Lord of the Flies | Chapter 7: Shadows and Tall Trees | William Golding


In chapter 7, Ralph has a dream of
cleaning himself up. He looks out into the ocean and feels he’ll be condemned to
the island forever. Simon tells him he’ll get back home. Meanwhile Roger sees pig
droppings and the boys decide to hunt it. They find a boar, and when it breaks
through the pack of hunters, Ralph throws his spear and hits it.
He feels excited. He thinks hunting may be good after all. As they near the
mountain, the boys become nervous and want to stop for the day, but they push
through it and continue. Ralph says they can’t leave Piggy alone with the little
‘uns. They are afraid to go back, so Simon ends up volunteering. Ralph suggests they
stop because it’s getting dark, but Jack challenges him by asking if he’s scared,
so they continue. No one wants to climb the mountain, especially as it’s getting
later, except Jack, but Ralph feels challenged by him again so he goes, too.
Roger joins them. Ralph feels this is pointless and they’re being foolish and
he stops, but Jack continues to the summit. Then Jack comes back and says he
saw something, so the other boys go forward, and they come across the body of
the parachutist, which moves when the wind picks up—and they run! Ralph’s quick
downfall into savagery shows that this aspect of human nature lurks inside
everyone. Now up until this point he’d been a symbol of society, but as soon as
he hunts that boar, he shows the same bloodlust that the other boys have. Also,
the boys attack on one of their own, Robert, when he’s pretending to be a boar
is disturbing. It shows that they’re hungry for blood and it doesn’t matter
if it’s animal or human. Jack jokes and suggests that they use a
little ‘un next time. It’s becoming increasingly conceivable that Jack would
actually do that. Now by laughing instead of
disapproving, it shows that the others aren’t far behind him in terms of their
depravity. Jack and Ralph are openly competing for power at this point,
fighting and negating each other at every turn. Even though Ralph gets
carried away during the hunt, he retains his morality. And while Jack and Ralph
have moments where they get along, they don’t last long. The two and what they
represent can’t coexist. Now this plays out away from the meeting
platform, where Ralph is less capable, but Jack is more in his element. When Ralph
is challenged by Jack, he is easily manipulated, especially with other boys
around. Ralph worries what the other boys will think and feels the need to stand
up to Jack. Despite his willingness to think things
through and consider different alternatives, when he’s challenged by
Jack—who wants to act right in the moment—Ralph
acts against his better judgment. you

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