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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Lord of the Flies by William Golding-Free Summary
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The boys sit around the chief like a group of slaves or dogs. No one thinks to question Wilfred's beating. The chief gives the orders. When one of the boys has something to say, the chief condescends to listen. The only one who knows anything is the chief; the boys ask questions, the chief has the answers. This is a far different assembly from Ralph's.

Jack is equated now with evil. His tongue is like a snake's: The boys see "a triangle of startling pink dart out, pass along his lips and vanish." Jack uses his sinister powers to keep the boys in line. He terrifies them by bringing up their own fears: "The beast might try to come in. You remember how he crawled-" This society is based on fear and manipulation.

The hunters believe they have killed the beast, but Jacks says, "No! How could we-kill-it?" There's no way to kill a beast that could be anywhere, could be anything. And if the beast disguises itself, there would be no end to the terror.

Jack uses the boys' fear of the beast to suit his own purposes. When he wants the boys shaken by fear, he twists his words to create terror. And when he wants to travel through the jungle after dark in spite of the terror, he dismisses the protests with condescension.

Piggy and Ralph light a fire to serve a "double function": They need it as a signal and also for comfort against the dark. Eric asks if there's any purpose in keeping a fire going. Ralph tries to answer convincingly, but "that curtain flapped in his head and he forgot what he had been driving at."


The void which Ralph doesn't want to feel-the sense of nature's indifference to man, the fact that rescue may not come, the beast, the unknown-all his fears push forward in his mind, causing his old beliefs to waver. He gives in, letting go, "feeling curiously defenseless with the darkness pressing in." The darkness in his mind and the fears of the night gather around him. The boys let the fire die.

In the shelter, Ralph lulls himself to sleep with a tame fantasy; the jungle is no longer an "attractive" daydream. When Piggy awakens him, they listen "to something moving outside." In a moment that is at once painfully funny, true to life, and horrible, Piggy hears his name being called. Outside the shelter could be the beast or the ghost of Simon. Fear brings on an asthma attack, and a battle begins in total darkness.

"We've had a fight with the others," Ralph calls out to the littluns when it's over. There is yet another touch of irony here: Jack has attacked Ralph's shelters, but in the darkness Ralph, Piggy, and the twins have mostly beaten up each other.

"I thought they wanted the conch," Piggy says. But Jack knows the conch is useless. They've taken Piggy's glasses, the one tool Jack lacked for building a fire. The loss of his sight makes Piggy's death inevitable. We don't know how, but we know it has to be. The loss of the glasses spells the end of any kind of order or sanity on the island.

The last paragraph of the chapter describes the hunters, Jack among them, turning cartwheels on the beach. In a sad and ironic way, their action mirrors the beginning of the book.

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