How does the chant in Lord of the Flies symbolize the loss of reason and blind emotion?Can you give me some supporting evidence by incorporating quotes from the book and explain it how the chant...

2 Answers | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

Posted on

When words are repeated over and over, as in a ritualistic chant, their intent is to raise the emotional level of those who recite them.  With the repetition, the mind no longer need think, so the body may follow any visceral urge that comes to it.  In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, while Robert describes how he snarled at the pig that they almost caught in Chapter Seven, Jack shouts to form a circle and grabs him by the hair and Roger fights to get closer.

The chant rose ritually, as at the last moment of a dance or a hunt.

 "Kill the pig!  Kill the pig! Bash him in!"

Even Ralph fights to get near and grab some flesh:  "The desire to squeeze and hurt was overmastering" and Robert is hurt some.  After this unthinking action, the hunters and Jack steal the fire from Ralph, Piggy, and others.  In Chapter Nine, when Ralph and Jack come into conflict, and Ralph attempts to reason, Jack counters by yelling "Do our dance!   Come on!  Dance!"  Roger plays the role of the pig.  Ironically, Piggy and Ralph are drawn in as they

found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society.

Kill the beast!  Cut his throat! Spill his blood!

The movement became regular while the chant lost its first superficial excitement and began to beat like a steady pulse.

As the chant continues, the pulses of the boys throb.  When something emerges from the forest, the circle becomes a horseshoe and the unknown creature struggles forward, the littl'uns cry and sticks are swung madly at what the boys perceive as the beast.

There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws.

Eventually, the boys stop, and the "beast" is blood-stained as the boys move away from it.  Engaged in an orgy of violence, the boys have killed Simon while reciting their mindless chant.

We’ve answered 324,107 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question