Course Hero. "Lord of the Flies Study Guide." Course Hero. 15 Sep. 2016. Web. 7 June 2023. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lord-of-the-Flies/>.
Course Hero. (2016, September 15). Lord of the Flies Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 7, 2023, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lord-of-the-Flies/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "Lord of the Flies Study Guide." September 15, 2016. Accessed June 7, 2023. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lord-of-the-Flies/.
Course Hero, "Lord of the Flies Study Guide," September 15, 2016, accessed June 7, 2023, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lord-of-the-Flies/.
Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 5 of William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies.
Ralph is on the beach in deep thought. He contemplates how he wants the assembly to go. When it begins, Ralph says they need to "put things straight" and then rebukes the boys for not following the rules. They did not keep the coconuts filled with water, help with the shelters, or use the agreed-upon area for going to the bathroom. Finally, Ralph brings up the fire, which he says should be the top priority. A new rule is added—there is only to be one fire going and that is the one on the mountain.
Ralph says that they began happy but that things have gotten worse because of fear. He encourages a conversation on the fear and admits he is afraid sometimes, too, but knows that it's nonsense. Jack says he is angry at the littluns for their talk of beasts and their doing nothing to help. He assures them all that there are no beasts and adds if there were they would deserve to get hurt because they're useless. He says the island is not suitable for a beast and that he has been all over it and seen nothing. Piggy concurs with Jack and says some people have fear inside their head, but fear does not exist. There are doctors for that, and everything is scientific. Piggy says they should be afraid of people.
A littlun, Phil, says he got up the previous night and saw something moving. Ralph suggests he was sleepwalking, but Simon admits he likes to go somewhere in the jungle. Another littlun, Percival, is ready to speak up but then starts crying. All the littluns join him in crying. Maurice makes jokes to stop them. Jack grabs Percival and asks where the beast is. The littlun whispers to Jack and then falls to the ground asleep. Jack reports Percival's response, which is that the beast comes from the sea.
This response raises fear in all the boys. They debate whether it's possible that an animal is coming out of the water. A silence ensues but is broken by Simon. He tries to speak up but is unable to fully articulate his thought. Arguments break out again as the boys talk about ghosts. Jack has had enough. He tells Piggy and then Ralph to shut up. He does not care about the rules and says if there is a beast, he and the hunters will hunt it down.
Jack goes off and others follow. They pretend to be hunting. Piggy tells Ralph to blow the conch and reconvene the meeting, but he declines, fearing that they won't come back and that the failure to restore order will doom them. Ralph considers giving up being chief, but Piggy and Simon convince him not to.
Ralph continues to be bothered by the burdens of leadership. While he longs for society (as evidenced by his frustration with the length of his unkempt hair) and is concerned about the others, Ralph realizes that he does not have Piggy's intelligence. He does, however, think deeply and have a sense of what needs to be said. He strives to be an authority figure and get the boys to listen to the rules, but he is mostly unsuccessful. When the boys run off at the end of the chapter, he recognizes that he has effectively lost whatever control he had. Ralph's worries that they will never be rescued and will be left to live like animals make clear that he longs for civilization.
The fear grows as nearly every boy seems to think that the beast is a possibility. The boys have different versions of the beast, and the varied shapes and places of origin make it even more difficult for Ralph and the other older boys to get rid of the fear. Simon and Piggy both understand on some level that the beast resides within—the view that represents Golding's theory that human nature is savage and unforgiving. However, they are unable to convince the boys. Simon is laughed at, and Piggy can never get their attention. With the boys unable to put down the fear of the beast, its strength over them grows.
Jack feeds off the fear and uses it to his advantage to get the power he longs for. While he claims to not believe in the beast, he does not completely discount it, either. By allowing that there may be a beast, his claim that he and his hunters could defeat it appears heroic. He will keep the boys safe, and they, therefore, have no reason to fear. In Chapter 4, Jack's successful hunting expedition feeds the boys. Between the food and the promise of safety, Jack seems like the appropriate leader of the group. Therefore, it is no surprise that the boys follow him when he runs off. Ralph realizes that Jack is gaining power, a realization that prompts his thoughts about resigning as chief.
As the length of their stay on the island increases, rescue seems more and more a fantasy. The rules about when to speak and where to go to the bathroom and how many fires can be burning seem unimportant. Without any rewards received or on the horizon, the boys are losing interest in the rules and question their purpose. While most boys act as if they care and will behave once reminded, Jack acts however he wishes. He has been liberated from society and its rules. His open revolt against Ralph, his mocking of Piggy, and his derision toward Simon are all indicators that he is no longer part of the group. He will have his fun—the rules be damned.
When the littlun Percival fearfully relates the possibility that he has seen the beast in the water, he is asked to identify himself. He not only gives his full name—"Percival Wemys Madison"—but relates his full address. He even starts to say his phone number but has already been on the island so long that he cannot remember it in full. The scene reveals his faltering attempt to cling to his former, civilized life, an effort doomed to failure.