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Matthew Ho

Ian Avery

Honors English 10

9 November 2016

Lord of the Flies Chapter 5 Reading Journal

In the fifth chapter of his novel Lord of the Flies, William Golding opens with the

profound inner thoughts of Ralph. Ralph begins to truly analyze the lives that they now live and

the fact that they’re merely improvising day to day, watching their feet instead of looking up

ahead for what’s next. Ralph also wants this meeting to be about order and business rather than

having fun and not taking it seriously. He also took notice to a particularly unsteady log which,

at every single assembly, one of the boys sat too far back causing it to flip half a dozen boys onto

the ground, realizing Jack, Piggy, and even himself hadn’t thought to just simply wedge a rock

under it to solve the problem. He also identifies the ineffectiveness of their past assemblies

because “[they] decide things. But they don’t get done” (79). I enjoy this opening because it

effectively displayed development and growth within Ralph from the boy in the first chapter.

Before, he focused on playing and having fun rather than worrying about order, survival, and

getting off the island. I did not like this Ralph because he was stubborn and aimless, but now he

shows maturity and assertive leadership. Furthermore, based off of the problems which he has

seen in the group, Ralph also establishes a new rule that there can only be one fire on the fire to

ensure that smoke is constantly flowing into the air to signal for rescuers. This is one of the first

times Ralph has come up with a major solution to a problem.

This chapter also reintroduces the beast which was dormant since the second chapter of

the novel. The boys contemplate the many different possibilities of what the beast may be: a
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squid, a ghost, or even themselves. Because of the terror the beast spreads through the group, the

beast symbolizes fear. On a more societal scale, it may symbolize outside threats because

usually when the government encounters a monumental potential threat, it usually tries to

suppress it and prevent the people from hearing about it in order to not create a panic. Similarly,

Ralph insists there is no beast and tries to convince everyone that there is nothing to fear. At this

point in the novel, it is also quite obvious that the island is an allegory for humanity, society, and

a personality. With the idea introduced that the island symbolizes a person, the many symbols

previously introduced in the other chapters now have personality traits which they symbolize.

For example, Ralph symbolizes self-awareness, while Piggy symbolizes intelligence, and Jack

symbolizes instinct.

Simon’s suggestion that perhaps the beast is themselves reminds me of our nation today.

Donald Trump is projected to win the 2016 Presidential Election. Different people voted for

many different reasons, but one big reason was out of fear. Trump’s false rhetoric convinced

many people to blame illegal immigrants for the troublesome economy and view Muslims as

dangerous people. Now that Trump has won, many marginalized people fear for their safety

because of the influence he has had on the American people. This fear has been caused by Klu

Klux Klan members rejoicing on the streets because of Trump’s win, hate crimes against

minorities, and more. The beast is an allegory for fear, therefore Simon’s suggestion that people

ourselves may be beasts is not far off.

New Vocabulary:

1) derisive: adj. characterized by or expressing ridicule or mockery

2) effigy: n. a crude representation of someone disliked, used for purposes of ridicule

3) discursive: adj. passing aimlessly from one subject to another