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What is the significance of Ralph's daydreams in Chapter 7 of Lord of the Flies?

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andreacookie6 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 2, 2011 at 3:51 AM via web

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What is the significance of Ralph's daydreams in Chapter 7 of Lord of the Flies?

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 2, 2011 at 5:24 AM (Answer #1)

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In chapter 7, Ralph begins daydreaming about a comfortable place for he and his parents to visit. Every aspect of civilized life came into view for Ralph:

Once, following his father from Chatham to Devonport, they had livedin a cottage on the edge of the moors. In the succession of houses that Ralph had known, this one stood out with particular clarity because after that house he had been sent away to school. Mummy had still been with them and Daddy had come home every day. Wild ponies came to the stone wall at the bottom of the garden, and it had snowed. Just behind the cottage there was a sort of shed and you could lie up there, watching the flakes swirl past. You could see the damp spot where each flake died, then you could mark the first flake that lay down without melting and watch, the whole ground turn white. You could go indoors when you were cold and look out of the window, past the bright copper kettle and the plate with the little blue men.When you went to bed there was a bowl of cornflakes with sugar and cream. And the books—they stood on the shelf by the bed, leaning together with always two or three laid flat on top because he had not bothered to put them back properly. They were dog-eared and scratched.

In this passage, Ralph references his "Mummy" and "Daddy". He could have spoken of his father and mother, but these terms suggest his need for comfort. He speaks specifically of the most basic of food: breakfast cereal. It wasn't a fancy meal, but it was comfortable and nourishing. He mentioned books, even in their "dog-eared and scratched" state, they were a civilized comfort worth having.

These longings for comfort highly contrast what is about to happen to him. They pointedly demonstrate change that is about to arise. Ralph, in this chapter, will be shaken out of his daydream by a passing boar, and he will eventually get his first hit on a boar, making him savage. These daydreams contrast his longing for civility and comfort with the only option that presents itself: absolute savagery.

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