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PLOT SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTER 11 - Castle Rock
It is cold the next morning as Ralph, Piggy and the twins try without success to light their fire. Piggy, almost blind without his glasses, suggests that Ralph call a meeting. Picking up the conch, his only semblance of authority, Ralph blows loudly. When his pitiful group assembles, he rants and raves with all his pent-up emotions at the injustice of what Jack has done. The four older boys decide to confront the savages and make them see reason. They carry the conch to show their authority and move purposefully towards Castle Rock.
When the four boys reach Jack's came, they find it guarded with armed boys. Ralph blows the conch and painted savages start appearing and throwing stones at them. Jack is away hunting, and the others have orders not to allow them in. When Jack returns with a dead pig, he asks Ralph to leave his end of the island. Ralph calls him a thief and asks him to return Piggy's glasses. Jack responds by attacking Ralph with his spear, and the two boys fight. Once again Ralph demands Piggy's glasses and stresses the importance of a fire for their rescue. Jack answers by having Sam and Eric tied up. Ralph loses his temper, and the two boys fight again.
Piggy intervenes and tries to stop the fight by drawing attention to himself. As Piggy speaks, Roger pushes a huge boulder down the hill. Ironically, Piggy hears the noise but cannot see the danger. The boulder hits Piggy and knocks him off the cliff, to the rocks forty feet below. His body is carried away by the sea. Ironically, the conch, the last symbol of order and authority, is crushed along with Piggy.
Jack screams at Ralph, orders his tribe to attack him, and inflicts a wound on him with his own spear. Ralph, in total fear, escapes into the jungle. Jack and Roger torture Sam and Eric to force them to join the tribe.
As the novel slowly moves towards its tragic conclusion, there is total confusion on the island. There is no rationality left. Jack, who has replaced order and rules with emotion and savagery, rules through fear of punishment. Primitive ritual and superstition gain the upper hand.
The chapter serves as a denouement to the previous deterioration of the boys. Piggy is killed, the conch is crushed, and there is no signal fire or hope for rescue. The last traces of civilization (symbolized in Piggy's glasses and the conch) are destroyed.
It is significant to note how Golding has filled this next to the last chapter with flashbacks to the first chapter; these flashbacks tighten the structure of the novel into a cohesive whole. When Ralph blows the conch at Castle Rock, it is a reminder of the first time that Ralph blew the conch on the beach. The contrast between the innocence of the then and their condition now is sharply obvious. There is also a flashback to the excitement of starting the first fire with Piggy's glasses. Now Piggy is gone, the glasses are broken, and Ralph has lost all hope.
It is also important to note that Piggy tells the boys that they are acting like a crowd of kids (which, ironically, is what they really are and should be). But in the novel they become people engaged in desperate, destructive actions. Piggy also tells the others that the choice is between "to have rules and agree or to hunt and kill". The boys obviously chose to hunt and kill, and ironically Piggy is their next prey. Eric and Sam are then tortured into joining the group, and Ralph is forced to flee in fear into the jungle. He will soon become the "hunted".