In Chapter 12 of Lord of the Flies, which of the following best describes the function of the sentence "He turned... the island." (at the end of the paragraph beginning "When he had eaten..")?
a. It counterbalances the negativism of the previous sentence.
b. It reveals the extent of Ralph's physical wounds.
c. It depicts action in an otherwise introspective paragraph.
d. It reinforces Ralph's refusal to be intimidated by events.
e. It indicates that Ralph has made his decision.
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The last three sentences of the paragraph:
His ﬂesh crept and he shivered in the evening sun. No ﬁre; no smoke; no rescue. He turned and limped away through the forest toward Jack’s end of the island.
In this context, one could argue that each of these aspects (a-e) is represented. Rather than give up, Ralph intends to make another attempt to get Jack and his followers to listen to reason; thus, the act does counterbalance the negativity of "No fire; no smoke; no rescue." Ralph's limp could indicate a wound. Ralph's gesture of heading for Jack's side of the island does indicate action in the midst of a mostly introspective moment. It does indicate that Ralph is not afraid to try: not intimidated. And lastly, this does indicate that Ralph has made the decision to try again, as it is noted earlier in this same paragraph:
Now that the tribe had eaten, the thing to do was to try again.
So, although each of these aspects can be implied in the last sentence of the paragraph, the one that best describes the function of the sentence is really open to interpretation of the reader. But consider the following: Ralph does not dwell on his wounds in this section; there is no overt emphasis on his action of walking toward Jack's side; Ralph is trying but he is clearly frustrated and/or intimidated at the prospect of failing; and he had already made the decision to try earlier in the paragraph. So, it could be argued that the best function of this last sentence is to counterbalance the negativity of, "No fire; no smoke; no rescue." This also underscores Ralph's perseverance following Piggy's death and the destruction of the conch at the end of Chapter 11. The simplicity of the line following all of this negativity is an understatement of how determined Ralph is to succeed, despite how despondent he must feel. This is why it does seem to function most significantly as a positive moment (a counterbalance to previous negative events).
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