What are some examples of the themes of civilization and inherent evil in humans in chapter 9 of The Lord of the Flies?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Lord of the Flies is a story about the roots of savagery in human nature.  In chapter 9, Simon sees the beast for what it is and returns to find other others turned to savagery, and they kill him thinking he is the beast.

Chapter 9 is when the two camps of boys separate for good.  Jack leaves the civilization of the conch and Ralph’s structure, and descends into the chaos of the hunt with his followers.

As the chapter opens, Simon is waking up from a blood-filled sleep.  He sees the Lord of the Flies, the pig’s head covered with flies.

Nothing prospered but the flies who blackened their lord and made the spilt guts look like a heap of glistening coal. (ch 9)

Simon seems to be in another dimension.  Everything takes on a spiritual form.  He describes the light as “unearthly” and is fascinated by the beast.  Meanwhile, Jack invites Ralph and Piggy to feast on pig’s blood but also leads his followers in a war dance.

The hunters took their spears, the cooks took spits, and the rest clubs of firewood. A circling movement developed and a chant. (ch 9)

Simon, the boys’ conscience and spiritual center, is weakening.  The savagery is taking over.  Simon attempts to make it back down the mountain to the others, but his arrival coincides with the blood-fueled war dance.  The boys mistake him for the beast and kill him, and his body washes out to see.

The sticks fell and the mouth of the new circle crunched and screamed.  The beast was on its knees in the center, its arms folded over its face. (ch 9)

Jack refers to his group as a tribe.  The savage side has won, and civilization has lost.  Ralph and Piggy, who are as separate from the group as Simon is in the beginning, are pushed aside.  Jack invites them to eat only as a display of dominance.  Ralph and Piggy leave, and the last vestiges of civility with them.


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