How is Ralph rescued in chapter 12 of Lord of the Flies?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the final chapter of Lord of the Flies just as Ralph is at his most desperate, running through the burning jungle while being chased by blood-thirsty savages, a veritable deus ex machina appears in the form of a naval officer:

"[Ralph] staggered to his feet, tensed for more terrors, and looked up at a huge peaked cap.[...] A naval officer stood on the sand, looking down at Ralph in wary astonishment" (200).

The naval officer's timely appearance at the end of the novel delivers Ralph from certain death at the hands of Jack and his hunters.  The officer promises to take the boys off the island, and is more than just a little surprised that a group of English boys would have been so uncivilized as not even to know how many of them were on the island; his words stir something within Ralph and the other boys, and they all begin to cry.  The novel concludes as the officer turns away from the tearful scene to stare off at the "trim cruiser in the distance" (202).

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Lord of the Flies

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