Summary and Analysis Chapter 11


Seeing the twins bound, Ralph's language gets to the heart of the matter quickly. He shouts at Jack, calling him "a beast and a swine and a bloody, bloody thief!" This emotional accusation is in fact truthful. Jack is living out the beast's urges, the beast that spoke to Simon in the guise of a swine head. Jack stole not only Piggy's glasses, but also hope, rescue, Simon's life, Ralph's authority, and the vestiges of civilization from their small island culture. Ralph's use of "bloody" works not only as an expletive but also as an accurate adjective, considering the deaths Jack has caused by fostering an environment of enmity coupled with ferocity.

Initially, Jack and Ralph feel some reluctance to engage fully in combat. When Ralph calls him a thief, Jack rushes at Ralph threateningly with his spear, but they each wield their spears more like sabers, unwilling to use the "the lethal points." They verbally square off, daring each other to come fight but remaining out of each other's reach. Up to this point, none of the boys have fought to the death one on one. Simon's death occurred in the midst of a group frenzy. Even Roger does not engage in hand-to-hand combat but acts more as a physically removed assassin. Until Jack acts after Piggy's death and flings his spear dead-on at Ralph, he is no doubt at some level reluctant to kill another boy for the same reason he couldn't kill the first piglet he encountered in Chapter 1: "because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh."

In addition, Ralph and Jack are connected through a love/hate relationship that neither one of them understands, a link Ralph thinks of as "an indefinable connection" in Chapter 12. They began on the first day with the glamour of a new friendship; "They were lifted up: were friends." Golding's use of the phrase "lifted up" to describe their friendship implies that a partnership between the humane and the bestial components of humanity can result in great things. Yet the two forces must remain in balance to produce positive effects. The conflict on this island begins with Jack attempting to dominate the group rather than work with Ralph to benefit it. For his part, Ralph remains so focused on promoting a sense of order that he overlooks the boys' desire for food more substantial than fruit. Because Ralph so strongly identifies with the civilized part of himself, he cannot understand how Jack can live so far within his animal side. Once Jack makes an attempt on Ralph's life, however, appreciation for each other's perspectives is rendered moot as Ralph becomes re-classified as prey rather than as another human being.

Evil has triumphed: Spirituality, creativity, and religion went with the demise of Simon; intellect and reason die with Piggy; and rules, authority, and tradition are destroyed with the conch.


myopia nearsightedness.

propititate win or regain the good will of; appease or conciliate.

pinnacles pointed formations; peaks, as at the tops of mountains.

pinch [Slang] to steal.

truculent fierce; cruel; savage; ferocious.

talisman anything thought to have magic power; a charm.

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