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How It All Started

A few years after the boys of Lord of the Flies were rescued by a passing ship, another group of beings found the island once again, this time aiming to discover financial potentials of Coral Island's brutal, violent history. They decided that the island was an ideal location for the construction of a beach resort, and planned to return at a later date with more supplies. However, due to the biggest storm of the history that raged on surrounding the island over several months, they were forced to rearrange their priorities to a more pressing problem: rescue. Because the storm had such size and power, all means of communication became useless for the duration of the foul weather. Comprised of a few dozens of people, the crew agreed to live out the storm in the island.

Left: John

The Beginning

Because they were, unlike the boys, adults fully responsible and accountable for their actions(or thought they were), they decided to establish their own small society with law and order while they stayed in the island. They decided to make an assembly, and voted Rookwood, one of the older passengers, as a president. There was another figure named John, the most experienced sailor of the ship they rode, who was craving to have the power of the president, but he was outvoted, since there were far less number of sailors than that of the passengers. Shortly after the vote, they were said to have "smiled at each other with shy liking" (Golding 20). This shows how the two influential leaders maintained an amiable relationship with each other at the beginning, despite the fact that one had more authority than the other.

Radio on the Mountain

After surveying the island with John and another young sailor, Sean, Rookwood held the first official assembly to discuss the methods of survival and rescue. With his fellow passenger, Bulky's help, Rookwood was able to sort out most of their impending problems, and after the discussion, they decided to place a radio on the mountaintop to attempt transmitting signals to the nearby ships, where the communication would be easier and quicker due to lack of obstacles around to impede the signals. However, not everything went well, since John started deriding Bulky for his unfit physical appearance, against which Bulky struggled to uphold his rights within the assembly. Bulky also used his rights to persuade others to work more responsibly and efficiently, arguing "how can [they] expect to be rescued if [they] don't put first things first and act proper"  (45).

Signs of Division

John began his attempts at hunting pigs, the only animals present in the island as sources of meat, but was still unsuccessful, despite his speed "like a sprinter" (48) and silent approach "like a shadow under the darkness" (49). As he returned to the part of the beach where Rookwood was working on a makeshift cabin for the islanders by himself, their conversation breaks into an argument. John expresses his desire for meat and frustration over repeated failures in hunting, while Rookwood rebukes him for considering such trivial issue more important than other impending and vital problems such as building shelters and manning the radio for the chance of being rescued. Rookwood complains that the young, inexperienced islanders are "hopeless," and that "the older ones aren't much better" (51), disregarding his orders, and this offends John's obstinate logic, who thinks he is doing the most important task by leading the sailors into hunting pigs for meat. As they gradually calm themselves down, John mentions "the beastie" (53) reluctantly, the supposed creature that lurks in the darkness of the night to haunt the islanders, according to some. However, because of his false sense of bravery, he sums the creature up as "just a feeling" (53). During their talks, Sean, quiet and self-contemplative, stroll around providing young islanders with fruits and communing with nature.

Success in Hunting, Failure in Rescue

Surrounded by an unabating storm, the islanders' lives continued on, adapting themselves to the new environment. Now it was generally agreed that young islanders were virtually non-entities, barely capable of satisfying their own basic needs, much less contributing to the community. A few of the older sailors, including Riley and Mason, got into the habit of agitating the younger ones for their uselessness, weakness, and immaturity, but nevertheless did not cross the lines set within their minds, feeling "the unease of wrong-doing" (63). John gathered his hunters and the twins, Samson and Derrick, and half-urged, half-intimidated them into painting their faces with a variety of colours. Feeling "liberated from shame and self-consciousness" (66), John set out wildly with others, later successfully hunting a pig. In the meantime, Rookwood spotted a ship on the horizon, and realizing that the radio was no longer operating from the mountain, ran up to it and discovered that the hunters neglected to see to it. Jack, triumphantly coming back from his hunt, handled the situation swiftly, retaining his popularity by deriding Bulky and publicly apologizing to Ralph. As a result, Bulky was left abandoned again, seen to only by humanitarian Sean, and Rookwood was seen by everyone as "in the wrong" (76). Rookwood, desperate to assert his "so indefinable and so effective" (77) authority, called the islanders for an assembly in the middle of the enjoyment.

Growing Madness

The meeting Ralph held to reestablish his authority and re-prioritize the boys' goals did not went in accordance to his intentions, but rather helped Jack to strengthen his popularity and unspoken authority and render the boys' behavior more uncontrolled than ever. As the assembly continues and controversy erupts over the existence of "the beast"(89), Jack uses the fear of the beast to expose Ralph's feelings as cowardice and incapability of chieftainship. In a half-baked attempt to correct this disarray, Piggy repeats that "[he] got the conch"(89) to uphold his right, while Simon tries to "express mankind's essential illness", the fundamental evil residing within themselves that results negative outcome, aided by the fear of the unknown and natural attraction towards violence. Ralph, failing to contain the situation, felt the "understandable and lawful world, was slipping away"(98), disappointed at the boys' irresponsible, primitive actions, but also realizing that he was also gradually and unavoidably slipping away, tending to disregard his more important purposes and fulfil his id.

