmotivated  conversion to
Christianity, which effects a total change in  their nature just in time  to
rescue the boys from their clutches.
     Thus Ballantyne's view of man  is seen to be optimistic,  like his view
of English boys' pluck  and resourcefulness, which subdues  tropical islands
as triumphantly as England imposes  empire and religion on lawless breeds of
men. Colding`s  naval officer, the deus ex machine, of  Lord of theFlies, is
only echoing Ballantyne when, perceiving dimly that all has not gone well on
the island, he says (p. 186): "I should have thought  that a pack of British
boys-you're all British, aren't you?-would have been able to put up a better
show than that-I mean-"
     This is not  the only echo of the older book. Golding boldly  calls his
two chief characters Jack and Ralph. He reproduces the comic Peterkin in the
person  of  Piggy.3  He  has  a wanton  killing of  a  wild  pig,
accomplished,   as  E.  L.  Epstein   points   out,   "in  terms  of  sexual
intercourse."4  He  uses a storm  to avert a quarrel between Jack
and Ralph,  as Ballantyne used a hurricane to rescue  his boys from death at
the hands of  cannibals.  He  emphasizes physical cruelty but integrates  it
into his story, and by making it  a real if deplorable part of  human, or at
least   boyish,  nature   improves  on  Ballantyne,  whose  descriptions  of
brutality-never  of  course  performed by  the  boys-are  usually introduced
merely  for their  sensational  effect. Finally, on the last page  Golding's
officer calls Ralph mildly to task for not having organized things better.

     "It was like that at first," said Ralph, "before things-"
     He stopped.
     "We were together then-"
     The officer nodded helpfully.
     I know. Jolly good show. Like the Coral Island."

     Golding invokes Ballantyne, so that the kind but uncomprehending adult,
the instrument of  salvation,  may  recall to  the child  who has  just gone
through  hell  the  naivete of the child's own early  innocence, now forever
lost;  but  he suggests  at  the  same time the inadequacy  of  Ballantyne's
picture of human nature in primitive surroundings.
     Golding,  then, regards  Ballantyne's book as a badly falsified map  of
reality, yet the only  map of this particular reality that many of  us have.
Ralph has it  and, through harrowing  experiences, replaces it  with  a more
accurate one. The naval officer,  though  he should know better, since he is

     3.Golding has declared that Peterkin of The Coral  Island becomes Simon
in Lord of the Flies. See Frank Kermode and William Golding, The Meaning  of
It AH," p. 201.-Eds.
     4.E. L. Epstein, "Notes on Lord of the Flies," p. 280 below.- Eds.

     the  scene and should  not have  to  rely  on  memories of  his boyhood
reading, has  it, and  it seems unlikely that he is ever going to  alter it,
for his  last recorded action is to turn away from the  boys and look at his
"trim" cruiser; in other words to turn away from a revelation  of the untidy
human heart  to  look at  something  manufactured,  manageable,  and solidly
     Golding,  who  being  a grammar school  teacher should know boys  well,
gives a corrective of Ballantyne's optimism.  As he  has explained, the book
is "an attempt to trace the defects  of society back to the defects of human
nature."  5  These  defects turn out,  on  close examination,  to
result from  the  evil  of inadequacy  and  mistakenness. Evil  is  not  the
positive and readily  identifiable force it  appears to  be when embodied in
Ballantyne's savages  and pirates.  Golding's Ralph,  for  example, has real
abilities, most conspicuous among them the gift of leadership and a sense of
responsibility  toward the "littluns." Yet  both are incomplete.  "By  now,"
writes Golding, "Ralph had  no  self-consciousness in  public  thinking  but
would  treat the day's  decisions as though  he  were  playing  chess." Such
detachment is obviously an important  and valuable quality in a leader,  but
significantly the  next sentence reads: "The  only trouble was that he would
never  be a very  good chess player"  (p. 108). Piggy  on the other hand  no
doubt  would  have  been  a   good  chess  player,  for  with   a  sense  of
responsibility still more acute  than Ralph's  he combines brains and common
sense. Physically, however, he is ludicrous-fat, asthmatic, and almost blind
without  his specs. He is forever being betrayed  by  his body. At his first
appearance he is  suffering  from diarrhea; his last gesture is  a literally
brainless  twitch of the limbs,  'like a pig's after it has been killed" (p.
167). His further defect is that he is powerless, except as he works through
Ralph. Though  Piggy is the first to recognize  the value  of the conch  and
even shows  Ralph how  to blow it to  summon the first  assembly, he  cannot
sound it himself. And he lacks imagination. Scientifically minded as he  is,
he scorns what is  intangible and he dismisses the  possibility of ghosts or
an imaginary beast. " 'Cos things  wouldn't make  sense. Houses an' streets,
an'-TV- they wouldn't work" (p. 85). Of course he is quite right,

     5. Quoted by Epstein, p. 277.-Eds.

     save that he forgets he is now on an island where the artifacts  of the
civilization he has always known are meaningless.
     It is another  important  character, Simon, who  understands that there
may indeed be a beast,  even  if not a palpable one-"maybe it's only us" (p.
82). The scientist Piggy has recognized it is  possible to be  frightened of
people (p. 78),  but  he finds this remark  of  Simon's dangerous  nonsense.
Still Simon is right, as  we see from his interview with the sow's head on a
stake, which is the lord of the flies. He  is right that the beast is in the
boys themselves, and he alone discovers that what has caused their terror is
in reality  a dead parachutist  ironically stifled in the elaborate clothing
worn to guarantee survival. But Simon's failure is the inevitable failure of
the mystic-what he knows is  beyond words; he cannot  impart his insights to
others. Having an early glimpse of the truth, he cannot tell it.

     Simon became inarticulate in his effort to express man-kind's essential
illness. Inspiration came to him.
     "What's the dirtiest thing there is?"
     As  an  answer  Jack  dropped  into the  uncomprehending  silence  that
followed it the one  crude expressive syllable. Release  was like an orgasm.
Those littluns who had climbed  back on the twister fell  off again  and did
not mind. The hunters were screaming with delight.
     Simon's effort fell  about him in ruins; the laughter  beat him cruelly
and he shrank away defenseless to his seat (p. 82).

     Mockery  also greets Simon  later  when he speaks  to  the lord  of the
flies, though this time it is sophisticated, adult mockery:

     "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 echoed with the parody of laughter (p. 133).

     Tragically, when Simon at length achieves  a vision so clear that it is
readily communicable he is killed by the  pig hunters in their insane belief
that he is the very evil which he alone has not only understood but actually
exorcised. Lake the martyr, he is killed for being precisely what he is not.
     The  inadequacy of Jack is the most serious of all, and here perhaps if
anywhere in the novel we have a personification of absolute evil.  Though he
is the most mature of the boys  (he alone of  all the characters  is given a
last name), and  though as head  of the choir  he is the only  one  with any
experience  of leadership,  he is arrogant and lacking in  Ralph's charm and
warmth. Obsessed  with  the idea of hunting, he organizes his  choir members
into  a band of killers. Ostensibly they are to kill pigs, but pigs alone do
not satisfy them,  and pigs are in  any event not needed for food. The blood
lust once aroused demands nothing less than human blood. If Ralph represents
purely  civil authority, backed only by  his  own good will, Piggy's wisdom,
and the crowd's easy willingness to be ruled, Jack stands for naked ruthless
power, the police force  or the  military force acting without restraint and
gradually absorbing  the whole state into itself  and annihilating  what  it
cannot absorb.  Yet even Jack is  inadequate. He is only a little boy  after
all, as we are sharply reminded in a brilliant scene at the end of the book,
when we suddenly see him through the eyes  of the officer instead of through
Ralph's (pp. 185-87), and he is,  like all sheer power, anarchic. When Ralph
identifies himself  to  the  officer  as "boss," Jack, who has just all  but
murdered him, makes a  move in  dispute,  but overawed  at  last by superior
power,  the  power  of  civilization and the British Navy,  implicit in  the
officer's mere presence, he says nothing. He is  a villain (Are his red hair
and ugliness intended to suggest  that he is a devil?), but  in our world of
inadequacies  and  imperfections  even  villainy  does  not  fulfill  itself
completely.  If not rescued, the hunters would have destroyed Ralph and made
him,  like  the sow, an offering to  the beast; but  the inexorable logic of
Ulysses  makes  us  understand  that  they would  have  proceeded  thence to

     Then everything includes itself in power,
     Power into will, will into appetite;
     And appetite, an universal wolf,
     So doubly seconded with will and power,
     Must make perforce an universal prey,
     And last eat up himself.

     The distance we have traveled from Ballantyne's cheerful unrealities is
both artistic and moral Golding is admittedly symbolic; Ballantyne professed
to be telling a true story. Yet it  is the symbolic tale that,  at least for
our  times,  carries  conviction.  Golding's  boys,  who choose to  remember
nothing  of  their past  before  the plane  accident; who,  as soon  as Jack
commands  the  choir  to  take  off  the  robes  marked  with  the  cross of
Christianity, have  no trace of religion;  who  demand to be  ruled  and are
incapable of being ruled properly;  who though many  of them were once choir
boys (Jack  could  sing C sharp) never sing a  note  on the island; in whose
minds  the great tradition of Western  culture has left the  titles of a few
books for children,  a knowledge of the use of matches (but no matches), and
hazy  memories  of  planes and  TV sets-these  boys  are more plausible than
Ballantyne's.  His was a world of blacks  and  whites: bad hurricanes,  good
islands;  good pigs  obligingly allowing  themselves to  be taken for  human
food,  bad sharks disobligingly  taking  human  beings for shark food;  good
Christians, bad natives;  bad pirates, good boys. Of the beast within, which
demands  blood sacrifice, first a  sow's  head, then a boy's, Ballantyne has
some vague  notion,  but  he cannot take it seriously. Not only does Golding
see the beast; he sees that to keep it at bay we have civilization; but when
by some magic or accident  civilization is abolished and the human animal is
left on  his own, dependent upon his mere humanity, then  being human is not
enough.   The  beast  appears,  though   not  necessarily  spontaneously  or
inevitably,  for it never rages in Ralph  or Piggy or  Simon  as  it does in
Roger or Jack; but it is latent in all of  them, in the significantly  named
Piggy, in Ralph, who sometimes envies the abandon of the hunters (p. 69) and
who shares  the desire  to  "get a  handful"  of Robert's "brown, vulnerable
flesh" (p. 106),  and even in Simon burrowing into his private hiding place.
After Simon's death Jack attracts all the boys but Ralph and the loyal Piggy
into  his  army.  Then  when  Piggy  is  killed and  Ralph  is  alone,  only
civilization can save  him. The timely arrival of the British  Navy is  less
theatrical   than  logically  necessary   to   make  Golding's  point.   For
civilization  defeats the beast. It slinks back into the  jungle as the boys
creep  out to be  rescued;  but the  beast  is  real It is there, and it may

     "A World of Violence and Small Boys"1
     J. T. C. GOLDING

     PROBABLY he will agree that his real education was picked up, almost by
the way, at home. In those days when the radio was non-existent and the cost
of gramophones prohibitive the only local music was  the town band. Bill was
lucky  that Mom was good  enough to accompany Dad through Handel, Mozart and
others. They were often joined by an ex-bandmaster of the Coldstream Guards.
The walls of that small front room are probably vibrating still. Bill,  as a
small boy, was  terribly affected by Tosti's "Good-bye." There was painting.
Dad's  own paintings  of scenery in Wiltshire and Cornwall hung on the walls
and there were a couple of books of cheap reprints of  the great ones. There
were books. Chief among them was the Children's Encyclopaedia and of  course
Dad had access to the School Library.2 Bill was disappointed when
he got to school to find he'd read most of the library. It was a small one.
     One book that was read  and re-read was  Nat the Naturalisf, by  George
Manville Fenn. The scene was set somewhere in the jungle in South East Asia.
Bill could  quote whole  pages by  heart and it often accompanied him to the
top of

     1.The following  is  an  excerpt  from  a  letter by J.  T. C.  Golding
(William Golding's brother) addressed to James R. Baker on December 4, 1962.
The  letter appears here  by permission  of J. T.  C.  Golding and James  R.
     2.  William Golding's father  was Senior Master of  Marlborough Grammar

     the chestnut tree in the garden.3 And all the time there was
a father only too  willing  to  give  a  logical  answer to  a  small  boy's
     Eventually  he  entered Marlborough Grammar School  and emerged from  a
pretty  sheltered  life  into  a  world  of  violence   and  small  boys-and
not-so-small  boys.  Here  he  met  physical  violence  and  the  deliberate
infliction of pain by boys. Also  he  noticed the tendency  of small boys to
gang  up  against  the weak or  those with a mannerism that put them out  of
step.4 Not that it was a bad school for bullying- official policy
was hot against it and in any case Bill was  physically well-equipped enough
to  look  after  himself. Many others will  have  noticed  all this  but the
effect,  in  this case,  on an  impressionable  ten-year-old  may  have  had
important results.  The  conjunction of the boy  in  the jungle  in Nat  the
Naturalist and  the school playground  may have lain dormant for years until
some later experience pushed it to the surface as Lord of the  Flies. On the
other  hand  the  explanation is so obvious and easy  that it probably isn't
     During  these  last  years  at  school  another  writer,  I  think   of
considerable importance  to him, entered his life. This was  Mark Twain. Not
Mark Twain of  Tom Sawyer  and  Huckleberry  Finn  but  of  Roughing It  and
Innocents Abroad. He swallowed these almost as completely as he had done Nat
the Naturalist. The humour of these books and their irreverence towards many
accepted things encour-

     3. The symbolic  significance  of this  tree is made clear in Golding's
autobiographical essay, "The Ladder  and the  Tree," The Listener, 63 (March
24,  1960), 531-33).  The essay is vital  to  an  understanding of the basic
dialectic which is dramatized in all the  novels:  the  conflict between the
rational and the irrational elements in man's nature and the effects of this
conflict on both the individual and historical levels.-Eds.
     4. The "tendency" is obvious  enough in Lord of the Flies: note Simon's
position in Jack's chorus, Roger's attack on the "litthins," and the general
abuse of Piggy.  After fear  drives most of the boys  into the hunter tribe,
they lose all capacity for dialectic and begin sadistic persecution of those
who stand outside their powerful group.  In  Free Fall a similar pattern  of
behavior appears in the episodes which describe the rough-and-tumble boyhood
adventures of Sammy Mountjoy.-Eds.

     aged  his  own scepticism.  It was an attitude he  was already adopting
toward the society of 4000 people  around him. In addition  he  had a father
who  welcomed  criticism  of  any institution  under  the  sun,  though  any
deviation in personal conduct produced a muted rumble of thunder.

