W8, #3: WISDOM OF CROWDS

Set-Up: Ever get that feeling that no matter how closely you read/highlight a book the first time around, there are still dozens upon dozens of things ‘under the surface’ that you can’t quite put your finger on? Well, if you do, you’re a healthy human being. At the same time, all of us are working very hard to grasp the deeper mysteries found on the island right now…even if we only have a few chapters, a couple of class discussions, and our gut instincts to guide us at this point.

Clearly there is something to be said for employing the ‘wisdom of crowds’ when where trying to figure out the hidden ideas that a novelist weaves into his/her story that go far, far beyond plot/action. In fact, there even is an amazing book by that title if you’re curious how groups (even anonymous groups of average people) are ’smarter’ than individuals (even experts).

With that said, let’s help each other out with a series of questions that one of your classmates asked me recently. Something tells me that a few others might find these really intriguing/helpful.

Challenge: Pick one of the following Ch 3 & 4 questions (or more, if you’d like) that were sent to me by a fellow student. Offer a solution/idea.

Here are the questions:

  • On pg 62, there is this random part about Roger throwing rocks at Henry. I think that I must have seriously blacked out when I was reading because it has no relevance to the story!! Arg. Is it showing how childish they are or foreshadowing or something because that would make a lot more sense than Golding randomly putting in a kid throwing rocks. Is there a relevance to the fact that he missed? Golding says, “perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw”. Does that mean he’s missing on purpose?
  • Jack is obviously more savage now. He’s constantly talking about hunting and and how “we” need meat when it’s actually just him. If he has an entire army of choir members, then why is he wasting time trying to explain his military tactics on page 63 to the youngest boys on the island? At first I thought that jack was going to be some sort of evil dictator, but now he’s confusing me with his strange kindness.
  • What is Simon doing on page 57? All that I see is that he sits down in the grass as the sun is going down and he gets up. I noticed that as Simon gets up, the same “candle buds” he mentions to Jack on pg 30 open up. What does that mean?
  • On page 56, Golding compares Simon to Jack two times saying, “his feet were bare like Jack’s” and “he looked over his shoulder as jack had”. Why? Why does Jack force Simon to eat the meat on pg 74? Well, he told everyone to eat it, but he tells Simon directly.
  • What does Simon mean by “it wasn’t a good island” on page 52? Why are the boys so surprised to hear him speak? They did invite him into their ‘group’ on the first day. I still don’t get why they did that by the way. Simon isn’t exactly special. All that he did was faint, so why is he included?

Length: 5+ sentences

Note: Consider reading the 21 responses already received for this entry that were written by Per 1, 2 & 3 over week ago.  You might find a few intriguing ideas to consider there.

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13 responses to “W8, #3: WISDOM OF CROWDS

  1. #1
    Yes, he is not trying to hit him. He just wants to get his attention. The six foot diameter is kind of a safety zone. In the event that he messes up and his aim is off, he still doesn’t hit him. So, yes he does miss on purpose, but it is not his purpose to hit him. It is just a fair warning to be aware.

    ***

    Mr. Long: Take a look at what ‘holds him back’ from throwing the rock ‘at’ Henry. Also, take a look at what Golding says is what temporarily protects Henry. Seems to be hinting at something both about what Roger is capable of and what this might suggest about the future on the island.

  2. Roger is an angry child and is a little evil inside. This naturally makes him violent towards other people. He was not trying trying to hurt the kid he was just getting out a little anger. To me this is forshadowing that Roger will be a problem in the future of the story. He also displays more of his agression when he kicks over the little kid’s sand castles.

    ***

    Mr. Long: No doubt the “a little evil inside” comment will become even more obvious in a few chapters. Hang on!

    I am curious, however, why you set him as evil, angry, violent, yet you claim that he’s not trying to hurt the child. Confusing.

    Take a look down this page at some of the other responses who seem to notice something about him that might be helpful to you. (hint, hint)

  3. Roger is actually trying to hit Henry. He doesn’t care if Henry gets hurt. The only reason he can’t hit Henry is because the old world with parents and police imprinted rules into his brain and Roger doesn’t fully understand that these rules aren’t really enforced now. He’s like a well trained dog, once he has gotten used to sitting when he hears the word sit, he’ll do it for anyone. Or a better example, if someone beats the dog every time he bites someone, eventually the dog won’t bite anyone, even if there’s no one to beat him around. This is one of Golding’s first ways of showing us that there are no rules on the island. The only rules inhibiting the boys are the ones enforced by other boys.

    ***

    Mr. Long: I actually recommended to another student that they should take a look at your answer re: how you interpreted Roger’s intentions. Outstanding answer! As you said very well, this is when Golding begins to show us his poker hand re: the underlying intentions of the boys…and hints at actions that will come soon.

  4. 2. Jack, psychologically, is very unstable in some ways. He seems very violent and rebellious due to the fact that he can break the chains of his old society. He’s becoming a more primitive or neanderthal like. He might be explaining his hunting ways and such to the little kids to win them over to his side. If he can make hunting sound cool and interesting then the kids will copy and follow whatever appeals to their senses. In this case Jack is trying to gain as much power as possible. This book is about human nature and such after all, once someone gains too much power they will abuse it and begin to misuse it. Jack is already the ring leader of the more savage group that live on the mountain. This is more than seeing what happens when someone gains to much power, it’s about human nature among other things.

    ***

    Mr. Long: Great point: “If he can make hunting sound cool and interesting then the kids will copy and follow whatever appeals to their senses.”