Another Illusion

Unknown to the islanders, the Coral Island receives another visitor, a dead parachutist, presumably through an accident, considering "a sudden bright explosion and a corkscrew trail across the sky" that precedes it. His arrival silently reminds the readers that there is constant chaos raging outside of the island, and by contrast shows how the islanders are foolish to be struggling to overcome the attraction towards violence within their tiny society, displaying it almost like a child's play. The twins, Samson and Derrick, who were operating the radio on the mountain, spot the corpse's movement caused by the wind in the darkness, and mistake it as "the beast" that is "full of claws" and "menace"(107). They "spread the dreadful news"(108) to the others in the assembly, in which John urges the sailors to hunt the beast once and for all. By now his challenges against Rookwood's chieftainship are more than obvious in their aims, as he sneers at Rookwood for being "frightened"(109) and deciding to "keep [Bulky] out of danger"(110), also implicitly using his power to voice his complaints against Rookwood's reaction to the situation, arguing that "[they]'re wasting time"(100) and that dealing with the beast "is a hunter's job"(111).

As they arrive at the unknown part of the island, the sailors grow oblivious of their original purposes and fool around immaturely, and Rookwood, among all the noises and irregularities, finds himself facing the beast alone, the "something flitter[ing] there in front of his mind like a bat's wing, obscuring his idea"(117). Angered by others' and his own irresponsibility, Rookwood, once again, reprimands the sailors and prods the group towards the mountain, where both their biggest fear and brightest hope are awaiting.

John finally reaches the point where he overtly denounces Rookwood's authority and rules by claiming "[they] don't need the conch any more," that some of them should "leave deciding things to the rest of [them]"(111). Rookwood, despite his underlying fear and respect for John's influence and aggression, rises to the occasion, logically rejoining John's derogatory remarks and reminding all islanders of the fact that operating the radio is "the main thing"(111). Rookwood then leads the sailors to the Castle Rock, where the beast was supposedly staying. 

The Rising Darkness

Rookwood, immersed in self-contemplation, finds himself yearning for rescue more than ever, to return to his previous life in which "everything was all right; everything was good-humoured and friendly"(123). But back in reality, he inevitably takes steps toward the abandonment of normalcy and the unleashing of his innermost emotions. As he manages to take part in hunting and successfully stabs a boar himself, he feels "full of fright and apprehension and pride", and later on realizes that "the desire to squeeze and hurt [is] over-mastering"(125). It's the moment he both understands and appals at himself, momentarily enjoying "himself in [the sailors'] new respect and [feeling] that hunting was good after all"(124). Rookwood's first contribution to the hunt provides him a false sense of strength, allowing him to experience the sailors' attention and get "carried away by a sudden thick excitement"(125) of violence and mastery over another living creature. 

On the other hand, Rookwood's foray into hunting is regarded by John as provocation to his popularity, so John intensifies in his criticism against Rookwood. He constantly prods Rookwood into facing the beast, which Rookwood responds to "out of the new understanding that Bulky had given him"(129), who had become wiser due to his refreshed "fear and loathing"(135) towards the beast. They gradually climb the mountain, and when John, Rookwood, and Riley witness the beast in the darkness, they run away from "the thing that bowed"(135); not the beast, but a dead parachutist whose image has been tainted and camouflaged by "the cold, soft ashes of the fire"(134), the extinguished hope and "confusion in the darkness"(135), the evil within himself altering his sights.

The Beginning of the End

As the leader himself accounts for the beast's existence in front of the islanders, the small society is once more disrupted by the prevalence of fear, hopelessness, and hatred. As the sun rises to signal another day, another era rises in the islanders' lives. John's intrinsic desire for Rookwood's power, combined with revulsion towards him, comes to its peak when Rookwood dismisses his sailors as "[men] armed with sticks"(137). Enraged and humiliated, John calls an assembly by blowing the conch himself, and attempts to overthrow Rookwood from his leadership through vote, but utterly fails. His arguments are met by silence that is "breathless and heavy and full of shame"(139), displaying the islanders' inability to support Jack publicly, bound by Ralph's fragile but official authority, with the remainder of their memories of society and its values, and mob mentality preventing them from taking any action. Driven by a mixture of embarrassment and senseless anger, John marches away from the group alone.

Still unable to get over John's sudden departure completely, the assembly resumes, and Sean suggests that "[they] ought to climb the mountain," asking "what else is there to do"(141). His attempt, brave considering his general shyness and introverted personality, is met "with an expression of derisive incomprehension"(141), even by Bulky. Just like that, his sensible suggestion, to recognize the beast without its illusions and reestablish their sanity, is ignored with "a half-sound of jeering"(141). Bulky, although somewhat differently from Sean, still manages to express his intelligence and logic, helping Rookwood  out of his judgement clouded by fear and unruliness by deciding "[they]'ll have the [radio] down [on the beach]"(142). He goes further, even aiding the others in assembling the parts for a new radio, all the while feeling "full of delight and expanding liberty in Jack's departure"(142). Out of sheer excitement and the thrill of starting all over again, Bulky assures Rookwood that "[they] can do without 'em. [They]'ll be happier now"(145). This is very much similar to the situation upon their initial gathering after the plane crash, in which they get carried away by their false feeling of independence and freedom.

Meanwhile, John reorganizes his sailors in the Castle Rock, where the beast supposedly lives(true), hunts a pig, and leaves its head skewered through a spear, and drives it into the ground, leaving it for the beast as "a gift"(151). Sean, watching the scene, is strangely, but perfectly naturally, "held by that ancient, inescapable recognition"(152). The remaining members of Rookwood's original assembly are shaken with trepidation and envy when John returns and invite them to his tribe, in which they "hunt and feast and have fun"(154). The old group gradually begins to divide in its opinion, some saying "it must be jolly good fun," that they "could do with some meat"(157), while others, like Rookwood and Bulky, stand stubborn against their temptations.

The Beast's Hunt

Rookwood and Bulky reluctantly decide to visit the feast, supposedly "to make sure nothing happens"(163), but in reality to get some meat and be part of the enjoyment John's tribe would be experiencing. Although they mention John's tribe's behaviour with hatred and aversion, they "found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society"(167), all under John's newly assumed power, backed by his "pride of ownership"(165). John abruptly begins dancing with his sailors, during which Rookwood and Bulky conflict between "the terror" and "thick, urgent, blind" emotions continuing "like a steady pulse"(168), and returning to a "governable"(168) state, where his conch, now nearly nonexistent but nonetheless official authority, will prevail upon disorder and unruliness. John's dance rapidly develops at a scarily rapid rate, finally reaching the point in which the tribe exercises ruthless, irrational violence for their inner beast, totally failing to recognize Sean, who was carrying a significant truth about the beast's existence, never allowing him to voice his message, "the tearing of teeth and claws"(169) dominating their minds and bodies.

Another Raid

The aftermath of Sean's murder lasts surprisingly short, with everyone who witnessed the scene deliberately altering their recounts to justify themselves, to divert their guilt and inaction. Rookwood claims that "[he doesn't] know what [he] was," Bulky concludes that "it was an accident"(173), that "[they have] never done nothing"(174). Even Samson and Derrick, innocent as they are, repeat that "[they] were very tired," "so [they] left early"(175). John approaches the issue differently, maintaining that "he came-disguised"(177), furthermore denying that they actually killed the creature. As the topic of the discussion returns to other problems, they realize that they are out of means to light the fire. They plan the raid and victoriously pull it off, robbing Bulky of his glasses.


Outraged by John's inhumane behaviour, Bulky becomes determined to march to the Castle Rock and rightfully demand his glasses back. He states that he will speak against him "because what's right's right"(190), and that "[he]'ll show him the one thing he hasn't got"(189). Bulky's courage is the final product of the island's diminishing society and its components, the vanishing authority and sanity motivating him. And of course, their arrival is met by "shivering, silvery, unreal laughter of the savages"(197), and their violence is already wild and uncontrolled that Bulky's plea for "law and rescue" is put to an end by his death from Roger, much more publicly and shamelessly committed. This marks the destruction of Ralph's chieftainship, who is left to his own devices thereafter.

The Final Hunt

Rookwood, after his escape from the Castle Rock following Bulky's death, realized that Samson and Derrick were forced into being part of John's new tribe. He later recalled that "words could not express the dull pain of these things"(208), the misery of isolation from the half-baked society, and the physical and mental fatigue adding up to disrupt his sensibility. Rookwood receives advice from Samson and Derrick that John's tribe, led by Riley, would murder him as violently as they did with Sean and Bulky, the enemies of the beast. He breaks through the dragnet cast by the savages, who were once upon a time innocent group of British boys who used to wear uniforms, obey the instructions, and contribute as proper members of the world. As Rookwood reaches the shore, where everything started with him and Bulky finding and blowing the conch to gather the others, to initiate a community, he comes face-to-face with a naval officer. It is said that John "started forward, then changed his mind and stood still", finally understanding and accepting the weight of the difference between the real world and the world of wildness and turmoil him and his tribe lived and made themselves home in.