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Most of the chapter is devoted to a pointless argument between Ralph and Jack over the relative importance of building shelters and hunting wild pigs. Both boys seem convinced of the necessity of their projects, but neither one seems competent enough to actually achieve anything. Even though Ralph expresses frustration at the other children, who promise to work but soon wander off to play, it seems clear that in a sense Ralph and Jack are also “playing” at being leaders and finding ways to survive. Their argument is childish, but their predicament is anything but.
Although Simon does not participate in the discussion, it is clear that he is a very different person from Ralph or Jack. Ralph praises him for being the only one to help with the shelter, but we are left to wonder what Simon might actually think about Ralph’s project. What Ralph thinks of as loyalty might be better understood as Simon simply trying to get along. In this sense, Simon’s escape to his secret bower is just an attempt to get some peace. In another sense, however, the fact that Simon has already found a shelter even while helping Ralph try to build one suggests that Simon might have a better understanding of how to survive on the island than either of the two other boys.
Simon wants solitude. He has chosen this place because it is beautiful and quiet and away from the other boys. Simon has a depth that the other boys do not possess, and it is displayed by his decision to go to his bower.
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