In Chapter 12, why does Ralph's plan to elude the hunters fail?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At first, as "a spasm of terror set him shaking," Ralph cannot grasp "the fatal unreasoning knowlege that comes to him again."  He wants believe that the hunters have just had an accident in their killing of Simon.  But, he knows now intuitively as Simon has known that the beast is in them.  Ironically, Ralph finds the same clearing that Simon has used, and he discovers the pig's head.  The knowledge, then, comes to him that the boys are truly savages, but they are human.  He hides in the thicket near Jack's camp after talking with SamnEric, telling them the hunters will not think to search for him so close to their camp. However, in the early morning, Ralph awakens to voices and the cries of SamnEric who are made to reveal Ralph's hiding spot.

Then, the savages climb to the top of Castle Rock and heave two huge boulders down from the top.  When one gigantic one comes with such force that Ralph is thrown into the air momentarily.  After he lands, Ralph hears whispering, so he thrusts his spear through the growth and wounds someone. Having done this, he knows he must run as he is being pursued. For, the savages are smoking him out by setting the entire island on fire.  Ralph runs, "hopeless fear on flying feet," until he encounters the British naval officer, who rescues him and the others who appear on the beach.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial