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What do you think is the significance of ‘the world of grown ups’ in the novel up to the end of chapter 6?
Ralph fears he is losing control of the others and is hoping for the restoration of order. “If only they could send us something grownup… a sign or something” With no order or control, he feels they are starting to become anarchic and appear to be more interested in hunting than keeping the fire going, which is their only hope of rescue. However, in the next chapter, “a sign came down from the world of the grownups, though at the time there was no child awake to read it.” The sign was a parachutist landing on the mountain top. The only witnesses were the twins “samneric”. This leads to the belief that the beast actually exists on the island.
At the beginning of the novel we are informed that Piggy doesn’t enjoy it on the island and it worries him that there are no adults present. “Perhaps there aren’t any grownups anywhere.” The fact that there are no adults on the island has a big effect on him, and we get the impression that he doesn’t like the company of other boys and would prefer the company of adults.
He would like to get off the island at any opportunity. “There was a ship… We might have gone home.” On the other hand, Ralph likes the idea of living without the authority of adults but later on in the novel when their society starts to break down the novelty soon wears off; “He stood on his head and grinned at the reversed fat boy. No grownups!” This illustrates that Ralph and Piggy clearly have different opinions on their current situation.
The younger boys are convinced that there’s a “beastie” on the island because of the things they keep seeing in the jungle which could possibly resemble a beast, such as the creepers in the trees looking similar to a snake. “The beastie, the beastie or the snake-thing.” The fears of the younger children are starting to affect the older boys, who believe that if there were grown ups on the island the younger ones wouldn’t be as scared. Ralph longs for a grown up presence and someone to take control of their current situation and bring order to their predicament.
The boys are forming their own groups due to the breakdown of authority and are gradually becoming savages. “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in.” This is clearly very different to the way they behaved before they ended up on the island. The island has had a strong influence on the way they now live their lives. It seems that Jack and his “group of hunters” would rather hunt for pigs than tend the fires, which is their only hope of rescue. “You and your blood, Jack Merridew! You and your hunting, we might have gone home.”
Piggy is left to look after the younger boys whilst Ralph and the other boys go to look for the supposed “beastie” that the “littluns” say they have seen in the night. They go to the one place on the island that Jack hasn’t explored which is a cave. When they get there Ralph volunteers to go and look inside, but as he nears the entrance to the cave Jack says he will join him. This shows they can cooperate and act in a more mature fashion. “Jack was edging along the edge… Couldn’t let you do it on your own.”
In conclusion the grown up world is significant because at first the boys enjoy the fact that there are no authority figures. The novelty soon wears off as their society starts to break down. When the other boys start to disregard Ralph’s authority such as not tending the fire, not collecting fresh drinking water and defecating where the fresh fruit grows. This is when they start to long for a grown up to take control.