How many meetings or assemblies are held in The Lord Of The Flies? What is the significance of each meeting?

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andrewnightingale eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are nine occasions which can be deemed meetings. Some were signaled by the conch, whist others were impromptu gatherings.

The first meeting which was officially called by Ralph, using the conch for the first time, is found in chapter one. In this meeting, the boys choose Ralph as leader and he decides on a division into a group of hunters, led by Jack and the other boys, including the littl'uns. It is also decided to explore the place to determine whether it is an island or not.

The second assembly is found in chapter 2. Here, Ralph provides feedback and informs the others that they are, indeed, on an island. It is also here that the rules for meetings are laid down: whoever has the conch is allowed to speak. They also speak about the availability of food and bathing water. Ralph also asks if anyone had found anything else and the first mention of a 'beastie' or 'snake thing' is made. many of the boys denounce its existence.

Ralph speaks about the need for rescue and informs them that they should create a signal on top of mountain. The meeting then breaks up when all the boys rush off to collect kindle and firewood to make a fire to signal of their presence so that they can be found.

Another meeting is held, without it being called, in which it is decided who would tend the fire. Jack volunteers the choir boys for this task. Ralph, supported by Piggy inists that they should have more rules: where the conch is, there's a meeting, etc. The fire is made using Piggy's glasses. During the discussion it is noticed that their initial fire is out of control.

Piggy then speaks about shelters and mentions that they have to do 'first things first and act properly.' Somebody then notices that the that the boy with the mulberry birthmark on his face has disappeared. he is never seen again.

In chapter 5, Ralph calls an assembly to, as he says, 'put things straight.' He informs the assembly about their lack of diligence water, for example has not been brought. He also speaks about the importance of shelters and bemoans the fact that the ones which have been built, were poorly constructed and gripes about the boys relieving themselves wherever they wish. It is decided that they should use the rocks for a lavatory.

Ralph states that the fire is the most important thing on the island and that there should only be one fire on top of the mountain. He expresses concern that 'things are breaking up' and talks about the boys fear of the beast. jack insists that there is no such thing. The littluns are given a chance to speak and Phil speaks about his nightmare whilst Percival states that the 'beast comes out from sea.' Simon observes that 'it's only us'.

There is a vote on whether there are ghosts and many of the boys raise their hands to accede that they do exist. When Piggy insists on speaking because he has the conch, Jack is rebellious and rejects the rules, saying 'bollocks to the rules.' He then runs off with the hunters following, to find the beast. This is the first definite sign of dissent from Jack.

In chapter 6 a meeting is held without the conch being blown. Sam 'n Eric report about having seen the beast and Jack decides to undertake a 'real hunt' to find it. Ralph complains that such a hunt will lead to the fire being neglected and that they won't have food. Jack, however, does not care. Once again, Piggy insists on rules being obeyed but jack, once again, shows his recalcitrance and says that they don't need the conch anymore. He decides that they should go to the tail end of the island to find the beast.

In chapter 8 it is Jack, ironically who calls a meeting by inexpertly blowing the conch. He reports on the 'beast' that they saw. He calls calls Ralph a poor chief and asks for a vote: Who doesn't want Ralph to be chief. There is no response and he is upset and decides to leave inviting others who want to hunt. He runs off, crying. This indicates a turning point since it signifies the separation of the boys into two distinct groups because some of the boys join him later.

Piggy states that they can do without him whilst Simon suggests that they should climb up the mountain.- we should climb up the mountain. Ralph decides that they should keep the fire going on the beach and create smoke. Jack has a meeting with choir boys who joined him and decides to forget about the beast and hunt. He states that he will be chief and also vows to get more of the biguns away from Ralph and go up to Castle Rock. The separation between the boys is now almost complete.

Jack and two of his hunters approach Ralph and the other boys and declares:

“Listen all of you. Me and my hunters, we’re living along the beach by a flat rock. We hunt and feast and have fun. If you want to join my tribe come and see us. Perhaps I’ll let you join. Perhaps not.”

Once they have left, Ralph and the others have a meeting about maintaining the fire on the beach. The question of having meat comes up and it is decided that they don't want to go into the jungle.. 

Chapter nine features the final gathering of all the boys, which can be seen as an impromptu meeting around the fire. All the boys are eating meat from the hunters' successful capture of a pig. Jack once again asks who is going to join his tribe. This leads to a confrontation with Ralph who insists that he's chief. Ralph wants to call an assembly but Jack says that no one will hear the conch. Many of the boys volunteer to join Jack's tribe.

Eventually, in chapter 11, only Ralph, Piggy, Sam 'n Eric are left. In their final meeting, they decide to take the conch with them and confront Jack to show him, as Piggy says, 'What he hasn't got.' Piggy still has faith in the power of the conch but he is later tragically killed and the conch is smashed to smithereens, signifying the end of civilized behaviour and the advent of ruthless savagery. 

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Lord of the Flies

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