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Transcript of Chapter 5
The chapter starts out with Ralph being frustrated with his hair, which is now long, mangy, and always manages to fall in front of his eyes. He decides to call a meeting to attempt to bring the group back into line. Late in the evening, he blows the conch shell, and the boys gather on the beach.
At the meeting place, Ralph berates the boys for their failure to uphold the group’s rules. They have not done anything required of them: they refuse to work at building shelters, they do not gather drinking water, they neglect the signal fire, and they do not even use the designated toilet area. He restates the importance of the signal fire and attempts to set to rest the group’s growing fear of the beast. The littluns, in particular, are increasingly plagued by nightmare visions. Ralph says there are no monsters on the island.
One of the littluns speaks up and claims that he has actually seen a beast. When the others press him and ask where it could hide during the daytime, he suggests that it might come up from the ocean at night. This previously unthought-of explanation terrifies all the boys, and the meeting plunges into chaos. Suddenly, Jack proclaims that if there is a beast, he and his hunters will hunt it down and kill it. Jack torments Piggy and runs away, and many of the other boys run after him. Eventually, only Ralph, Piggy, and Simon are left. In the distance, the hunters who have followed Jack dance and chant.
Piggy urges Ralph to blow the conch shell and summon the boys back to the group, but Ralph is afraid that the summons will go ignored and that any vestige of order will then disintegrate. He tells Piggy and Simon that he might relinquish leadership of the group, but his friends reassure him that the boys need his guidance. As the group drifts off to sleep, the sound of a littlun crying echoes along the beach.
The Beast The imaginary beast that frightens all the boys stands for the primal instinct of savagery that exists within all human beings. The boys are afraid of the beast, but only Simon reaches the realization that they fear the beast because it exists within each of them. As the boys grow more savage, their belief in the beast grows stronger.
"Fear can't hurt you any more than a dream. There aren't any beasts to be afraid of on this island....Serve you right if something did get you, you useless lot of cry-babies!"
Chapter 5, pg. 75
"Life...is scientific....I know there isn't no beast...but I know there isn't no fear, either....Unless we get frightened of people."
Chapter 5, pg. 76
"The world, that understandable and lawful world, was slipping away."
Chapter 5, pg. 82
"Maybe there is a beast....maybe it's only us."
Chapter 5, pg. 80 Loss of Innocence At the meeting the hunters start to become "hungry" to kill the beast. And the little ones are losing sight of what is real and unreal. Foreshadowing The quote “What I mean is . . . maybe it’s only us.” that Simon stats is foreshadowing what will happen to the boys in the near future. Whch eventually will lead to Piggy's and his death.
During this time (obviously we all should know by now) World War II is going on. The boys, who are English, think they are better than everyone else (sounds like Hitler at this time). Just like the what was going on at war, the boys on the island started to go from civilized to savages. Over the course of time, they became power hungry, trying to control anything and everything they possibly could. William Golding tried explaining how the war was like, in ways, in this novel. What time of day does Ralph unwisely choose for this assembly?
Which matters does Ralph intend to address and solve?
Which of the boys is the first to denounce the power of the conch?
Who does Ralph chastise for wandering in the jungle at night?