Ralph hides for the rest of the night and the following day, while the others hunt him like an animal. Jack has the other boys ignite the forest in order to smoke Ralph out of his hiding place. Ralph stays in the forest, where he discovers and destroys the sow’s head, but eventually, he is forced out onto the beach, where he knows the other boys will soon arrive to kill him. Ralph collapses in exhaustion, but when he looks up, he sees a British naval officer standing over him. The officer’s ship noticed the fire raging in the jungle. The other boys reach the beach and stop in their tracks at the sight of the officer. Amazed at the spectacle of this group of bloodthirsty, savage children, the officer asks Ralph to explain. Ralph is overwhelmed by the knowledge that he is safe but, thinking about what has happened on the island, he begins to weep. The other boys begin to sob as well. The officer turns his back so that the boys may regain their composure.
A continuing controversy surrounding the political message of the novel and its view of human nature has led some readers to challenge its status as a book suitable for children. The American Library Association thus positioned Lord of the Flies at number 70 on its list of the 100 most challenged books of 1990-2000. Among literary critics of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, however, Lord of the Flies has been revisited less as an allegory of human evil than as a literary expression of Cold War ideology. This historicizing does not do justice to the novel. But in terms of reception history, contemporary critics are right to note that the novel's position at the center of many English curricula across America and Great Britain during the Cold War illustrates how the pedagogy of literature has been used to bolster national identity and ideology.