Lord of the Flies


Chapter 5

Beast from Water

Ralph paces by the water and reflects on recent events. He smiles jeeringly at the dream of a new childhood he had when first discovering that they were alone on the island, free from all restraints. It now appears that reality has its own restraints and that one cannot escape them even if one can escape adults and rules and laws. He tells himself that the meeting he is about to call will be all about business, not about fun. However, Ralph recognizes that thinking is not his forte. Thinking is Piggy’s business, not his.

Nevertheless, Ralph proceeds with the assembly. It is a late assembly, the latest they have ever held. The fact that it is so late gives it an extra element of seriousness. Ralph opens the assembly by stating that it will not be about how to have fun on the island but about how to live decently. He points out a slackening of respect for the rules. For example, the boys have stopped using the rocks as the appointed lavatory. Instead, they go wherever they please. The most important point, of course, is the fire: It must be maintained constantly. It is more important than hunting pigs. It is their only hope of rescue. It is their signal to the outside world. From now on, Ralph orders, all fire will be concentrated on the mountain. If one desires to cook food, he must do so there. Ralph finishes his speech by vaguely referencing an abstract fear that he senses on the island.

Next, Jack takes the conch and speaks about fear. He asserts that there is nothing to be afraid of—that there are no monsters or beasts on the island.

Piggy next takes the conch but does not manage to hold the group’s attention for very long. A littlun takes the conch. His name is Phil, and he is rather confident for a small boy. He speaks of a dream he had the night before and how when he woke he saw something big and horrid moving among the trees. Ralph tells him it was all a dream and that no one would be out in the night. Simon, however, contradicts him and admits that he sometimes goes to a secret...

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Essays About Lord of the Flies