Chapter-wise Summaries and Comments
Chapter 1: The Sound of the Shell
Ralph and Piggy meet up with each other in a dense jungle and make their way to the beach. From their conversation we make out that a group of children were being sent by air when their plane was attacked and crashed into a jungle, walking along the beach they discover a conch shell. Piggy tells Ralph that they could blow the conch shell like a trumpet and summon all the children to the beach for a meeting. A large number of boys ranging from five to twelve years of age gather together on the beach. Piggy learns everyone’s names. A choir, dressed in black cloaks and caps, and led by Jack Merridew comes to the meeting.
The boys discuss their situation and decide that since no adults are present it is necessary to choose a leader, Ralph is chosen, primarily because he had taken the initiative to call the Meeting. Jack is disappointed to have been left out big Ralph assuages his feelings by making him and choir the soldiers and hunters for the group. Jack is not quite reconciled and vents his frustration by teasing Piggy. After telling the younger boys to stay on the beach, kalph Sets off with Jack and Simon to explore the island and to find out whether there were people living on it. They climb a mountain, telling each other stories to come to know each Other better. They come across a wild pig caught in the bushes and Jack tries to kill it with a knife but does not succeed in doing so. He covers up his failure by saying that the reason. Why he failed was because he did not know where to stab the Pig but next time he would not fail.
The first chapter which runs into 30 pages should be read carefully because it raises all the questions that Golding wants to discuss in the novel. Some of these questions are:
- The boys find themselves on an island with no grown. Ups to control them. They are free to do what they like but the question is: Is absolute permissiveness a good thing? Initially, the boys enjoy themselves but soon realized that a leader has to be chosen to bring some order and discipline in their lives. What this means is that man must curb his freedom if he has to survive; otherwise, he Would turn into a beast.
- It is necessary to have some kind of institutional authority and the conch shell is that symbol because it summoned all the boys to a meeting on the beach. Hereafter the person who possesses the shell becomes the arbiter of authority.
- As the novel deals with the natural maliciousness of marl’ we find traces of it in the reactions of Jack Merridew: when he is not chosen leader and accepts the leadership of the choirboys as hunters and soldiers with reluctance; if he had his own way, he would have fought for the leadership there and then. Second, his sense of frustration and hence his hunger for power is revealed when he fails. To kill the pig. He does not accept the situation gracefully but boasts that next time round, he will be able to kill
- One of the fundamental questions that Golding asks is what keeps human society together. Is it a common need? Or a common fear against which people have to unite if they have to survive? Or a common desire which can be expressed in many different ways like love for the good things of life, a lust for power, and so on? But can the baser instincts of man be kept in check?
Chapter 2: Fire on the Mountain
When Ralph, Jack and Simon return, a meeting is called. Ralph tells the boys that the island is uninhabited and all that was required of them was to remain calm and disciplined until they were rescued. The island had enough to keep them fed and healthy to which Jack said that he and his army would keep them supplied with meat, but, unlike the earlier meeting there is an underlying tension as Jack tries to dominate the proceedings. Here is an extract of the meeting,
Ralph cleared his throat
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, and no people. We’re on. An uninhabited island with no people on it.”
Jack broke in.
“AII the same you need an army–for hunting. Hunting i
“Yes. There are pigs on the island.”
All three of them tried to convey the sense of the pink
Live things struggling in the creepers.
“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 thing.”
He lifted the shell on his knees and looked round the sun-splashed faces.
“There aren’t any grown-ups. We shall have to look after
Ourselves.” The meeting hummed and was silent.
“And another thing. We can’t have everybody talking at once. We’ll have to have ‘Hands up’ like at school.” A semblance of order had to be maintained and some basic rules had to be established for the good of all. To begin with, there was just one rule: anyone holding the conch shell would be permitted to speak at meetings. S’ and he won’t be interrupted. Except by me,” Ralph said. To which Jack added,
“We’ll have rules! Lots of rules! Then when anyone breaks ’em,” he said ominously, “there would be hell to pay,” Piggy was listening carefully to all that was happening around him and ‘lectured the boys to be more serious and attentive to the problems they were facing and how important it was to be rescued. “The plane was shot down in flames nobody knows where we are. We may be here for a long time,” he told the boys.
‘The silence was so complete that they could hear the fetch and miss of Piggy’s breathing. The sun stained in and lay golden over half the platform. …Ralph pushed back the tangle of fair hair that hung on his forehead.
