Descent Into Darkness

Ralph is losing his control and leadership over the boys as they fall prey to their innate fear and savagery, causing him to lose the hope that they’ll ever be rescued. The conch, which is the symbol of Ralph’s power and what has bound the boys together thus far, is losing its influence over the boys. “Exposure to the air had bleached the [conch] to near white and transparency” (78), and parallel to the fragility of conch, the boys’ connection to civilization is becoming transparent and weak. As their connection falls apart, fear starts to arise within the boys causing the Ralph’s leadership to disintegrate. The rules, which “are the only thing [they] got” (91), are fading into oblivion as Jack proclaims, “Bollocks to the rules!” (91). The boys are steadily descending into chaos; they’re losing their respect for Ralph and following Jack’s more primal form of leadership. As Ralph sees control slipping away, he seems to lose hope in their humanity as he watches “the breaking up of sanity” (88). Ralph is facing two paths, “If he blows the conch and they don’t come back…we’ll be like animals. We’ll never be rescued.” Golding elicits the loss of hope amongst the boys beginning with Ralph, which ultimately will bring about their great downfall.

Ch 5: "Beast from Water" & Ch 6: "Beast from Air" small group mini-essay paragraph writing challenge (in lieu of the typical in-class essay):

Link: original quotations and assignment

Links to the specific student responses