     The Fables of William Golding1

     A useful critical distinction  may be  drawn  between  a  fiction and a
fable.  Like  most worthwhile distinctions  it is often easy to detect, less
easy to define. The difficulty arises because the  clearest definition would
be in terms of an author's intentions, his pre-verbal procedures, and  these
are  largely  inscrutable  and  wholly  imprecise. For  a definition that is
objective and specific we are reduced to an "as if," which is at best clumsy
and at worst perhaps delusive.
     The  distinction itself seems real enough. Fables are  those narratives
which  leave  the impression that  their  purpose was anterior, some initial
thesis or  contention which  they are  apparently  concerned to  embody  and
express in concrete terms. Fables always give  the impression that they were
preceded by  the conclusion which  it  is their function to draw,  though of
course it is doubtful whether any author foresees  his conclusions  as fully
as this, and unlikely that  his work would be improved if he did. The effect
of a fiction  is  very different. Here the author's aim,  as it appears from
what  he  has  written,  is evidently  to present a  more  or  less faithful
reflection of  the complexities, and often of  the irrelevancies, of life as
it is actually experienced. Such conclusions as he may draw-he is under much
less  compulsion to  draw them than  a  writer of fables-do not appear to be
anterior but  on the  contrary take their origin from the fiction itself, in
which they are  latent, and occasionally unrecognized.  It  is  a matter  of
approach, so far as that can be

     1. This article first appeared in the Kenyon Review, 19 (Autumn, 1957),
577-592.  It is reprinted  in  part  here through the courtesy of the Kenyon
Review and the author.

     gauged. Fictions make only  a limited attempt to generalize and explain
the experience with which they  deal, since  their concern  is normally with
the  uniqueness  of  this  experience.  Fables,  starting  from  a  skeletal
abstract, must flesh out that  abstract with the appearances of  "real life"
in order  to  render  it  interesting  and cogent. 1984  is thus  an obvious
example of a fable, while The  Rainbow is a fiction. Orwell and Lawrence, in
these books,  are  really moving in opposite directions. If  their movements
could  be  geometrically  projected  to exaggerate  and expose  each  other,
Lawrence's would culminate in chaotic reportage, Orwell's in stark allegory.
     . .  .  [The distinction]  has a particular value  for the critic whose
concern  is with novels,  in  that it  assists him in  locating and defining
certain  merits which  are especially characteristic of  novels and  certain
faults to which  they are especially prone. Both types, the fiction  and the
fable,  have  their own particular  dangers.  The  danger  that threatens  a
fiction is  simply that  it will become confused, so richly faithful  to the
complexity of human existence as to lose all its shape and organization. . .
. The  danger that  threatens a fable  is  utterly  different, in  fact  the
precise opposite. When a fable is poor-geometrically projected  again-it  is
bare  and diagrammatic, insufficiently clothed in  its garment of actuality,
and in turn its  appeal is extra-aesthetic and narrow.  Satires like  Animal
Farm are of this kind.
     It  will be said that any such distinction must be a neutral  one,  and
that  the  best novels are fictions which have  managed to  retain their due
share of the fable's coherence and order. No doubt this is true. But it also
seems  to be  true that novels  can go a good deal farther', without serious
damage, in the direction of fiction than they can in the direction of fable,
and  this suggests that  fiction  is  a  much  more  congenial mode for  the
novelist than fable can ever be. The trouble with the mode of fable is  that
it  is constricting.  As soon as a novelist has a particular end in view the
materials  from  which  he may  choose  begin  to  shrink,  and  to  dispose
themselves  toward  that end. .  . .  The  fact is that  a novelist  depends
ultimately not only on the richness of his materials but  on the richness of
his interests too; and fable,  by tying these to  a specific  end, tends  to
reduce both. Even  the  most chaotic fiction will have some sort of emergent
meaning, provided it is a full and viable  reflection of the life from which
it derives, if  only because  the unconscious preoccupations of the novelist
will help to impart such meaning  to it, drawing it  into certain lines like
iron filing sprinkled  in a magnetic field.  Fables,  however,  can only  be
submerged in  actuality with difficulty, and they are liable to bob up again
like corks, in  all their  plain explicit-ness.  It may  even be true to say
that  they are best embodied in  short stories, where' economy is vital  and
"pointlessness" (except for its brevity) comparatively intolerable.
     Lord of the Flies, which appeared in 1954, is set on an imaginary South
Sea island, and  until the last three  pages  the only characters  in it are
boys. They have apparently been evacuated from Britain, where an  atomic war
is  raging,  and are  accidentally stranded on  the  island without an adult
supervisor. The  administrative  duties of their society  (which includes  a
number  of "littluns," aged about six) devolve upon their elected  leader, a
boy of twelve  named Ralph, who is assisted by a  responsible,  unattractive
boy  called  Piggy, but as time  passes an independent party  grows up,  the
"hunters," led  by  an angular ex-choir leader  named  Jack  Merridew.  This
party, soon  habituated to the shedding of animal blood, recedes farther and
farther  from  the  standards  of  civilization  which Ralph and  Piggy  are
straining to preserve, and before very long it is transformed into  a savage
group of outlaws with a costume  and a ritual of their own. In the course of
one   of  their  dance-feasts,  drunk  with  tribal  excitement,   they  are
responsible for  killing  the  one individual on the  island who has a  real
insight into  the problems of their lives, a frail boy called Simon, subject
to  fainting fits, and  after this  more or less  intentional sacrifice they
lose all sense  of  restraint and  become a  band  of criminal  marauders, a
threat  to everyone on the island outside their own tribe. Piggy is murdered
by  their  self-constituted  witch  doctor  and torturer, the secretive  and
sinister Roger, and Ralph is hunted by them across the island  like the pigs
they are accustomed to kill. Before they can kill and decapitate him a naval
detachment arrives and takes charge of all the children who have survived.
     It  is obvious that this conclusion  is not a concession to readers who
require  a  happy  ending-only an  idiot  will  suppose that the  book  ends
happily-but a deliberate device by which to throw the story into focus. With
the  appearance of  the naval officer the bloodthirsty hunters are instantly
reduced  to a group  of painted  urchins  led by "a  little boy who wore the
remains of an extraordinary black cap," yet the reduction cannot expunge the
knowledge of  what  they have done  and  meant  to  do. The abrupt return to
childhood, to insignificance,  underscores  the  argument  of the narrative:
that Evil is inherent in the human mind itself, whatever innocence may cloak
it,  ready to  put forth its strength as soon as the occasion is propitious.
This  is Golding's  theme,  and  it  takes  on  a  frightful force by  being
presented in juvenile terms, in a setting that is twice deliberately likened
to the sunny Coral Island of R. M. Ballantyne.2 The boys' society
represents, in embryo, the society  of  the adult world, their impulses  and
convictions are those of adults incisively abridged, and the whole narrative
is  a  powerfully  ironic commentary  on the  nature  of Man,  an accusation
levelled  at  us all. There are  no excuses  for  complacency in the fretful
conscientiousness of Ralph, the leader, nor in Piggy's anxious  commonsense,
nor are the miscreants made  to seem exceptional. When he first encounters a
pig, Jack  Merridew is  quite  incapable  of  harming  it,  "because of  the
enormity  of the knife descending and cutting  into living flesh," and  even
the delinquent Roger  is at first  restrained by  the taboos of "parents and
school and policemen and the law." Strip these away  and even Ralph might be
a  hunter:  it is his duties as  a leader  that  save him, rather  than  any
intrinsic virtue in himself.3 Like any  orthodox moralist Golding
insists that Man is a fallen creature, but he refuses to hypostatize Evil or
to locate it in  a dimension of its own. On the contrary Beelzebub,  Lord of
the Flies, is Roger and Jack and you and I, ready to declare himself as soon
as we permit him to.
     The intentness with which this thesis is developed leaves

     2.A discussion of the relationship between Ballantyne's novel The Coral
Island, published in 1857 in England, and Lord  of  the Flies occurs in Carl
Niemeyer's  "The  Coral  Island Revisited,"  College  English, 22  (January,
1961), 241-245. Reprinted in this volume, pp. 217-223.-Eds.
     3.  As an illustration of this argument,  note Ralph's actions when the
boys attack Robert as the substitute pig, p. 106 and when Simon is killed as
the beast, p. 141.-Eds.

     no  doubt  that  the  novel is a fable,  a  deliberate translation of a
proposition into the  dramatized terms  of art, and  as usual we have to ask
ourselves  how resourceful and complete  the translation has been, how fully
the, thesis has been  absorbed  and rendered  implicit in the tale  as it is
told. A writer of fables will heat his story at the fire of his convictions,
but when he has finished, the story must glow apart, generating its own heat
from within. Golding himself provides  a criterion for judgment here, for he
offers  a striking  example of how  complete the translation  of a statement
into plastic terms can be. Soon after their  arrival the children develop an
irrational suspicion that there is a predatory beast at large on the island.
This has  of course no real existence, as  Piggy for  one points out, but to
the littluns it is almost as tangible as their castles in the sand, and most
of  the older boys are  afraid  they  may  be right. One night when  all are
sleeping  there  is an  air  battle ten miles above the sea and a parachuted
man, already dead, comes drifting down through the darkness, to settle among
the  rocks that crown  the  island's  only mountain. There  the  corpse lies
unnoticed, rising  and  falling  with the  gusts of  the  wind,  its harness
snagged on the bushes and its parachute  distending  and collapsing. When it
is discovered and the frightened boys mistake it for the beast, the sequence
is natural  and convincing, yet the implicit statement is quite unmistakable
too.  The incomprehensible threat which has hung over them  is, so to speak,
identified and explained: a nameless figure  who is  Man himself,  the boys'
own natures, the something that all humans have in common.
     This is  finely done and needs  no  further comment, but unhappily  the
explicit comment  has already been provided,  in Simon's halting explanation
of  the beast's identity:  "What I mean  is  ...  maybe it's only us." And a
little later we  are told  that  "However Simon thought  of the beast, there
rose before  his inward sight the  picture of  a  human  at once  heroic and
sick." This over-explicitness is my main criticism of what is in many ways a
work of real  distinction, and  for two reasons  it appears to  be a serious
one.  In  the first  place  the  fault is precisely  that which any fable is
likely to  incur: the incomplete translation of its thesis into its story so
that much remains external and extrinsic, the teller's assertion rather than
the tale's enactment  before our  eyes. In the second place the  fault  is a
persistent one,  and cannot easily be discounted  or  ignored. It appears in
expository annotations like this, when Ralph and Jack begin to quarrel:

     The  two  boys faced each  other.  There  was  the brilliant  world  of
hunting,  tactics,  fierce exhilaration, skill;  and there was  the world of
longing and baffled commonsense.

     Less  tolerably,  it obtrudes  itself  in  almost everything-  thought,
action, and hallucination-that  concerns  the clairvoyant Simon, the "batty"
boy who understands "mankind's essential illness," who knows that Ralph will
get back to where he came from,  and who implausibly converses with the Lord
of  the  Flies. Some warrant is provided for  this  clairvoyance  in Simon's
mysterious illness,  but it is  inadequate. The boy remains  unconvincing in
himself, and his presence constitutes a standing invitation to the author to
avoid the trickiest problems of his method, by commenting too baldly  on the
issues  he has raised.  Any writer of fables  must find it hard to ignore an
invitation or  this kind once it exists. Golding has not been able to ignore
it, and  the blemishes that result impose some serious, though not decisive,
limitations on a fiery and disturbing story.


     The urge to put things into categories seems to satisfy some deep human
need and in this matter  at  least, critics and historians of literature are
very human  people indeed. A brief glance  at the English Literature section
of any  library catalogue will show what I mean. There  we  find  literature
divided  up into various lands  of writings,  and  within  the kinds we nave
historical periods, and within the  periods we have groups or movements, and
within the groups individuals  who write various  kinds.  . . . Now up  to a
point of course this sort of classification serves a very useful purpose. We
need a map if we are going  to do any exploring, and the fact that it is the
countryside  we have come  to  enjoy,  not the map, doesn't make the map any
less  necessary.  If we take  out a map  of The  Novel we find,  if it is  a
general one, that it falls into three sections-the eighteenth-century novel,
the Victorian novel, and  the modern novel. And these descriptions point not
simply  to three centuries, but to  decisive changes  that  have taken place
within  the form  of the  novel.  These changes are  often due to historical
circumstances, and sometimes  they can be described  in terms of the  ruling
ideas of the age or the literary  expectations of the readers, out there are
other changes and shifts in fiction which seem to arise from the very nature
of  the  novel  itself.  A  shift  of this  land  may  be  seen in  a useful
classification into "fables" and "fictions." It is a little

     1. This  essay appears as the Introduction  to the  "School Edition" of
Lord  of the  Flies published  by Faber and Faber,  Ltd.,  London, 1962, pp.
i-xii.  It is  reprinted here  by  permission  of Faber  and Faber  and  the

