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Lord of the Flies: Chapter Analysis

Chapter 2

The conch is definitely a symbol of power and whoever has it gets the “right” to speak and the other boys must be quiet. The fire symbolizes the fire and hope within the boys not only to be rescued, but also to survive and be content on the island. The fires within them flare up the highest when the physical fire becomes huge and starts burning down the island. When the fire is high and active, the boys' hopes burn wildly as well. However, when it goes down, and PIggy says the hard truth of the situation, that the fire destroyed lots of resources and the little children, the flames of hope inside the boys also dies down as they realize the situation at hand. The death of the boy with the scar shows the severity of the consequences of their actions and births a new darkness in the boys' previous childish desires. They just want play and mess around, but their newly unrestricted actions can lead to darker outcomes, as shown with the death of children in the fire.

The symbolism of the conch is evolving from a mystic representation of rightful power to a more real-world way to apply that power and demand respect among the boys. However, Piggy doesn't get that same respect because he is regarded as an outsider because of his personality and appearance. The fire shows how youthful exuberance can get out of control and have disastrous results. The death of the little boy is a reality check that makes the boys realize that this is a life or death situation and they have a responsibility to keep each other safe.

The conch stands for power over the group. It determines who is able to speak, and symbolizes leadership. When the conch is blown, all of the boys meet up with each other, which makes the conch a symbol for unity. The fire symbolizes how something good can turn into something bad rather quickly. Even though fire can be used to make food or provide warmth, it can also destroy the island and ruin the chance of survival.

Chapter 3

In the scene at the end of the chapter where Simon sneaks off into the jungle, the light is fading quickly and darkness is taking over. This symbolizes the transition from the fun, tropical vacation atmosphere present at the beginning of the novel to the more sinister things that are brewing. The boys are starting to realize that surviving and cooperating is harder work than they thought and that human nature can be dark. The scene emits a feeling of calmThe progression of the light is marking time passing by and shows that the evening is coming. This marks the end of a strenuous day in which not much progress was made, but still, Simon seems content.

Simon is shown to be the nicest and most helpful of the boys. He is shown aiding the little boys by getting them fruit. He also helps Ralph with the shelter while everyone else plays/disregards the work. While Jack believes the way to survive is by hunting, Ralph believes shelter is more important. Jack displays savageness, while Ralph represents order and civilization. Simon does not fall into either category. Rather, Simon takes refuge in the forest surrounded by nature. Simon then represents a middle character between Ralph and Jack. He can possibly represent hope or middle ground for the group. The progression of light represents that the fun possibilities of the island fade away. There is work and the idea of survival the group needs to be aware of.

Simon does not belong to any group of boys. There are the happy go lucky boys who just want to play, and then there are the more serious, wanting-to-save-everybody, boys consisting of Ralph, Piggy, and Jack. These three boys have conflicting opinions, but Simon does not take sides. Instead, he acts on kindness and common sense. In a way, he represents normality and calmness while the other boys are letting loose. The scene in the forest emphasizes his down-to-earth character and indifference to the conflicts going on around him. It is one of the few scenes where readers are stopped to enjoy the beauty and simplicity of nature. Simon's connection to nature allows him to be the only one to notice such beauty. As the sunlight temporarily goes away, so do all the problems the boys have (at least for readers and Simon). The “riotous colors died and the heat and urgency cooled away,” representing the cooling down of chaos for the moment.

When Simon sneaks off, light symbolizes the initial thrill of being on the island. When he goes into the jungle and needs to survive, there is no longer a thrill of being stranded on the island, and all of his effort is redirected into surviving. When the light slowly disappears, the struggle to survive is shown more than ever. The fun of the island fades away, and the scene takes on a sinister view of survival.

Chapter 4

After Jack lets the fire go out, he justifies himself with the success of killing the pig. When Ralph rages at his ignorance, Jack defends himself by saying that ”' the job was too much. We needed everyone,'” (64). When Piggy continued to point out his mistake, Jack takes advantage of his superior physical form and antagonizes Piggy: “he took a step, and able at last to hit someone, stuck his fist into Piggy's stomach. Piggy sat down with a grunt. Jack stood over him. His voice was vicious with humiliation,” (65). He shows his authority and masks his embarrassment by attacking Piggy. He understands that, without him, the boys would not have meat, so he demands respect and appraisal from the boys. Food is a necessity, and Jack provided that necessity. Although they were not rescued, they had food thanks to him. Even Ralph, who was fuming at Jack's insubordination, accepts Jack's meat. Jack enforces his dominance by neglecting to give Piggy any food. “Piggy spoke…. 'Aren't I having none?' Jack had meant to leave him in doubt, as an assertion of power; but Piggy by advertising his omission made more cruelty necessary. 'You didn't hunt,'” (67).

