Lord of the Flies

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Lord of the Flies Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ralph paces the beach, planning what he'll say at the meeting and wishing he could think as well as Piggy can. Finally, he blows the conch.
Ralph is no longer blinded by Piggy's weakness.
Themes
Civilization Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Everyone gathers and listens to Ralph. He explains that the meeting is about setting things straight, not fun. He points out all the things they said they'd do, but didn't: store water, build shelters, keep the signal fire going. He says the fire is the most important thing on the island.
Civilization involves planning and work, not fun. It's the force that suppresses mankind's savage inclination to pursue short term pleasures, like hunting.
Themes
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack stands and reaches for the conch so he can talk. But Ralph refuses to hand it over and Jack sits back down.
Jack's actions show he still respects the rules of the boys' civilization.
Themes
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Ralph observes that people are becoming afraid. He doesn't know why, but he thinks they should discuss their fear to overcome it. Jack takes the conch. He calls the littleun's crybabies. He says he's been all over the island, and there's no beast. Piggy agrees with Jack.
Both the civilized (Piggy) and the savage (Jack) continue to deny the existence of the beast.
Themes
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
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A littleun named Phil stands up and says he saw the beast in the forest the previous night. To everyone's shock, Simon says the boy probably just saw him—Simon went walking in the forest that night.
Only Simon would even consider walking into the forest alone at night. Only Simon knows there's nothing to fear.
Themes
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
Another littleun stands and identifies himself as Percival Wemys Madison. He gives his London address, and tries to give his telephone number, but can't remember it and begins to cry.
Percival's only remaining connections to civilization are his name and address. Civilization is slowly receding.
Themes
Civilization Theme Icon
When Percival recovers his voice, he tells the other boys that the beast comes from the sea. This idea terrifies the boys.
The ocean symbolizes the unconscious. So Percival's claim is accurate.
Themes
Human Nature Theme Icon
Simon takes the conch. He says maybe the boys themselves are the beast. Piggy thinks this idea is crazy. Many of the boys think Simon's saying the beast is a ghost. Ralph holds a vote on whether the boys believe in ghosts. A majority raises their hands.
Simon reveals the truth. But Piggy, the most civilized boy, can't accept it. The conflict brings the boys to a hopeless standstill.
Themes
Civilization Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
Piggy grabs the conch and shouts that ghosts don't exist. He asks the boys if they're humans or savages? He mentions the hunters letting the fire go out. Jack furiously rips the conch from him.
Civilized and savage blame each other for the subconscious fear they both feel: that the beast lies within them.
Themes
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Ralph accuses Jack of breaking the rules. Jack questions Ralph's leadership. He says he doesn't care about the rules, that he'll hunt the beast and kill it. He starts a chant on the beach. Everyone but Ralph, Piggy, and Simon join him.
Jack breaks with civilization. Earlier, Ralph stopped a ritual dance by calling a meeting. Now Jack stops the meeting by starting a ritual dance.
Themes
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Piggy tells Ralph to blow the conch, but Ralph refuses. What if no one responded? Ralph considers stepping down as chief, but Piggy protests. He says everything would descend into chaos, and then Jack would target Piggy.
Ralph knows civilization's hold is slipping, and fears breaking it completely. Piggy realizes that doing nothing will allow Jack (savagery) to prevail.
Themes
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The three boys wish adults were around to make everything better. Ralph wishes the adults would at least send them a sign.
To the boys, adults represent civilization.
Themes
Civilization Theme Icon