Chapter 6 "Beast from Air" Notes from Lord of the Flies

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Lord of the Flies Chapter 6 "Beast from Air"

Little does Ralph know that his wish for "something grown-up" is granted that same night, though not exactly in the way he intended. As the boys sleep that night a battle between two planes wages on in the air above the island--one of the planes is destroyed. Drifting down to the island after the explosion is the lifeless body of its pilot, bound tightly in a pilot suit and parachute cables. The chute carries the body to rest at the summit of the mountain where their signal fire burns. The twins Sam and Eric, are tending to the fire as the pilot's body slowly shifts around as the wind courses through the parachute, moving the lifeless body like a puppet with strings, lifting its head to rise and fall. The twins speak as one person, the one finishing the other's sentence, "Sam - give us --" one begins, "--tinder wood," the other finishes. As they go off to find wood, they see the dead pilot and, mistaking the corpse for the beast, they flee back down to the beach to awaken Ralph. Ralph is in the midst of a comfortable dream, as "Even the sounds of nightmare from the other shelters no longer reached him, for he was back to where came from, feeding the ponies with sugar over the garden wall." Chapter 6, pg. 89. He dreams of his own home. However, Ralph is jarred awake to hear the beast story from the twins. Eric's face, cut by creepers as he had fled down the mountain, is thought to be further evidence of an attack by the "beast."

Topic Tracking: Beast 4

Another assembly is called by Ralph as day breaks and again there is discussion and arguing among all the boys and escalating tension between Jack and Ralph. At last a group is sent off, led by Jack and Ralph, in order to track the beast, each with his own reason: Jack, to kill and hunt the beast, and Ralp,h to rekindle the signal fire to preserve hope for a rescue. They decide to explore a section of island they had not been to yet, leaving Piggy behind as before to watch over the littluns. In setting out, Simon thinks to himself of the beast as only "the picture of a human at once heroic and sick....Other people could stand up and speak to an assembly...without...the pressure of personality; could say what they would as though they were speaking to only one person." Chapter 6, pg. 93. He recalls his earlier inability to express what he knew about the nature of the beast as he perceived it. In attempting to warn the other children earlier he stuttered and was met only with ridicule, though he seems perhaps to be the most insightful of them all.

Topic Tracking: Religion 6

Jack sees a pink rock cliff he describes as a "castle", and they decide to try this as a possible location for the beast's hideout. He cries excitedly, forgetting their mission, "'What a place for a fort!'" as Ralph urges them to move on for the sake of rekindling the signal fire on the mountain. The others pay Ralph little mind, including Jack. As if in another world, they roll rocks down the cliff face in glee; one large boulder Jack even fantasizes about using as a catapault-type weapon, "'Shove a palm trunk under that and if an enemy came....'"Chapter 6, pg. 96. Finally Ralph, becomes extremely agitated, punches a rock and orders them harshly, "'I'm chief. We've got to make certain [that there is no beast]....There's no signal showing [on the mountain]. There may be a ship out there.'" Chapter 6, pg. 98.

Increasingly, Ralph and Jack pursue their own desires: Jack wishing to destroy and hunt; Ralph wishing to be rescued, carried back to his home and father and the ponies of which he dreams. Despite their opposite ideals and patterns of behavior, they are similar in personality and motive. Both are dreamers and seem to be distant from the true needs of those they govern; when the littluns have nightmares, Ralph does not care for them but rather is quite selfish, dreaming happy thoughts of home. Jack hardly bothers with the littuns either, referring to them frequently as "crybabies." In any case, once more Jack relents and the group continues on their way, leaving their new-found fortress behind, but surely not forgotten.

Topic Tracking: Government 7

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