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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Lord of the Flies by William Golding-Free Summary
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Ralph accuses Jack of being a thief, and he has more than the glasses in mind. Jack has stolen the fire, the leadership, and the tribe. The fight we've been waiting for finally breaks out, then halts momentarily at Piggy's reminder of why they've come.

Ralph speaks, but again Jack creates a diversion to draw attention away from him. The twins are seized and sucked into the savagery of brute force and the use of fear. "See?" Jack says, "they do what I want." Jack's words carry many meanings: He is letting Ralph know how to be a ruler, telling Ralph that he can and does rule better, pointing out that Ralph has failed.

Ralph responds to the goading, and this is exactly what Jack wants. If Jack can get Ralph enraged, he can bring about the showdown between them. Jack will not rest until the threat to his leadership is destroyed.

Ralph, pushed to his limits, without taking time to think, shouts. "You're a beast and a swine and a bloody, bloody thief!" And Jack, "knowing this was the crisis," throws himself into battle with Ralph.

Again Piggy halts the fight by demanding to speak. "I got the conch!" The boys boo-the conch means nothing in Jack's world, for the right to speak has been destroyed-but they listen out of curiosity. Overhead, Roger throws stones while toying maliciously with the lever under the gigantic rock. He sees Ralph as "a shock of hair" and Piggy as "a bag of fat."

In a last noble attempt to show the worth of civilization, Piggy asks a series of questions. "Which is better-to be a pack of painted Indians... or to be sensible...? Which is better-to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill? Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?" But these are the questions the boys have been unable to come to terms with all along.


Piggy gets his answer. "High overhead, Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever." Brute force is better. Might makes right whatever it wants.

The rock shatters the shell and hurls Piggy to his death on the rocks below. On Jack's side of the island we see the boy's death like the death of a pig: "Piggy's arms and legs twitched a bit, like a pig's after it has been killed." In this world there is no understanding of nobility or heroism.

Without a bit of remorse for what's just happened and as if to prove that he has no understanding, Jack turns on Ralph and threatens him with the same kind of death. "The conch is gone... I'm chief." Jack asserts the only thing that is important to him-power.

Ralph flees, obeying "an instinct that he did not know he possessed." Now that sanity and order have been destroyed with Piggy and the shell, Jack's rule will be unchallenged. Everyone else, including Ralph, will be reduced to surviving by animal instinct alone.

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