Discuss the killing of the sow in "Lord of the Flies".  What makes this scene so important?

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troutmiller | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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The killing of the sow is very important in this novel.  This scene represents the end of innocence for the boys.  The sow is "in maternal bliss" as she is nursing her babies.  That moment is sacred and beautiful. When the boys ravage her and kill her, Golding describes them as "wedded in lust" as they go after her.  They use their spears to stab her and go up her back side.  They even laugh at Roger when he laughs at where he shoved his spear.  This scene is known as a "rape scene" where the boys have gone past the point of no return.  They lose their innocence in the kill and the lust of it all.

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gmuss25 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In Chapter 8, Jack and his hunters graphically murder a sow that is nursing her babies by stabbing a spear up its backside and slitting its throat. This scene is significant throughout the novel because it symbolizes the boys' frustration with living "motherless" on the island. The boys have been living without their parents on the uninhabited island and have gradually descended into savagery. Without their natural parental influence to guide them, they choose to act upon their primitive instincts. The barbaric, violent scene in which they rip a mother from her children alludes to their own parentless situation. This graphic scene also demonstrates the depths of their barbarism and is essentially the point of no return in regards to a hope of remaining civil on the island.

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thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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After Jack publicly denounced Ralph’s leadership and terminated their affiliation, he left the group and urged anyone interested in hunting to follow him. Later on as he addressed his followers, he declared his intention of recruiting more biguns from Ralph’s following by killing a pig and holding a feast. When he and his hunters set out to hunt, they stumble upon a sow which they wound then cruelly kill. The vivid description of this scene depicts the boys as savage, particularly their amusement as Roger slowly thrust his spear into the pain stricken animal’s anus. Because of their fascination with Roger’s action, the boys reenact this scene several times. Without hesitation, Jack slit the sow’s throat and together with his hunter gang placed the head on a sharpened stick as it dripped with blood. The significance of this scene is to demonstrate the end of innocence and civilization and beginning of savagery. During the much anticipated feast, the boys attack and brutally kill Simon with their bare hands and teeth after mistaking him for the beast.

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