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

The boys cope in different ways with Simon's murder, Ralph and Piggy at one end of the island, Jack and the hunters at the other. During the night Jack steals Piggy's glasses.

Piggy and Ralph are both described as having faulty vision-a symbolical indication of their limited understanding of the beast. Ralph's eye is swollen shut, and Piggy, though he is seeing a little better, is still nearly blind. They try to discuss what was done to Simon.

"What are we going to do?" Ralph asks. They are very much equals now, and Ralph laughs when Piggy reminds him he's still chief. Being chief and having the conch no longer have meaning. And they've committed murder. Ralph's conscience is deeply troubled because he can't understand what happened. In the darkness of the night he responded to his fears, and now that it's light he cannot explain how or why he did what he did. "I was-I don't know what I was."

Piggy can't listen to Ralph's words. "'It wasn't-what you said.' He was gesticulating, searching for a formula." Piggy can't even use the word "murder," as though not saying it will somehow undo what has happened. Piggy makes excuses, looking for a way to dismiss or rationalize what he's done. In the civilized world of adults that Piggy has tried to keep alive, these things don't happen. Or when they do, murder is committed by bad people, people who are different, not by good, sane people like himself. This is the formula Piggy is trying to find, but the fact that he participated in the murder has already proven it false.


Piggy's argument says that these things don't take place where there are civilized societies. Yet the boys are on the island because the world has just seen an atomic war. And when you consider the rise of Hitler and the barbarities of the concentration camps, you know that civilized people do commit murder. This is the dreadful truth that Simon found, that people are both good and evil.

When the twins appear, no one can admit to what has been done, and the boys are embarrassed in front of one another. Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric are incapable of saying, I murdered; I am a murderer. They cannot name what they've done.

Recall the idea of naming and the power of something that has no name. The same idea applies to admitting the truth. To tell the truth is to call something by its true name. Can you remember doing something you wanted no one to know about? Did you find yourself worrying that someone might find out your secret? On the other hand, when you admit to something you've done wrong, your trouble seems to go away. You forget about it after awhile; it no longer has power over your mind.

This is the problem the boys are struggling with. Telling the truth about what they've done to Simon is painful and has dire consequences.

Meanwhile, at their end of the island, the hunters are also dealing with the murder. To protect themselves from anything that might try to harm them, they post a guard. Robert shows Roger the massive rock with the lever under it, which can be hurled down if the beast appears.

They talk about the chief-no longer Jack, their "friend," but their leader. When Roger hears that the chief is going to beat Wilfred without offering an explanation for the beating, he realizes that the civilization which had protected the littluns is gone. He "sat still, assimilating the possibilities of irresponsible authority." Roger is Jack's right-hand man, much as Piggy is Ralph's. As Jack does, Roger understands the use of force and enjoys it. He is linked with rocks, a brute force, throughout the story. At the beginning, he can't throw them; here, he is sitting on a large rock when he realizes that he can do whatever he wants and no one will stop him. Roger will be responsible for freeing the rock which kills Piggy.

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