Lord of the Flies/Beast from Water

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Chapter 5: Beast from Water

Ralph goes to the beach because he needs a place to think and is overcome with astonishment. He understands the weariness of life, where everything requires improvisation. He calls a meeting near the bathing pool, realizing that he must think and must make a decision but that he lacks Piggy's ability to think. He begins the assembly seriously, telling them that they are there not for making jokes or for cleverness. He reminds them that everyone built the first shelter, which is the sturdiest, while the third one, built only by Simon and Ralph, is unstable. He admonishes them for not using the appropriate areas for the lavatory, and reminds them that the fire is the most important thing on the island, for it is their means of escape. He claims that they ought to die before they let the fire out. He directs this at the hunters, in particular. He makes the rule that the only place where they will have a fire is on the mountain. Ralph then speaks on their fear. He admits that he is frightened himself, but their fear is unfounded. Jack stands up, takes the conch, and yells at the littluns for screaming like babies and not hunting or building or helping. Jack tells them that there is no beast on the island. Piggy does agree with Jack on that point, telling the kids that there is no beast and there is no real fear, unless they get frightened of people. Percival speaks next, and as he gives his name he recites his address and telephone number; this reminder of home causes him to break out into tears. All of the littluns join him. Percival claims that the beast comes out of the sea. Simon puts forward the suggestion that the beast is really inside them and they themselves are the beast. However, as he does not express himself well and the other boys are not mature enough to understand him, he is shouted down. The boys speak about ghosts. Piggy says he does not believe in ghosts, but Jack attempts to start a fight again. Ralph stops the fight, and asks the boys how many of them believe in ghosts. Piggy yells at the boys, asking whether they are humans or animals or savages. Jack threatens him again, and Ralph intercedes once more, complaining that they are breaking the rules. When Jack asks "who cares?" Ralph says that the rules are the only thing that they have. Jack instead defies Ralph saying "Bollocks to the rules" that they will hunt the beast down. The assembly breaks up as Jack leads them on a hunt. This is significant as it is the first instance that Ralph has lost control of Jack. Only Ralph, Piggy and Simon remain. Ralph says that if he blows the conch to summon them back and they refuse, then they will become like animals and will never be rescued. He does ask Piggy whether there are ghosts or beasts, but Piggy reassures him. Piggy warns him that if Ralph steps down as chief Jack will do nothing but hunt, and they will never be rescued. The three reminisce on the majesty of adult life.