Chapter 11 "Castle Rock" Notes from Lord of the Flies

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Lord of the Flies Chapter 11 "Castle Rock"

After deciding to go to sleep without tending to the fire, Ralph, nursing his swollen cheek from the previous night's attack in which Piggy's glasses were stolen, awakens at dawn and begins blowing into the cold embers, hoping that some spark is still burning. However the result is only to have ash blown into his eyes, mirroring the incident on the mountain earlier in which he, Jack and Roger investigated the presence of the beast.

Piggy urges him to call yet another assembly even though nobody is left except for Samneric. Ralph, though doubtful as to the necessity of this, at last agrees and blows hard into the conch. The four of them talk about how all of the problems of the island are to be blamed on Jack. Ralph insists that he would have given Jack fire to use if he had only asked rather than stealing the glasses; their not getting rescued due to the lack of a signal fire is blamed on Jack, as is the murder of Simon, in which the four of them had taken part as well.

Piggy dismisses all of this, saying: "'This is 'jus talk....I want my glasses.'" Chapter 11, pg. 155. He, as always, propels Ralph (who is described earlier as comparable to "a chess player") into action. Ralph speaks about going up to the Castle Rock where Jack has established the base for his tribe: "'[We should be] looking like we used to, washed and hair brushed -- after all we aren't savages really....'" Chapter 11, pg. 155. Here he clings again to the old nostalgia of his dreams and his yearning for home and things civilized. Though this is a symbolic gesture for their adherence to civilized behaviors, Piggy dismisses it all, seizing up the conch in order to speak, saying he is going to go up the mountain, without a spear, and walk right up to Jack and demand that his glasses back. Piggy's old timidity has completely left, as he speaks without fear. As he talks, "[a] single drop of water that had escaped Piggy's fingers now flashed on the delicate curve [of the shell] like a star." Chapter 11, pg. 156. The mention of a star here recalls the description of stars earlier, when they reflected off the dead body of Simon as it was swept out into the ocean. The remaining four boys leave to visit Castle Rock, on a mission to retrieve Piggy's glasses.

Topic Tracking: Intellectual 12

As the boys approach, the thin line of a cooking fire is visible overhead and Roger stops them at the entrance. Ralph ignores his command to turn back and declares that once more he is calling an assembly, much in contrast to his earlier doubts on the beach about the futility of such action. Roger begins tossing rocks at Samneric, "aiming to miss" just as he had done with Percival, Johnny and Henry when they were building sand castles on the beach. Now at Castle Rock, this activity is repeated again. Jack is suddenly seen emerging from the forest with two other hunters, all three "masked in black and green." Chapter 11, pg. 160. Just returning from the hunt, "Behind them on the grass the headless and paunched body of a sow lay where they had dropped it." Chapter 11, pg. 160

Upon seeing this, Piggy begins to yell nervously. Jack and Ralph enter an argument about Piggy's glasses and the two begin to fight, swinging spears at one another, their language mirroring each anothers, the one saying, "Come on then" and the other saying, "Come on" and later, "You come on and see what you get" responded by, "You come on." They fight alike and act alike. Their struggle and scuffle is much akin to that small incident of the twins, Samneric, fighting earlier. Piggy attempts to maintain Ralph's focus and, fearing for his own safety, shouts out: "'Ralph -- remember what we came for. The fire. My specs.'" Chapter 11, pg. 161 and once more Ralph attempts to regain his senses. Caught between these two elements, Piggy and his logic versus Jack and his savagery, Ralph struggles to stop fighting and begins again with his old jargon, talking about the need for a signal fire in order to be rescued.

Topic Tracking: Government 13
Topic Tracking: Pig 8

Samneric are suddenly seized at Jack's command by his hunters and "Samneric protested out of the heart of civilization, 'Oh, I say!' '-honestly!'" Chapter 11, pg. 163. Here the two twins are both taken prisoner by the savages. Now Ralph screams out, calling out to Jack: "'You're a beast and a swine and a bloody, bloody thief!'" Chapter 11, pg. 163. As the two prepare to fight again, Piggy steps in suddenly in one last attempt to restore reason to the group, holding the conch aloft. "Let me speak...I got the conch," he says and even as he begins his monologue, Roger has already begun dropping stones upon him--this time not aiming to miss. "'Which is better--to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is....Which is better--to have laws and agree, or to hunt and kill?'" Chapter 11, pg. 164. Now, rather than speaking through Ralph as he has done thus far, Piggy himself speaks and attempts to lead. However, at this moment Roger presses down on a lever set in place beneath a large boulder and it falls slowly--"[t]he rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist." Chapter 11, pg. 164. "Piggy's arms and legs twitched a bit, like a pig's after it has been killed." Chapter 11, pg. 165. After he falls far down to the beach his dead body, as with the body of Simon, is sucked out to sea by the waves.

Events following occur very quickly, as Ralph attempts to speak with no sound coming out. Jack hurls a spear which catches him in the ribs and bounces off. Boundaries have been crossed as now it is a boy not a pig which is attacked by spears. Ralph takes off running into the forest, bounding over the headless sow's body still lying on the ground. Jack orders everyone back to their fort, to Castle Rock, and he draws near to Samneric, still tied up, demanding to know why they had resisted joining his tribe. Silently, Roger approaches the twins edging past Jack, "as one wielding a nameless authority." Chapter 11, pg. 166. They are about to be tortured by Roger's hands, the very same hands which had only just murdered Piggy moments before.

Topic Tracking: Intellectual 13
Topic Tracking: Beast 11
Topic Tracking: Pig 9

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