Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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How is Ralph's hiding place discovered and how is he saved at the last possible moment? When the naval officer looks at the boys, what does he see?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In chapter twelve, Ralph returns to Castle Rock and manages to get Samneric's attention while they are standing guard. Samneric end up telling Ralph that Jack and his hunters plan on forming a cordon across the island and gradually moving forward until they come across him. They also indirectly explain to Ralph that Jack plans on decapitating him and placing his head on the end of a stake. Before Ralph leaves, he informs the twins that he plans on hiding deep in the thicket directly below Castle Rock.

In the morning, Jack forces Samneric to disclose Ralph's location. The savages proceed to roll massive boulders towards the thicket, before setting the island on fire to smoke Ralph out of his hiding spot. Ralph is forced to flee from the thicket, defend himself, and outrun the savages until he falls onto the beach. When Ralph raises his head, he discovers a British naval officer standing on the beach. The savages come to a halt behind him. The presence of the British naval officer is enough to prevent them from killing Ralph, and he perceives the boys as unkempt and disorderly. After initially thinking that the boys are playing a fun game of war, he mentions that he is ashamed that a pack of British boys would carry on in such a manner.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The part you are talking about is in Chapter 12.

Ralph's hiding place is discovered because Samneric have joined Jack's tribe.  They know where Ralph is because he told them the night before.  They were not going to tell, but now they are being tortured and they are unable to keep from telling.

When Samneric tell, Ralph is cornered and starts to fight back.  Just when things seem hopeless, the boys are distracted by someone shouting "smoke."  At that point, Ralph runs away.

When the naval officer first looks at the boys, he thinks they have been having a fun time.  He thinks they have been playing, maybe playing war.

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