“So we may be here for 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”
Piggy, partly recovered, pointed to the conch in Ralph’s hands, and Jack and Simon fell silent. Ralph fell silent.
“While we are waiting we can have a good time on the island.”
The meeting continues with great deal of banter but nobody pays any attention to Piggy’s advice. One of the youngest boys
“He was a shrimp of a boy, almost six years old, and one side of his face was blotted out by a mulberry-colored birthmark “– asks for the conch and talks about a beast, a snake-thing, he saw the night before. The older boys assure the boy that it must have been just a nightmare but the seeds of doubt and fear had been sown.
“Something he (Ralph) had not known was there rose in him and compelled him to make. The point, loudly and again.
‘But I tell 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. Live been thinking. I was thinking while we were climbing the mountain…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….My father’s in the Navy, – He said there aren’t any unknown islands left. He said the Queen has a big room full
Of maps and all the islands of the world are drawn there. So the Queen’s got a picture of this island.”
Again came the sounds of cheerfulness and better heart Ralph now discusses the need for building and maintaining a fire on the mountain to attract the attention of ships passing by. The boys are so enthusiastic that they rush off to the mountain top to build a fire leaving the meeting in total disorder. Ralph and Piggy are left behind and Piggy reflects sadly on the immaturity of the boys. Ralph goes after boys followed slowly by Piggy.
On the mountain top, the boys gather a pile of fire wood but nobody knows how to light a fire. The lens of Piggy’s glasses are used to kindle a flame which soon becomes a roaring fire. But the fire does not fast long which annoys Piggy who is compelled to lecture the boys on their irresponsible behavior. Meanwhile, sparks from the fire set alight some of the dead trees in the forest. Piggy continues to lecture the boys and adds that one of the younger boys has not been seen since the .fire began.
“That little 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!”
“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 continued.
The main thrust in this chapter is the attempt to hold a civilized meeting and the decision to start a fire that would attract any passing ships. But the effort to hold a democratic assembly fails to take off because the boys lacked the discipline required to do so. Even a simple thing to start a fire becomes stuck: the boys did not have a matchbox and had to resort to the ancient ways of focusing the rays of the sun through a lens of an eye glass. And when the fire started, the boys did not know when to stop and kept on piling wood which sets the jungle ablaze. What Golding is saying is that freedom means curtailing other possibilities of freedom that is, keeping your base instincts under control. The boys lacked this fundamental requirement and the savagery that was latent within them began to assert itself.
In a sense this chapter the sense of adventure with which the novel had started off with begins to fade when confronted with the harsh realities of life. Discipline is breaking down and the seeds of a power struggle between Ralph and Jack are sown. The boys are a formless mass who can be swayed one way or the other at the slightest provocation. This meant the seeds of fascism were present in all of us from early childhood and it only needed a demagogue and the proper circumstances to assert itself.
Chapter 3: Huts on the Beach
Jack stalks a pig through the jungle but the animal manages b escape. Golding describes the hunt in great detail over two Pages and these are some of the key sentences that build up the tension and the frustration at the end, “Jack was bent double. He was down like a sprinter. His 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 them; 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 a 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 hide …
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 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 the 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 was 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.”
Ralph complains to Jack that most of the boys were in disciplined and did not take any interest in important Projects. They enjoy the discussions for a while but then their minds wander off in different directions. He hints that Jack and his hunters would be more useful in building huts than in roaming about in the jungle. But Jack insists that hunting is necessary even if they did not have any success so far. Each of the boys tries to explain their feelings to each other but they are unable to communicate with themselves. Frustration builds up and along with it a strong feeling of dislike for each other.
Meanwhile, Simon who had always been a bit of a recluse and did not involve himself in the emerging power struggle between Jack and Ralph wanders off on his own into the jungle. Here he helps the little boys to pick some of the fruit they could not reach on the trees. After going further he comes to the edge of the forest and admires the amazing variety of flora and fauna.
This is a short descriptive chapter and its real importance lies in the sharp delineation of characters. Jack’s aggressiveness and lack of scruples is shown in sharp contrast to Ralph: Jack is the hunter forever after his prey while Ralph is the builder making huts so that they could be a little more comfortable. One of the functions of society is to provide food and shelter for everyone which Ralph realizes but Jack does not. The seeds of a future struggle are being sown which shows that human beings are not easy to govern. And this is especially true in a democratic society where everyone has the right to I express their opinions and go their different ways. For Ralph is just beginning to learn the elementary rules of the democratic system is too slow and frustrating.