     difficult to define this difference satisfactorily in the abstract, but
it is  fairly easy to see what is meant in practice.  When, for instance, D.
H. Lawrence wrote  in one  of  his letters, "I am doing a novel which I have
never grasped. Damn its eyes, here I am at page 145  and I've no notion what
it's about . . . it's like a  novel in a foreign language which I don't know
very well," he was  almost certainly occupied in writing a fiction and not a
fable.  In other words,  a fiction  is something which takes the form of  an
exploration for  the  novelist, even  if it lacks the very extreme  position
which Lawrence describes; the concern is very much with trying to make clear
the  individuality  of a situation, of  a person; for  these  reasons it  is
extremely difficult to describe a fiction satisfactorily in  abstract terms.
With  a fable, on the other hand, the case is very different Here the writer
begins with a general idea-"the world is not the reasonable place we are led
to believe," "all power corrupts" -and  seeks to translate it into fictional
terms. In this kind of writing the interest of the particular detail lies in
the way it points to the generalization behind it. It is generally very easy
to say what a fable is "about," because the writers whole purpose is to make
the reader respond to it in precisely that way. Clear examples of fiction in
the way  I am  using the word would  be works like D. H. Lawrence's Sons and
Lovers or Emily Bronte's Withering Heights; clear examples of fable, Swift's
Gulliver's Travels or Orwell's Animal Farm.  But these are extreme works and
most novels have elements of both. Oliver Twist, for  instance, is certainly
a fiction in its portrayal of the  intensely imagined criminal world; but it
also moves towards fable when ft describes  the  world of the poorhouse, and
the  people who finally rescue Oliver from that world, because  here Dickens
is moved to write  primarily by abstract ideas, the educational hardships of
children, the  wisdom of benevolence.  You will  notice I  said that  Oliver
Twist  "moves towards"  fiction, "moves towards" fable, and  in this kind of
alternation  it  is  typical of many novels  which lie between  such extreme
examples as I mentioned above. Now when we turn to Mr. Golding's Lord of the
Flies we find that  what is remarkable is that it is a  fable and  a fiction
simultaneously. And I want to  devote the remainder of this  Introduction to
developing that remark.
     When  we first begin to write and talk about Mr. Golding's novel, it is
the aspect of fable which occupies  our  attention. And this is very natural
because the book is a  very satisfying  one  to  talk about Mr. Golding, our
account might run, is examining what human nature is really like if we could
consider it  apart from the mass of social detail which gives a recognizable
feature to our  daily lives. That "really"  is important and you may want to
argue about it, but Mr. Golding's assumption here  is  one  that most of  us
make  at one time or another. "Of  course,"  we say  of  someone,  "he's not
really like that at  all,"  and then we go on to construct an account  which
assumes that a distorting film of circumstance  hate come between us and the
man's  "real self." What  Mr. Golding  has done  in Lord  of the Flies is to
create a  situation which will reveal in an extremely direct way  this "real
self," and yet at the same  time keep our sense of credibility, our sense of
the  day-to-day world,  lively and sharp.  It is  rather  like performing  a
delicate heart operation, but feeling that the sense of  human gravity comes
not  through the  actual  operation  but  through the  external  scene  -the
green-robed figures, the arc light which casts no shadow, the sound of a car
in  the  street  outside. And it  was in Ballantyne's  Coral Island,  a book
published  in  the middle of  the last century,  that Mr. Golding found  the
suggestion for his  "external  scene." This is  not  a  question of  turning
Ballantyne  inside  out,  so  that  where  his  boys  are  endlessly  brave,
resourceful  and  Christian,  Mr.  Golding's  are  frightened,  anarchic and
savage; rather Mr.  Golding's adventure story is to point up  in a  forceful
and economic way  the terrifying gap between the appearance and the reality.
We do not  need to know Coral Island to appreciate Lord of the Flies, but if
we  do know it we will  appreciate more  vividly  the power of Mr. Golding's
book. If we  take  Ralph's remark  about "the darkness of  man's  heart"  as
coming very close to the  subject of the book, it is  worth just remembering
that this  book, published in 1954, was  written  in a world  very different
from  Ballantyne's, one  which had  seen within twenty years  the systematic
destruction of the Jewish race, a world  war revealing unnumbered atrocities
of what  man had  done to man, and in 1945  the mushroom cloud of the atomic
bomb which has come to dominate all our political and moral thinking.
     Turning from these general considerations of Mr. Golding's fable to the
way  it is  actually  worked  out,  we  find the  novel  divided into  three
sections.  The first deals  with the arrival of the boys on the  island, the
assembly, the  early decisions  about what to do; the emphasis falls  on the
paradisal landscape, the  hope of rescue, and  the  pleasures  of day-to-day
events. Everything within this part of the book is contained within law  and
rule:  the sense of the aweful and the forbidden  is  strong. Jack cannot at
first  bring himself to kill  a pig  because of "the  enormity of the  knife
descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable  blood."
Roger throws  stones  at  Henry, but he throws  to  miss  because "round the
squatting  child was the  protection of parents and school and policemen and
the  law."  The  world  in this part of the  book is the world of children's
games. The difference comes when there is no parental summons to bring these
games  to an end. These  games  have  to continue throughout  the  day,  and
through  the  day  that follows.  And it is  worth  noting that  Mr. Golding
creates his first sense of  unease  through  something which is  familiar to
every child in however protected a  society-the waning of  the light. It  is
the dreams that usher in the beastie,  the  snake, the unidentifiable threat
to security.
     The second  part of  the  book could be said to begin  when that threat
takes on physical  reality, with the arrival of the dead airman. Immediately
the fear is crystallized,  all the boys  are now  affected,  discussion  has
increasingly to  give way to action. As the narrative increases in tempo, so
its  implications  enlarge. Ralph has appealed to the adult world  for help,
"If only they could send us something grown-up ... a sign or something," and
the  dead airman is  shot down in flames  over  the  island. Destruction  is
everywhere; the  boy's world  is only a miniature version of the adult's. By
now the nature of the destroyer is becoming clearer; it is  not a beastie or
snake but man's own nature. "What I mean is ... maybe it's only us," Simon's
insight is confined to himself and he  has to  pay the price of his own life
for  trying  to communicate it to others.  Simon's death  authenticates this
truth, and  now  that  the  fact of  evil has actually  been created on  the
island, the  airman is no longer necessary and his  body vanishes in  a high
wind and is carried out to sea.
     The third part of the book, and the most terrible, explores the meaning
and  consequence  of  this  creation  of  evil.  Complete moral  anarchy  is
unleashed  by Simon's  murder. The  world of the  game,  which  embodied  in
however an  elementary way,  rule  and order, is  systematically  destroyed,
because hardly anyone can now remember when things were otherwise.  When the
destruction is complete,  Mr. Golding suddenly restores "the external scene"
to us, not the  paradisal world of  the marooned  boys, but  our world.  The
naval officer speaks, we  realize with horror,  our words, "the kid needed a
bath, a hair-cut, a nose  wipe and a good deal of ointment."  He carries our
emblems  of power, the  white drill, the epaulettes,  the gilt-buttons,  the
revolver, the trim cruiser. Our  everyday sight has been restored to us, but
the experience  of reading the book is to make  us re-interpret what we see,
and say with Macbeth "mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses."
     If  we  are to look at Lord of the Flies from  the  point of view of it
being a fable this is the kind of account we  might give. And, as far as  it
goes,  it is  a true account. The main  weakness in discussing  Lord of  the
Flies is that  we are too  often inclined to leave  our description at  this
point.  So we find a Christian  being deeply moved  by  the book and arguing
that its greatness  is tied up with the way in which  the author brings home
to a  modem reader the  doctrine of  Original  Sin; or  we  find  a humanist
finding the novel repellent precisely because it  endorses what he  feels to
be  a dangerous myth; or  again, on  a  different level, we  find a  Liberal
asserting the  importance of the book because of  its unwavering exposure or
the  corruptions  of power.  Now whatever degree of truth we find  in  these
views, it is important to be dear that the quality or otherwise  of  Lord of
the Flies is not dependent upon any of them. Whether Mr. Golding has written
a good novel or not is not because of "the views" which may be deduced  from
it,  but  because  of  his claim to be  a novelist. And the function of  the
novelist as Joseph Conrad once said is "by the power  of the written word to
make you hear, to  make you feel-it is, before all, to make you see." And it
is  recognition of  this that must  take  us  back from Mr. Golding's fable,
however  compelling,  to  his fiction. Earlier I  suggested  that these  two
aspects occur simultaneously, so  that in moving from one  to the other,  we
are  not required to look at different parts of  the novel, but at  the same
thing from a different point of view.
     Let  us begin by  looking at  the  coral  island. We have mentioned the
careful literary reference to Ballantyne ("Like the Coral Island," the naval
officer  remarks),  the theological  overtones with the  constant  paradisal
references, "flower and fruit grew together on the same tree," but all these
things matter only  because Mr.  Golding  has imaginatively  put the  island
before us. The sun and the thunder come across to us  as physical realities,
not because they have a symbolic  part to play  in the book, but  because of
the novelist's superb resourcefulness of language. Consider how difficult it
is to  write about a tropical island and avoid any hint of the travel poster
cliche or the latest documentary film about the  South Seas.  To see how the
difficulty can be overcome look at the following paragraph:

     Strange things happened  at midday. The  glittering sea rose up,  moved
apart in  planes  of  blatant impossibility; the coral  reef  and  the  few,
stunted palms  that clung to the more elevated parts would float up into the
sky, would quiver, be plucked  apart, run like  raindrops on  a  wire or  be
repeated as  in  an  odd succession of mirrors.  Sometimes land loomed where
there was no land and flicked out like a bubble as the children watched, (p.

     It is this kind  of  sensitivity to language, this effortless precision
of statement that makes the novel worth the most patient attention. And what
applies  to  the island applies  to  the characters also. As Jack  gradually
loses his name so that  at the  end of the  novel he is simply  the Chief we
feel this terrible loss of identity coming over in his total inability to do
anything that  is not instinctively gratifying. He begins to talk  always in
the same way, to move with the same intent.  But  this is  in final terrible
stages of the novel. If we turn back  to  the beginning of the novel we find
Mr.  Golding  catching  perfectly a tone of voice,  a  particular rhythm  of
speech. Ralph is talking to Piggy shortly after they have met:

     "I could swim when I was five. Daddy taught me. He's a commander in the
Navy. When he gets leave he'll come and rescue us. What's your father?"
     Piggy flushed suddenly.
     "My dad's dead," he said quickly, "and my mum-"
     He  took off his glasses and looked vainly for something  with which to
clean them.
     "I  used to live with my auntie.  She kept a candy store. I used to get
ever so many candies. As many as I liked. When'll your dad rescue us?"
     "Soon as he can." (p. 11.)

     Notice  how  skillfully  Mr. Golding  has  caught  in  that  snatch  of
dialogue,  not  only schoolboy  speech  rhythms,2 but also, quite
unobtrusively, the  social  difference between  the two boys.  "What's  your
father?", "When'll your dad  rescue us?" There are two continents  of social
experience  hinted at here.  I draw attention to this passage simply to show
that in a trivial instance, in something  that would never be quoted in  any
account of "the importance" of the book, it  is the gifts which are peculiar
to a novelist,  "to make you hear, to  make you feel . . . to make you see,"
that are being displayed.
     Perhaps, however, we  feel these gifts most unmistakably present not in
the way the  landscape is presented to us, nor the characters, but rather in
the  extraordinary  momentum  and power which  drives  the  whole  narrative
forward, so that one incident leads to  another with an inevitability  which
is  awesome. A great  deal  of this power comes from  Mr. Golding's  careful
preparation for an incident: so that the  full  significance  of a  scene is
only gradually revealed. Consider, for instance, one of these.  Early in the
book Ralph discovers the nickname of his companion with delight:

     "Piggy! Piggy!"
     Ralph danced out into the hot  air of the beach and  then returned as a
fighter plane, with wings swept back, and machine-gunned Piggy.

     Time passes, games give way to hunting, but still the  hunting can only
be talked about  in terms of a  game and when Jack describes his first kill,
it takes the form of a game:

     "I cut the pig's throat---"
     The twins, still sharing  their identical grin, jumped up and ran round
each other. Then the rest joined in, making pig-dying noises and shouting.

     2.In  their  notes for  this  edition the  authors  define all  of  the
schoolboy slang terms that are likely to confuse adult readers.- Eds.

     "One for his nob!"
     "Give him a fourpenny one!"
     Then Maurice pretended to be the pig and ran squealing into the centre,
and the hunters, circling still, pretended to beat him. As they danced, they
     "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in."
     Ralph  watched them,  envious and  resentful. Not till they flagged and
the chant died away, did he speak "I'm calling an assembly."

     There is an  exasperation in Ralph's statement which places him outside
the  game, the fantasy fighter plane has no place in this more hectic  play;
the line between pretense and reality is becoming more difficult to see. The
first incident emerged from an overflow of high spirits, the second from the
deeper need to communicate  an experience. When the game is next played, the
exuberant mood has evaporated. Maurice's place has been taken by Robert:

     Jack shouted.
     "Make a ring!"
     The circle moved in and round. Robert squealed  in mock terror, then in
real pain.
     "Ow! Stop it! You're hurting!"
     The butt end of a spear fell on his back as he blundered among them.
     "Hold him!"
     They got  his  arms and legs. Ralph, carried  away  by  a  sudden thick
excitement, grabbed Eric's spear and jabbed at Robert with it.
     "Kill him! Kill him!"
     All at  once, Robert was screaming and struggling with the  strength of
frenzy.  Jack had him by the hair and was brandishing his  knife. Behind him
was Roger,  fighting to get close. The chant  rose ritually, as at  the last
moment of a dance or a hunt.
     "Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!"
     Ralph too was  fighting to get  near, to  get a handful of  that brown,
vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering.

     The climax is reached when the game turns into the killing of Simon-the
pig, first mentioned in Ralph's delighted mockery of Piggy's name, made more
real  in the miming  of  Maurice and then in the hurting  of Robert, becomes
indistinguishable from  Simon  who is  trampled to  death.  This  series  of
incidents, unobtrusive in any  ordinary reading, nevertheless helps to drive
the book  forward with  its  jet-like power and speed.  Just before  Simon's
arrival at  the  feast, there is  a  sudden pause and  silence,  the game is
suspended. "Roger ceased to be a pig and became a hunter, so that the centre
of the ring yawned emptily,"  It is that final phrase which crystallizes the
emotion, so  that we  feel we  are suddenly on the brink of  tragedy without
being able to  locate it. It is now,  after  the violence, that  the  way is
clear for the spiritual climax of the novel. As  Simon's body is carried out
to sea we  are made aware, in the  writing, of the  significance of  Simon's
whole function in the novel; the  beauty  of the natural world and its order
hints at a harmony beyond the tortured world of man  and to which  now Simon
has access. And Mr. Golding has made this real to  us, not by asserting some
abstract proposition with which we may or  may  not agree, but by "the power
of the written word."
     During  the last part of this Introduction  when I have been urging the
importance  of  Lord of  the Flies as a  fiction,  you may think  that I  am
putting forward some  claim for Mr. Golding as a  stylist, a writer of  fine
prose, rather in the manner  of Oscar Wilde  saying  that  there is no  such
thing  as  good  books and bad books, only  well  written and  badly written
books. This is dangerously misleading if we interpret this as meaning we can
separate what  is being said from how it is  being  said. If, on  the  other
hand, we intend that the content of a novel  only "lives" in direct relation
to the writer's ability to communicate it imaginatively, then Wilde's remark
is  surely true.  Ultimately, Mr.  Golding's  book is  valuable to  us,  not
because it  "tells us  about" the  darkness of  man's heart, but  because it
shows  it,  because it is  a work of art which enables us  to enter into the
world  it  creates  and  live  at  the  level of  a  deeply  perceptive  and
intelligent man. His vision becomes ours, and such a translation should make
us realize the  truth of Shelley's remark that "the great instrument for the
moral good is the imagination."

     An Old Story Well Told1


     Lord  of  the  Flies uncovers the fallen and unredeemed human heart; it
sketches  the  enormities  of  which  man, unrestrained  by  human  law  and
resistant to divine grace, is capable. The varying  degrees  of goodness, as
manifested  by Simon, Piggy  and Ralph, are simply no  match for a murderous
Jack or a head-hunting Roger. When we first meet the boys,  recently dropped
onto an  island after  escaping  from their bomb-ravaged  part of the world,
they are still trailing faint clouds of  glory. Even Roger,  who shares with
Jack  the  most  diabolic potentialities of  them all,  early  in the  novel
manifests a thin sheath of decency  and restraint; in throwing stones at one
of the smaller boys he is careful to miss,  to leave untouched and inviolate
a  small circle surrounding his  teased victim: "Here, invisible yet strong,
was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the  protection
of parents and school and policemen and the law. Roger's arm was conditioned
by a civilization that  knew  nothing of  him and was in  ruins." The  novel
delineates the gradual unconditioning of  the arm and  the  unveiling of the
heart of Roger and some of his companions.
     Lord of  the  Flies is, of course, more than an expository disquisition
on sin. Were it only that, it  would have gone virtually unnoticed. The book
is  a carefully  structured work  of  art  whose organization-in  terms of a
series of hunts-  serves to reveal with progressive clarity man's  essential
core. There are six stages, six hunts, constituting the dark-

     1.This  article is reprinted  in  part by  permission of  The Christian
Century, 80  (October 2, 1963), 1203-06. Copyright (c) 1963 by the Christian
Century Foundation.

     est  of  voyages as each successive one takes us closer to natural man.
To trace  the hunts-with pigs and boys as victims-is to feel  Gelding's full
     As Ralph, the builder of fires and shelters,  is  the main constructive
force on the  island, Jack, the  hunter, is the  primary  destructive force.
Hunting  does of  course  provide  food, but it  also gratifies the lust for
blood.  In his first confrontation with a pig, Jack fails,  unable to plunge
his knife into living flesh, to bear the sight  of flowing blood, and unable
to do so because he is  not yet far enough away  from the "taboo of  the old
life." But under the questioning scrutiny of his companions he feels  a  bit
ashamed of his  fastidiousness, and, driving his knife into a tree trunk, he
fiercely vows that the next time will be different.
     And so  it is. Returning from the second hunt he proclaim; proudly that
he  has  cut a pig's  throat.  Yet  he has not reached  the point  of savage
abandonment: we learn that he  "twitched" as  he spoke of his achievement-an
involuntary gesture expressing  his  horror at the  deed  and disclosing the
tension  between the old taboo  and the new freedom. His reflection upon the
triumph,  however, indicates that pangs of  conscience  must certainly  fade
before  the  glorious  feeling of  new and devastating power: "His mind  was
crowded with  memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when
they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that  they  had  outwitted a
living thing, imposed their will upon  it, taken away its life  like a  long
satisfying drink."
     The third hunt  is unsuccessful; the  boar  gets  away.  Nonetheless it
plants the seed of an atrocity previously  undreamed,  and it is followed by
an  ominous make-believe,  a mock hunt  in which Robert, one of  the younger
boys, plays  pig,  the others encircling him and  jabbing with their spears.
The play  becomes frenzied with cries of "Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill
the pig!  Bash him  in!"  An almost  overwhelming dark desire possesses  the
boys. Only a  fraction of the  old taboo now  remains; the  terrified Robert
emerges  alive, but  with a wounded rump. What is worse, the make-believe is
but the prelude to an all too real drama.


     The fourth hunt is an electrifying success, a mayhem accomplished  with
no twitch  of conscience, no element  of pretense.  The boys discover a  sow
"sunk in deep maternal bliss," "the great bladder of her belly . . . fringed
with a row of piglets that slept or  burrowed  and  squeaked." What a prize!
Wounded, she flees, "bleeding and mad"; "the hunters followed, wedded to her
in lust, excited  by the long chase  and the dropped blood." The sow finally
falters  and in a ghastly scene Jack and Roger ecstatically consummate their

     Here, struck down  by the heat,  the sow  fell and  the  hunters hurled
themselves at her.  This dreadful  eruption from an unknown world  made  her
frantic; she squealed and bucked and the air was full of sweat and noise and
blood and terror. Roger ran round the heap, prodding with his spear whenever
pigflesh  appeared. Jack was  on top of the sow, stabbing downward with  his
knife. Roger  found a  lodgment for his point and began to push till he  was
leaning with his  whole weight. The spear moved forward inch by inch and the
terrified squealing became a high-pitched scream. Then Jack found the throat
and the hot blood spouted over  his hands. The sow collapsed under  them and
they  were  heavy and fulfilled upon  her.  The  butterflies  still  danced,
preoccupied in the center of the clearing.

