Summary and Detailed Notes for Chapter 4 and 5 of The Lord of the Flies
Brief Summary of Chapters 4 and 5
Children adjusting to life on the island
The children adjust to a new rhythm of life on the island, from dawn to dusk. They witness strange phenomena at midday, and the littluns lead a distinct, intense life of their own, eating fruit and suffering terrors in the dark.
Maurice kicks over littluns’ sand castles
Three littluns play a game in the sand, building castles and decorating them with shells and flowers. Roger and Maurice come and kick over the castles, causing Percival to whimper. Maurice feels uneasy about his actions and runs away.
Henry and Roger play on the beach
Henry and Roger explore the beach, encountering Percival, Johnny, Ralph, Simon, Piggy, and Maurice. Henry becomes absorbed in controlling the tiny creatures that come in with the tide while Roger looks on. Roger and Henry play near a beach, where Roger throws stones at Henry but avoids a certain area.
Jack proposes hunting plan
Jack appears and explains his plan to use camouflage paint to hunt, and the twins join him. Jack paints half his face white and red and black, then dances and laughs maniacally. Ralph, Simon, Maurice, and Piggy are on the beach, and Piggy suggests making a sundial. Ralph sarcastically suggests a TV set.
The boys miss a potential rescue opportunity
Ralph spots a ship on the horizon and the boys rush to get ready for rescue, but Piggy remains skeptical. Ralph and his friends discover the signal fire is out, and the ship they had been watching has gone. They rush up the mountain to relight it, but are too late. Ralph discovers the boys have let the fire go out and finds them celebrating the killing of a pig. Jack leads the procession, and Ralph notices his face smeared with clay and blood on his hands.
Ralph confronts Jack over letting the fire go out
Ralph is angry with Jack for letting the fire go out, which may have caused them to miss a chance to be rescued. The boys had been hunting and celebrating, but Ralph is reminded of the potential consequences of their actions. Two boys face off over a hunting incident, Jack apologizes but Ralph is angry and resentful.
Ralph and Jack’s Power Struggle
Ralph and Jack are fighting for control and Ralph asserts his dominance by building the fire away from Jack’s influence. Piggy helps Ralph light the fire, making Jack powerless. The boys gather around the fire to roast meat, but Piggy and Simon are excluded until Jack gives in to his cruel tendencies.
Ralph calls for an assembly on the mountain top to discuss their adventures and the discovery of a pig. Jack recounts his hunt with Roger, and Maurice pretends to be the pig. Ralph reflects on the weariness of life on the island and becomes aware of the declining sun. He hurries to the beach near the bathing pool where the boys are gathering for the assembly.
Ralph Explains the Purpose of the Assembly
Ralph, as chief, begins the assembly by explaining its purpose so that even the littluns can understand. He discusses the need for a systematic approach to fix important issues like water, shelter, and a lavatory. Ralph is elected as the chief and sets rules to signal for rescue and prevent the island from burning down. He suggests discussing their fear of the unknown.
The Fear of the Beast
Ralph and Jack discuss the fear of a beast on the island, concluding that there are no big animals on small islands. Piggy argues that they eat pigs, so there cannot be a beast. The littlun Phil shares his dream of seeing something big and horrid in the forest at night. Ralph and the assembly question Percival Wemys Madison, and the littluns begin to cry at their sorrows, leading the biguns to join in. Maurice speaks of a beast that could come out of the sea, leading to an argument about its possibility. Ralph fears the breaking up of sanity.
The Ghost Debate
Simon’s suggestion that the beast might be a ghost sends shock waves through the assembly of boys. Chaos erupts and Ralph steps in to restore order, calling for a vote on the matter.
The Existence of Ghosts
Ralph engages in a heated debate with Jack about the existence of ghosts. Meanwhile, Piggy’s voice can be heard in the background, shrill with fear. Ralph is faced with a difficult decision: he must decide whether to use the conch to regain control, knowing that it might result in him losing control of the group altogether.
Fear Takes Over
As the assembly falls into disarray and the littluns cower with fear, Ralph and Piggy discuss the possibility of ghosts and beasts on the island. Ralph is struggling with his role as chief, but Piggy encourages him to persevere. They both long for the help and guidance of grownups.
Three of the boys contemplate their future adult lives on the island, but their dreams are interrupted by a strange noise in the darkness, causing them to feel scared and uncertain.
Detailed Notes on Chapter 4 and 5
Life on the Island
•The island had a slow rhythm from dawn to dusk, with strange things occurring at midday.
•At midday, the illusions merged into the sky and the sun seemed to be an angry eye.
•The northern European tradition of work, play and food made it easier for the children to adjust to the new rhythm.
•The smaller boys were known as littluns and these aged 6 lead an intense life of their own, eating most of the day.
•The littluns were used to stomach-aches and chronic diarrhoea, and suffered terrors in the dark.
The Littluns’ Playtime
•The littluns found time for play in the white sand by the bright water, with castles made of shells, withered flowers, and stones.
•Roger and Maurice interrupted the game, kicking over the castles, burying the flowers, and scattering the stones.
•Percival began to whimper, and Maurice felt uneasy for causing the disruption, muttering something about a swim before quickly leaving the scene.
•Henry was the biggest of the three littluns, and a distant relative of the boy with the mulberry-marked face who had not been seen since the evening of the great fire.
•Johnny was the smallest of the littluns, with fair hair and a natural belligerence.
•Percival was mouse-colored, and had not been very attractive even to his mother.
Henry’s Fascination with the Transparencies on the Beach
•Roger watched Henry at the water’s edge, captivated by a myriad of tiny transparencies that came scavenging over the beach.
•Henry began to exercise control over these creatures, poking at them with a wave-worn stick and making little runnels for them to fill.
•Roger observed Henry’s absorption, and looked along the beach to see Percival had gone off, and Johnny was left in possession of the castles.
•As Roger watched, a sudden breeze shook the palm trees, causing several fibrous lumps as big as rugby balls to fall about him, yet he was not touched.
•Roger looked from the nuts to Henry and back again, before listening to the distant sounds of Ralph and Simon and Piggy and Maurice, diving in the pool.
The Power of Civilization and Camouflage
•Roger and Henry experienced the power of civilization when Roger was unable to throw stones at Henry due to the ‘taboo of the old life’.
•Jack used white clay, red clay, and charcoal to create a camouflage for hunting, drawing comparison to ‘moths on a tree trunk’.
•Jack attempted to cover his face with the clay, but upon seeing his reflection, he quickly washed it away.
•Jack then changed his plan and decided to take the twins with him as he hunted.
Jack’s Transformation through the Mask
•Jack’s transformation began with him making one half of his face white, the other half red and black.
•He looks into the pool and sees an awesome stranger instead of his reflection.
•He starts laughing excitedly and dances while wearing the mask, appalling Bill, Ralph and Samneric.
•Ralph is sitting under the palms while Simon is floating in the water and Maurice is practicing diving.
•Piggy is mooning about before coming to sit with Ralph and suggesting a sundial.
•Ralph sarcastically mentions making an airplane, TV set and steam engine, to which Piggy responds that they need metal for that.
Piggy’s Unheeded Warning
•Piggy was seen as an outsider due to his physical features and lack of manual labor skills.
•Ralph and Maurice enjoyed swimming, but Ralph was irked when Piggy brought up the topic of rescue.
•Ralph and Piggy both noticed smoke on the horizon, with a dot that appeared to be a funnel.
•Simon stood by and watched, while Maurice abandoned his trousers and rushed toward the forest.
•Ralph was the only one who was still, clenching his fists and looking towards the horizon.
•Piggy incredulously asked Ralph where the ship was, but Ralph said nothing.
Signal Lost: Ralph’s Desperate Attempt
•Ralph’s face was pale as he spoke to himself, watching the ship ravenously.
•Piggy asked if there was a signal, and Ralph ran to the mountain, followed by Maurice, Simon, and Piggy.
•Ralph stopped at the mountain’s base and shouted for Piggy’s glasses, then looked up to the mountain and agonized over indecision.
•Ralph tried to climb the mountain, but the fire was dead and cold, and the watchers were gone.
•Ralph turned to the sea, defeated, as the wisp of smoke moved on.
Consequences of Letting the Fire Go Out
•Ralph screams at the ship, desperate for it to return.
•Simon and Maurice arrive as Ralph stares at them with unwavering eyes.
•Ralph speaks his worst words, accusing the boys of letting the fire go out.
•The procession of boys appears, chanting something about a bundle.
•Ralph recognizes Jack as the leader, and the twins carrying a pig’s carcass.
•The chant is revealed to be about killing the pig.