For instance, the boys show great enthusiasm to building huts bat lose interest soon afterwards.
Simon’s character is now beginning to emerge. He away from all the bickering’s that had started but this mean that he cannot read the situation. He prefers to keep himself and admire and appreciate nature’s bounties. This helps him later to understand the underlying tensions among boys. You must always bear in mind that Lord of the Flies study of human society, what makes it works and what it break down. Golding has chosen his characters to be boys because this would help us understand that the elements that make it difficult to govern, peacefully and democratically are present in us from childhood. Time and circumstances bring out these out on the surface and destroy the cohesiveness of society.
Chapter 4: Painted Faces and Long Hair
The boys get accustomed to the rhythm of life in a tropical island. Mornings are fresh and clean but as the day wears on and the sun rises to its zenith it gets muggy which forces then to take an afternoon nap. The hot afternoon sun also creates illusions which Piggy recognizes as mirages. Late afternoons are cooler but darkness falls suddenly upon the island which frightens some of the-boys.
The smallest boys known as the littluns form a separate group of their own. They spend most of the day eating fruit from the jungles, irrespective whether they are ripe or not TB causes chronic diarrhea among them.
Here is a brief description of the littluns at play. There was a pool at the end of the river, a tiny mere dammed back by sand and full of white water-lilies needle-like reeds. Here Sam and Eric were waiting, and Jack concealed from the sun, knelt by the pool and two large leaves he carried. One of them contained white clay and the other red. By them lay a stick of charcoal brought From the fire.
Jack explained to Roger as he worked,
They don’t smell me. They see me, I think, something under the trees.”
He smeared on the clay.
“If only I had some green.”
He turned-a half-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 something else–—”
He twisted in the urgency of telling.
“—like moths on a tree trunk.”
Roger understood and nodded gravely. The twins moved towards 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 downs ok 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 socket white, then rubbed red over the other half of his and slashed a black bar of charcoal across from right ear left jaw. He hooked in the mere for his reflection, but his lathing troubled the mirror.
‘ Samneric, Get me a coco-nut. An empty one.”
He knelt, holding the shell 8 water. A rounded patch of
In light fell on his face and a brightness appeared in the depths of the water. He looked in astonishment, no longer at myself but at an awesome stranger. He split the water and leaped to his feet, laughing excitedly. Beside the mere, his body held up a mask that drew their eyes and appalled them began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling. He capered towards Bill and the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and consciousness. The face of red and white and black swung through the air and jigged towards Bill. Bill started laughing; then suddenly he fell silent and blundered through the bushes,
Jack rushed towards the twins.
“The rest are making a line. Come on,”
“Come on! I’ll creep and stab—I’
The mask compelled them.
This passage apart from telling us about the war games the littluns had started to play reveals that underneath the surface of their lives, violence was ever-ready to burst open,
Later on Ralph and Piggy sit on the beach while the other boys are swimming. Suddenly they see a ship on the horizon but discover to their horror that the fire on the mountain had gone out. They and the other boys rush to rekindle the fire but it is too late. They realize that Jack and his group who were responsible to keep the fires going had abandoned their job and wandered off into the forest.
Jack in the meanwhile returns with the boys, singing war-like songs and carrying the carcass of a pig. Ralph informs Jack about the ship and accuses him of gross irresponsibility. But
Jack and his group are so excited about their kill that they were not prepared to listen to anything Ralph had to say. Piggy also criticizes the hunters but Jack gets so angry that he slaps him across the face breaking the lens of his glasses. Ralph’s dislike for Jack grows stronger with this incident that showed him up
As a callow little boy who was not prepared to listen to others. Ralph loses his cool and shouts at Jack who apologizes for his behavior–but not for bullying Piggy.
The pig is roasted and a feast is held. Jack carries his grudge with Piggy further by refusing to give him any meat. Jack leads his hunters in .a wild, barbaric dance round the fire where they re-enact the hunt.
“We spread round. I crept on hands and knees. The 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 hindquarters, so then the circle could close in and beat and beat— “l cut the pig’s throat—” The twins, still sharing their identical grin, jumped up and tan round each other. The rest joined in, making pig-dying noises and shouting.
“Give one for his nob!”
“Give him a four-penny on!”
Then Maurice pretended to be the pig and ran squealing into the center, and the hunters, circling still, preened to beat him. As they danced, they sang. “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in.”
