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How does Ralph describe the beast in Chapter 8 of Lord of the Flies?  

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jeh224 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 24, 2013 at 3:25 PM via web

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How does Ralph describe the beast in Chapter 8 of Lord of the Flies?


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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 24, 2013 at 3:41 PM (Answer #1)

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Ralph describes the beast as having big back eyes and teeth, and says it is too big to fight.

On the hunt for the beast, the boys see the dead parachutists.  In the dark and in their fear, they think it is the beast.  Ralph tells the others that they saw the beast.

“The beast had teeth,” said Ralph, “and big black eyes.” (ch 8)

Ever practical, Ralph does not display false bravado when it comes to the beast he has actually seen.

“I don’t think we’d ever fight a thing that size, honestly, you know…” (ch 8)

He points out that they are only brave enough in the light, and describes Jack’s hunters as nothing more than boys armed with sticks.  Jack is highly offended by this, and accuses Ralph of being rude to the hunters.

This is where the boys begin to break up.  Jack and Ralph have always been at odds, but never more so than the decision about what to do with the beast.  Jack decides to take his hunters and break off, leaving Ralph with mostly the littleuns and only Simon and Piggy.

Even after they have "seen" the beast, there is disagreement among the boys about what it looks like, where it comes from, what its motivations are, and what to do about it.  Ralph's indecision and frustration is seen as cowardice and incompetence by Jack, who thinks violence is the answer to everything.


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