     The fifth hunt,  moving us even closer to the unbridled impulses of the
human heart, is a  fine amalgam  of the third and fourth. This time Simon is
at the center of the hideous circle, yet the pursuit is no more make-believe
than it was with  the heavy-teated sow. Simon  is murdered not  only without
compunction but with orgiastic delight.
     The final and  climactic abhorrence is the  hunt for  Ralph. Its terror
will  not be celebrated here;  suffice it  to  say  that one  refinement not
present in the Simon episode is added -a stick  Roger sharpens at both ends.
It had indeed  been used for the sow, with one  point piercing the earth and
the other supporting the  severed head, but its human use had not  yet  been
tested on that island paradise.
     Such being Mr. Golding's art and conviction, it is  little  wonder that
some readers have judged him offensive,  revolting, depravedly  sensational,
utterly wicked.  He has  been impelled to say  that many  human beings, left
unrestrainedly to  their own devices, will find the most  natural expression
of  their desires to lie in human head-hunting. Those who affirm that man is
made in  God's image will be given some pause, but upon reflection they will
probably interpret the novel as  a portrayal of the  inevitable and ultimate
condition  of a world without grace. Those who affirm that man  is basically
and  inherently  good-and  becoming  better-may  simply  find  the  novel  a
monstrous perpetuation of falsehood.
     Golding's main  offense, I  suppose, is  that he profanes what many men
hold most precious: belief that the human being is essentially  good and the
child essentially innocent. Yet his offense, as well as his genius, lies not
in any originality of view or statement but in his startling ability to make
his story real, so real that many readers can  only  draw  back in terror. I
would strongly affirm, however, that  Golding's  intention is not  simply to
leave us  in a negative state of horror. Lard of the Flies has a tough moral
and religious flavor,2 one  which a study of its title helps make
     The  term "lord of  the flies"  is a translation  of  the  Hebrew  word
"Baalzebub" or "Beelzebub." The Baal were the local nature gods of the early
Semitic peoples. In II Kings 1:2 Baalzebub is named as the god of Ekron. All
three Synoptic  Gospels refer to Beelzebub; in Luke 11:15 he is called  "the
chief of the devils." In English literature among those who refer to him are
Christopher  Marlowe  and  Robert  Burton,  though it is  left to Milton  to
delineate  his character  at  some  length. Weltering by Satan's side  he is
described  as "One  next himself [Satan] in power,  and next in crime, /Long
after known in Palestine,  and  nam'd Beelzebub." His subtle services to the
great  Adversary  of mankind  are well known.  To disregard  the  historical
background  of Golding's  title3 or the place of the Lord of  the
Flies within the novel is to miss a good part of the author's intent; it is,
indeed, to leave us with nothing but horror.

     2.Thomas  M. Coskren, O. P.,  in "Is Golding Calvinistic?" America, 109
(July 6, 1963), 18-20, also speaks to this  point at  length.  The  essay is
reprinted on pp. 253-260 in this volume.- Eds.
     3. Golding seems to attach no particular significance to the historical
Beelzebub but  to  regard him as simply another manifestation or creation of
the  human  heart.  (See James Keating  and  William  Golding,  "The  Purdue
Interview,"  p.  192  in  this  volume.)  It is  difficult  to see  how  the
"historical  background" for  the title enhances  understanding of Golding's
basic fable, although it certainly figures as a due to the theme.-Eds.

     At the  conclusion of  the fourth hunt, after the boys have hacked  the
multiparous sow, they place  its  head  on a stick as a sacrificial offering
for some reputedly mysterious and  awesome beast-actually a dead parachutist
who  had plummeted  to the ground, now unrecognizable as his  body rises and
falls  each time the wind fills the parachute  and  then withdraws  from it.
Meanwhile Simon, whose  love for his  companions and desire  to protect them
instill  a  courage  extraordinary, leaves them  to search out  the darksome
creature. He finds himself confronted by  the  primitive  offering, by  "the
head grinning amusedly  in  the strange daylight,  ignoring  lie flies,  the
spilled guts, even ignoring the indignity of being spiked on a stick." As he
is impelled to stare  at the gruesome object, it undergoes  a  black, unholy
transfiguration; he sees no longer just  a pig's head on a stick;  his gaze,
we  are told, is "held by  that ancient, inescapable  recognition." And that
which  is  inescapably  recognized by  Simon  is  of  primordial  root.  Its
shrewdness and devastation have long been  chronicled: it is on center stage
in the third chapter of  Genesis; it gained the rapt  attention of Hosea and
Amos and the prophets who followed them.
     As  Simon and the Lord  of the Flies continue  to face  each other, the
nature of the  latter is clearly  and explicitly  set forth  in an imaginary
conversation which turns into a dramatic monologue. The head speaks:

     "What are you doing out here all alone? Aren't you afraid of me?" Simon
     "There isn't  anyone to help you. Only me. And I'm  the Beast." Simon's
mouth labored, brought forth audible words. "Pig's head on a stick."
     "Fancy thinking  the Beast was something you  could hunt and kill" said
the head. . . . "You knew, didn't you? I'm  part of you? Close, dose, close!
I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are what they are?"

     A moment later, the Beast goes on:

     "I'm warning you, I'm going to get angry. D'you see? You're not wanted.
Understand? We are going to have
     fun  on this  island. Understand? We  are  going to have  fun  on  this
island! So don't try it on, my poor misguided boy, or else-"
     Simon  found he  was  looking into a vast  mouth. There  was  blackness
within, a blackness that spread.
     "-Or else," said the Lord of the Flies, "we shall do you. See? Jack and
Roger and Maurice and Robert and Bill and Piggy and Ralph. Do you. See?"
     Simon was inside the mouth. He fell down and lost consciousness.

     The "ancient, inescapable recognition" is that the Lord of the Flies is
a part of Simon, of all the boys on the island, of every  man. And he is the
reason  "things  are  what  they are."  He  is  the  demonic  essence  whose
inordinate hunger, never assuaged, seeks  to devour all men, to bend them to
his  will. He  is, in Golding's novel, accurately identified only  by Simon.
And history has  made clear, as  the  Lord of  the Flies affirms,  that  the
Simons are not wanted,  that they do spoil what is quaintly called the "fun"
of the world, and that antagonists will "do" them.
     Simon  does not  heed  the  "or  else"  imperative,  for  he bears  too
important  a message:  that the beast is "harmless and horrible." The direct
reference here is  to the dead parachutist whose spectrally moving  form had
terrified the boys; the corpse  is,  obviously, both harmless and  horrible.
But it  should also be  remembered that  the  Lord  of the  Flies identified
itself as the Beast and that it too might be termed "harmless and horrible."
Simon  alone  has the  key to its  potential  harmlessness.  It will  become
harmless  only  when it  becomes universally recognized, recognized not as a
principle of fun  but as  the demonic impulse which is  utterly destructive.
Simon staggers on to his companions to bear the immediate good news that the
beast (the  rotting  parachutist)  is harmless. Yet he  carries  with  him a
deeper  revelation; namely,  that the  Beast  (the Lord of the  Flies) is no
overwhelming  extrinsic  force,  but  a  potentially  fatal  inner  itching,
recognition of which is a first step toward its annihilation. Simon becomes,
of course, the suffering victim of the boys on the island and, by extension,
of the readers of the book.4

     4.Compare  Donald   R.   Spangler,  "Simon"  on  pp.  211-215  in  this


     To me Lord  of the Flies is a profoundly true book. Its  happy  offense
lies in  its  masterful,  dramatic  and  powerful  narration  of  the  human
condition,  with  which a peruser of the daily  newspaper  should already be
familiar. The ultimate purpose of the novel is not to leave its readers in a
state of  paralytic horror. The intention is certainly to impress  upon them
man's, any man's, miraculous ingenuity  in perpetrating evil; but it is also
to  impress upon them the gift of a saving recognition which, to Golding, is
apparently  the  only  saving  recognition.  An  orthodox  phrase  for  this
recognition is the "conviction of  sin," an expression  which grates on many
contemporary ears, and yet one which  the author seemingly does not  hold in
     Lecturing  at Johns Hopkins University  in  the spring of 1962, Golding
said that Lord of the Flies  is a study of  sin. And he is a person who uses
words with  precision. Sin is not  to be  confused  with  crime, which is  a
transgression of human law; it is instead a transgression of divine law. Nor
does Golding believe that the Jacks and Rogers are going to be reconstructed
through  social  legislation eventuating  in some  form of utopianism-he and
Conrad's Mr. Kurtz are  at one  in their evaluation of societal laws  which,
they agree, exercise external restraint but have at best a  slight effect on
the human heart. Golding is explicit: "The theme [of  Lord of the Flies]" he
writes, "is an attempt to  trace the defects of society back to  the defects
of human nature. The moral is that the shape of a society must depend on the
ethical  nature  of  the individual and not  on any political system however
apparently logical or respectable,"
     William Golding's story is as  old as the written word.  The figure  of
the Lord of the Flies, of Beelzebub, is one of the primary archetypes of the
Western world. The novel is the parable of fallen man. But it does not close
the door on that man; it entreats him to know himself and his Adversary, for
he  cannot  do combat against an unrecognized force, especially when it lies
within him.

     Is Golding Calvinistic?1
     A more optimistic interpretation of the
     symbolism found in Lord of the Flies

     IN  an  issue  of   America   last  winter,  two   critics  gave  their
interpretations of  William  Golding's  remarkably successful  Lord  of  the
Flies.2 While the approach of each of these critics differed, Mr.
Kearns being concerned with the sociopolitical implications of the work  and
Fr. Egan with the theological, both reached the same conclusion: Lord of the
Flies presents the Calvinist view of man as a creature essentially depraved.
As one  of  the professors  who has placed the novel on his required reading
list, I should like to raise a dissenting voice.
     While I am prepared  to admit that Lord of the Flies is hardly the most
optimistic  book  that has appeared in recent times,  I find it difficult to
accept the conclusion reached by  Fr. Egan and Mr. Kearns. Both, it seems to
me, have left  too much of the novel unexplained;  indeed, their view of the
work  seems to  render  important  sections  inexplicable.  If  Golding  has
presented  man as  essentially depraved, why  are  three  of his  four major
characters good  people? Granted  that  Ralph,  Piggy  and  Simon  possess a
limited goodness, the condition of all men, they are decidedly boys of high

     1.This  article is reprinted with permission from America, the National
Catholic  Weekly  Review, 920 Broadway, New York  City.  It appeared  in the
issue of July 6, 1963, Volume 109, pp. 18-20.
     2.Francis E.  Kearns, "Salinger  and Golding:  Conflict on the Campus,"
America, 108  (January 26, 1963), 136-39, and John M.  Egan, "Golding's View
of Man," 140-41.-Eds.

     purpose, who use good means to achieve their ends. Jack may strike many
as the perfect symbol of essentially depraved man, but he is only one out of
four. Three-to-one  seems  a  rather impressive  ratio  favoring at  least a
limited goodness in the human community.
     Moreover, if Golding hesitates "to view evil in a religious framework,"
as  Mr.  Kearns  says,  why  is  Simon, on the  symbolic level,  so cleverly
identified  with Christ?  3 In  fact,  this  identification is so
obvious that one  is tempted  to agree with Kearns'  statement about Lord of
the Flies being "too neatly symbolic, too patently artistic." Certainly, the
very presence of a Christ-figure in the novel, a presence which pervades the
work, implies some kind of religious framework.
     Again,  if man were not good  or  innocent  at  some time  in  the long
history of the race,  why should Ralph at the end of the novel weep "for the
end of innocence, the  darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air
of  the  true, wise friend called Piggy"? Ralph weeps  for an innocence that
man  once possessed; he laments the loss of  goodness, and this is  not some
vague goodness, but the palpable goodness in his "true, wise friend."
     Thus far,  the objections I have  offered to  the view presented by Mr.
Kearns and Fr. Egan concern only the characters  in Lord of the Flies. These
objections are serious enough, but there are others which demand examination
by the critic. If the world into which these characters have been placed is,
as Fr. Egan states, a  universe  that is "a cruel and irrational chaos," why
does Golding  indicate,  with  almost  obsessive  attention  to  detail, the
pattern, the order of the  island world  which the boys inhabit?  Throughout
the novel we find natural descriptions which use metaphors from the world of
     In other words, the universe of Lord of the  Flies is one that has been
made, created. The novel is filled with phrases like the following: "a great
platform of pink granite"; "a criss-cross pattern of trunks"; "the palms . .
.  made a green roof "; "the incredible  lamps of stars." Further, Golding's
adjectives indicate  an  ordered  universe.  This  indication  is especially
apparent  after  the terrible  storm  accompanying  Simon's  death. In  this
section he uses such words as "angu-

     2.Cf. Donald R.  Spangler's "Simon" on pp. 211-215 in  this volume. See
also  Golding's  remarks on Simon in the interview  with  James Keating,  p.

     lar"  and  "steadfast"  to  describe  the  constellations.  If  William
Golding's  universe  is  "a cruel  and irrational chaos,"  he  has certainly
chosen most inappropriate words to describe it.
     Basically, it seems to me, the real difficulty with  the interpretation
of Lord of the  Flies offered by Fr. Egan and Mr. Kearns  is its failure  to
treat the novel as a whole. William Golding's novel is not  antihuman; it is
anti-Rousseau. It does  not  portray human nature as such; it presents human
nature as infected with the romantic chimera of inevitable human progress, a
progress which will be achieved because of the innate nobility and innocence
of the  human  species.  In  theological terms,  which are  perhaps the most
accurate critical tools for explaining this novel,  Lord of the Flies is not
so much  Manichean as it is anti-Pelagian.  A more detailed  analysis should
help to show this anti-Pelagian character of the work.
     Lord of the Flies begins with all  the paraphernalia  of  the romantic,
and  sentimental,  preconceptions  that owe so  much  to  Rousseau's  social
philosophy.  In the first chapter we are presented with a group of children,
the contemporary  world's symbol of innocence. They are placed on a tropical
island, an earthly  paradise, Rousseau's habitat for the "noble savage." But
these  boys are  not Adam-figures; they are not  innocent. Each of  them, in
varying degrees, reflects the influence of the serpent-which, by the way, is
introduced in the first chapter when Ralph unfastens "the snake-clasp of his
belt."  Here begins  the terrible irony that runs through  the  whole novel.
Romantic  man thinks he  can  rid  himself of evil  merely by taking off his
clothes, the symbol of civilization and its effects.