Jack told the group in a previous chapter that his choir group would be the hunters and take charge of the fire. The jobs he took on presented him as a hard worker and trustworthy. Jack originally tries to explain to Ralph that the pig was an important matter at that moment, even though the fire was a main priority. When Ralph does not acknowledge his actions, Jack simply apologizes. Golding writes, “Clearly they were of the opinion that Jack had done the decent thing, had put himself in the right by his generous apology and Ralph, obscurely, in the wrong,”(102). In front of the group, Ralph cannot say anything to Jack because of his apology. Nonetheless, it is clear that Jack should have been tending the fire at all times and that it is his fault that the group had not been rescued.

After the fire is lit, the boys are able to feast on the meat. It is clear that they are all tired of living on only fruit. The boys are in debt to Jack for providing them with food. Jack wields his power of food provider by offering none to Piggy. Jack wants more than respect from the boys. He says, ” 'I got you meat!'…. 'I painted my face—I stole up. Now you eat—all of you—and I—' Jack looked round for understanding but found only respect,”(104). He wants everyone to understand that he deserves to be recognized after all the work he had done. Although he was in the wrong, he believes that getting the meat was something that should be valued now that they can no longer do anything about the ship.

It is seen as Jack's fault that the group is not rescued since he is not able to keep the fire going. He says “We needed everyone” [71] and attempts to blame the rest of the group for not being there for help instead of accepting the responsibility himself. This indirectly shows how Jack isn't a great leader; when he can't handle his responsibility he blames others instead of taking the blame himself. He believes that having a meal is more important than a fire. He tries to cover up his embarrassment by attacking others in the way he blames them and soon attacks Piggy physically. However, everyone is still dependent on Jack since he provides food/meat. Even Ralph is dependent on Jack for food, even though he doesn't respect Jack.

Chapter 5

When Jack says “Bollocks to the rules!” all hell breaks loose on the island. This shows how, without rules, people can become savages or beasts, as Simon was trying to point out. The boys are rabid, frenzied, looking only after their own interests. Jack and the boys imitate the bad parts of human kind that care only for themselves. They are no longer in tuned with their humanity; no one else's well being matters. With this, only the best will survive. The littleuns and some of the other boys (like Piggy, on account of his assmar) can't take care of themselves without the help of the others.

Ralph understands, even though he cannot express it clearly with words, that their life on the island is not going to last long. Without order and regulations, the group will spiral into a world of savages with the idea of play and freedom from adults more important than work, survival, and rescue. Becoming savages signifies a short-term plan of work to survive one day at a time versus organizing for survival. Mankind ceases to exist as the group focuses more on hunting pigs than keeping the fire going. The boys should not succumb to the idea of being savages, otherwise survival will be completely impossible.

Jack disregards all rules, and through this shows the “beastly” parts of human nature that want anarchy and society without rules. He promotes the self-serving idea of only working for oneself, and is very selfish in doing so. The boys start to only care about their own interests instead of the interests of others, and everyone forgets manners. However, the littuns can't live without the support of others.

Chapter 6

Jack represents a heavy-handed, violent, and tyrannical form of leadership based on fear and the absolute power of one person. Ralph represents a more republican form of government where the leader is elected, takes the desires of others into account, and tries to create a community of responsibility and cooperation. Jack focuses on hunting and violence, which stem from man's desire to kill and exert dominance over others. Ralph clings to the hope of returning to civilization, which stems from man's desire to be part of a community. Jack refuses to see things Ralph's way because that would mean conceding control to another person and giving up the exciting, savage adventure.

Jack represents tyranny while Ralph recognizes the importance of letting the boys speak; he favors a democratic society. This reflects both their personalities: Jack is arrogant, incapable of accepting his faults, and an overtly dominant ruler while Ralph is more humble, able to understand and accept opinions, and not nearly as power hungry. Jake plans his actions to preserve his own power; Ralph acts for the benefit of the group.keeping the fire going represents a more civil aspect of human nature that relies on the help of other people. This symbolizes humility as well; they know they need outside help, they cannot rescue themselves, which is why Jack refuses to admit they need the fire. Jack doesn't like admitting his weaknesses; he does not have the modesty to accept his incapacities. The desire to hunt shows the self serving, savage part of human nature that values self preservation over all else.

Literature | Book Review


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