Ralph watched them, envious and resentful. Not till they lagged 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 on in the dark down on the platform. When I blow it. He turned away and walked off, down the mountain.
This chapter describes the growing rift between Ralph and Jack. But, more importantly, it shows that even the littluns are not innocent because they have violence in their genes.
Golding’s main story is the regression in human values once the taboos of civilization were removed. Evil was always present within us and it is only a set of circumstances that bring them out on the surface. In other words, man was part animal and was governed by his emotions and sub-conscious drives rather than reason. And these ‘drives’ were barbaric and always assert themselves once ‘the restraints of organized were removed, ‘Painted Faces and Long Hair’ is really a metaphor for the naked savage within us.
Chapter 5: Beast from Water
The assembly is held, as usual, on the beach. Ralph lectures the boys on their immaturity not to support any of the essential requirements like building huts, collecting drinking water every day, and keeping up the fire which was required to draw attention of any passing ships. He also lists such mundane things like the rules for sanitation and cleanliness without which they would all fall ill.
But there was another matter which had troubled many of the boys, especially the littluns who are terrified by visions of beasts at night. Ralph tries to allay their fears and he is joined in his efforts by Piggy. But both can see that attempts explain away the fears had not succeeded and some of the boys might well be losing their sanity. In fact, the fear of beats continues to grow even while the boys cannot agree on the importance of having a permanent fire that would be the only way of attracting passing ships and hence their deliverance
He pretended to fall all over. He rubbed his rump and sat down 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 begins 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.
The meeting becomes disorderly and chaotic. The boys like the confusion and scream and laugh. Jack continues to bully Piggy. Ralph tries to bring some disorder but fails primarily because Jack does not abide by any rules, except his own. Most of the boys run off, led by Jack. Piggy advises Ralph to blow the conch and call the boys back to the meeting. But Ralph does not do this because he feared that if the boys did not return his authority would be further eroded. He is depressed at his failure to control and bring some discipline among the boys and considering resigning from his post. But Piggy and Simon reassure him of the need to hold on to his post. Ralph is desolate and watches the scene boys continue their wild dancing and chanting till they are tired and go off into their tents for the night. In the darkness the only sound is that of a littlun crying,
There are two ways you can read this chapter. At one level, you can clearly see the breakdown of discipline because of Jack’s ambition to capture power. He leads the band of boys in a frenzied dance which symbolizes the impending takeover of power while exposing Ralph’s ‘inability to control the crowd, The age of innocence is all over and Ralph has to come to terms with the growing danger from his own companions who refuse to abide by any rules, other than their own. At another Level, we see Ralph trying to understand the psychology of his opponents and how to beat them on their game. For this, leadership has to be combined with intelligence, two inputs that can be supplied by Piggy who can see through the machinations of the opposition.
It is necessary to understand the importance of the assembly where the boys gather together to discuss their problems. The littluns have reported to have seen some wild beast that have made them pass sleepless nights. There are different approaches on how the problem could be solved,
Ralph plans to vote the beast out of existence; Jack thinks that the boys should be able to stand up to the fear; Simon comes closest to the truth when he says that the evil exists within themselves. What this chapter does is to tackle the central question of the novel: the presence of an evil force and the control or fear of that force, what does one do with the perpetual presence of evil and how does one control it or at least rein it in? Again, does the evil reside in adults alone or do children also carry the genes within themselves?
Chapter 6: Beast from Air
Soon after the boys had gone to sleep there is a battle between aircraft high above the island.
This was the world of grown-ups, though at the time there was no child awake to read it. There was a sudden bright 5 explosion and a cockcrow 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 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 the mountain. The figure fell and crumpled among the
Blue flowers of the mountain-side, but now there was a 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 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—-
When the children who were to keep watch over the fire on the mountain-top awoke they are terrified and run down themountain towards the beach- They tell their story to the-others, giving an exaggerated account of the beast thatattacked them- Even Ralph is a little frightened by the story
After a long and bitter debate, an expedition is organizedarmed with wooden spears to search the island for beasts. Many of the boys are undecided whether to go or not, but they were more afraid to be left alone on the beach to fend for themselves.
As the boys comb the island they reach a part they had never been before. Everyone is afraid, including Ralph but he determined to set an example and search the caves himselfle enters alone because no one is prepared to go along withhim but the moment he enters all fear within him vanishesSoon he is joined by Jack and the others and together theysearch the caves and the rocks above them- For a short timethe old spirit of comradeship comes back to all of them. Even
Ralph and Jack get along very as they explore the islandand together manage to push a huge rock into the sea. Boys are so happy after such a long time that they forget the purpose of their expedition.