    And I particularly like this instinct you share: “This book is about human nature and such after all, once someone gains too much power they will abuse it and begin to misuse it.” You have no idea how valuable that idea will be over the rest of the novel.

  5. Roger is trying to hit Henry but keeps missing. The reason that he doesn’t throw it in six yards in diameter is because back in the real world if he had thrown it from there he would be noticed by an adult that he was trying to hurt Henry instead of just acting like he was missing. If he had hit from far away he could have just acted like he really didn’t mean to. But if he had hit him from close there would be no excuse. I think the author added this to show that kids need order.

    ***

    Mr. Long: Like your last sentence idea.

  6. #4

    First off Simon was just finishing Ralph’s sentence when he said, “As if it wasn’t a good island.” I mean have you ever had a conversation with somebody and then all of sudden somebody interrupts. Basically Simon was listening in on Ralph and Jack’s conversation, and he just finished Ralph’s sentence. It just surprised them because they thought they were the only ones talking. I may be wrong about that, but thats what I see.

    Then to answer your question about why they chose Simon for that exploration quest, its really not stated, but to my opinion it looks like he was just randomly chosen. I don’t know there may be some other reason like Simon’s characteristics show he is actually a trustworthy, innoncent guy. So maybe they picked him because of that. Simon may not be really special, but Golding is telling us the story, and he may have a reason for talking about Simon. Golding might be foreshadowing an important event that involves Simon, so that why he probably wants you to get to know him.

    Just my ideas maybe Mr.Long has some better ones.

    ***

    Mr. Long: Keep an eye on Simon…esp. where he goes when he chooses to be alone (and why he does this).

  7. I honestly think the island is getting the best of Jack. He has become obsessed with killing and finding meat. Jack has gone insane over his bloodthirsty craving. I think he has become like this because he wants to either distract himself from what’s really going on or feed his craving to kill and hunt all day instead of being productive. Maybe Jack thinks if he keeps his mind busy with hunting and killing he won’t think about being rescued and going home as much. Jack obsessing over this keeps him from being obsessed with going home, hints letting the fire go out. Since Jack has become one with the island he doesn’t seem to care as much about going home or even being rescued. He likes being there. I also think Jack has also always been a little unstable and since he is now on an island I feel like he left his sanity and stability in civilization. Since they need food, I feel like knowing that is what keeps Jack thinking that its normal to be obsessing over hunting. It sounds like a good excuse for him, and that it’s all perfectly normal.

    ***

    Mr. Long: Your first line says it all, as well as the “obsession” idea. Just wait to see what’s coming in the next few chapters, too!

  8. #1
    I think that Roger is trying to hit Henry. But, like it said in the question “…perhaps six yards in diameter, in which he dare not to throw.” Although he wants to hit him, he somehow can’t. He has these rules stuck in the back of his head that forbid him to hit Henry. I think that he is also unsecure because he probably is not sure if there are any adults on the island and he knows what consequnces he has to face if he gets caught throwing rocks. Roger is kind of the bully on the island, which might be a problem later in the story.

    ***

    Mr. Long: Excellent instincts here, my friend. You have NO idea how close you are to what will eventually happen. Stay tuned!

  9. #1
    When Roger trying to throw the rock to Henry. He has that thinking, but his mind doesn’t allow that. Because when he goes back to his home, his parents or his teachers are not allowed it. Now that kind of idea still in his brain. We can use this point to see the educations and place really can change a person’s idea, even things that he never did it before.

    ***

    Mr. Long: Good point: “…still in his brain.”

  10. #2
    Jack is savage and he is a mean guy, but he does have a heart and he isn’t all bad. He does mix in some kindness in waht he does, but I think he’s afraid to be nice all the time because he’s afraid of losing respect. Jack isn’t really a horrible guy. He has to have respect from people and the only way he seems to know how is to strike fear into people, but inside he really does care about some of them.

  11. number 2
    He knows that not everybody like him right now. He can tell it from the vote. So he wants to use hunting to raise his power. He knows that what people want, you will be tired of eating fruit every day. The meat just like money compare to the real world. Golding wants to tell us that Jack won’t be satisfied. In the following chapter, rules begin to break and everything seen out of control. Everybody want to go hunting, no one want to work and want to be rescue. In that time, he gains most of the power and everybody is going to like him.

  12. Even though Roger throwing a rock at this point in the story has no relevance it mostlikely will later on because nothing in a story doesn;’t have a purpose. I find that usually in a story if there is a part in a chapter that has a small part but has no relevance usually is forshadowing a bigger event involving the same actions. Roger is missing on purpose as to not hit the kid because all he wants to do is get his attention not hurt him. When golding says, “perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw” could be setting up that later on he might not care about that saftey barrier. He might just throw the rock and hit the boy not caring for his saftey.

  13. 2. Jack later on conquers his fear of hunting and hesitation. Toward the start we see him hesitate on the kill and let it loose. Jack is a dicator but does not show it just yet, but the reader does see potential. After Ralph became leader Jack decided that enough was enough; he gathered his choir bors and went hunting for meat. Later on the kids cant just keep eating fruit, they need meat. I think this was a clever way that Jack tries to become leader, is to show how he is aggresive and is not afraid to kill. In some ways he is thoughtful other wise he would have kept the meat for himself and his group. He came up with the idea of doing this to keep everyone alive by not eating just fruit, this was thoughtful of jack but we do see it change later.

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