How is the vote about ghosts a mockery of Ralph and the kind of government he represents?

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In chapter 5, Ralph holds an assembly to discuss the tasks that the boys are neglecting on an everyday basis. After Ralph comments on what must be done in order to maintain a civil society, he says that the boys must also decide on what they believe about the beast....

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In chapter 5, Ralph holds an assembly to discuss the tasks that the boys are neglecting on an everyday basis. After Ralph comments on what must be done in order to maintain a civil society, he says that the boys must also decide on what they believe about the beast. After Ralph, Jack, and Piggy mention that they do not believe in the beast, someone says, "Maybe he means it's some sort of ghost" (Golding, 68). Piggy immediately grabs the conch and declares that he doesn't believe in ghosts and the topic of the beast quickly shifts to ghosts. Someone even suggests, "Perhaps that's what the beast is—a ghost" (Golding, 69). When Ralph asks the boys if they believe in ghosts, he sees several hands raise. Piggy once again grabs the conch and declares that he doesn't believe in ghosts, which irritates Jack, who quickly takes over the meeting and leads the hunters away from the assembly.

The fact that Ralph is holding a vote to decide about whether the boys believe in ghosts is a mockery of his leadership and government because the topic has nothing to do with maintaining a civil society. It is obvious that ghosts are not real, but Ralph lacks the authority to convince the boys that their fears are ridiculous and unfounded. The topic of ghosts also detracts from the real issues that concern the boys disobeying Ralph, refusing to complete necessary tasks, and deciding on the existence of a beast. Ralph fails to keep the meeting focused, and the assembly is ruined after he acknowledges the suggestion that there might be a ghost.

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