     In this  superficially idyllic community,  made up of refugees  from an
atomic war,  we discover Golding's four major characters: Ralph, Piggy, Jack
and Simon. It  is  with these  characters  that Golding's symbolism  becomes
somewhat more complex than either Mr. Keams  or  Fr. Egan suggests.  Lord of
the  Flies  is essentially  a fable about contemporary man and  contemporary
ideas.  Thus,  Ralph  is  not  only  the  symbol  of  the  decent,  sensible
parliamentarian; he is also  me figure of  an idea: the abstract concept  of
democratic  government.  The  same  double  role  is  filled  by  the  other
characters: Jack  is at once  the dictator and the concept of  dictatorship;
Piggy  is  the  intellectual,  with  all  his powers  and deficiencies,  and
representative of the Enlightenment or scientific method. Finally, Simon  is
the  mystic  and  poet, who is also a  Christ-figure and thus the symbol  of
religious faith. The symbolism of Lord of the Flies, therefore, functions on
a  number  of  levels,  and  it  seems  to  be  an  injustice  to  Golding's
extraordinary dexterity in handling these multiple levels to reduce  them to
one level, that of universal human nature.
     Golding suggests  the  complexity of  these symbolic figures  in  their
physical descriptions. Ralph is "the boy with fair hair [who has] a mildness
about his mouth and eyes  that proclaimed no devil." On the literal level we
have  the  good  boy, the  "solid  citizen."  As  such,  Ralph  engages  our
sympathies.  And  on  the  most  obvious  symbolic level he  still  has  our
sympathies,  for  he represents  the decent, sensible  parliamentarian,  the
political ideal of the Western world.
     But on another,  and  deeper,  level Golding has  introduced an  ironic
twist. The  symbolic  value Ralph possesses as  the abstract concept  of the
democratic  process  is presented as a challenge to  the reader. If,  as the
Western world seems to believe, the democratic process of government  is the
best  devised by man  throughout his history, why doesn't it work always and
everywhere?  It  is  at this  level that  Golding  suggests symbolically the
inadequacy, not the depravity, of the solely human; it is at this level that
he directs his devastatingly  ironic commentary on the  Rousseauvian myth of
the general will and its unproved presupposition of the  natural goodness of
the human species.
     In  effect, Golding's modern fable  puts Rousseau's social contract  to
the test: Lord  of  the Flies takes man back to the  primitive condition  of
things, which the French social reformer had  advocated as the one sure  way
of restoring man  to his proper  dignity. Then it shows that, far from being
naturally  good, man has  some type of defect  for which civilization is not
responsible.   Rousseau's  social   philosophy  fails  the   test,  and  the
essentially confused  notion  of nature  which Rousseau  bequeathed  to  the
contemporary world is exposed for the fraud that it is.
     Moreover, the irony implicit in Ralph's inadequacy  is  extended to the
other characters, either as  they  participate  in the same inadequacy or as
they question symbolically the solution  offered  for human  ills by Ralph's
faith in Rousseauvian democracy. Piggy participates in the "grand design" of
restoration. As a figure of the Enlightenment, he cannot accept the extremes
of  romanticism, and he votes  for Ralph only  "grudgingly"; but he will use
the  more popular romantic concept of government and will try to  direct ft.
Yet, even with his discerning rational assessment of the  problem of forming
a  government  for  the   refugees,  his  inherent  weaknesses  are  evident
Ultimately,  he  is  destroyed,  not  because  his  intellectual  gifts  are
depraved,  but  because  he  falls into the mistaken  belief that  they  are
sufficient  unto  themselves. Piggy  is intelligent enough,  for example, to
question  Ralph's  blind  faith  in  rescue  by  the  military  (a  scathing
commentary on the Western democracies' current worship at the shrine of Cape
Canaveral), but he remains blind to the limitations of his own reason.
     Jack and Simon, on the other hand, are not taken in by the Rousseauvian
solution.  Jack's  approach to the human  condition is  much too twisted for
even  the  remotest  comparison with the  idealism, fanciful though  it  is,
implicit  in  Rousseau; Simon's  view  of  humanity  is  so penetrated  with
realistic  self-appraisal that  he  transcends  the  idealism of  the French
reformer.  Jack  descends to the subhuman; Simon  soars  to  the superhuman.
While Ralph  and  Piggy exemplify ironically the  "noble  savage,"  Jack and
Simon provide  the  necessary counterpoint; Jack  exploits the savagery, and
Simon explores the nobility.
     And  it  is probably  through the figure  of Jack that William  Golding
pronounces his severest condemnation of the romantic myth of human progress.
For,  in the last analysis, it  is the  dictator who has benefited most from
Rousseau's social  view. When man's  efforts toward  progress  and  eventual
fulfillment,  however  altruistic   his   motivation,  proceed  from  sloppy
thinking, then brute force takes over to direct the  course  of progress and
subverts even the good in human nature to its own destructive ends.
     Yet,  Golding  is  not   interested  merely  in  the  altruism  or  the
subversion; between these two forces in contemporary civilization  he places
the  figure  of   Simon.  He  introduces  him  to  the  reader  in  somewhat
melodramatic fashion: the boy faints. In this, the first of Simon's actions,
we  have  a  possible  ironic twist on Swinburne's  famous line:  "Thou hast
conquer'd, O pale Galilean; the world has grown gray from thy breath." It is
obvious from Simon's  subsequent history that he is a Christ-figure; and the
romantic view of
     humanity proposed by Rousseau has so infiltrated every  aspect  of life
in the contemporary world that even Christ is  seen through the rose-colored
glasses  of  sentimentality, which  is  the logical  and  real  successor to
     Thus, the Christ of Lord of the Flies is the "pale Galilean"; yet it is
this same weak Christ who, in the first act he performs, forces a concession
from Jack, and the choir boys are allowed to rest The irony is evident: even
a  weak Christ  is more than  a  strong  dictator.4 Further, when
Simon  announces  his  name  (and  his  name   has  the  strongest  biblical
overtones),  Jack  says:  "We've  got  to  decide  about   being   rescued."
Immediately, Simon is linked, however vaguely, with the idea of salvation.

     After the boys have elected Ralph  as leader by  "this  toy of voting,"
Jack,  Simon  and Ralph  begin exploring the mountain. This  section  of the
novel is crucial, for it is here that Golding gives his abbreviated ironical
summary  of  the romantic view of human progress. The passage needs analysis
in depth (impossible in an article of this length), but it should be pointed
out that Golding  has  chosen as  explorers  those  who  have  dominated the
history  of man: the totalitarian, the  parliamentarian and  the mystic-poet
And,  as is clear  from the text, Simon is  the  realist of the triumvirate.
When  the boys examine the bushes on  the mountain, Simon  accepts them  for
what  they  are. Ralph and Jack are concerned  only with how the buds can be
used That Golding's  figure  of  religious faith accepts  reality  as it  is
provides   an  interesting  comment  on  the  limited  approaches   of   the
parliamentarian and the dictator.
     As we follow Simon through the novel, we discover that he is the mystic
who separates himself from the others  to ponder the mysteries of existence.
Simon is the carpenter  who continues building the shelters after the  other
boys have abandoned the  work;  Simon feeds the "littluns"; Simon encounters
the beast in  all  its  loathsomeness  and does not  succumb to  the beast's
temptation to despair. This encounter is the boy's Gethsemane: he comes face
to face with evil, recognizes it for what it  is, and, despite the agony and
horror of the meeting, he is neither defeated

     4.Simon's martyrdom, however,  indicates that  the saint or Christ-like
personage (in  spite of his spiritual strength) fails to rescue man from the
nightmare of history.-Eds.

     nor intimidated by it.  Immediately after he recovers consciousness, he
ascends  the  mountain to  free  the dead pilot,  whose parachute lines have
become entangled in the rocks. In  other words, Simon climbs the mountain to
free "fallen man."
     He  returns then to the  boys to announce  the good news;  they need no
longer fear the beast. But the group will not listen to him. Like the One in
whose  place he stands symbolically, Simon is  murdered during  a  religious
festival-  the diabolical liturgy of the  pig.  His death occurs  while  the
island world cowers under the lash of a gigantic storm. And it is only after
Simon has  actually died that the dead man in the parachute is finally freed
and washed out to sea, the sea  which is  Golding's symbol  of  mystery, not
     Finally, Simon  has his  symbolic hour  of glorification:  his body  is
surrounded by "moonbeam-bodied  creatures with fiery eyes"; gleaming in this
unearthly  phosphorescence,  he  is carried  gently  out to sea.  And  it is
difficult not to recognize  the hint of a resurrection  motif here,  for the
pattern is that of the hero carried through the waters to his apotheosis.
     Lord of the Flies, as I have suggested, is not an optimistic novel, but
at least it  is pessimistic  about the right things. It states quite clearly
that the time has come for the Western world to abandon its fantastic belief
in the Rousseauvian concept  of the natural  goodness of the human  species,
which goodness must lead inevitably to the total perfection of  the race. It
shows what happens to scientific man, when he trusts only in the activity of
his  unaided reason. It castigates  the Western  democracies for their blind
acceptance  of   salvation  through  militarism.  It  pictures   the  tragic
destruction  of  any  society  which  nourishes  and  exalts  the  dictator.
Ultimately,  it presents  the  awesome  spectacle  of  a  world  which,  not
satisfied with murdering Simon, continues to neglect the significance of his
     But William  Golding's  world  is  not  merely  pessimistic.  There  is
goodness  in his  characters; there is  order in  his  universe.5
However, like all authors who have tried their

     5.It might well be  noted, however, that the goodness and the order are
overcome  in  every instance.  True,  Ralph survives and he steps forward to
announce himself to the rescuer" as the  leader, but the rescue is decidedly
ironic; the boys are freed from  primitive  and childish  militarism only by
sophisticated adult militarism.-Eds.

     hand at the intellectual exercise we call fable, he wants to  teach man
some hard truths about his own .nature. In the complexity and ambiguity of a
highly  elaborated symbolism,  he has reminded  modern  man  of  the fact of
original sin. This is a reminder that we all need every so often. In a later
novel, The  Inheritors,  Golding places the  following ironic  words in  the
mouth  of one character: "People  understand each other."  Lord of the Flies
answers: "Perhaps; but not well enough."

     "Men of a Smaller Growth":
     A Psychological Analysis
     of William Golding's
     Lord of the Flies1

     When an author consciously dramatizes Freudian  theory- and  dramatizes
it successfully-only  the  imaginative  recreation of  human behavior rather
than the structure of ideas is apparent. In analyzing William Golding's Lord
of the  Flies, the critic should  assume that  Golding  knows  psychological
literature,2  and must  then  attempt  to  show now  an  author's
knowledge of  theory can vitalize his prose and characterization.  The  plot
itself  is uncomplicated; so  simple, indeed,  that  one wonders  how  it so
effortlessly absorbs the burden of meaning. During some unexplained man-made
holocaust a plane, evacuating a group of children, crashes on the shore of a
tropical island. All adults are conveniently killed.  The narrative  follows
the children's gradual return to the amorality of childhood, a non-innocence
which  makes  them small  savages.  Or  we might  make  the  analogy to  the
childhood of races and compare the child

     1.This essay appeared in Literature and Psychology, 11  (Autumn, 1961),
93-101, and is reprinted in  a revised  version  here  by permission of  the
author and the editor, Leonard F. Manheim.
     2.Note  Golding's comment that  he has  read  "absolutely  no Freud" in
"Lord of  the Campus," Time, LXXIX (June  22,  1962), 64.  Reprinted in this
volume, p. 285.-Eds.

     to the primitive. Denied  the sustaining  and repressing  authority  of
parents, church, and state, the boys form a new  culture, the development of
which reflects that of the genuine primitive  society, evolving its gods and
demons, its rituals and taboos, its whole  social structure. On the level of
pure narrative, the action  proceeds from the gradual struggle between Ralph
and Jack,  the  two  oldest  boys, for  precedence.  Consistent  clusters of
imagery  imply that one  boy is godlike,  the  other  satanic-thus  making a
symbolic   level  of  meaning  by  transforming  narrative  events  into  an
allegorical struggle between the  forces of Good and those of Evil. Ralph is
the natural  leader by virtue of his superior height, his superior strength,
his  superior  beauty.  His  mild expression proclaims  him  "no  devil." He
possesses  the  symbol  of authority,  the conch, or  sea shell,  which  the
children use  to  assemble  their  miniature councils. Golding writes,  "The
being that had blown . . . [the  conch] had  sat  waiting  for  them  on the
platform  with  the delicate thing balanced  on  his knees,  was set apart."
Jack, on the other hand. is  described in completely antithetical terms;  he
is  distinguished by his  ugliness and his  red hair,  a traditional demonic
attribute.  He  first  appears  as  the  leader  of  a  church  choir, which
"creature-like" marches in two columns  behind him. All members of the choir
wear  black;  "their  bodies,  from  throat  to ankle, were hidden by  black
cloaks."  3 Ralph  initially blows the conch to discover how many
children have escaped death in  the plane crash. As Jack approaches with his
choir from the "darkness of the forest," he cannot see Ralph, whose back  is
to the sun.  The  former is, symbolically, sun-blinded. These  two are  very
obviously intended to recall God and the Devil, whose  confrontation, in the
history of Western  religions, establishes the moral basis  for all actions.
But,      as      Freud     reminds      us,      "metaphysics"      becomes
"metapsychology";4  gods  and  devils  are  "nothing  other  than
processes projected  into the  outer  world." 5  If  Ralph  is  a
projection  of  man's good  impulses  from  which  we derive  the  authority
figures-whether god, king, or father

     3.P. 16. All page references are to this edition of  Lord of  the Flies
and will hereafter be noted in parentheses in the text.
     4.Sigmund  Freud, The  Psychopathology of Everyday  Life, as quoted  by
Ernest  Jones,  The Life and Work  of Sigmund Freud (New York: Basic  Books,
1957), III, 53.
     5. Ibid.

     -who  establish the necessity  for our valid ethical and social action,
then  Jack becomes an  externalization of the evil instinctual forces of the
unconscious; the allegorical has become the psychological.
     The  temptation  is to  regard the  island  on which  the  children are
marooned as a kind of Eden, uncorrupted and Eve-less. But the actions of the
children  negate  any  romantic assumptions  about childhood innocence. Even
though Golding himself  momentarily becomes a victim of his Western  culture
and states  at the end  that Ralph wept for  the "end of innocence,"  events
have  simply supported Freud's conclusion  that no  child is innocent.  On a
fourth level, Ralph  is  every  man-or every child-and his body  becomes the
battleground where reason and instinct struggle,  each to assert itself. For
to  regard Ralph  and  Jack as  Good and  Evil,  as  I do  in  the  previous
paragraph,  is to ignore the  role of  the  child Piggy, who  in the child's
world  of make-believe  is the outsider. Piggy's  composite  description not
only  manifests  his difference from  the  other  boys; it  also reminds the
reader of  the  stereotype  image of  the old  man  who  has more-than-human
wisdom: he is fat,  inactive  because asthmatic,  and  generally  reveals  a
disinclination for physical labor. Because he is extremely near-sighted,  he
wears thick glasses- a further mark of  his difference.  As time passes, the
hair  of the  other  boys  grows with abandon.  "He was the only boy on  the
island whose hair never  seemed to  grow.  The  rest were shock-headed,  but
Piggy's  hair still lay  in wisps over his head as though baldness  were his
natural state, and this imperfect covering would soon go, like the velvet on
a young stag's antlers" (59). In these images of age and authority we have a
figure reminiscent of the children's past - the father.  Moreover, like  the
father he counsels common sense; he  alone leavens with a reasonable gravity
the constant exuberance of the  others for play or for play at hunting. When
they scamper off at every vague whim, he scornfully comments, "  Like a pack
of kids. "  Ungrammatically but logically  he tries to allay the "littluns''
fear of a "beast" "Life is  scientific, that's what it is. ...  I know there
isn't no beast-not with claws and all that, I mean-but I know there isn't no
fear, either'"  (77). He has excessive regard for  the forms  of  order: the
conch must be held by a child before that child can speak  at councils. When
the others neglect responsibility, fail to build shelters, swim in the pools
or play in the sand or hunt, allow the signal fire on the mountain to go out
or  get out of  hand and  burn  up half the  island,  he  seconds  Ralph  by
admonishing the others vigorously and becomes more and more of a  spoilsport
who robs  play of its illusions, like  the  adult  who interrupts the  game.
Ralph alone recognizes  Piggy's superior  intelligence,  but wavers  between
what he knows to be wise and the group acceptance his egocentricity demands.
Finally,  Piggy's role-as man's reasoning  faculties and as a father-derives
some of its complexity from the fact that the fire which the children foster
and guard on the  mountain in the hope of communicating with the adult world
is lighted with his glasses. In classical mythology, after all, fire brought
civilization-and,  hence, repression-to man.  As  the  hold of  civilization
weakens,  the  new  community  becomes  more  and more  irrational, and  its
irrationality  is  marked  by  Piggy's progressive  blindness.  An  accident
following an argument  between Ralph  and  Jack causes one of the  lenses of
Piggy's glasses to break. When the  final breach between  the two occurs and
Piggy supports Ralph, his remaining lens is stolen in a  night raid by Jack.
This  is a parody of the traditional fire theft,  which was to provide light
and warmth for mankind. After this event Piggy must be led by Ralph, When he
is  making his final plea for his glasses-reasoned as always-he is struck on
the head by  a rock and fails. "Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back
on that square, red rock in the sea. His head opened  and stuff came out and
turned red. Piggy's arms and legs twitched a  bit, like a pig's after it has
been  killed" (167). What Golding emphasizes here is the  complete animality
to  which Piggy is  reduced, His  mind is destroyed; his body is  subject to
motor responses alone; he is "like a pig after it has been killed."
     The history of the child Piggy on the island dramatizes in terms of the
individual the  history of the  entire group.  When  they first assemble  to
investigate  their plight, they  treat their island isolation as a temporary
phenomenon. They are, after all, still children, wanting only to play  games
until they are interrupted by  the action of parents, until the decisions of
their  elders take them from make-believe to the actuality of school or food
or sleep; until they are rescued, as it were, from "play." This microcosm of
the great world seems to them to be a fairy land.