Ralph shakes himself up from the fun and games andangrily tells the boys to continue their search so that they could get rid of the fears that had seized them all, Also, hetells them that they had to return to the mountain top to rebuild the fire. At first the boys are reluctant to take orders but
The beast in this chapter is usually interpreted to be the parachutist who drops in from the outside world of adults. But in an interview, The Meaning of it All published in the casebook series by Macmillan, Golding said that the dead man from the sky was a metaphor for the historical past. In other words, Golding said that the past always reasserts itself on the present. Because Lord of the Flies is a complex novel you could interpret the’ ‘beast’ in any way you like and it is not necessary to go by what Golding meant by it. There are some moments of harmony between the boys and also between Ralph and Jack who seem to come together after a long time. But this is a short lived relationship as the inner tensions surface again.
Chapter 7: Shadows and Tall Trees
The boys continue their exploration along the shore towards the mountain top. While one group stops to eat, Ralph stands apart and looks at the vast expanse of the ocean that prevents them to return to civilization.
“Wave after wave, Ralph followed the rise and fall until something of the remoteness of the sea numbed his brain. They gradually the almost infinite size of the 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 was—”
While Ralph stands alone brooding over his fate, Simon joins him and tells him, “You’ll get back to where you came from.” This reassures Ralph as they continue their walk along the beach. Later, Jack suggests that they hunt another pig, everyone agrees, and soon the group comes upon a wild boar. In the mele that follows, the boar escapes brt3hing Jack with a slight wound. Ralph who had participated in a hunt for the first time can now understand why the boys get so excited when they are hunting. Once again, the boys re-enact the hunt with Robert pretending to be the pig. But the boys are overcome by a blood Just which is frightening because Robert could well have been killed in the frenzy that followed. Robert snarled at him, Ralph entered into the play and everybody laughed. Presenting they were all jabbing at Robert who made mock rushes.
“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 and he blundered among them.
They got his arms and legs. Ralph, carried away by a sudden thick excitement, grabbed Eric’s spear and jabbed
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 Jack’s arm came down; 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.”
Darkness descended quickly. Ralph says that they postpone their visit to the mountaintop till the next day because if there is a beast it would not be to-attack him at night, and if there is none, as he suspects, this could only be proved during the day. ‘But Jack taunts him for cowardice which forces Ralph to climb the mountain at night. Meanwhile some had to go and tell the littluns that the boys would not return till late but everyone is afraid to cross the island alone at night. Simon volunteers to do and immediately sets out through the jungle.
When they reach the base of the mountain the boys are hesitant to go up but Jack renews his taunts which compels Ralph and Roger to follow. Jack however goes to the top alone and discovers that there was a strange, bulging figure like a giant ape lurking in the shadows.
“Can you see something?”
In front of them, only three or four yards away, there was a rock-like lump where a rock should be. Ralph could ‘hear a tiny chattering noise coming from somewhere-—perhaps from His own mouth. H 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 silver of moon had drawn clear of the horizon. Before them, something like a great ape was sitting asleep with its head between his knees. Then the wind roared in the forest, there was confusion in the darkness and the creature lifted its head, holding towards them the ruin of a face. Ralph found himself taking great 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.
Basically, the chapter brings out the latent power conflict between Ralph and Jack and how the romance of adventure fades in the face of the harsh realities of life. Ralph, seeing the vastness of the ocean that forms the barrier to their going back, realizes that life was much more than fun and games. But, more importantly, the chapter brings out that despite the ‘goodness’ of Ralph he too has the seeds of violence within, as also the urge to kill. The dance that follows the -boar’s escape and the chants of ‘Kill, kill, kill’ in which Ralph also participates bring out clearly that the beast is always present within us.
The hostilities between Ralph and Jack surface again over the childlike question of who is the braver of the two. Jack seems to be cleverer because he knows that by taunts and suggestions he could get Ralph to do what he wanted him to do. The power struggle is now on and it is only a question of time before it comes out in the open.
Chapter 8: Gift for the Darkness
As news of the existence of the beast spreads there is Panic among the boys. Even Ralph is frightened but Piggy is deeply confused. Without warning, Jack grabs the conch and calls for meeting. He tells the boys that Ralph was a coward and unfit govern. He should be thrown out and another leader chosen. But none of the boys respond to Jack’s call which infuriates him. Jack angrily tells the assembly that he was Ralph watches in dismay
“1 am not going to play any longer. Not with you.’
