The literal significance in the opening to chapter five was when the narrator described how Ralph chose a narrow path that he wouldn't have to be cautious on. This is literal because he truly meant that walking on this path enabled him to think without having to worry about stumbling.
The symbolic significance in this passage is when the narrator says, "He (Ralph) found himself understanding the wearisomeness of this life, where every path was an improvisation and a considerable part of one's waking life was spent watching one's feet. In my opinion, this means that Ralph became aware of his dreary life, where every move he made (as the leader) was made up along the way. In other words, nothing was planned ahead. He was also now aware that their (the boy's) lives were being spent trying to survive and watching carefully for a boat that may or may not show up, which ultimately determined their futures.
In the beginning of this chapter, the theme of the loss of innocence is developed. Pacing by the water, Ralph walks toward the strip remembering the enthusiastic exploration and fun in the sun almost as though it was part of another life. "He found himself understanding the wearisomeness of this life, where very path was an improvisation and a considerable part of one's waking life was spent watching one's feet." Then he turns, heading to the platform, overcome by the weight of responsibility and the fact that every step he made or planned would determine whether they would survive or not.
I agree with most of Olivia's answer, but I think the part where it says "a considerable part of one's walking life was spent watching one's feet"Golding is referring to how Ralph and the others have maintained their small, safe, comfortable view of the world but never looked around at the bigger picture of what's happening and what lies ahead. I think it also means how the boys have each spent most of their time on the island doing as they please and only caring about themselves instead of trying to work as a cohesive group and realizing the future ahead of them and the consequences of staying introverted within their own paths.
The literal significance of the opening passage to chapter five is thinking. Ralph was thinking about what he was going to say at the assembly so that he could be persuasive about his ideas. It talks about how Ralph chose a narrow firm path. This in literal terms was so he could think without having to focus on his feet unlike what most people do when they walk. The symbolic significance of this part is that when he says "where every path is an improvisation and a considerable part of ones walking lifewas spent watching ones feet." i think that he is saying that some people just walk or do things in life without looking at the big picture. I think that by golding putting this he was symbolizing that Ralph wanted to think about what he was going to say because he wanted a good outcome and wanted people to see the big picture of what he was talking about.
It's pretty cool.