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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Lord of the Flies by William Golding-Free Summary
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After all have assembled, the boys elect Ralph as their chief. Golding says that "there was a stillness about Ralph... and... there was the conch. The being that had blown that, had sat waiting for them...." The boys assume that there is some special quality to Ralph and the conch. They don't even consider Piggy or Jack.

NOTE:

The idea that people invest other people and objects with power is important in this story. You will see that Ralph and the conch are given importance and that later that importance is taken away. Some characters, such as Piggy and Simon, who should be regarded as significant, will never be given that respect by the other boys. This is Golding's view of how people allow themselves to believe and disbelieve in people and ideas without considering what is real.

The boys decide to find out whether they are alone on the island. While surveying with Ralph and Simon, Jack says they are true "explorers." The word "glamorous" is used to describe how they feel about themselves and the island. Joyously they heave a boulder over a ledge just to watch it smash on the rocks-an action that foreshadows the falling of other rocks later in the book.


From atop the mountain, Ralph, Jack, and Simon see that the island is "boat-shaped" and feel like men on a ship rushing toward an adventure. This idea of men on a ship moving toward an appointed destiny is repeated at the story's climax, and in it we find hints of the author's profound understanding of human nature.

As the boys descend the mountain, Simon admires the beauty of the candle bushes. Ralph thinks them useless because they don't shed light, and Jack slashes one with his knife. Here again Golding gives us clues of what is to come. The boys encounter a pig, but they are unable to kill it. Although Jack has been talking about hunting for food, he hesitates to stab. "The pause" of the knife "was only long enough for them to understand what an enormity the downward stroke would be."

These are boys playing out their fantasy of life on a deserted island, a life without adult rules. They recognize instinctively that the "cutting into living flesh" and the "unbearable blood" will destroy the game. Yet Jack begins to practice stabbing, and he promises a kill next time.

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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Lord of the Flies by William Golding-Free Summary
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