Chapter 4 (85-94) – “The fire was dead…” to the end. What is the Importance of this section in the plot of the novel? How does this passage help our understanding of the main characters? How does it help us to understand what Golding is trying to say in the novel as a whole?
The major event of these few pages is the first sentence. “The fire was dead.” This is clear and simple, like Ralphs anger at the confirmation of his fears at the fact it has gone out; this is exaggerated further by the use of the word “dead”, suggesting a tone of death around the boys and with Ralph at the moment as he is so dumbstruck. This is because the ship has passed without being signalled symbolising civilisation moving further and further away from them as the days go by, like it cannot go near the island. The use of the word ‘death’ is linked to later when Jack leads a procession of boys out of the jungle up to the mountain with “the gutted carcass of a pig hanging from a stake”. This is ironic because the boys only miss the ship passing because they are out hunting – emphasizing the move further from civilisation towards savagery. This part of the novel also helps us to understand the ever more growing distant relationship between Ralph and Jack. This is made obvious from where it says “by the pile was built, they were on different sides of a high barrier”. The argument was partly due to the fire but also because Piggy’s glasses were broken from Jack assaulting him. Ralph stood up against Jack as they gave very different and clear points of view; it is this that leads to the eventual complete meltdown of relations between the two. Ralph has learnt to value what Piggy has and grows closer to him through sharing a more similar viewpoint than he did with Jack. This statement is supported by Golding writing “not even Ralph knew how a link between him and Jack had been snapped and fastened elsewhere.” ‘Elsewhere’ is Piggy. The acting out of the kill foreshadows the death of Simon...
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