In chapter 5 of Lord of the Flies, give an example of character paralysisPlease explain this paralysis.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter Five of Lord of the Flies opens with Ralph walking down a firm strip where he does not have to watch his feet. As he walks, Ralph finds himself

understanding the wearisomeness of this life[his paralysis].  He found himself understanding the wearisomeness of this life, where every path was an improvisation and a considerable part of one's waking life was spent watching one's feet.

He lost himself in a maze of thoughts that were rendered vague by his lack of words to express them.  Frowning, he tried again.

Ralph experiences a paralysis.  For, he realizes that he cannot think like Piggy, who can move "step by step inside that fat head of his." Ralph can recognize thought in another, but he cannot put out his own effectively.  In order to communicate again the importance of the signal fire, Ralph calls an evening meeting.  But, as he does so, Ralph falls into

that strange mood of speculation that was so foreign to him.   If faces were different when lit from above or below--what was a face?  What was anything?

In his paralysis, Ralph begins to question existence itself. Still, he also acknowleges, "I can't think. Not like Piggy."  So, Ralph has to "adjust his values" as he continues to search for the way to organize the boys and gain their respect.  Nevertheless, Ralph never quite does this as Jack undermines his authority by gathering the attention of the boys by appealing to their fears.

Likewise, Simon suffers a paralysis as he comes from his hiding place, is unable to communicate to the boys that he has seen the beast and knows what it is,

Simon became inarticulate in his effort to express mankind's essential illness.

When he does try to communicate the image of the beast, he does so by asking what they think is the dirtiest thing.  This quesion is met with racuous laughter, laughter that "beat him cruelly and he shrank away defenseless to his seat."

As Ralph and Piggy and Simon sit together after the failed meeting that mourn that there is no grownup around:

"We're all drifing and things are going rotten.  At home there was always a grownup.  Please, sir; please, miss; and then you got an anwer.  How I wish!"

"I wish my autie was here."

"I wish my father...Oh, what the use?"

Overwhelmed with all they feel and do not know how to do, Ralph and Simon both experience paralysis as they cannot communicate effectively and move people to action effectively.

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Lord of the Flies

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