     A kind  of  glamour was spread  over  them and the  scene and they were
conscious of the glamour and made happy by it (22).
     The coral was scribbled in the sea  as though  a giant had bent down to
reproduce the shape of the island in  a flowing, chalk line but tired before
he had finished (25).
     "This  is real  exploring,"  said  Jack.  "I'll bet  nobody's been here
before" (23).
     Echoes and birds flew,  white and pink dust floated, the forest further
down shook  as with the passage of an  enraged  monster: and then the island
was still (24).

     They compare this reality which as yet they do not accept as reality to
their  reading experiences:  it is  Treasure Island or Coral Island or  like
pictures  from  their  travel  books. This initial  reaction  reaffirms  the
pattern of play  which Johan Huizinga establishes in Homo Ludens6
In its early stages  their  play  has no cultural or moral function;  it  is
simply a "stepping out of real life into  a temporary  sphere of  activity."
7 Ironically,  the  child  of Lord  of the Flies who thinks he is
"only pretending" or that  this is "only for fun"  does not realize that his
play is the beginning of the formation of a  new society which has regressed
to a primitive  state, with all its emphasis upon taboo and communal action.
What begins  by being like  other games in  having a distinct "locality  and
duration" 8  apart from ordinary life is-or becomes-reality.  The
spatial separation necessary for the make-believe of the game is represented
first by the island. In this  new world the playground  is further narrowed:
not only are their actions limited by the island, but also the gatherings of
the  children are  described as a  circle  at several points,  a circle from
which Piggy is excluded:

     For  the moment the boys were  a closed circuit of  sympathy with Piggy
outside (18).
     They became a circle or boys round a camp fire and even Ralph and Piggy
were half-drawn in (67).

     Piggy approximates the spoilsport who "robs the play  of its illusion,"
9 who reminds them of space and  time outside the charmed circle,
who demands responsibility.

     6.Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens (Boston: Beacon Press, 1955).

     The games of the beginning of  the novel have a double function:  they,
first of  all,  reflect  the child's attitude toward  play  as  a  temporary
cessation  from the  activities  imposed  by the adult world; but,  like the
games played before  the  formation  of  civilization,  they  anticipate the
ritual  which  reveals  a  developing  society.  So the  children move  from
voluntary   play  to  ritual,  from   "only  pretending"  to  reality,  from
representation  or  dramatization to  identification. The  older  strictures
imposed  by  parents are soon forgotten-but every now and  then  a momentary
remembrance of past prohibitions causes restraint. One  older child hides in
order to throw stones at a younger one.

     Yet there was a space around Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into
which  he  dare not throw. Here, invisible  yet strong, was the taboo of the
old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school
and policemen and the law (57).

     Jack hesitates  when, searching for  meat, he raises his knife  to kill
his first pig.

     The pause was only long enough for them to  understand what an enormity
the  downward stroke would be. Then the piglet  tore loose from the creepers
and scurried into the undergrowth. . . .
     "Why didn't you-?"
     They knew very well why he hadn't: because of the enormity of the knife
descending  and cutting  into living flesh; because  of the unbearable blood

     The  younger  children first,  then  gradually  the  older  ones,  like
primitives in the childhood of races, begin to  people the darkness of night
and forest  with  spirits  and demons  which had previously appeared only in
their dreams or  fairy tales. Now there are  no comforting mothers to dispel
the terrors of the unknown. They externalize these fears into the  figure of
a "beast." Once the word "beast" is mentioned, the menace  of the irrational
becomes  overt;  name  and thing become  one. Simply to  mention the dreaded
creature  is  to  incur  its  wrath.  At one critical council when the first
communal  feeling begins  to disintegrate,  Ralph cries, "If only they could
send us something grown-up  ...  a sign  or something" (87). And a sign does
come from the outside. That night, unknown to the children,  a plane is shot
down and its  pilot parachutes dead to  earth and is  caught in the rocks on
the mountain.  It requires no more than the  darkness of night together with
the  shadows  of  the  forest  vibrating in the signal  fire  to distort the
tangled corpse with its expanding silk parachute into a  demon  that must be
appeased. Ironically, the fire  of communication  does touch this  object of
the grown-up world, only  to foster  superstition. But the assurances of the
civilized  world  provided  by the nourishing and  protective parents are no
longer available.  Security in this new situation  can  only be achieved  by
establishing new  rules,  new rituals to  reassert  the cohesive-ness of the
     During  the first days the children, led by Jack, play at hunting.  But
eventually the circle of the playground extends to the circle  of the hunted
and squealing  pig  seeking refuge  which itself  anticipates  the circle of
consecrated ground where the children perform the new rites of the kill.
     The  first  hunt accomplishes its purpose: the blood of the  animals is
spilled; the meat used for food. But because  Jack and his  choir  undertake
this hunt, they desert the signal fire, the case of which is dictated by the
common-sense desire for  rescue;  it goes  out and a ship passes the island.
Later the children re-enact the killing with one  boy, Maurice, assuming the
role  of the pig  running its frenzied  circle.  The others chant in unison:
"Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in." At this dramatic representation
each child is still aware that this is a display, a performance. He is never
"so    beside   himself   that   he   loses    consciousness   of   ordinary
reality."10 Each  time  they  re-enact  the same  event, however,
their behavior becomes more frenzied, more cruel, less like dramatization or
imitation than identification. The chant  then becomes, "Kill the beast. Cut
his throat.  Spill his blood." It is as if the first event, the pig's actual
death, is forgotten in the recesses of time; it is as if it happened so long
ago that the children have lost track of their  history on the island; facts
are distorted, a new  myth defines the primal act. Real pig becomes mythical
beast to children for whom  the forms of play have  become the  rituals of a
social order.
     Jack's  ascendancy  over  the  group  begins when  the children's fears
distort the natural objects around them: twigs

     20 Ibid., p. 14.

     become  creepers, shadows  become demons.  I have already discussed the
visual imagery suggesting  jack's demonic function. He serves  as a physical
manifestation of irrational forces. After an indefinite passage of time,  he
appears  almost dehumanized, his  "nose only  a few inches  from  the  humid
earth."  He is  "dog-like"  and proceeds  forward  "on all  fours" into  the
"semi-darkness of the  undergrowth." His cloak  and clothing have been shed.
Indeed, except for a "pair of tattered shorts held up by his knife-belt,  he
was naked."  His eyes  seemed "bolting  and nearly  mad." He  has  lost  his
ability to communicate with Ralph  as he had on the first  day. "He tried to
convey the compulsion to  track down and kill  that  was swallowing him  up"
(46). "They walked along, two continents of experience  and  feeling, unable
to communicate" (49).  When  Jack first  explains to Ralph  the necessity to
disguise himself from the pigs he wants to  hunt, he rubs his face with clay
and charcoal. At this point he assumes a mask,  begins to dance,  is finally
freed from all the repressions of his past. "He capered toward Bill, and the
mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and
self-consciousness" (58). At  the moment of  the dance the mask and Jack are
one. The first  kill, as  I  have noted, follows the desertion of the signal
fire and the  conterminous passage of a possible rescue ship. Jack, however,
is  still revelling  in the  knowledge that  they  have "outwitted a  living
thing,  imposed their  will  upon it,  taken away  its life  like a long and
satisfying  drink" (64). Note that the pig is  here described as  a  "living
thing" not as an animal; only if there is equality between victor and victim
can there be significance in the triumph of one over  the other. Already  he
has  begun  to obliterate  the  distinction between animals and  men, as  do
primitives; already he thinks in terms of the metaphor of a ritual  drinking
of blood,  the efficacy of which depended on the drinker's assumption of his
victim's  strength  and  spirit.  Ralph  and  Piggy  confront him  with  his
defection  of  duty, his failure  to behave  like  a  responsible member  of
Western society.

     The  two  boys  faced  each  other.  There was  the brilliant  world of
hunting, tactics,  fierce  exhilaration, skill; and there  was the  world of
longing and baffled commonsense. Jack transferred the knife to his left hand
and  smudged blood over  his forehead as  he  pushed down the plastered hair

     Jack's unconscious gesture is a parody  of the ritual of  initiation in
which the hunter's face is smeared with the blood of his first kill. In  the
subsequent struggle one of the lenses  of  Piggy's spectacles is broken. The
dominance  of reason  is over; the voice  of  the  old world is stilled. The
primary images  are no longer those of  fire and light but those of darkness
and blood. The initial link between Ralph and Jack "had snapped and fastened
     The rest of the group, however, shifts its  allegiance to Jack  because
he has given them meat rather  than something as useless as fire. Gradually,
they begin to be described as "shadows" or "masks" or "savages" or "demoniac
figures" and, like Jack, "hunt naked save for  paint and a  belt." Ralph now
uses Jack's name with the recognition that "a taboo was evolving around that
word too." Name and thing again become one; to use the word is to incite the
bearer, who is not here a transcendent or supernatural creature but rather a
small boy. But more significant, the taboo,  according to Freud, is  "a very
primitive prohibition  imposed  from without (by  an authority) and directed
against the strongest desires  of man." 11 In this new society it
replaces the authority of the parents,  whom the children  symbolically kill
when they  slay  the nursing sow. Now every kill becomes  a sexual act, is a
metaphor for  childhood  sexuality, an assertion of freedom  from mores they
had been taught to revere.

     The  afternoon wore on,  hazy  and  dreadful  with damp  heat;  the sow
staggered her way ahead of them, bleeding and mad, and the hunters followed,
wedded to her in lust, excited by the long chase and the  dropped blood. . .
. The sow collapsed under them  and they  were heavy and  fulfilled upon her

     Every subsequent ritual fulfills  not  only a desire  for communication
and for a security to substitute  for  that of civilization, but also a need
to liberate themselves from  both the  repressions  of  the  past and  those
imposed by Ralph. Indeed, the projection into a beast of those impulses that
they cannot accept  in  themselves is the beginning of a new mythology.  The
earlier dreams and nightmares of individual  children are now shared in this
mutual creation.

     11.Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo, The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud,
trans. A. A. Brill (New York: Modern Library, 1938), p. 834.

     When  the imaginary demons  become defined  by  the rotting  corpse and
floating parachute on the mountain  which  the boys'  terror distorts into a
beast, Jack wants to track the  creature down. After the next kill, the head
of the pig  is placed upon a stake to placate the beast.  Finally one of the
children,  Simon,  after  an epileptic  fit, creeps  out of  the  forest  at
twilight while  the others  are engaged in enthusiastic dancing following  a
hunt.  Seized by  the rapture of  re-enactment or perhaps terrorized by fear
and night into believing  that this little creature is a  beast, they circle
Simon, pounce  on  him, bite  and tear his body to death.  He  becomes not a
substitute  for  beast but  beast  itself;  representation becomes  absolute
identification, "the  mystic repetition of the initial event." 12
At  the  moment  of  Simon's death,  nature  speaks as  it  did  at Christ's
crucifixion: a  cloud bursts; rain and wind  fill the parachute  on the hill
and the corpse of the pilot falls  or  is dragged among the screaming  boys.
Both Simon  and the dead man, beast and beast, are  washed into the sea  and
disappear.  After  this complete  resurgence of savagery in accepted ritual,
there  is only a short interval before Piggy's  remaining lens is stolen, he
is  intentionally killed as  an enemy,  and Ralph,  the human being, becomes
hunted like beast or pig.
     Simon's  mythic  and psychological role  has  earlier been suggested in
this  essay.  Undersized,   subject  to  epileptic  fits,  bright-eyed,  and
introverted, he constantly creeps away from the others to meditate among the
intricate vines of the forest. To him, as to the mystic,  superior knowledge
is  intuitively given which he cannot communicate.  When the first report of
the beast-pilot reaches camp, Simon, we are  told, can picture only "a human
at  once heroic  and  sick." He predicts that  Ralph will  " 'get  back  all
right,' " only to  be scorned as "batty" by the latter. In each case he sees
the  truth,  but  is overwhelmed  with  self-consciousness. During  the  day
preceding  his death, he walks away as if in a  trance and  stumbles  upon a
pig's head left in  the  sand in  order  to appease the demonic presence the
children's terror has created. Shaman-like, he holds a  silent and imaginary
colloquy  with  it,  a severed  head covered with innumerable  flies. It  is
itself the titled Lord of the  Flies, a name  applied to the  Biblical demon
Beelzebub and later used in Goethe's Faust,

     12. Ibid., p. 834.

     Part 1, to describe Mephistopheles.13 From it he learns that
it is the Beast, and the  Beast cannot  be  hunted because it dwells  within
each child. Simon feels the advent of one of his fits. His visual as well as
his  auditory perception  becomes distorted; the  head of the pig  seems  to
expand, an anticipation or intuition of the discovery of the pilot's corpse,
whose expanding parachute causes the equally distorted perceptions of normal
though  frightened children. Suddenly  Golding  employs a  startling  image,
"Simon  was  inside the  mouth. He  fell down and lost consciousness" (133).
Laterally, this image presents the hallucination  of a sensitive child about
to  lose  control  of  his  rational faculties. Such  illusions,  or  auras,
frequently  attend  the  onset of an  epileptic  seizure. Mythologically and
symbolically,  it recalls the quest  in which  the  hero is  swallowed  by a
serpent or dragon or beast whose belly represents the underworld,  undergoes
a  ritual death in  order to  win  the  elixer  to  revitalize  his stricken
society, and returns with his knowledge to the timed world as a redeemer. So
Christ,  after  his  descent  to the grave and to  Hell,  returns  to redeem
mankind  from  his  fallen state.  Psychologically,  this  figure  of speech
connoting the descent into the darkness of death represents the annihilation
of the individual ego, an internal journey necessary for self-understanding,
a return from the timelessness of the unconscious. When Simon wakes from his
symbolic death, he suddenly realizes that he must confront the beast  on the
mountain because "what else  is there to do?"  Earlier he had been unable to
express himself or give advice. Now he is relieved of "that dreadful feeling
of the pressure  of  personality." When  he  discovers  the corrupted corpse
hanging  from  the  rock, he first  frees  it  in  compassion  though it  is
surrounded  by  flies,  and then  staggers  unevenly down to  report  to the
others. He attempts to assume a communal role from which his strangeness and
nervous seizures formerly isolated  him. Redeemer  and scapegoat, he becomes
the victim of the group he seeks to enlighten. In death- before he is pulled
into the sea-the  flies which have moved to his head  from the  bloodstained
pig  and  from  the  decomposing  body  of  the  man  are  replaced  by  the
phosphorescent creatures  of  the  deep.  Halo-like, these  "moonbeam-bodied
creatures" attend the seer who has been denied into the


     formlessness and freedom of the ocean. "Softly,  surrounded by a fringe
of inquisitive bright creatures, itself a silver shape beneath the steadfast
constellations,  Simon's  dead   body  moved   out  toward  the   open  sea"
     Piggy's death, soon to follow Simon's, is foreshadowed when the  former
proclaims at council that there is no beast, " 'What would a beast eat?' " "
'Pig.'  " " 'We eat  pig,' " he rationally answers. " 'Piggy' "  (77) is the
emotional response,  resulting  in  a  juxtaposition  of words  which  imply
Piggy's role and Golding's meaning. At Piggy's death his body twitches "like
a pig's  after it has been  killed." Not only has his head been smashed, but
also the conch, symbol of order, is simultaneously  broken. A  complex group
of  metaphors unite  to form a total metaphor  involving  Piggy and the pig,
hunted and eaten by  the children, and the pig's head which is at once  left
to appease the beast's hunger  and  is  the beast  itself.  But the beast is
within,  and the  children  are  defined  by the very objects  they seek  to
     In these  associated images we  have  the whole idea  of a communal and
sacrificial feast and a symbolic cannibalism, all  of which Freud  discussed
in Totem and Taboo.  Here the  psychology of  the individual contributes the
configurations for  the development of religion. Indeed,  the events of Lord
of  the  Flies imaginatively  parallel  the  patterns which Freud detects in
primitive mental processes.
     Having  populated the outside world with demons  and spirits which  are
projections  of  their  instinctual  nature,  these  children-and  primitive
men-must then unconsciously evolve  new forms  of  worship and  laws,  which
manifest  themselves  in  taboos, the oldest form of social repression. With
the exception of the first kill-in which the children still imagine they are
playing  at hunting-the subsequent  deaths assume a ritual form;  the pig is
eaten communally by all and the head  is  left for the  "beast," whose  role
consists in sharing the  feast.  This  is much  like the  "public  ceremony"
15 described by Freud in which the sacri-

