Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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What is the main subject of Lord of the Flies chapter 5?

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The main focus of this chapter is Ralph's meeting that he calls with the boys, and how it becomes clear that even though he is trying to give clear leadership, the boys are not obeying the rules they have established, which could easily result in chaos. For example, the boys don't want to participate in building shelters, refuse to gather drinking water and also neglect the signal fire. Ralph even has to berate them for not using the designated area to relieve themselves. Then he has to attempt to dismiss the fears that the boys have of beasts and monsters, but the meeting descends into chaos when Jack torments Piggy and runs away, and most of the boys follow his example. At the very end of the chapter, one of the littluns is left crying:

Percival Wemys Madison, of the Vicarage, harcourt St. Anthony, lying in the long grass, was living through circumstances in which the incantation of his address was powerless to stop him.

All the boys are having to accept the fact that they are in a situation where, removed from normal society and the control of adults, there is the threat of absolute chaos that is already beginning to sweep on the boys like a relentless wave. The careful rules that had been constructed to ensure the survival of the boys are being ignored and now fear is dominating.

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