Where does the blame for the child's death lie in chapter 2 of Lord of the Flies?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Although the reader would probably like to pin the blame for the child's death solely on Jack, the truth is that all the characters are culpable for the fire that grew out of control.  Jack is the first to lead the boys up the mountain to make the fire, and Ralph joins them resignedly "with the martyred expression of a parent who has to keep up with the senseless ebullience of the children" (38).  However, once Ralph and Piggy join the boys at the mountain top, Ralph joins the fire-making craze as well, helping to add more logs and branches to the enormous pile.  Even Piggy shares in the responsibility at the end of the chapter for the child's death, because he did not keep track of the littluns' names and number so as to monitor their whereabouts more efficiently. 

The grim realization that the boy with the mulberry birthmark has gone missing casts a dark shadow on the exciting glamour of their adventure; this moment in the novel reinforces the stark reality of the boys' current conditions, reminding both reader and boys alike not to underestimate the dangers of the island.

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