In Chapter 7 of Lord of the Flies, what does Ralph do when the boys start to play, putting Robert in the part of the boar?

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mlsldy3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 7 of The Lord of the Flies, we see that Jack and the boys are tracking a wild boar. They want to find it and kill it, so they decide to hunt it. Ralph, who has never hunted before, goes along with them. We know that Jack enjoys this kind of thing, but we haven't seen Ralph take this kind of position before. Ralph has always been the one who is seen as the more responsible child. Ralph would rather be building a hut or trying to keep the fire burning, increasing their chances of being rescued, but now we are seeing a different side to Ralph.

Ralph really gets into the hunt; when he throws his spear at the boar and hits its snout, he feels pride in his ability to hit the wild animal. He gets caught up in the excitement of the other kids.

Ralph was full of fright and apprehension and pride...He sunned himself in their new respect and felt that hunting was good after all.

However, when Jack and the others suggest they play like they are hunting and make Robert play the part of the boar, the playing gets out of control. The kids seem to forget that Robert is not really an animal. Jack and the others get carried away with the playing, and Ralph joins in. This is the first time we see Ralph let the wildness take him over. He does realize what he is doing, however, and stops, but it happened nonetheless.

This whole time we have seen Jack and his group becoming wilder and wilder, yet Ralph has stayed the same. In this chapter we see Ralph begin to allow the wildness to take over. This chapter shows us that we are all capable of savagery, but we have to reign that part of ourselves in. Jack and his group don't want to reign it in, but Ralph wants to remember that he is still a human being.

davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ralph is generally thought of as being the good guy in Lord of the Flies, yet even he's not immune to the mentality of the mob and all its horrors. It's also important to recognize that, despite everything, Ralph's still a boy, and boys will be boys. So when poor Robert becomes the boar in a game that quickly gets out of hand, Ralph is right there in the thick of the action. It seems that participating in a hunt makes him as deliriously overexcited as Jack.

But there's a difference. For one thing, Ralph has a conscience. He feels bad about how he and the other boys have treated Robert. There's no way in a million years that Jack would ever show such contrition. The contrast between civilization and savagery is one of the book's most abiding themes. And this scene involving the sadistic boar hunt "game" demonstrates the subtlety with which Golding handles the theme.

The conflicting impulses between savagery and civilized behavior don't simply exist between boys and groups of boys but within the soul of each individual. Each boy is forced at various points to make a decision as to how he will conduct himself on the island. For the most part, Ralph makes the right choice. But when he doesn't, as in this particular case, we can see just how easy it is for even the most rational and practical of individuals to succumb to the violence and atavistic barbarism that lurks deep within the soul of the human animal.

cmcqueeney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When the boys begin to pretend play about boar hunting, Ralph jumps right into the frenzy.  The boys and Robert are pretending that Robert is the boy, but the play quickly turns serious when they start jabbing Robert with the butt ends of their spears.  Ralph actually takes a spear and starts jabbing Robert with it.  All the boys including Ralph begin grabbing Robert trying to hurt him.  Jack finally stops the 'play', and Robert whimpers away nursing his wounds.

This scene shows two important things.  First, Ralph's desire to be apart of the group of boys.  He wants to be apart of the peer group, but after the frenzy is over, he becomes uneasy realizing that in reality they were hurting Robert.  He is separated from them by this notion.  Also, the scene shows again the power of a mob mentality.  The mentality which draws in almost all the boys and then seeks to destroy all who stand against it.

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Lord of the Flies

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