What are the boys' activities in novel Lord of the Flies?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The boys participate in various activities throughout the novel in an attempt to build a civil society, which turns out to be a dramatic failure as they become ruthless savages obsessed with violence and leisure. They begin by voting for a chief and electing Ralph to be their leader. They also go on an expedition to discover the lay of the land and attempt to build a signal fire. Ralph and a few other boys attempt to build shelters, collect water in coconuts, and maintain a signal fire, while Jack and his hunters track down pigs in the forest. Unfortunately, only one shelter is sturdy because the majority of the boys went off to hunt with Jack or decided to relax in the shallow pool of water.

As the novel progresses, Ralph gradually loses control of the group, and Jack gains a significant following. The boys slowly descend into savagery and spend most of their time hunting pigs, collecting fruit, and lounging around the beach. Towards the end of the novel, a struggle over fire ensues between Ralph's tribe and Jack's band of savages. Jack's tribe not only steals burning logs from Ralph's fire but also steals Piggy's glasses to make their own fire. Jack's tribe spends the majority of their time protecting Castle Rock, hunting pigs, engaging in ritual dances, punishing boys who disobey Jack, and relaxing on the beach, while Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric lament over their situation. Overall, the boys' attempt at creating a civil society is a complete failure because the majority of boys prefer to spend their time engaging in activities such as hunting and relaxing instead of completing necessary tasks. 

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When they aren’t eating or swimming, the boys spend most of their time hunting, minding the fire, and building structures.

The boys are disorganized and dysfunctional.  Even though Ralph tries to give them leadership, they rarely listen to him.  Ralph’s first priority is the fire, so that they can use the smoke as a signal for planes and passing ships.  They try to have some boys watching it at all times, but boys often abandon their posts or fall asleep.

When the boys try to do something practical like build shelters, they mostly just argue and fight.  They have trouble sticking with anything long enough to get it done, and more often than not some of the boys just wander off. 

The principal activity of the island for the littleuns is eating and playing that is “aimless and trivial” such as building sand castles.

They ate most of the day, picking fruit where they could reach it and not particular about ripeness and quality. They were used now to stomach-aches and a sort of chronic diarrhoea. (ch 4)

The older boys and Jack’s boys are more interested in hunting than anything else.  The pigs are their principal recreation.  Although there is not much meat from crabs or fish, the pig is not just for sustenance.  The boys have started to enjoy killing.  This is just another example of the deterioration of their society.


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Lord of the Flies

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