•Jack reaches the top first, excitedly sharing his success with Ralph.
•Jack notices blood on his hands and wipes them on his shorts, laughing.
•Ralph finally speaks, accusing the boys once again of letting the fire go out.
The Fire was Let Out
•Jack and Ralph’s disagreement over the fire going out leads to an argument
•Ralph points out that they could have gone home had the fire been kept going
•Piggy blames Jack and his hunting for the fire going out
•Ralph confronts Jack and accuses him of not being able to build huts
•Jack admits the job was too much and they needed everyone
•Ralph laments that there was a ship and they could have been seen
The Clashing Worlds of Jack and Ralph
•Jack and Ralph faced each other with contrasting views on hunting and baffled commonsense.
•Jack’s frustration with Piggy’s accusations led to violence, resulting in the loss of Piggy’s glasses.
•The hunters were amused by Jack’s taunting of Piggy, which only increased Ralph’s anger.
•Jack’s apology to Ralph was met with admiration from the hunters, yet Ralph was unable to reciprocate.
•Despite Jack’s apology, Ralph’s resentment still lingered, leading to an ingracious mutter.
Crisis of Leadership in Lord of the Flies
•Ralph asserts his chieftainship by having the fire built three yards away from Jack, creating a barrier between them.
•Jack is powerless against this weapon and is left raging.
•Ralph takes Piggy’s glasses to light the fire, creating a link between him and Jack.
•Unkindness melts away as the boys become a circle around the camp fire.
•Jack has no means of lighting the fire and leaves Piggy in doubt as an assertion of power.
•Piggy advertises his omission, making more cruelty necessary.
•Jack throws a hunk of meat at Simon’s feet, demanding him to eat.
•Simon, feeling ashamed, shoves his piece of meat to Piggy.
The Frustrations and Resentment of Ralph
•Ralph is overwhelmed with frustration and rage when he discovers the boys have not kept the signal fire going.
•Jack takes control of the situation and presents the boys with meat he had stolen.
•Maurice changes the subject to the only one that could bring the majority of them together – the pig.
•The boys excitedly tell their story of how they managed to kill the pig.
•Ralph is envious and resentful of the boys’ excitement.
•Ralph calls an assembly and walks off down the mountain.
•Ralph finds himself understanding the wearisomeness of this life, reflecting on his earlier explorations.
•He jeeringly smiles as he walks back to the platform with the sun in his face.
Ralph’s Preparations for the Assembly
•Ralph went over his speech carefully as he walked into the sunlight.
•He became aware of the urgency of the situation and the declining sun.
•He noticed details such as the stiffness of his shirt and the frayed edges of his shorts.
•The assembly area was a triangle, with a large log at the base and smaller logs on the right and left.
•The apex of the triangle was left unoccupied, with thick grass growing there.
•Ralph noticed that the logs on the left were springy, yet no one had the wit to wedge it.
•The area was bounded by the beach, lagoon and island.
•This was the first assembly that had taken place as late in the day.
The Need for an Assembly
•Ralph took the conch from the tree and addressed the assembled crowd.
•Ralph emphasized the importance of the assembly, saying it was not for fun.
•Ralph made sure that everyone understood the purpose of the assembly by repeating himself.
•Piggy indicated his disapproval by not speaking, but still wanting to listen.
•Ralph wanted to make sure that even the littlest ones understood the purpose of the assembly.
•Jack, Maurice, and Piggy were all there to listen, but Ralph had to ensure the subject of the debate was laid out clearly.
Putting Things Straight
•Not for laughing, the group of littluns were encouraged to put things straight.
•Ralph proposed having an assembly to decide things.
•He pointed out that they had previously agreed to have water brought to them, but it had not been done.
•He also discussed the huts/shelters they had built, and the importance of keeping them standing.
•He suggested they should use the rocks near the bathing pool as lavatories, and not near the shelters/platform.
•He concluded by mentioning the fire, and the need to keep it going.
Dealing with Fear on the Island
•Ralph explains the importance of keeping a fire going to make smoke, indicating it is more important than the pig they hunt.
•Ralph states that they must only have fires on the mountain in order to be certain and avoid setting the island on fire.
•Jack interrupts Ralph, claiming he has not finished yet, and proceeds to talk about the breaking up of the group, despite the initial happiness.
•Ralph speaks about how people have started getting frightened and how they must all talk about how to address the fear.
