Literapedia Book Notes for

The Inheritors by William Golding


  • Lok (ch 1)—The younger adult male of the group, very unintelligent and often speaks without thinking.
  • Liku (ch 1)—The young daughter of Lok and Fa, approximately 5 years old.
  • Fa (ch 1)—An adult woman, partner of Lok and mother of Liku, the most intelligent of the group.
  • Ha (ch 1)—Adult male, more intelligent than Lok, partner of Nil
  • Nil (ch 1)—Mother of a young baby, still nursing the new one, suffers most from lack of food
  • Mal (ch 1)---Oldest man in the group, considered wise and the one to look upon for decisions
  • The New One (ch 1)---baby of Ha and Nil
  • The Old Woman (ch 1)---alpha mother of the group, presumed partner of Mal, knows how to make fire
  • Tuami (ch 7)---Second in command of the new people, resents Marlan
  • The Old Man/Marlan (ch 7)--- The harsh leader of the new people
  • The Fat Woman/Vivani (ch 7)---The priviledged partner of Marlan who keeps the New One as a pet
  • Tanakil (ch 7)---A young girl who becomes friends with Liku when she is taken

Chapter Summaries

  1. The people discover that their usual log for crossing the river has been moved, and they move a new log to cross, but Mal falls in the river.
  2. Mal falls ill as the people settle at their non-permanent encampment, and Lok looks out over the forests as he stands guard.
  3. In a search for food, Lok and Fa ward off hyenas from a freshly-killed doe, and bring back the meat to the encampment. Nil returns without Ha and desperately informs the people that Ha has disappeared.
  4. Lok goes out to search for Ha and Fa goes to the caves to pray to the god Oa for Mal, but they are disturbed by a creature they see in a tree. Mal's condition worsens and he dies, and they bury him in the cliff enclave which they have made into their encampment.
  5. Lok and Fa go again to search for the scent of Ha and become separated when Lok sees new people. He hears Liku scream and chases after them to the water, where he sees the old woman injured and dying.
  6. Lok finds Fa and she tells him that they have killed Nil and the old woman and taken Liku and the new one. They make their way to the island of the new people and move a log to get across the water. They run into the new people's camp and Lok throws the rest of the doe meat to them for Liku.
  7. Fa and Lok hide in a tree to watch the new people, who are thin, hairy, and have long faces. They watch a sacrificial ritual involving a stag costume where a man is chosen at random to sacrifice a finger.
  8. Liku plays with a girl her age named Tanakil, and Fa and Lok make plans to take back Liku and the New One when night falls.
  9. Lok is awaken by Fa to watch the new people drinking "honey-water", a sort of alcoholic beverage. They witness Tuami overpowering and "hunting down pleasure" with the fat woman, which reminds Lok and Fa of animals hunting each other. They then sneak into the camp to take the children but are chased out, attacked, and separated once again. Lok is unable to track the scent of Fa once he gets to the water.
  10. Lok comes to a self-realization that he is the new Mal- the oldest man and one with responsibility. He also discovers simile and the word "like", as in alike. He watches the new people pull a log up a terrace and finds Fa slightly injured. They find the old camp of the people and eat the meat they left hurriedly, drink the honey-water, and drunkenly fall asleep.
  11. Lok and Fa figure out that the new people are leaving fearfully, but they cannot understand why. They watch the people pulling the logs but do not see Liku, who by this time has been sacrificed to the gods. Lok approaches Tanakil who is tethered to a rock under a picture of an idol, and asks her where Liku is. The new people attack and beat Lok and Fa, and they flee. They decide to take Tanakil so that the new people will give back the New One. The new people try to break down the log that Lok and Fa previously placed across the water, while attacking Lok and Fa.
  12. The perspective switches to the new people. Lok and Fa have both died, and the people are moving in the boat. Vivani nurses the new one as the people watch in amusement and disgust, while Tuami makes plans to kill Marlan, the old man, and make himself the leader.

Book Note Creator

Katey Damian, '08