Lord of the Flies/Arctic Plane Crash

Lord of the Flies Essay

In 1991, there was a plane crash in the Arctic and the people thought that they would be rescued in about an hour, and throughout the Lord of the Flies, Ralph and the other boys thought that they would be rescued right away but they couldn’t keep the signal fire going. Just as with the real-life plane crash, the boys had been on a plane that crashed. Ralph is focused throughout Lord of the Flies on getting rescued.

He says, “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.” (Golding, 37). Unfortunately, try as they might, the boys struggled with managing to set a fire because they didn’t have any matches. Ralph says to Piggy, “Piggy have you got any matches?” (Golding, 40.)

Then they get an idea and use Piggy’s glasses to make a fire. “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.” (Golding, 41) It was ironic that they were not rescued until after Jack set the whole island on fire. “Then Ralph was running beneath trees, with the grumble of the forest explained. They had smoked him out and set the island on fire.” (Golding, 197).

“While most of the 18 aboard the plane suffered cuts and burns and broken bones, all were alive immediately after the crash. But in the 30 hours that it took for the first squad of military paramedics to arrive, five people, including the pilot, Capt. John Couch, a 32-year-old father of two, had frozen to death. The airlift of the survivors did not begin until 40 hours after the crash.” (https://www.nytimes.com/1991/11/05/world/after-a-plane-crash-30-deadly-hours-in-the-arctic.html.)

When the boys in Lord of the Flies were finally rescued, it was a bittersweet feeling because Piggy and Simon had been killed. The survivors of the plane crash had a similar feeling because in the 30 hours that it took for the first military paramedics to arrive on the scene, five people, including the pilot had frozen to death. The survivors were not airlifted until 40 hours after the crash. “Yet the crash site was a mere 12 miles from the Alert settlement. Survivors had expected rescue within the hour.” (https://www.nytimes.com/1991/11/05/world/after-a-plane-crash-30-deadly-hours-in-the-arctic.html.)

I wonder why it took so long for the boys to be rescued, as well as the survivors of the plane crash. After all, they were sending out smoke signals so they could be rescued. In the same way “the lights of Alert had even been sighted from the cockpit.”(https://www.nytimes.com/1991/11/05/world/after-a-plane-crash-30-deadly-hours-in-the-arctic.html. ) The fact that there were any survivors in either The Lord of the Flies or the real life plane crash is amazing to me!


Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin Group, 1954. Print.

https://www.nytimes.com/1991/11/05/world/after-a-plane-crash-30-deadly-hours-in-the-arctic.html. 5 November 1991. 19 March 2019.