Fear on the Island and the Unseen Beast
•Ralph speaks of a fear that needs to be discussed, and Jack agrees it needs to be addressed.
•Jack takes the conch and asserts that the littluns are talking of a beast, but he states that there are no beasts on the island and there is nothing to be afraid of.
•Ralph interjects, asking who said anything about an animal, to which Jack responds that the littluns have been talking of a beast and he has heard it.
•Jack explains that large animals only inhabit large countries like Africa and India, and there is no evidence of a beast on the island.
•The assembly claps with relief and Piggy speaks up, saying he does not agree with Jack but does not think there is a beast on the island either.
Understanding the Fear of the Unknown
•The speaker explains that there is nothing to be afraid of in the forest, even though there may be stories of ghosts and other things.
•He emphasizes that if something is wrong, it can be put right with doctors and science.
•The speaker warns that the only thing to be afraid of is people, not beasts or monsters.
•A littlun stands forward to describe a nightmare he had, in which he was outside the shelter fighting with twisty things in the trees.
•He then claims to have seen something big and horrid moving in the trees.
•Ralph assures them that the littlun was only dreaming, and that it was impossible for anyone to be wandering around in the forest at night.
Uncovering Percival Wemys Madison
•Ralph was astonished to see Simon standing up, and questioned him about what he was doing in the dark.
•Jack settled the question with his contempt, saying that Simon had been taken short.
•Ralph took back the conch, sternly looking Simon in the face, and warned him not to do it again.
•The littluns pushed Percival forward, and Ralph remembered another small boy with a birthmark, which no one had seen again.
•Piggy asked Percival his name, and the assembly broke into a chant.
•Percival Wemys Madison refused to answer, and instead broke into a loud and sustained lamentation.
The Beast: Fact or Fiction?
•The spring had been tapped, and the littluns began to cry in sympathy.
•Maurice saved them by pretending to fall over, and the biguns began to laugh.
•Jack asked about the beast, and Percival muttered something that made them laugh.
•Ralph asked what Percival said, and Jack reported that he said the beast comes out of the sea.
•Maurice then spoke about creatures that his father said existed in the sea.
•The platform was filled with arguing shadows about whether these creatures could come up out of the water.
The Beast: A Ghost?
•Simon suggested that the beast could be a ghost, and the assembly was shaken by the idea.
•Piggy took the conch out of Ralph’s hands and voiced his disbelief in ghosts.
•Jack became angry and a brief tussle ensued as he tried to take the conch away.
•Ralph wrestled the conch back and admonished the assembly for not sticking to the rules.
•He admitted that it was wrong to call the assembly so late and asked what they wanted him to say.
Debate on the Existence of Ghosts
•A vote is proposed on the existence of ghosts and the group decides to go to the shelters as they are tired.
•Ralph does not believe in ghosts, but does not like the thought of them in the dark.
•The group debates on whether or not there may be ghosts and Ralph notices raised hands in the gloom.
•Piggy objects to the vote and expresses his disapproval of the idea of ghosts.
•Jack and Ralph debate on the importance of the rules and Ralph argues that the rules are all they have.
•Jack suggests hunting down the beast, and the group scatters in a frenzy of laughter and terror.
•Piggy encourages Ralph to blow the conch to bring them back, but Ralph fears it won’t work.
•Ralph worries that without the rules, they will become like animals.
Fear and Insecurity on the Island
•Ralph raises the conch to his lips, then lowers it, voicing his fear of the unknown on the island.
•Piggy defends his belief that there are no ghosts or beasts, citing the impossibility of things like houses and television existing.
•The boys’ chanting and dancing intensifies the fear, and Ralph and Piggy cling to each other in horror.
•Ralph considers giving up being chief, but Piggy reminds him of Jack’s cruel rule and pleads for him to stay in power.
•Simon offers his support, reminding Ralph of the power he has over Jack.
•Piggy explains why he is so scared of Jack, and how Jack is also scared of Ralph.
•Ralph wishes for grown-ups to make things right, while Piggy and Simon urge him to keep the fire going.
Grown Up Sign in the Darkness
•The three boys discussed how life would be different if they had grown ups around.
•They wished for a sign from the adults to show them the way.
•A wail out of the darkness chilled them and turned to gibbering.
•Percival Wemys Madison, of the Vicarage, Harcourt St. Anthony, was in a helpless situation.
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