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Chapter 7

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 7 of William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies.

Lord of the Flies | Chapter 7 | Summary

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Summary

Ralph dreams of cleaning himself up. Looking out into the ocean, he feels condemned to remain on the island forever. Simon senses his thoughts and tells him he'll get back all right.

Roger notices pig droppings, and the boys go on a hunt for the animal. They come upon a boar, and Ralph throws his stick and hits it. Excited about the hit, he feels that hunting is "good after all." The boar gets away, and the boys pretend that Robert is the pig. They get carried away, and their play gets violent.

As they continue toward the mountain, the boys grow nervous and want to put off the hunt until the next day. After giving multiple excuses, they continue. As they proceed, Ralph says they can't leave Piggy alone with the littluns. The boys are scared of going back and decide it is a one-person job. Simon volunteers to do it.

When Ralph suggests they stop because of coming darkness, Jack says he doesn't mind going. He challenges Ralph, who gives in, and all continue. When they get to the mountain, no one wants to climb it except Jack. Again, Ralph feels challenged and goes with Jack. Roger soon joins them. Ralph believes they are foolish and stops, but Jack continues on to the summit.

Jack comes back and says he saw something, and all three go for a look. Ralph goes forward. He sees a rounded shape that seems to move. The three boys run, leaving their sticks on top of the mountain.

Analysis

His first participation in a hunt has a dramatic impact upon Ralph. He shows the same bloodlust that the other boys have. Until this point, Ralph has been a symbol of society. Even at the beginning of this chapter he longs for cleanliness, is overwhelmed by the vast ocean that allows for little hope of rescue, and has multiple daydreams of his parents. Yet the rapidity with which Ralph is drawn into savage mode shows this aspect of human nature lurks inside of everyone—and not too far inside.

The boys' attack on Robert when he is pretending to be the boar is disturbing. They are hungry for blood and flesh, regardless of whether it is animal or human. Jack's suggestion that they use a littlun next time draws laughter from the boys, who take it as a joke. Yet it is becoming increasingly conceivable that Jack would do such a thing. The others' laughter rather than disapproval shows they are not far behind in terms of their level of depravity. The attack on Robert foreshadows what is to occur with Simon.

At this point, Jack and Ralph are openly competing. Despite the fact than Ralph gets carried away with the other boys when it comes to hunting a pig and beating Robert, he retains a sense of morality. He and Jack have moments where they seem to be engaged, but these moments are fleeting. The two—and what they represent—cannot coexist. Ralph asks Jack why he hates Ralph, but Jack does not answer, and the other boys shrink back.

Away from the platform where meetings take place, Ralph seems less capable and not quite himself; Jack, in contrast, is in his element in the wild. When Ralph is challenged by Jack, he is easily manipulated. Ralph worries about what the other boys will think, and feels a need to stand up to Jack. Despite his willingness to think things through and consider different alternatives, when he is challenged by Jack, Ralph acts against his better judgment.

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Questions for Chapter 7

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