Ralph blows the conch and calls another meeting. By now, thank goodness, the choir boys have removed their cloaks.
Using his authority as the newly elected chief, Ralph addresses the boys and tells them that they need to get organized.
Apparently that means rules. Now all boys have to raise their hand to talk. Oh, and no one can speak unless they’re holding the conch shell.
The boys are excited about having rules, but mostly so that they can punish those who break them. This notion elicits cries of “Whee-oh!” “Wacco!” “Bong!” and “Doink!”
Piggy takes the conch to raise a few points: 1) they might never get off this island and 2) assuming they don’t, they should figure out how to go about the process of not dying.
Ralph agrees with the whole “we might be here until eternity” thing, but he declares quite clearly that “this is a good island.” Go ahead and sticky-note this page.
(But in case you forget to sticky-note it, you have another chance several paragraphs later when he again says “It’s a good island.”)
One small boy with a mulberry-colored birthmark, the reason for which will be shortly explained, requests the conch and everyone laughs until Piggy demands he be allowed to speak.
The young child is too scared to talk in front of everyone, so Piggy listens and then tells the rest:
The child is fearful of a mysterious snake-thing in the jungle.
He describes it as a “beastie” and says it comes only in the dark. (We have concluded that the boys must have been on the island for at least one night before they found each other and began to organize.)
The other boys laugh and they decide that the beastie is just the ropey-looking creepers that hang in the trees.
Jack says of course there isn’t a beast, but just in case they’re all going to go hunt for it anyway.
Ralph is forced to concede, and notes that he is “facing something ungraspable.”
Ralph insists that a signal fire must be made so that when his father comes to rescue them on a ship, the men on board will see the smoke and know where to find them. Also, burning things is fun.
Everyone tears off, and Piggy remarks that they’re all acting “like a bunch of kids.”
Everyone excitedly piles up the wood before realizing…they have no way of starting the fire. Jack very helpfully mumbles something about rubbing two sticks together (Eagle Scout Lesson #2, if you’ve been counting.)
They use Piggy’s glasses to start the fire after many hurrahs and much gathering of wood.
Piggy is not happy about the use of his glasses for this purpose. What we mean is: “[Piggy’s] voice rose to a shriek of terror as Jack snatched the glasses off his face.”
Ralph says that they need to choose certain, responsible people to keep the fire going at all times – in case a ship passes by.
Jack declares: “We’re English, and the English are best at everything.”
Piggy, rather blind without his glasses, grabs the conch from Ralph and complains about how no one pays attention to his ideas.
While the boys argue, the fire spreads…like wildfire.
As the smoke drifts through the air, Piggy rants about all these things they should have done, like build shelters and show him some respect. Then, most likely because of the smoke, his asthma flairs up and he can’t breathe.
Yet, it seems he has enough breath to point out that the small children, a.k.a. “the littluns,” seem to be missing, especially that one who complained about “the beastie” and had a mulberry-colored birthmark, the better to distinguish him by when he’s gone. He seems to be the most missing of all.