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Lord of the Flies Chapter 2 Summary & Quotes

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  • 0:03 Ralph Makes Rules
  • 1:07 The Boys Build a Fire
  • 2:14 Piggy Gets Angry
  • 3:21 Quotes
  • 4:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Katherine Garner

Katie teaches middle school English/Language Arts and has a master's degree in Secondary English Education

This lesson provides a summary of Chapter Two of William Golding's 1954 novel ''Lord of the Flies'' as well as a brief analysis of several quotations from the main characters in the book.

Ralph Makes Rules

In the previous chapter of Lord of the Flies, Raph, Jack, and Simon went exploring to find they were on an uninhabited island, and Jack was ashamed because he was unsuccessful killing a piglet they find in the woods. At the beginning of Chapter Two, 'Fire On the Mountain,' the boys return to the group and tell them what they found.

Ralph makes some rules, trying to instill order among the group. He says that they will have to take turns talking, and whoever is holding the conch will be the person allowed to talk. The boys also discuss whether they will be rescued. Some think that the airport from which their plane took off would know, but Piggy points out that the airport would only know where they were supposed to go, not where they are now. Piggy seems to be the only character who has a clear idea of their circumstances and how unlikely it is they will be found.

A small boy asks Ralph what he will do about 'the snake-thing'; he explains that he has seen a snake-like creature, or 'beastie,' in the woods and is very frightened by it. Ralph and the older boys brush off his fear, saying it was probably a nightmare and creatures like that only exist in Africa or India.

The Boys Build a Fire

Ralph goes on to explain that it might help them be rescued if they build a fire that a plane or ship could spot. The boys immediately rush around the jungle looking for wood, most of which is rotten. Piggy watches in disgust, saying they are all acting like a bunch of kids, disorganized and without a plan.

Eventually, the boys have a pile of viable wood, but their next problem is that they don't have matches, nor do they know how to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. They realize they could start a fire by using the lenses of Piggy's glasses to reflect the sun onto the wood. Piggy protests because he cannot see without them and because no one has been listening to his suggestions the whole time. But eventually he gives in, and they start a fire. However, there is only flame and no smoke, so it would not be effective in catching anyone's attention.

Piggy grabs the conch so he can speak, but Ralph and Jack tell him to shut up and that the conch rule doesn't apply on the mountain. Jack takes over and tells the group that they should have people constantly tend the fire and that he would use his choirboys-turned-hunters to be in charge of keeping it going. Jack tells them that for now they should just let the fire burn out, and they will try again later.

Piggy Gets Angry

A boy named Roger says that he's been watching the sea and that he hasn't seen one ship since they arrived. He seems to have realized rescue is unlikely. Piggy's frustration grows because he had tried to tell the group this earlier. He takes the conch again and yells at Ralph and Jack because they haven't listened to him or any of his suggestions; as a result, the boys rushed recklessly into building a fire without a plan and without building any shelters.

As Piggy is standing up for himself, the boys see that the fire is growing. At first they are excited, but soon they realize it is spreading out of control. Piggy continues to rant, saying that the group is so disorganized he hasn't been able to get a headcount or the names of the people on the island, especially the little ones; they would have no idea if anyone is missing. Ralph blames that on Piggy, but Piggy points out that Ralph's lack of organization caused everyone to scatter and run around the jungle, so he couldn't keep track.

The fire continues to spread, and Piggy asks where the small child who asked about the snake is. The boys realize they don't see that child anywhere. In fear, they silently look down the mountain, watching the fire rumble.

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