     14.The reader will  find  it worthwhile to compare Donald R. Spangler's
"Simon,"  reprinted  on   pp.  211-215   in  this   volume,  with  Professor
Rosenfield's view of Simon.-Eds.
     15.There are further affinities to Sartre's Les Mouches.

     fice of an animal  provided food  for the god and  his  worshipers. The
complex relationships within the  novel between the "beast," the  pigs which
are sacrificed, the children  whose asocial impulses are externalized in the
beast-this has already been  discussed. So we see that, as Freud points out,
the "sacrificing  community,  its  god [the  'beast'], and  the  sacrificial
animal are  of the  same blood," 16  members of a clan.  The pig,
then, may be regarded as a totem animal, an "ancestor, a tutelary spirit and
protector";17  it  is,  in  any case, a part of every  child. The
taboo or  prohibition against eating particular  parts of  the  totem animal
coincides with the children's failure to eat the head of the pig. It is that
portion which  is set aside for the  "beast."  Just  as  Freud describes the
primitive feast, so the children's festive meal is accompanied by a frenzied
ritual in  which they  temporarily  release  their  forbidden  impulses  and
represent the kill. To consume the pig and to re-enact the event is not only
to  assert a "common identity" 18 but  also to  share  a  "common
responsibility"  for the  deed.  By  this  means  the  children  assuage the
enormity of  having killed a living thing. None of the boys is excluded from
the  feast.  The later  ritual,  in  which  Simon,  as  a  human  substitute
identified with the totem,  is killed, is  in this  novel not an unconscious
attempt  to share the responsibility for the  killing of a primal  father in
prehistoric times, as Freud states; rather, it is here a social act in which
the  participants  celebrate  their  new  society  by  commemorating   their
severance  from  the  authority  or  the  civilized  state.  Because  of the
juxtaposition  of  Piggy and pig,  the  eating of pig  at the communal feast
might  be  regarded  as  the  symbolic  cannibalism  by  which  the children
physically partake of the qualities of  the slain  and share  responsibility
for  their crime. (It must be remembered that, although Piggy on a  symbolic
level represents  the light of reason and the authority of  the father, as a
human being  he shares  that bestiality and irrationality  which  to Golding
dominate all men, even the most rational or civilized.)
     In the  final action, Ralph is outlawed by the children and hunted like
an animal. One boy, Roger, sharpens a stick at

     16. Totem and Taboo, p. 878.
     17. Ibid., p. 808,
     18. Ibid., p. 914.

     both ends so that it will be ready to receive  the severed head  of the
boy as  if he were a pig. Jack  keeps his society  together because it, like
the  brother  horde of William Robertson  Smith19 and  Freud, "is
based on complicity in the common crimes."20 All share  the guilt
of having killed Simon, of hunting Ralph  down. In his flight Ralph,  seeing
the grinning skull of a  pig,  thinks of it as a toy and remembers the early
days  on the island  when  all were  united  in play. In the play world, the
world of day, the world of the novel's opening, he has become a "spoilsport"
like  Piggy; in the world based upon primitive  rites and  taboos, the night
world where fears become demons  and  sleep is like death, he is the heretic
or outcast, the rejected god. This final hunt, after the conch is broken, is
the  pursuit of  the figure representing  civilized law and order; it is the
law and  order of a primitive culture. Finally, Jack,  through misuse of the
dead  Piggy's  glasses, accidentally sets the  island  on  fire.  A  passing
cruiser, seeing the fire, lands to find only a dirty group of sobbing little
boys. " 'Fun and games,' said the officer. . . .  'What have you been doing?
Having a war or something?' " (185).
     But are  all  the  meanings  of  the  novel as clear as  they seem?  To
restrict it  to an imaginative re-creation of  Freud's theory  that children
are  little savages, that  no child  is innocent  whatever popular Christian
theology  would  have us believe, is to limit its significance for the adult
world. To say that the "beasts" we fear are within, that  man is essentially
irrational-or,  to place  a  moral judgment on the irrational, that  man  is
evil-that,  again,  is too  easy.  In  this  forced isolation of  a group of
children,  Golding is making a statement about  the  world they  have left-a
world that  we  are told  is "in ruins."  According to  Huizinga's theory of
play,  war  is a  game, a  contest for  prestige which,  like  the  games of
primitives or of classical athletes,  may be fatal. It, too,  has its rules,
although the  modern  concept  of  total  war  tends  to  obscure  both  its
ritualistic and  its  ennobling  character.  It, too,  has its  spatial  and
temporal limitations,  as the rash of "limited"  wars makes very clear. More
than once the children's acts are compared to those of the outside

     19.William Robertson Smith, Lectures on  the Religion  of  the Semites,
3rd  ed., with  an  introduction by Stanley A.  Cook (New  York:  Macmillan,
     20.Totem and Taboo, p. 916.

     world.  When Jack first blackens his  face like a  savage, he gives his
explanation:  "  'For hunting.  Like in the war. You know-dazzle paint. Like
things  trying to look like something  else' " (57). Appalled  by one of the
ritual dances, Piggy  and Ralph discuss the authority and rationality of the
apparently secure world they have left:

     "Grownups know  things,"  said Piggy. "They ain't afraid  of the  dark.
They'd meet and have tea and discuss. Then things 'ud be all right-"
     "They wouldn't set fire to the island. Or lose-"
     "They'd build a ship-"
     The three boys stood in the darkness, striving unsuccessfully to convey
the majesty of adult life.
     "They wouldn't quarrel-"
     "Or break my specs-"
     "Or talk about a beast-"
     "If only they could  get a message to us," cried Ralph desperately. "If
only they could send  us  something  grown-up  .  . .  a  sign or something"

     The  sign  does come  that night, unknown to  them, in the  form of the
parachute and its attached corpse. The  pilot is  the analogue  in the adult
world to  the ritual killing of the  child Simon  on  the island;  he,  like
Simon, is  the victim and scapegoat of his society, which  has unleashed its
instincts  in war. Both he and Simon are associated by a cluster  of  visual
images.  Both  are identified with beasts by  the  children,  who do see the
truth-that all  men are  bestial-but do not understand it. Both he and Simon
attract the flies from the Lord of the Flies, the pig's head symbolic of the
demonic; both he and Simon are washed away by a  cleansing  but not reviving
sea. His  position  on the  mountain recalls the hanged or sacrificed god of
Sir  James  Frazer's The Golden Bough, in which an effigy  of the com god is
buried or  thrown into  the sea to  insure fertility among many  primitives;
here, however, we have  a parody of fertility. He is dead proof that Piggy's
exaggerated respect for adults is itself irrational. When the officer at the
rescue jokingly says, "What have you been doing? Having a war or something?"
this representative of the grown-up world does not understand that the games
of the children, which result in two deaths, are a moral commentary upon the
primitive nature of his  own  culture.  The  ultimate irrationality  is war.
Paradoxically, the children not  only regress to a primitive  and  infantile
morality,  but they  also degenerate  into  adults. They prove that, indeed,
"children are but men of a smaller growth"

     Notes on Lord of the Flies1
     E. L. EPSTEIN

     IN  answer to a publicity questionnaire from the American publishers of
Lord of the Flies, William Golding (born  Cornwall, 1911)  declared  that he
was brought up to be a scientist, and revolted; after two years of Oxford he
changed his  educational  emphasis  from science to English literature,  and
became  devoted  to  Anglo-Saxon. After  publishing  a volume  of poetry  he
"wasted the next  four years," and when World War II broke out he joined the
Royal  Navy. For the next five years he was involved in naval matters except
for  a  few  months in  New  York  and six  months with Lord Cherwell  in  a
"research  establishment." He  finished his  naval career as a lieutenant in
command of a rocket ship; he had seen action against battleships, submarines
and aircraft, and  had  participated in the Walcheren  and D-Day operations.
After the war he began teaching and writing. Today,  his novels include Lord
of the Flies (Coward-McCann), The Inheritors (which may loosely be described
as a novel of prehistory but is, like all of Golding's work, much more), and
Pincher  Martin (published  in  this  country by Harcourt  Brace as  The Two
Deaths  of Christopher Martin). He lists  his Hobbies as thinking, classical
Greek, sailing and archaeology, and his Literary Influences as Euripides and
the anonymous Anglo-Saxon author of The Battle of Maldon.
     The theme of Lord of  the Flies  is described by Golding as follows (in
the same  publicity questionnaire): "The  theme is  an attempt to  trace the
defects of society back

     1.This article appeared in  the original Capricorn edition  of Lord  of
the Flies (New York: Putnam's, 1959), 249-55.

     to  the defects  of  human nature. The moral  is that  the shape  of  a
society must depend  on the ethical nature of  the individual and not on any
political system however apparently logical or  respectable.  The whole book
is symbolic in nature except the rescue in the end where adult life appears,
dignified  and  capable,  but in reality  enmeshed in the same evil  as  the
symbolic life of the children on the island. The officer, having interrupted
a man-hunt, prepares to take the children off the  island in a cruiser which
will presently be hunting its enemy in the same implacable way. And who will
rescue the adult and his cruiser?"
     This is, of course, merely a casual summing-up on Mr. Golding's part of
his extremely  complex  and beautifully  woven  symbolic  web  which becomes
apparent as we follow through the book, but  it does  indicate that  Lord of
the Flies is  not, to say the least,  a simple adventure  story of boys on a
desert island.  In fact, the implications of  the  story  go far  beyond the
degeneration  of a few children. What is unique about the work of Golding is
the  way  he  has combined  and  synthesized all  of  the characteristically
twentieth-century methods of analysis  of the  human being and human society
and used this  unified knowledge to comment on  a  "test situation." In this
book, as  in few others  at the present time, are findings of psychoanalysts
of  all  schools,  anthropologists, social psychologists  and  philosophical
historians mobilized into an  attack  upon  the central  problem  of  modern
thought:  the  nature  of  the  human  personality  and  the  reflection  of
personality on society.2

     2.Epstein perhaps overstates here. The novel cannot be taken as a final
synthesis of modern thought or as the ultimate comment on the "nature of the
human personality." The boys are not completely free  agents; they have been
molded by  British civilization for some years before being deposited on the
island. They attempt to establish a government that imitates democracy, they
retain confidence  in  adults, they, at least for a  while, behave in accord
with prior training, as when Roger throws the stones near but  not at Henry,
pp. 56-57. Some events  that occur  depend on circumstance rather than cause
and effect.  For example, when the boys ask for  a sign from the adult world
(p. 87), the sign  conveniently appears (pp. 88-89). The  fortuitous arrival
of  the  cruiser at  the  climactic  moment  is also  a  result  of  obvious
manipulation on the  part of  Golding. These  maneuvers militate against the
authenticity of the theme. They are not good "evidence."-Eds.

     Another feature  of  Golding's work is the  superb  use of symbolism, a
symbolism that "works." The central symbol itself, "the lord of the flies,"'
is, like  any true  symbol, much more  than the  sum of its parts;  but some
elements  of it may be isolated.  "The  lord of  the flies" is, of course, a
translation  of  the  Hebrew  Ba`alzevuv  (Beelzebub  in Greek)  which means
literally  'lord  of  insects."  It  has  been  suggested  that  it   was  a
mistranslation of a  mistransliterated word which gave us  this pungent  and
suggestive  name  for  the Devil, a  devil  whose name suggests that  he  is
devoted  to decay, destruction, demoralization, hysteria and panic  and  who
therefore fits in  very well with Golding's  theme. He does not, of  course,
suggest that  the  Devil is  present  in  any traditional  religious  sense;
Golding's Beelzebub is the modern  equivalent, the anarchic, amoral, driving
Id whose only function seems  to be to insure the survival  of  the host  in
which it is embedded or embodied, which function it performs with tremendous
and single-minded tenacity.  Although it is possible to find other names for
this  force, the  modern  picture  of  the  personality,  whether  drawn  by
theologians  or psychoanalysts, inevitably  includes this force  or  psychic
structure as  the fundamental  principle of  the Natural Man.  The tenets of
civilization, the moral and  social codes, the Ego, the intelligence itself,
form  only  a veneer over this white-hot  power, this  uncontrollable force,
"the fury  and the mire of human veins." Dostoievsky found salvation in this
freedom, although  he found damnation in it also. Yeats found in it the only
source of  creative genius  ("Whatever flames  upon  the  night,/  Man's own
resinous heart has fed.").  Conrad was appalled by this "heart of darkness,"
and existentialists  find  in  the  denial of  this  freedom  the source  of
perversion of  all human values. Indeed one could, if one were so minded, go
through the entire canon of modern literature, philosophy and psychology and
find  this great  basic  drive defined as underlying  the  most  fundamental
conclusions of modern thought.
     The emergence  of this concealed, basic wildness  is  the theme of  the
book;  the  struggle  between Ralph, the representative of civilization with
his  parliaments  and  his  brain  trust  (Piggy,   the  intellectual  whose
shattering  spectacles mark the  progressive decay of rational  influence as
the story progresses), and Jack, in whom the spark of  wildness burns hotter
and closer to the surface than in  Ralph and who is the leader of the forces
of anarchy on the island, is also, of course, the struggle in modern society
between those  same  forces  translated onto  a worldwide scale. The central
incident  of the  book, and the turning point in the struggle between  Ralph
and Jack, is  the killing  of the sow on  pp. 123-127). The sow is a mother:
"sunk  in  deep maternal bliss lay the  largest sow 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 accomplished in  terms of
sexual intercourse.

     They were just behind her when she staggered into an  open  space where
bright flowers grew and butterflies danced around each other and the air was
hot and still.
     Here,  struck  down by the heat, the  sow fell  and the  hunters hurled
themselves at her. This  dreadful eruption from an  unknown  world  made her
frantic; she squealed and bucked and the air was full of sweat and noise and
blood and terror. Roger ran round the heap, prodding with his spear whenever
pigflesh  appeared. Jack was on top of  the sow, stabbing downwards with his
knife. Roger  [a natural  sadist,  who  becomes the  "official" torturer and
executioner for the tribe] found a  lodgment for his point and began to push
till he was leaning with his whole weight. The  spear moved forward inch  by
inch, and the  terrified  squealing became  a high-pitched scream. Then Jack
found the throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands. The sow collapsed
under them and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her. The butterflies still
danced, preoccupied in the center of the clearing.

