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Please describe the last group of boys to arrive at the meeting in Lord of the Flies by...

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shifty101 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 28, 2013 at 5:23 PM via web

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Please describe the last group of boys to arrive at the meeting in Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 28, 2013 at 8:01 PM (Answer #1)

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Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, is set on an island; the characters are all English schoolboys who have been stranded there after a plane crash. The first characters we meet, Ralph and Jack, discover a conch shell which Ralph blows. From all around the island, boys--particularly little ones--begin to make their way to the beach and the sound of the conch.

There is much noise and activity at first, and then there is silence as they see something odd and dark approaching from far down the beach.

Within the diamond haze of the beach something dark was fumbling along. Ralph saw it first, and watched till the intentness of his gaze drew all eyes that way. Then the creature stepped from mirage on to clear sand, and they saw that the darkness was not all shadow but mostly clothing. The creature was a party of boys, marching approximately in step in two parallel lines and dressed in strangely eccentric clothing. Shorts, shirts, and different garments they carried in their hands; but each boy wore a square black cap with a silver badge on it. Their bodies, from throat to ankle, were hidden by black cloaks which bore a long silver cross on the left breast and each neck was finished off with a ham-bone frill. The boy who controlled them was dressed in the same way though his cap badge was golden.

The group is dressed in more than just typical school uniforms, which all the other boys were accustomed to seeing and wearing. This group is obviously connected, and they are obviously following the orders of their leader. Finally the odd-looking group gets close to the gathering place and the leader commands them to halt, so they do. The boys are "gasping, sweating, swaying in the fierce light" (and undoubtedly because their uniforms were stifling in the heat).

The leader announces himself as Jack Merridew, and he proudly proclaims that he is the head choirboy. Soon the boys hold an election, and we learn how Jack became leader of the choir.  

“I ought to be chief,” said Jack with simple arrogance, “because I’m chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp.”

So, this group of boys wearing cloaks, ham-bone frills (picture anyone from the Elizabethan times, such as Henry VIII or Queen Elizabeth with that stiff, frilly thing around their necks), and special hats with badges is a choir. When Jack loses the election, Ralph tells Jack, “The choir belongs to you, of course.” These choirboys, with the exception of Simon, become Jack's tribe of hunters. 

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Lori Steinbach

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