Most of the boys were looking down now, at the grass or al their feet. Jack cleared his throat again.
“I’m not going to be part of Ralph’s lot—- Prn going off myself. He can catch his own pigs. Anyone who wants to hunt when I do can come too.”
He blundered out of the triangle towards the drop of 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, all the boys are terribly confused. But Piggy is pleased that Jack has left. Simon suggests that they should go up the mountain again and find the beast but the boys are unwilling do so. Ralph is very upset with all that happened and is unable to lead the meeting or do anything constructive to a sense of balance. He begins to give up hope of ever getting out of the island, But when Piggy suggests that they another fire on the beach, hope springs again.
Ralph made a restless movement.
“No go, Piggy. We’ve got no fire. The things sits up there
— we’ll have to stay here.”
Piggy lifted the conch as though to add power to his next words.
“We’ve 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 all the same.”
The boys began to babble. Only Piggy could have the intellectual daring to suggest moving the fire from the mountain.
“So we’ll have a fire down here,” said Ralph. He looked about him. “We can build it here between the bathing-pool and the platform. Of course—”…
The others nodded in perfect comprehension. There would be no need to go near.
“We’ll build the fire now.”
But when the work is finished the boys had all vanished evidently to join Jack. Ralph is concerned about the desertion but Piggy reassures him that they were better off without some of the boys.
Jack now marshals’ his pack. He proclaims himself as the leader and as a celebration go off to hunt a pig. They are successful and mount the head of the pig on a pole as a symbol of their triumph,
Meanwhile Piggy and Ralph sit on the beach to work out their strategies with the shifting balance of power, they try to figure out what had gone wrong and why the boys did not want to organize themselves for their own survival. Piggy thinks Jack was responsible for the whole mischief. But just as they were sorting out their ideas a group of boys painted all over as warriors descend on the beach. They steal the burning sticks of wood and just before they leave, Jack emerges from
The shadows to announce that he was the new leader and anyone wanting to join may do so. Besides, he adds that they Meanwhile Simon has been sitting alone in the jungle staring at the fly-covered head of the pig that stuck on the pole. Suddenly, it seemed that the head—Lord of the Flies
“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 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 boys. 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 freak away and the Lord of the Flies hung in space above him.
“What are you doing here, all alone? Aren’t you afraid of Simon shook?
“There isn’t any one to help you. Only me. And l am 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 other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of
“You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? 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 was imitating the obscene thing on the stick. Ile knew that one of his times were 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 waxy. Do you see? You’re not wanted. Understand? 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—O’
‘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, Owe 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.
This is one of the most important chapters in the novel where Golding brings the basic, issues to a head. The reader is now asked to judge for himself the actions of the boys, whether evil instincts are born within us and under what conditions they express themselves. The group is now split into two groups, the hunters and non-hunters, a pig hunt takes place which culminates in the establishment Lord Flies. We are face to face with the symbol of Evil itself.
The chapter opens with Jack making an open bid for power. He accuses Ralph of being weak and incompetent and walks off, hoping the others would follow although this does not happen immediately, – the stage has been set and which happens soon enough- Ralph is left alone to fend for himself along with Simon and Piggy and some others. But his gang is a pale shadow of the original which would be able to stand the challenges to come from a ruthless hunter like Jack.
It is important that you bear in mind that there is a great deal of symbolism in this chapter. For instance, the pigs head with flies swarming all around it represents the evil that lies “within us. The external form in which evil expresses is nothing to be feared: what is important is to realize that the evil lies dormant and could always awaken when the circumstances arise. From this it follows that the savagery is curbed and allowed to surface. This is the definition of a civilized man—a person who keeps his baser instincts in check.
Chapter 9: A View to a Death
A storm is building up, Simon who had fallen unconscious is revived by rush of fresh air on the mountain. But his encounter with die Lord of the Flies had him emotionally and left him in an exhausted state. But despite his fear and fatigue he climbs up to the top of the mountain where he sees the dead dangling from a parachute that had been entangled in the trees. Here was another shock and he rushes off to inform the boys what he had seen and experienced.
