A group of young British schoolboys, aging from around 5 to 13 are stranded on a previously inhabited island. One of the first signs of the destruction of man is the scar left by the burning plane. Ralph is elected chief by the other schoolboys, and despite his attempts to set rules and let the island be run with order, Jack Merridew and his group of anarchist hunters have their own agenda to how the island should be run. The island is a mini version of the world. We can see this by how things slowly start to break up and the destruction of man on a peaceful world.
We first see things begin to break up in chapter one. Ralph makes a huge mistake and gives Jack Merridew control over the choir. By doing this, he already divided the island. On page 19 we can see that he is already referring to the choir as though they are not part of their island. He says “Jack’s in charge of the choir. They can be- what do you want them to be? ” I think that Ralph is solely responsibly for this. This is because he undermines his authority and physically splits the group in two.
In chapter two we see the first boy on the island killed. The boys do not know who it was, as the boys have foolishly decided there are more important things to do then know who is who. A large fire on the island kills the boy. This breaks the island up as they realise just how alone they are, and that they are capable of doing anything. Piggy seems like the only one to notice the boys’ immaturity.
We can see this when Piggy ironically remarks that the boys are acting like a “crowd of kids. This is suggesting that to survive they need to forget that they are physically children, and grow into an adult mentally to make sure that the island does not continue to fall apart. Again, Ralph is responsible for this, although not solely. He should have been more organised and found all of the survivors on the island first. He needed more control over the boys as they went to light the fire. In chapter three, things continue to fall apart on the Island. Ralph starts complaining that he’s the only one to be doing important work on the island whilst the others seem engrossed in hunting.
They are doing this despite being reminded on page 51, “You remember the meeting? How everyone was going to work hard until the shelters were finished” This also reveals how the island is starting to break into two groups, with the hunters doing things that they enjoy and leaving Ralph to struggle with vital work alone. His authority is breaking away here, but he does nothing but moan as if it would stop it. If one method isn’t working he needed to use equal force to make sure that they stop hunting and help. In chapter four, the first pig is slaughtered.
This is the first time that we see how much pain Jack is really feeling behind his fierce front. He paints a war mask on his face “behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness. ” This shows us how things are breaking up when the boys can’t face themselves without so much shame. Ralph isn’t responsible for this, as he alone cannot control what Jack is feeling inside. Chapter 5 shows us a big conflict between the two sides of the island. The conflict is over how things are breaking up over the beast.
Ralph is still intent that all the island needs are people following rules, but Jack wants none of it. He tells Ralph that he isn’t a fierce hunter like he is, nor can he sing. The last straw for him comes when he yells ” Bullocks to the rules! We’re strong-we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll beat and beat and beat! ” This is showing us that things are breaking down because of how much tension there is, not just between the two groups, but in their heads as well. The beast in Jack is coming out more and more which is helping the island to break apart.