Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

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What is the physical condition of the boys hiking along the shore? Do they mind?

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Pamela Mead eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Lord of the Flies, chapter seven opens wth Jack, Ralph, and some older boys on their way back to camp after trying in vain to find the wild boar. Ralph seems to be the first to notice how threadbare their clothes are and how grimy and unkempt they must appear. Ralph would welcome the opportunity to

wash his clothes, cut his hair, and brush his teeth. He observed the other boys and how generally dirty and ragged they'd become since they'd arrived on the island.

I think this drastic change is of concern to Ralph because it makes him feel like he and the others are becoming more a part of the island itself, and that in turn deepens Ralph's conviction that the boys will be stuck on the island forever. Ralph misses his old home and his old life, when he was clean, had a haircut, and was properly fed. He misses all the old comforts of home.

Roger and Jack, on the other hand, do not seem too aware of the changes in their physical appearances. They are more focused on finding the boar; they are in survival mode and have more throughly adapted to this new and savage island life.

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In chapter 7 of Lord of the Flies, as the boys hike across the island, it's noticeable just how much their physical appearances have changed—and not for the better. Their hair has grown long, their clothes are torn and disheveled, and their skin is covered in filth. This is a further indication of just how much the boys have changed since arriving on the island.

Far from home, deprived of creature comforts, and without adult supervision, the boys have slowly relapsed into a state of savagery. Their outward appearances are a manifestation of the change that life on a remote, uninhabited desert island has wrought upon their souls. But for the most part, the boys don't really care all that much. They're pretty much used to being dirty and scruffy at this point. Ralph, however, is none too pleased about his grubby appearance. This illustrates once more how different he is from the other boys, especially Jack and his gang, who positively revel in their filth and savagery.

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