Meanwhile, Piggy and Ralph decide to attend Jack’s partly because they were hungry and partly because
They wanted to keep a watch on events. When they arrive Jack sits in the middle of the camp, presiding over the ceremonies. He welcomes Ralph and Piggy haughtily and invites them to share the dinner. He also takes the opportunity of inviting the boys who had still not joined him to do so which Ralph takes objects by asserting that he was the leader but the boys accept Jack’s offer which leaves Ralph isolated but he is powerless to do anything. “Who is going to join my tribe?”
Ralph made a sudden movement that became a stumble. Some of the boys turned towards him.
“l 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 we’re going to keep the fire going. Now run after food-on “You run 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….’ At once the thunder struck. Instead of the dull boom there was a point of impact in the explosion. Conch counts here too,” said Ralph, “and all over island.” “What are you going to do about it then?” Ralph examined the ranks of the ‘boys. There was no help? In them and he looked away, confused and sweating. Piggy whispered.
“Who’ll join my tribe”)”
“l will. ” “Me”
I’ll blow the conch, “said Ralph breathlessly, “and call an assembly.”
“We shan’t hear it.”
Piggy touched Ralph’s wrist.
“Come away. There’s going to be trouble. And we’ve had our meat,”
As darkness falls, Jack orders the tribe to do the dance
They go around the fire, chanting wildly which brings out the savagery with them.
“Kill the beast. Cut his throat. Spill his blood”
Even Ralph and Piggy dance on the fringes of the group. Suddenly a black shape emerges from the forest. It was Simon with his message but no one was prepared to listen to him in their state of euphoria. In fact they fail to recognize him. The boys catch hold of him, beating and tearing him to death, despite the shrieks of pain and terror.
The storm now breaks out in all its fury. Simon’s body is washed into the sea. The parachutist’s dangling body which had been entangled in the trees is freed by the winds and tarried into the lagoon.
Division between Jack and his group and Ralph with theremovers is now officially acknowledged. Ralph is powerless in be face of ruthless power which pushes him into a corner and deposes his impotence. Piggy, the intellectual, who can see through the power game is the only’ person who sticks around Ralph. But it is now a two-member gang which is no challenge to Jack’s hunters. For all practical purposes, both exiled from the group. Jack assumes dictatorial powers which will allow him to express his sadism and ruthlessness as the novel draws to a close. Simon, a saint-like figure who had come to tell the boys what he had seen in the. Jungle is now done away with, his body washed into the sea. The field is now clear for Jack to deal with Ralph and Piggy in any manner he thinks fit.
Chapter 10: The Shell and the Glasses
Piggy and Ralph take stock of their position on the morning I after they discover that everyone had joined Jack except the twins, Sam and Eric, and a few littluns. Both feel totally isolated and unable to decide what to do next. Ralph is dogged by his memories, white Piggy wants to ascribe Piggy’s death to an accident. Ile tells Ralph that they should not feel guilty because they were on the fringes of the dancing and therefore not directly responsible for what happened. But Ralph would not accept this excuse and insists that they were as responsible for the “murder” as the others. In fact, both of them were partners to the crime and there was no excuse for what had happened,
“It was an accident,” said Piggy suddenly, “that’s what it was, an accident.” His voice shrilled again. “Coming in the dark—he had no-business crawling out of the dark. He was batty. He asked for it “he gesticulated widely again.
“It was an accident,”
“You didn’t see what
“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. O God I want to go home.”
“It was an accident,” Pie
He touched Ralph’s the human contact.
“And look, Ralph, Piggy glanced leaned close— “don’t let on we in that dance. Not to
“But we were- All of us.”
Piggy shook his head
‘Not us till they never noticed in the dark you said I was only on the outside—e
“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”
At Castle Rock where Jack had taken his gang, he rules a tyrant. Roger becomes his second-in-command and does all his dirty work. One of the boys, Wilfred commits some minor error and is brutally punished. Soon all the boys live in perpetual fear of the leaders. Some of them their horror over what happened at the dance but Jack convinces them that it was the beast who was responsible for creating all the confusion and violence. He also adds that the beast was not dead and they should keep a sharp lookout for it. Besides, Ralph and Piggy were also dangerous and would do anything to spoil their fun. Jack then announces plans for another hunt for the next day.
At sunset, the few remaining boys with Ralph and Piggy retire to their huts. They had been trying to keep die fire going on the beach but were becoming listless and depressed. Then without any warning a swarm of boys descend on them. A short violent fight follows in which they all end up beating each other because they are unable to see who’s who in the dark. The raiders leave after a while.
The boys examine the wounds and wonder why Jack and his boys are constantly harassing them. Meanwhile, Piggy is crying in the corner because his glasses had been stolen by the raiders to start a fire of their own.
