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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Lord of the Flies by William Golding-Free Summary
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The scene shifts to Jack, who is "looking brilliantly happy." Once the leader of a choir, Jack is now self-appointed chief. The choirboys still have remnants of their black caps, but when Golding recalls that "their voices had been the song of angels," he convinces us they have become devils.

Jack has plans. He will be chief, and they will hunt. "Forget the beast," he tells them. If they can forget to think about the beast-if they can forget to think-they can cease to be human, cease to make choices. They can forget the beast by becoming it. Jack also plans to lure the other boys away from Ralph; he will manipulate them, and he will leave an offering for the beast in the hope that the beast will be pacified and manipulated too.

The hunt begins and we travel through the pig runs with the boys. Golding does not spare the reader the details of the killing. We see Jack at the full height of his powers. His regression to an animalistic state thrills the other hunters.

The description of the stalking and the killing of the pig is filled with sexual references. The sow is seen first with her piglets, a cruel commentary on the boys' choice. The hunters, "wedded to her in lust," throw themselves on her. Like someone being raped, the sow "squealed and bucked and the air was full of sweat and noise and blood and terror." Roger unleashes the final cruelty by shoving his spear deep inside the pig. "Right up her ass!" he brags. In this society created by the hunters, there is neither order nor choice; there is only power over others, the force of one's own will pitted against another living creature.


Jack, pleased with his mastery, rubs pig blood on Maurice. It is a baptism in which they have all taken part. Jack talks easily as he cuts up the pig, making plans for a feast, giving orders for a stick to be sharpened at both ends. Then all are silenced as the pig's head is mounted on the stick as a gift for the beast. "The silence accepted the gift." The boys leave quickly. They have honored the beast, and the presence of evil-theirs or the beast's-is all too real. Their action takes on proportions too big and too irrational to contemplate.

Throughout the description of the slaughter, the ironic detail of the butterflies dancing overhead served to remind us of two things: Ralph's conclusions about the indifference of nature and the presence of Simon. Simon is nearby and has watched the massacre.

Like many another prophet in the wilderness, Simon contemplates a vision. His vision is of the pig's head. At first he tires to convince himself that the boys have only been playing a game ("It was a joke really"). The boys' actions throughout have been partly games; can't this be just one more game they've been playing? But nature presses on him and the butterflies disappear. Flies swarm around the pig's guts and around Simon. An equation is drawn: The flies on the pig's head represent the forces of evil in nature, and the flies on Simon represent the forces of evil within. "That ancient, inescapable recognition" of evil within man brings on his seizure.

Meanwhile, Piggy and Ralph are fumbling to understand the fear which is overtaking the island. Their only hope is the fire, "a rope when you were drowning," Ralph says, or medicine when you were sick. But Ralph can't make the boys see it that way. When Ralph asks Piggy, "What's wrong?... What makes things break up like they do?" Piggy blames Jack.

Neither of them can see the whole problem. Each wants to believe in some kind of blind idea. Piggy thinks that if Jack and people like him were not around, it might be all right. Ralph, who had strong beliefs, is now confused; he wants to retain his beliefs but is unable to do so.

Have you ever been told something which made no sense to you? Perhaps you dismissed it or forgot it because you had no place to store the information. That's their situation; Ralph and Piggy are stumbling through a jungle of the mind, trying to understand ideas that are not clear to them and make no sense in terms of what they know of civilized man. Neither of them can see or accept what Simon comes to know on the mountain. Piggy believes that other people might have badness in them but that he does not, even though he participated in the murder. Ralph is baffled, unable to understand why common sense doesn't work on the island. It doesn't work because man is partly irrational; without civilization to guide him, man reverts to a primitive nature. This reasoning is too difficult for Ralph to comprehend.

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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Lord of the Flies by William Golding-Free Summary
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