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What exactly is the boys' savage chant in Lord of the Flies?  Since there are quite a...

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summer-song | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted August 24, 2010 at 2:19 PM via web

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What exactly is the boys' savage chant in Lord of the Flies?

 

Since there are quite a few versions I have seen at the end. Such as "Kill the pig, cut its throat.."

"...Bash her in"

"...Drink its blood"

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cetaylorplfd | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted August 24, 2010 at 8:09 PM (Answer #1)

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There is not an exact answer to this question.  As you have pointed out, there are a few versions of the chant that the boys use throughout the book--the chant changes a bit depending on the situation; however, the heart of the chant remains the same.  In Chapter 4, the boys are on the hunt for the sow, and they chant, "Kill the pig!  Cut her throat!  Bash her in!"  Later in Chapter 9, the boys simulate a hunt using Roger as the pig, and they chant, "Kill the beast!  Cut its throat!  Spill its blood!  Do him in!"  Both chants are based on the same type of violence and seek to extract power from the act of killing.  The degree of fervor with which the boys chant also changes as they fall victim to an increasing need for power.

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susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted August 24, 2010 at 8:18 PM (Answer #2)

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The first time the chant is used is in Chapter 4 after the boys kill the first pig:

Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.

It is repeated at the end of Chapter 4 during the re-enactment of the pig hunt when Maurice pretends to be the pig.

Kill the pig.  Cut her throat.  Bash her in.

Later it is used when Robert is the pig.  The chant changes slightly:

Kill the pig! cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!

The chant returns to the original version when Jack's tribe gathers in a circle just before Simon's death:

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

This chant is repeated four times.   Notice the substitution here of beast for pig.  It is the beast that they want to hunt and kill now, not a pig.  This last time the chant adds another command:  "Do him in!"  This addition echoes the Lord of the Flies ultimatum to Simon, ordering him to "play" or else others will "do him."  We see here what "do him" actually means.

I like this question because analysis of the words shows a growing savagery on the island and ties together hunting and the pig re-enactments ultimately resulting in Simon's death.  It would make an interesting essay.

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