If this chapter has to be summarized it could be described in one word: brutality. Chapter begins with Jack holding forth in Castle Rock, supported by his second-in-command, Roger and their main job is to instill fear in the boys. To start with, a lesson is taught to Wilfred for something very minor which is really meant as a warning to all the boys to behave or else.
Jack is a tyrant and he rules his ‘kingdom’ as a dictator, Ralph and Piggy are totally marginalized and they both realize their isolation. But Ralph is wracked by guilt over Simon’s death which Piggy tries to assuage but without any result. Ralph knows that both he and Piggy had been carried away by the frenzy of the dance and had lost control of their senses. Any attempt to rationalize which Piggy tries to do was morally wrong.
As against this, Jack is not the least affected by Simon’s death and explains it away to the boys by saying it was the beast that was responsible. At no point does he realize that the beast was within them which was what led to the murder of Simon. The person who had realized this and had come to tell them about the nature of the beast was quickly done away with.
The chapter ends with the attack by Jack’s boys on the few stragglers left with Ralph. They put out the fire which was a symbol of hope for their eventual escape from the island and steal Piggy’s glasses with which to light a fire of their own,
Chapter 11: Castle Rock
Ralph, Piggy and the twins sit beside the ashes of their extinguished fire and take stock of their position. They hold assembly of sorts to decide on their course of action. It was decided that they would go to Jack and get him to see reason,
Not only is there no fire but Piggy is almost blind with his glasses, so, along with the conch which to Ralph was still the symbol of’ authority they go towards Castle Rock. Party is stopped at the gate by armed guards and stopped to go any further. Ralph blows the conch but the response from the guards is a heap of ridicule and taunts. As they ace standing outside the gate, a group of hunters emerge from the forest led by’ Jack. The two leaders confront each other and Jack orders Ralph to go back to his part of the island, Ralph demands that Jack return Piggy’s glasses and accuses him of theft. A short scuffle follows. Meanwhile the hand-to-hand fight continues. There are pathetic cries from Piggy who tries to make himself heard over the din of the fight, Roger seizes this opportunity of pushing a huge boulder towards Piggy which crushes him along with the conch, at the same time. Jack throws a spear at Ralph which grazes past his shoulder tearing his skin. Ralph senses the danger and escapes into the forest. Jack and his boys now turn their attention to the twins and torture them to join the gang.
Ralph is now all alone. All his companions have gone with his last support, Piggy crushed under the boulder. The power struggle is now over, But what these chapters bring out is the ruthlessness behind the struggles where all values were in the melting pot if they came in the way for the seizure of power Most of us see this happening in the adult world of politics but what Golding says is that this drive is latent in all of us even as children
Chapter 12: Cry of the Hunters
Ralph remains hidden in the forest trying to understand the meaning of all the events that had taken place- He also discovers the pig’s head that had been left in the forest as an offering to the beast- Ralph arms himself with the stick on which the pig’s head had been impaled.
In the evening Ralph goes towards Castle Rock where a Feast was on. The twins, Sam and Eric are on guard at the gates. The boys are taken aback by Ralph’s presence but are willing to join him- Nevertheless -they warn him that Jack and the-boys were out looking for him and that he should be Careful. The twins give him food and water and repeatedly tell him to careful.
At night, Ralph takes shelter under a thicket near Castle rock- In tie he hears voices of the boys and realizes that the twins betrayed him to Jack. The entire forest is Bit on fire to smoke him out. Ralph runs one place to place but the hunters had cut off all routes of escape. He cuts through the encircling. Group and heads towards the seashores simply because the entire forest was now fire. Ralph falls exhausted and when he wakes up he finds naval officer standing next to him. The officer tells him the fire his attention and this brought him to island.
Jack’s boys had also reached the beach. On seeing the naval officer, they shrink back and stare silently, theofficer questions Ralph and is shocked to learn that several boys had been killed and all traces of organization and civilization haddisappeared. Ralph realizes that he was now free from the terrors of Jack and his gang but when he thinks of all that had happened, he breaks into tears.
This is a long chapter much of which describes Ralph’s last adventures of running from one place to another, trying to escape from Jack’s boys who were out to kill him. But the significance lies in the realization that any form of civilized behavior and organization is only possible when lines of command are laid down and discipline is maintained. In other words, man’s freedom has to be curbed and if it is not, he goes back to state of the savage in the jungle.