The Lord of the Flies
William Golding
Contributed by Karim Chandra
Chapter 3
Summary

The chapter begins with Jack hunting pigs alone in the jungle. Although he possesses excellent tracking skills, he finishes the day’s hunt without catching anything. He returns to the beach, where Simon and Ralph are building shelters. 

Ralph faces another problem. Even though all the boys expressed interest in constructing the shelters, Simon is the only one who helps. Some boys venture into the jungle to hunt, others have left to bathe, and the rest play. Despite Ralph's continued emphasis on the need for shelters, Jack feels it is equally, if not more important, to have meat for food, thus justifying his decision to hunt. Moreover, he adds that he is passionate about the activity. Neither Ralph nor Jack is willing to relax his beliefs and support the other. Instead, their relationship becomes tense.

Meanwhile, Simon discovers a place deep in the jungle where he goes to relax after working on the shelters. Before departing for his hideaway, Simon ensures the young boys are comfortable by helping them gather fruits. Then he sneaks out so no one can follow him.

Analysis

In Chapter 3, the conch symbolizes civilization and order. The boys use it just as they might in school: they allow only the boy holding the conch to speak. Since Ralph is the group’s elected chief, he is the only one allowed to interrupt a speaker, like the teacher in a classroom setting.

Despite teeming with wildlife, the jungle has a deafening silence that frightens the boys, even Jack. Since civilized society views silence as indicative of calm and peace, the jungle contrasts civilization. Instead, it is a hotbed of terror, where silence evokes uncertainty instead of comfort.

In this climate of fear, the boys are drawn to Jack’s authoritative leadership style because it seems more powerful and confident than Ralph’s democratic approach. Simply put, the boys — especially the younger ones — want to be told what to do. They do not possess the maturity to decide for themselves. Yet Jack’s disbelief in Ralph’s leadership becomes insidious. Jack doubts Ralph’s methods of civilization. In fact, any trace of civility that existed in Jack before he landed on the island vanishes. He becomes brutish, losing his sense of humanity and merging with the jungle’s savagery. For example, he struggles to remember what “rescue” means when Ralph insists the need for the boys to focus on what will get them off the island.

Jack has become convinced that there is indeed a beast in the jungle, but Ralph remains adamant in his skepticism. The reason for Ralph’s skepticism is unclear: he might be dismissive of the boys’ concerns or unwilling to accept the frightening possibility of a beast. He might even want to keep the boys calm by reassuring them of their safety. However, it becomes increasingly difficult to comfort the boys. Jack's conception of the beast is no different from that of the littluns: they have not yet seen it, so they cannot provide a vivid description of its physical appearance. They can only describe how it frightens them.

Meanwhile, Simon engages in mysterious but mystical behavior. It is unclear why he seeks a secret hiding place, but the comfort he finds in the dangerous jungle suggests there remains some hope of peace in this unfamiliar place.

info_outline
Have study documents to share about The Lord of the Flies? Upload them to earn free Studypool credits!