Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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How does Ralph learn of Jack's plans for him in Lord of the Flies by William Golding?

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In the last chapter of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, Ralph is on the run from Jack and his tribe of savages. Ralph is alone against everyone else, though he still has a bit of an ally in Samneric, who at least give him information--as long as it doesn't cost them more abuse at the hands of Jack and Roger.

It appears that Roger and Jack want Ralph dead, but Ralph still does not want to believe that things are as bad as they appear. After he talks to the twins, however, he has to face the reality that he will be killed unless he can elude his captors. The twins, as always, relate their news together.

“They hate you, Ralph. They’re going to do you [kill you].”

“They’re going to hunt you tomorrow.”

“But why?”

“I dunno. And Ralph, Jack, the chief, says it’ll be dangerous-”

“--and we’ve got to be careful and throw our spears like at a pig.”

“We’re going to spread out in a line across the island-”

“--we’re going forward from this end-”

“--until we find you.”

“We’ve got to give signals like this.”

Eric raised his head and achieved a faint ululation by beating on his open mouth. Then he glanced behind him nervously.

“Like that--”

“--only louder, of course.”

Ralph is stunned and wonders what he did to earn such a punishment from Jack, for all he ever wanted to do was to keep a signal fire going. When Ralph asks the twins what the older boys plan to do with him once they catch him, neither boy wants to answer. Finally one of them whispers these words, as if they were the worst words a person could ever possibly say:

 “Roger sharpened a stick at both ends.”

While Ralph does not understand the implications of this act, we (the readers) do. Roger impaled the pig's head (Lord of the Flies) as a sacrifice on a sharpened stick, and this is undoubtedly the same fate Jack and Roger have for Ralph. 

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