Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 10-12
Ralph, Piggy, Sam, Eric and some littluns are the only ones who havent
joined the wild bunch around Jack Merridew. Sam and Eric are collecting wood
for the new fire which they will have at the beach.
Ralph and Piggy are dispirited and afraid. Ralph is shocked when he thinks
about what they did to Simon. "That was murder", he slowly says,
and admits that he wasnt scared. He doesnt know what he or why
he joined the dancing crowd. Piggy wants Ralph to stop talking about it. He
fantasizes about Simon, just pretending to have died and that it was an accident
or Simons own fault. But Ralph is frightened - frightened of themselves
and what they are capable of doing. When Sam and Eric arrive, the four of
them pretend that nothing happened the previous night. "We left early."
On another part of the island, Jack has made rules for his new tribe, for
example they have to challenge everybody, and they obey without any questions.
Robert and Roger comment that Jack is "a proper Chief". None of
the boys realize that Jack is becoming a tyrant: They ignore the fact that
he has beaten one of the boys for no reason. Instead, Roger (and probably
the rest of the tribe) is excited over the possibilities of irresponsible
Outside the tribes cave, Jack is sitting with the others in front of
him. They have painted their faces and are becoming more and more like savages.
Jack stresses the point to fear Ralph and his allies. He keeps telling his
group that "Theyll try to spoil things we do." They therefore
have to defend the gate against those boys, but also against the beast, whom
Jack denies that they have killed. Then he decides that they have to take
fire from Ralph, and when the sun sets, he goes with Maurice and Roger to
accomplish this task.
Ralph tries to light the damp wood with Piggys glasses. They admit
to themselves that the fire isnt just a signal, but also a comfort.
It is difficult for the four of them to keep it going. Ralph goes on nagging
about the fire and explains that it is the only thing that can rescue them.
They go to bed in one of the shelters. After a while they hear noises outside
and a horrible voice talks to Piggy. He becomes so afraid that he has an asthma
attack. Then Jack, Maurice and Roger jump them and they have a hard fight.
Piggy first thought they wanted the conch, but it was his glasses that were
stolen. "They've got our fire!" Rage shrilled his voice. "They
"His temper broke. He screamed at Jack. "You're a beast and a swine
and a bloody, bloody thief!" In his anger, Piggy lost his balance and
"Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across the square, red
rock in the sea."
Piggy is very angry because Jack and some hunters have stolen his specs and
their fire. He wants to go over to Jacks tribe to get his glasses back.
Ralph and the twins decide to go with him. Piggy takes the conch and then
Jacks tribe has moved to Castle Rock, and when they get nearer, they
see smoke. Suddenly they are halted by Roger. Ralph doesnt care and
blows in the conch. He calls an assembly. Ralph leaves Piggy, who is helpless
without his glasses, on his knees and goes forward.
Jack wants them to leave and attacks Ralph because he calls him a thief.
Piggy tries to stop them by reminding Ralph about the specs and the fire,
but it doesnt help. They keep on fighting. Jack tells two of the boys
to take the twins and tie them. Ralph calls Jack a beast and a bloody thief,
so they start fighting again. Piggy interrupts them. He wants to speak and
he has the conch. He says that they are all acting like kids.
Roger is throwing stones at Piggy, and one of them hits him and the conch.
This leads to the death of Piggy, and the conch breaks into many pieces. Then
Jack wounds Ralph with his spear. Ralph turns away and runs into the forest.
Jack and some others follow him, but when they come to the bodiless pig they
go back to the fortress.
At night, Ralph stays close to Castle Rock. Sam and Eric, now savages, have
been stationed as guards. Ralph crosses the bridge and goes to the tower to
talk to them. They tell Ralph that Jack and the tribe is going to hunt him
tomorrow. The plan is that the boys will make a line stretching across the
whole island and they will slowly search the island until they find him. When
Ralph asks what they will do when he is caught, the twins reply, Roger
has sharpened a stick at both ends, but Ralph does not understand
what this means. He tells Sam and Eric that he plans to hide in the bushes
near Castle Rock, thinking that Jack will not look so close to the fort.
Ralph wakes up the next morning, and the twins have been forced to confess
where Ralph is hiding. The tribe tries to roll another boulder from the castle
to land in the bushes where Ralph is hiding, but they miss him. A savage tries
to crawl through the branches to see if Ralph is still there. They set the
bushes on fire and Ralph runs into the forest as the line of savages spreads
out to begin the search of the island.
Deciding that the best option is to hide, Ralph finds the place where Simon
used to stay. As the line of savages search the entire island, the forest
behind them is burning. But they only want to catch and kill Ralph. The line
reaches his hiding spot and Roger peeks under to look. Ralph attacks him and
runs to the beach, the tribe running after him. He runs past the burning shelters
right into a Navy officer.
The massive fire and smoke enabled the ship to see them. As the boys gather
around, the officer comments on how it must be all fun and games. Some of
the boys are crying, realizing what theyve done. The officer sees the
spears and asks, We saw your smoke. What have you been doing?
Having a war or something? He finds out that two children have
been killed and they are taken off the island to the waiting cruiser. As they
are taken away, ...Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness
of mans heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend
Golding makes his novel come alive with a significant use of symbolism, physiological
development, and general truths. His writing style is simple but the subject
matter is deep. He uses a rather comparatively simple story to convey a weighty
The resolution of the story occurs when the jungle catches fire and a naval
ship spots the smoke. An officer comes ashore just as Ralph is being hunted
by the other boys and all are rescued and taken back into society.
Golding tries to teach us and warn us of the evil nature of mankind.
He says through the book that we are evil and that it is only society that
keeps us from committing crimes.
Chilling words from Golding's Notes reveal the final irony of this book:
"The officer, having interrupted a man-hunt, prepares to take the children
off the island in a cruiser which will presently be hunting its [own] enemy
in the same implacable way. And who will rescue the adult and his cruiser?