In "Lord of the Flies," chapter 8, why does Ralph believe he and his following are beaten?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ralph realizes that rational thought has been beaten as he and Piggy have lost their authority over the other boys.  Physical prowess has usurped power from rationality as Jack draws the bigg'uns to the hunters' group.  In a way, the fire has been stolen as Jack and the hunters claim the top of the mountain.  This action has been perceived by readers as an allusion to the mythological theft of fire from the gods by Promethesus who gave it to man, thereby unleashing violence.  In the control of Jack, fire now represents his control of the boys on the island as the conch has lost its effectiveness just as Piggy is no longer listened to.

For the first time, Ralph knows fear, recognizing that the savage nature of the boys has arisen to dominate many of their actions.  Even Simon who has gone into the forest for peace, finds none.  Instead, in his state of seizure, Simon speaks with the "Lord of the Flies" who tells him, "You knew, didn't you?....I'm the reason it's no go."

Having seen Jack transformed into a naked, painted savage, Ralph  realizes that the remnants of civiliation are in tatters.  With such sadistic boys as Roger, there is little hope for Piggy and Jack and anyone who is rational to have control. 

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Lord of the Flies

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