At the opening of the Lord of the Flies, a plane, transporting a group of boys from England is attacked and crashes in the jungle. Two boys, Ralph and Piggy, meet and make their way to the beach. Upon their arrival, they discover a conch shell near the water. Using the shell as a trumpet, Ralph summons the remainder of the boys to an assembly. A large number of boys, varying in age, emerged from the jungle, accompanied by Jack Merridew and his choir, marching in military formation. In assembly, the group appointed Ralph "chief, " primarily because he took the initiative to call the meeting. Sensing Jack's disappointment, Ralph appointed Jack and his choir as soldiers and hunters in order to restore Jack's pride.
Upon discovering the island uninhabited, the boys are exhilarated with a sense of unbridled freedom; however, Ralph also recognizes that some semblance of order must be maintained. To this end, basic rules of civilization are established, the most important being that only those who hold the conch have the right to speak at meetings. Piggy, the voice of reason, lectures the boys due to their inattentiveness to ensuring rescue and survival. Nevertheless, Piggy is ignored. Instead of first building shelter, the group ignites an enormous signal fire, using Piggy's glasses as a tool, eventually setting the far side of the mountain ablaze.
The group, enthusiastic about new ideas, soon becomes uncooperative in all tasks, including the construction of shelters. Jack and his hunters, insistent that hunting for meat was most imperative, neglected their duty to maintain the signal fire. Due to this blunder, the boys miss their first opportunity to be rescued. Just then, Jack and the hunters emerge from the jungle, crazed with excitement about their hunt, their kill, and the blood. As Piggy criticizes the hunters on their irresponsibility, Jack slaps him violently, asserting his power.