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Lord of the Flies | Study Guide

William Golding

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Chapter 11

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 11 of William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies.

Lord of the Flies | Chapter 11 : Castle Rock | Summary



The next morning, Ralph and his crew find they cannot light a fire without Piggy's glasses. Ralph blows the conch at the urging of Piggy, who cannot see, and the two of them, Samneric, as well as some littluns gather. Piggy asks Ralph what he is going to do, but Ralph rambles on about what has happened. They decide to go to the others and make Jack and his tribe see reason.

Ralph suggests they wash up and go. Samneric say they should bring spears, but Piggy says he is not going to bother. Ralph warns him that he will be hurt. They take the conch shell, and Piggy says he'll show Jack that this is the one thing he, Jack, has not got.

When they arrive at Castle Rock, they find armed guards. Ralph blows the conch, and the boys of Jack's tribe appear. Roger, who is standing above them all, flings a rock between the twins, and its nearness startles them. Ralph states why he is there, and the boys laugh at him. Jack returns from the forest with two hunters and a dead sow.

Ralph tells Jack they need to return Piggy's glasses. He then rebukes Jack, who objects to being called a thief and swings his spear at Ralph. The two seem ready to fight when Piggy reminds Ralph of the reason they came: the glasses. Ralph tells them he needs Piggy's glasses back to keep the signal fire going. Jack tells Samneric to get back. When they freeze, Jack instructs his crew to grab them and tie them up.

Ralph insults Jack, and they charge at each other. Piggy demands to speak. There's a pause. While he is talking, Roger pushes a rock down the cliff, which kills Piggy and destroys the conch in his hands. His body is pushed off the mountain. Jack throws his spear at Ralph, and the others attack him. As Ralph escapes to the forest, Samneric are taken and tortured.


Piggy recovers his belief in reason and doing the right thing, which he clings to until his death. He insists Ralph call the meeting with the conch, suggests they bring the conch, and is holding the conch when he is killed. He is unable to recognize that it no longer carries any power. He fully appreciated how far the others had gone in terms of savagery; his failure to see the savagery in himself in the previous chapter shows how wrong his thinking has been. He insists on civility and doing things right; just before his death, he is lecturing the others about how to behave and the need for reason. With Piggy's death, any remaining hope for civility has ended. The conch is no longer respected. Even Ralph, who is left alone, will have no choice but to adapt.

Earlier in the book, Roger threw stones at littluns but deliberately missed, feeling restraint as he remembered the adult supervision he used to live under. By this point those restraints have been removed, and he deliberately releases the boulder that kills Piggy. The boys have descended to a new low as Piggy is the first person who is intentionally killed. In addition to the murder, Roger serves as the primary torturer for Jack's crew. Roger's descent into savagery and bloodlust are the most apparent of any of the boys; even Jack takes his bloodlust out upon animals, not other boys.

With Piggy's death and Samneric's capture, Ralph is alone. The boy who once was chief is now an outcast. His complete removal from power has been coming for a while. One reason Ralph lost his power is his ineffective speech. Since the beginning, Ralph has emphasized the importance of keeping the fire going. In this chapter, Ralph continues to ramble on about the fire, but the boys laugh at him. Ralph realizes his ineffectiveness and is frustrated by it, so he resorts to insults and, ultimately, fighting. With Ralph going savage, Piggy's death, and the destruction of the conch, speech and civility are effectively over.

In Jack's tribe, he is the only one who speaks easily and freely. The others are muted and simply react to the goings on around them. While Robert and Roger utter a few words, neither does so easily or at any length. Jack's tribe has become savage, and communication is out. Anything that needs to be said will be done so by Jack.

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