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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Lord of the Flies by William Golding-Free Summary
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Because of Ralph's understanding of himself, his awareness of others, and what he has learned from Piggy, he tries not to compete with Jack. His question to Jack sounds like something Piggy would say: "Why do you hate me?" Ralph knows that Jack wants to be leader, and his question opens up the issue between them. The other boys, sensing the naked sincerity, are embarrassed by what has been asked. "The boys stirred uneasily, as though something indecent had been said."

You could look at it this way: By asking the question openly, Ralph has made himself vulnerable to Jack's scorn. Imagine yourself asking someone that question. To face someone and ask why he or she dislikes you gives that person the opportunity to hurt you. Thus Ralph's attempt is a brave one, a real indication of his courage. It's also foolish, given Jack's personality. Jack is out to hurt because he is jealous. So Ralph is embarrassed and hurt by his own sincerity.

Ralph takes over again, resuming his role as leader, with Jack "brooding" in the rear. No one wants to climb the dark mountain, and Jack uses their fear to goad Ralph about his bravery. "I'm going up the mountain," Jack says, inferring that Ralph is afraid. The anger between them is described as the "fresh rub of two spirits in the dark." There is no way these two can talk to one another; they can only compete.

The two enemies start up the mountain, joined by Roger, who is very much one of Jack's boys. Their journey is like a negative repeat of that joyful first exploration of the island by Ralph, Jack, and Simon. They go in darkness, out of dread and full of hate for each other.


Ralph tries to tell Jack they are foolish in looking for the beast after dark. Perhaps he remembers the terror of the night before. Jack, being Jack, uses the idea of his being afraid against Ralph. And Ralph, unable not to compete with Jack, responds in kind by calling Jack's bluff and sending him on ahead.

Jack goes looking for the beast as Ralph did earlier in the day (Chapter 6). Unlike Ralph, Jack returns terrified at having seen the beast.

Still unable to believe in the existence of a real beast, Ralph challenges within himself the idea. "He bound himself together with his will, fused his fear and loathing into a hatred, and stood up." Terrified, he makes himself look. The moon and the night and the dead parachutist on the mountain create the beast. Although he knows better than to attempt such things after dark, Ralph does it. And Ralph succumbs to fear, for he sees the beast.

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