     The entire incident  is a horrid parody of an Oedipal wedding night and
these  emotions,  the sensations  aroused  by  murder  and  death,  and  the
overpowering  and  unaccustomed emotions  of  sexual love experienced by the
half-grown  boys,  release  the  forces  of  death  and  the  devil  on  the
     The pig's  head  is  cut  off; a  stick  is sharpened at both ends  and
"jammed in a crack" in the earth. (The death planned for Ralph at the end of
the book involves a stick sharpened at both ends.) The pig's head is impaled
on the stick;  "... the head  hung there, a little blood dribbling down  the
stick. Instinctively the boys drew back too; and

     3.   The   reader  will   wish  to  compare   Epstein's  psychoanalytic
interpretation with Claire Rosenfield`s "Men of a Smaller Growth," reprinted
on pp. 261-276.-Eds.

     the forest was very still. They listened, and the loudest noise was the
buzzing of flies over the spilled guts."  Jack offers this grotesque  trophy
to "the  Beast," the  terrible  animal  that the littler  children  had been
dreaming of, and which seems to be lurking on  the island wherever they were
not  looking. After this  occurs the most  deeply symbolic  incident in  the
book,  the "interview" of Simon, an embryo  mystic, with  the head. The head
seems to be saying, to Simon's heightened perceptions, that "Everything is a
bad business. . .  . The half-shut eyes were dim with the infinite  cynicism
of adult life." Simon fights with  all his feeble  power against the message
of the head, against the "ancient, inescapable recognition." The recognition
against which he  struggles is the revelation to him of human capacities for
evil and the superficial nature of human moral systems. It is  the knowledge
of  the end of  innocence, for  which Ralph is  to weep  at the close of the
book. The  pigs head seems to threaten Simon with death and  reveals that it
is "the Beast." " '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 echoed the parody of 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 what they are?' "
     At the end of this fantastic  scene Simon imagines he is looking into a
vast mouth. "There  was blackness within, blackness that  spread . . . Simon
was  inside  the  mouth.  He  fell   down  and  lost  consciousness."   This
mouth,4  the  symbol   of  ravenous,  unreasoning  and  eternally
insatiable nature, appears again in Pincher Martin, in which the development
of  the theme  of a Nature inimical to the conscious personality  of  man is
developed  in  a stunning fashion. In Lord  of the Flies, however,  only the
outline of a philosophy  is sketched and the boys  of the island are figures
in a parable or fable which like all parables or fables contains an inherent
tension between  the  innocent,  time-passing,  storytelling  aspect of  its
surface and the great, "dimly appreciated" depths of its interior.

     4.Cf. 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." Indeed Golding
seems very dose to Conrad, both in basic principles and in artistic method.

     Lord of the Campus1

     BACK in England last  week  after a year in  the U. S.,  British Author
William Golding  recalled his  interrogation  by American college  students.
"The question  most asked was, 'Is there  any hope  for  humanity?'  I  very
dutifully  said  'yes.'  "  Golding's credentials  for  being  asked such  a
monumental query-and for answering it-rest on  one accomplishment:  his Lord
of the Flies,  a  grim  parable  that holds  out  precious little  hope  for
humanity, and is the most influential novel among U. S. undergraduates since
'Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.2
     When Lord  of the Flies  was first published in the U. S.  in 1955,  it
sold  only  2,383  copies,  and quickly  went  out  of  print.  But  British
enthusiasm  for  it  has  been  gradually  exported to  Ivy  League  English
departments, and demand  for the book is now  high.  The  paperback edition,
published in 1959, has already sold more than 65,000 copies. At the Columbia
University bookstore, it outsells Salinger.
     Lord of the  Flies is required reading at a hundred U. S. colleges,  is
on the list of suggested summer reading  for freshmen entering colleges from
Occidental to Williams. At Harvard  it is recommended for a social-relations
course on "interpersonal behavior."
     An M. I. T. minister uses it for a discussion group on original sin. At
Yale and Princeton-where Salinger, like the three-button suit, has lost some
of his mystique as he

     1.The following article is reprinted by permission from Time The Weekly
Newsmagazine; copyright (c) Time Inc. 1962. See  "Lord of the Campus," Time,
LXXIX (June 22, 1982), 84.
     2.See Golding's remarks on Salinger's novel in the interview by Douglas
M.  Davis,  "A Conversation with Golding," New Republic, 148 (May  4, 1963),

     becomes adopted by the  outlanders-the in-group popularity of Golding's
book is creeping up. At Smith, where Lord of the Flies  runs  a close second
in  sales  to  Salinger's  Franny  and Zooey, 1,000 girls turned  out  for a
lecture  by Golding.  The  reception  was  the  same at  the thirty campuses
Golding  visited  during  his   year  as  a  rarely  writer-in-residence  at
Virginia's Hollins College.3

     CREATING THEIR OWN MISERY. The British schoolboys in Lord of the  Flies
are  a fe.w years younger than Salinger's  Holden Caulfield-they  are six to
twelve-but  are not  self-pitying  innocents in a  world made  miserable  by
adults. They create their own world, their own misery. Deposited unhurt on a
deserted coral  island  by  a  plane  during  an  atomic war, they  form the
responsible vacation-land democracy that  their heritage  calls for,  and it
gradually degenerates into anarchy,  barbarism and murder. When adult rescue
finally  comes, they are a  tribe of  screaming painted savages hunting down
their elected leader to tear him apart.  The British naval officer who finds
them says,  "I  should have thought that a pack  of British  boys would have
been able to put up a better show than that." Then  he  goes back to his own
     Says Golding: "The theme is an attempt to  trace the defects of society
back to the defects of human nature. Before the war, most Europeans believed
that  man could be  perfected by perfecting  society. We all saw a hell of a
lot in the war that can't be accounted for except on  the basis  of original

     "PEOPLE I KNEW IN CAMP." What  accounts  for the appeal? Part of it is,
of  course,  pure  identification.  A Harvard  undergraduate  says the  book
"rounds up all the people I knew in camp when I was a counselor." On another
level, Golding believes  students "seem to have it in for the whole world of
organization. They're very cynical. And here was someone  who was not making
excuses for society. It was

     3.  See Golding's series  of  four articles on his  visit to the United
States. "Touch of  Insomnia," Spectator,  207  (October 27,  1961),  569-70;
"Glass Door," Spectator,  207 (November 24, 1961), 732-33; "Body and  Soul,"
Spectator, 208 (January 19, 1962),  65-66; "Gradus ad Parnassum," Spectator,
208 (September 7, 1962), 327-519.-Eds.

     new  to find someone who believes in original sin."  The prickly belief
in original sin is not Golding's only unfashionable stand. Under questioning
by  undergraduates,  he  cheerfully  admitted  he  has  read  "absolutely no
Freud"4 (he prefers Greek plays  in  the original) and said there
are  no girls  on the  island  because  he  does not  believe  that "sex has
anything to do with humanity at this level."
     At 51, bearded,  scholarly William Golding claims to  have been writing
for 44 years-through childhood in Cornwall, Oxford, wartime  duty as a naval
officer,  and  19  years  as  a  schoolmaster.  Golding   claims  to  be  an
optimist-emotionally if not intellectually-and has  a humor that belies  the
gloomy themes of his allegories. One critical appraisal of Lord of the Flies
that impressed him came from an English schoolboy who went to an island near
Puerto  Rico last  year to  make a movie based oh the book. Wrote the little
boy from the idyllic island,  surrounded by his happy peers  and pampered by
his producer: "I think Lord of the  Flies stinks. I can't  imagine  what I'm
doing on this  filthy island, and it's all your fault." In Golding's view, a
perfectly cast savage.

     4.  An  excellent "Freudian" analysis of Lord of  the Flies appears  in
Claire  Rosenfield's "Men of a Smaller Growth:  A  Psychological Analysis of
William Golding's Lord of the Flies," Literature and Psychology, XI (Autumn,
1961),  93-101. Reprinted, in  a revised  version,  on pp.  261-276  in this

     A Checklist of Publications
     Relevant to Lord of the Flies

     Allen,  Walter,  "New  Novels."  New Statesman, XLVIII  (September  25,
1954), 370.

     Amis, Kingsley, New Maps of Hell. New York: Ballantine Books, 1960, pp.
17 (note), 24, and 152.

     Baker, James R., "Introduction."  In Lord of the Flies: Text, Notes and
Criticism, edited  by James  R. Baker and  Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr. New  York:
Capricorn Books, 1964. An earlier version entitled "Why It's No Go" appeared
in Arizona Quarterly, 19 (Winter, 1963), 293-305.

     Bowen,  John,  "Bending  Over  Backwards."  Times  Literary  Supplement
(October 23,1959), 608.

     "One Man's  Meat: The  Idea of Individual Responsibility  to  Golding`s
Fiction." Times Literary Supplement, (August 7,1959), 146.

     Broes, Arthur T., "The Two Worlds of William Golding." Carnegie  Series
in English, No. 7 (1963), 1-7.

     Golby,  Vineta,  "William  Golding."  Wilson  Library  Bulletin, XXXVII
(February, 1963), 505.

     Coskren, Thomas M., O. P., "Is Golding Calvinistic?" America, 109 (July
6,1963), 18-20.

     Cox, C. B., "Lord of the Flies." Critical Quarterly, 2  (Summer, 1960),

     Davis,  Douglas M., "Golding, The Optimist, Belies  His Somber Pictures
and Fiction." National Observer (September 17, 1962), 17.

     Drew, Philip, "Second Reading." Cambridge Review, 78 (1956), 78-84.
     Egan,  John M., "Golding's  View  of  Man.' America,  108 (January  26,
1963), 140-41.

     Epstein, E.  L., "Notes on Lord of the Flies" In Lord of the Flies. New
York; Capricorn Books, 1959, pp. 249-55.

     Forster,  E.  M., "Introduction."  In  Lord  of  the  Flies. New  York:
Coward-McCann, Inc., 1962, pp. ix-xii.

     Freedman,  Ralph,  "The  New Realism:  The  Fancy  of William Golding."
Perspective, 10 (Summer-Autumn, 1958), 118-28.

     Fuller,  Edmund, "Behind the Vogue: A Rigorous Understanding." New York
Herald Tribune (November 4, 1962), 3.

     Gindin,  James,  "  'Gimmick'  and  Metaphor in the  Novels of  William
Golding." Modern  Fiction Studies, 6  (Summer,  1960),  145-52. Reprinted in
Gindin's Postwar  British Fiction. Berkeley: University of California Press,
1962, pp. 196-206.

     Golding, J. T.  C., "Letter to  James R.  Baker." In Lord of the Flies:
Text, Notes and Criticism,  edited by James R. Baker  and Arthur P. Ziegler,
Jr. New York: Capricorn Books, 1964.

     Golding,  William, "The Ladder  and the Tree." The Listener,  63 (March
24, 1960), 531-33.

     "Islands." Spectator, 204 (June 10, 1960), 844-46.

     ''Billy the Kid." Spectator, 205 (November 25, I960), 808.

     Grande, Luke M., "The Appeal of  Golding."  Commonweal, LXXVII (January
25, 1963), 457-59.

     Green,  Peter, "The  World of  William Golding." A  Review  of  English
Literature, 1 (April, 1960), 62-72.

     Gregor,  Ian, and Kinkead-Weekes, Mark, "Introduction."  In Lord of the
Flies. London: Faber and Faber School Editions, 1962, pp. i-xii.

     "The  Strange  Case  of Mr.  Golding  and His  Critics." The  Twentieth
Century, CLXVII (February, 1960), 115-25.

     Halle,  Louis  J. "Lord  of  the Flies" Saturday  Review,  38  (October
15,1955), 16.

     Hannon, Leslie, "William Golding: Spokesman  for Youth."  Cavalier,  13
(December, 1963), 10-12, 92-93.

     Hewitt,  Douglas, "New Novels." The Manchester Guardian LXXI (September
28, 1954), 4.

     Hynes,  Sam, "Novels of a  Religious Man."  Commonweal,  71  (March 18,
1960), 673-75.

     Irwin, Joseph  J., "The Serpent Coiled Within." Motive, 23 (May  1963),

     Karl, Frederick  R., "The  Novel  as  Moral Allegory."  In  Karl's  The
Contemporary English Novel. New York: The Noonday Press, 1962, pp. 254-60.

     Kearns,  Francis  E., "Salinger and Golding: Conflict on  the  Campus."
America, 108 (January 26, 1963), 136-39.

     Kearns,  Francis E.,  and Grande,  Luke  M.,  "An Exchange  of  Views."
Commonweal, LXXVII (February 22, 1963), 569-71.

     Keating, James, and William Golding, "The Purdue Interview." Printed in
part  in Lord of the Flies:  Text,  Notes and Criticism,  edited by James R.
Baker and Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr. New York: Capricorn Books, 1964.

     Kermode,  Frank, "Coral  Island." The  Spectator, CCI (August 22,1958),

     ----, "The Novels of William  Golding." International  Literary Annual,
No. 3  (1961), 11-29.  Reprinted in  Kermode's  Puzzles and Epiphanies.  New
York: Chilmark Press, 1962, pp. 198-213.

     Kermode, Frank, and William Golding, "The Meaning of It All." Books and
Bookmen, 5 (October, 1959), 9-10.

     Leed, Jacob  R., "Lord  of the Flies." Dimension, Supplement  to  Daily
Northwestern (January, 1963), 7-11.

     "Lord of the Campus." Time, 79 (June 22, 1962), 64.
     "Lord of the Flies" America, 109 (October 5, 1963), 398.

     Maclure, Millar, 'William Golding's Survival Stories." Tamarack Review,
4 (Summer, 1957), 60-67.

     Maclure,  Millar,  "Allegories  of  Innocence."  Dalhousie  Review,  40
(Summer, 1960), 144-56.

     MacShane, Frank,  "The Novels of William Golding." Dalhousie Review, 42
(Summer, 1962), 171-83.

     Marcus, Steven, "The  Novel Again." Partisan Review, 29 (Spring, 1962),

     Mueller, William R., "An Old Story  Well Told."  Christian  Century, 80
(October 2,1963), 1203-06.

     Nelson, William, William Golding's Lord of  the Flies:  A Source  Book.
New York: Odyssey Press, 1963.

     Niemeyer,  Carl,  "The  Coral Island  Revisited." College  English,  22
(January, 1961), 241-45.

     Nordell,  Roderick, "Book Report." Christian Science Monitor  (December
27,1962), n.p.

     Oldsey, Bern, and Weintraub,  Stanley,  "Lord  of the Flies:  Beelzebub
Revisited." College English, 25 (November, 1963), 90-99.

     Peter, John, "The Fables of William Golding." Kenyon Review,
     19 (Autumn, 1957), 577-92.

     Pritchett,  V.  S., "Secret  Parables." New Statesman (August 2, 1958),

     Rosenfield, Claire,  "Men of a Smaller Growth: A Psychological Analysis
of  William  Golding's Lord  of the Flies."  Literature and  Psychology,  11
(Autumn, 1961), 93-101.

     Spangler, D.  R., "Simon."  In  Lord  of  the  Flies: Text,  Notes  and
Criticism,  edited  by  James R. Baker and Arthur P. Ziegler,  Jr. New York:
Capricorn Books, 1964.

     Stem,  James, "English Schoolboys  in the Jungle." New York Times  Book
Review (October 23, 1955), 38.

     Trilling,  Lionel,  "Lord  of  the  Flies"  The  Mid-Century, Issue  45
(October, 1962), 10-12.

     Wain, John, "Lord of the Agonies." Aspect, No. 3 (April, 1963), 56-57.

     Walters,  Margaret,  'Two  Fabulists:  Golding  and  Camus."  Melbourne
Critical Review, No. 4 (1961), 18-29.

     Wasserstrom, William, and Rosenfield,  Claire,  "An Exchange of Opinion
Concerning William Golding's Lord of the Flies."
     Literature and Psychology, 12 (Winter, 1962), 2-3, 11-12.

     Young, Wayland, "Letter from London." Kenyon Review, 19 (Summer, 1957),

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