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PLOT SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTER 3 - Huts on the Beach
Jack is alone in the jungle, stalking pigs through the undergrowth. He carries a sharpened stick like a spear, but when he spies a pig, it escapes him. Frustrated by his futile search, he returns to the beach, where Ralph is trying to build shelters for the children. The leader is also frustrated because the huts keep tumbling down. None of the children are seriously interested in working hard, and he has only Simon to help him. Ralph also complains to Jack that everyone attends meetings, listens, talks excitedly about ideas, and then wanders away and does nothing. He is also worried about the fear of the children, who have bad dreams and cry out at night. Simon agrees that the beastie frightens them greatly. Jack is too busy thinking about pigs to respond.
Ralph hints to Jack that his hunters should also help in building shelters rather than roaming the jungle. This statement angers the Head Hunter, for he believes that finding meat is as important as building huts. Ralph tries to explain his reasoning behind the building project, but there is controlled anger between the two boys. They seem perplexed by their constant disagreement and mutual dislike of one another, but they try to alleviate the tension of the moment by going for a swim. After relaxing in the lagoon, Jack goes back to hunting and Ralph continues his work on the huts.
Simon walks off into the jungle by himself. He finds a place where there is an open space with sweet-scented flowers, butterflies flitting around, and birds chirping. After looking behind him and confirming that he is all alone, he sits down to enjoy the loveliness of nature that surrounds him as the evening slowly fades away.
The chapter opens with Jack hunting for meat. His appearance and behavior have a savage cast to them and foreshadow his later regression. His hair has grown longer, making him appear somewhat wild. He also crawls through the brush on all fours with a "nearly mad" look in his eyes. He seems almost obsessed with the act of hunting and fights with Ralph when the leader suggests his troops should help with building the huts rather than hunting in the jungle.
In contrast to Jack, Ralph continues to be the picture of rationality. He is busy at work building huts for the boys, realizing they need protection from the elements. Unfortunately for him, the only person he can persuade to help him is Simon, the one who can see deeply into things and who realizes the importance of shelter. The other boys have shirked their responsibility and run away from the hard work. Golding seems to be saying that this is a typical behavior of human society.
Ralph is also beginning to feel the weariness of duty and responsibility. It is a chore to make certain that the fire continually burns. It is hard work to build the huts, almost single handedly. It is frustrating that the other boys listen in the meetings, proclaim excitement for ideas, and then do nothing about them. Ralph also feels responsible for the little ones and worries about their being fearful.
In this chapter, Simon is also more clearly developed as a character and a Christ-like symbol. Unlike the others, he is willing to give up his fun (to make the sacrifice) to help Ralph in the building of the huts. After being a helper, he wanders off alone to seek a quiet place of solitude where he can observe the beauty of nature and commune with it. His experience in the jungle is in total contrast to Jack's experience. He appreciates the beautiful butterflies, the fantastic birds, the scented flowers, and the magnificent plants and trees; he takes it all in without disturbing a thing. Jack, on the other hand, plows through the jungle with an eagerness to destroy and kill; he never notices the beauty that surrounds him, is startled by the call of a bird, and is frustrated that he cannot conquer nature. It is not surprising the "savage" Jack would call Simon queer and funny.