Sometimes I like to think that I could survive in the wilderness, but this is laughable. I require indoor plumbing and refrigeration at all times, I can’t rip a log apart with my bare hands, I become annoying when I haven’t had a snack in a while, and I do not thrive on the thrill of the hunt.
This last part, apparently, is crucial. The chapter opens with Jack attempting to stalk and kill a pig. He’s really into it. He’s also naked. I’m not sure why he has to be naked for this to happen, but that’s probably just because I’ve never killed a pig before. Some time has passed since Harold was barbecued; Jack is sunburnt and his hair is “considerably longer,” but he still hasn’t acquired the skills necessary to bring home the bacon. He throws a spear at his prey, which sounds impressive, but we must remember that Jack is a 12-year-old boy who has probably never even touched a spear before, so I’m betting this looked hilarious. Predictably, he misses. The pig gets to live another day.
Jack heads back to the lagoon where Ralph and Simon are attempting to build huts for shelter. Together, the three of them form a loose trifecta of authority, although not a very good one. Ralph is frustrated with the other boys. They spend most of their time goofing around. He can’t seem to get them to rally behind the cause, with the cause being not dying.
Ralph suggests that maybe Jack is using hunting as an excuse so he doesn’t have to help. This doesn’t sit well with Jack. They argue. Ralph thinks it’s important to build shelters and keep the signal fire going, whereas Jack thinks governmental intervention after what happened in Sokovia would be beneficial in the long run. Sorry, wrong fictional conflict. I meant Jack is obsessed with pigs.
RALPH: I can’t believe it’s this difficult to make a bunch of six-year-olds sit down and do manual labor! JACK:I can’t believe I haven’t yet managed to murder a pig and bathe in its blood! RALPH: Jack, you need to stop doing that. JACK: Doing what? RALPH: Acting like a serial killer. You’re freaking people out. JACK: I am not. RALPH: Also, why are you naked? JACK: Because I’m trying to become one with our primal ancestors. Really gets me in a killing mood. This is a normal thing to do. RALPH: Sure. JACK: Besides, if the kids are afraid of anything, it’s probably that monster in the jungle. RALPH: I thought we agreed there wasn’t a monster. JACK: I’m not saying there is, but I’m also not saying there isn’t. Sometimes when I’m out hunting, I feel like I’m being watched. I usually feel this way when I’m about to subdue and strangle my pig-victim and wear its skin like a three-piece suit. RALPH: You’re doing it again. JACK: I just want to skewer a pig with a pointy stick and watch as the light leaves its eyes. Is that so much to ask?
This conversation may have been an exaggeration, but not by much. I like pork as much as the next borderline carnivorous human being, but Jack is a freak of nature.
Ralph and Jack have no clue how to communicate. I mean, I suppose they are just kids. When I was their age, my idea of adequate verbiage was to put cryptic song lyrics as my Facebook status and just kind of hope for the best. That said, I wasn’t stranded on a deserted island with the burden of human life on my shoulders. My subtle Death Cab for Cutie directives didn’t result in a small child being char-grilled. Step up your communication game, gentlemen. I’m rooting for you.
Simon watches all of this play out. What we know about Simon thus far is that he’s a “dreamy” boy with bright eyes who sometimes has fainting spells. He’s helpful, but quiet. He also seems naturally intuitive. Ralph mentions that a lot of the boys are having nightmares about the nonexistent jungle monster, and Simon pipes in to say it’s almost as if “this isn’t a good island.” You’ll remember that this was a key part of Ralph’s platform when he was lobbying for votes to become the island president. Ralph nods slowly. Maybe he was too quick to judge. Maybe this isn’t a good island.
I think the time has come for us to talk about what a good island is and isn’t.
A good island:
Has plenty of coconuts
Has fresh water
Is actually just a giant turtle that has cultivated its own mini-ecosystem
A bad island:
Has no food
Is more or less completely on fire
Travels through time and space, making rescue exceedingly difficult
Is home to a Cyclops who hates you
Contains Jack Merridew, otherwise known as the Beachside Strangler, who is terrible and will surely bring the end of all days
Ralph and Jack continue their squabble a bit further down the beach, and when they return, Simon has disappeared. They decide that they should take a break, too. Ralph wants to tell Jack that people are never quite what you thought they were, but he can’t find the words. If this line doesn’t foreshadow the inevitable plot twist that Jack has a sackful of human heads stashed away somewhere, then I’ll be shocked and disappointed.
They take a dip in the lagoon, trying to regain the sense of wonder and excitement they had when they first crashed. I wish this armistice would last. I wish Ralph and Jack could put aside their differences and create a tropical utopia of coconut farming while they train wild cockatoos to do their hunting for them, but I know this won’t happen. Ralph is the Steve to Jack’s Tony, the Hamilton to his Burr, the Gandalf to his Saruman. The power struggle is imminent.
Meanwhile, Simon ventures off. Our Manic Pixie Dream Boy helps a few of the younger kids get fruit, and then he just goes and sits by himself. I like Simon; he’s incredibly chill. Almost too chill. I don’t think he’s prepared for the wars to come. How long until the thin veneer of Jack’s humanity begins to crack and Simon gets caught in the crossfire?
What does the ocean symbolize?
Who is Roger? Also, what’s his deal? This is a two-part question. I’m legitimately asking. I probably should have been paying attention to him, but it’s too late now.
Which flavor of ice cream is best, and why is it mint chocolate chip?
Remember to always cite your sources.
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