The Lord of the Flies
William Golding
Contributed by Karim Chandra
Chapter 10

Ralph’s camp has lost all its biguns to Jack. Ralph only has the support of Piggy, Samneric, and some littluns. Meanwhile, Jack prepares his hunters to obtain meat for his camp of followers. Since Jack’s leadership style thrives on inspiring fear in the hearts of his followers, he has tied up one boy to whom he has promised beatings. It is unclear what the boy has done to offend Jack, but that hardly matters. Jack uses the boy as an example of the consequences other followers can expect if they disobey him, and the tactic works. His followers do everything he says. Some boys participate in the hunt, while others remain on Castle Rock to defend it from any enemies (i.e., Ralph) who appear. They also coordinate an attack on Ralph’s camp to steal Piggy’s glasses.

In Ralph’s camp, as the day ends, Samneric fear an imminent beast attack. They realize, however, that their fears stem from a feeling that something bad is about to happen. After a while, they fall asleep, but not for long. They soon find themselves fighting Jack’s ambush. When the fight ends, and Jack's hunters flee, Ralph makes sure his camp is safe and checks his followers for injuries. Piggy informs them that the hunters have escaped with his glasses. Although he believes they had wanted the conch, they left it untouched.


Despite regretting his role in Simon’s death, Ralph possesses the same darkness within him as the others. No boy is free from brutality’s grip. This suggests that, no matter how good and decent humans might be, they nonetheless carry within them savagery. And this savagery can surface at any time if it is nourished by toxic group dynamics. However, unlike other boys, Ralph still retains enough goodness to readily acknowledge his guilt and understand the gravity of his murderous actions. Therefore, there is still hope that Ralph can reclaim his humanity if he leaves the island.

Piggy justifies the boys’ violent response to Simon’s appearance by claiming it was triggered by fear of the beast. He believes that they were not wrong to react the way they did, but he does not want to talk about it in depth. Although Piggy’s analysis of what happened seems accurate, he clearly feels guilt over his participation in Simon’s murder. He cannot absolve them — or himself — for their actions, even though he understands their source.

Ralph and the conch have lost their power over the boys. Neither he nor the conch — symbols of order and civility — command any authority. This loss of power carries with it a loss of confidence, esteem, and insight. Even Ralph’s speech seems deflated. He no longer is the leader he once was, usurped by Jack, who activates the boys’ collective brutality and controls them through fear. To keep his followers fearful and dependent upon him, Jack fosters the myth of the beast. It is through the beast that Jack retains his power. Yet, the true beast lives in each of the boys, who fail to reflect deeply on how their actions led to Simon’s death. Instead, the boys fight to protect themselves from a perceived outside threat, neglecting the fact that they, like the Lord of the Flies, are rotting from the inside out.

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