At the beginning of Chapter 3 how does the author make Jack behave in order to portray him as a lower type of human being?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Jack was bent double.  He was down like a sprinter, his nose only a few inches from the humid earth....He lowered his chin and stared at the traces...Then, dog-like,  uncomfortably on all fours yet unheeding his discomfort, he stole forward...except for a pair of tattered shorts...he was naked.  he closed his eyes, raised his head, and breathed in gently with flared nostrils ...Jack [responds to a cry] with a hiss of indrawn breath, and ...became...a furtive thing, ape-like...He passed like a shadow...and crouched....

Golding uses animal imagery and words suggestive of animals to denote Jack's descent into savagery in Chapter 3.

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Jack's actions are described as being very animal-like at the beginning of Chaper 3. Jack is hunting for a pig. He is using a long sharpened stick but he is not walking upright. He moves along on all fours, like an animal. He then he smells the air like a dog to see if he can detect any fresh droppings from the pigs. Then he stops and listens like a cat or wolf and hears a pig moving among the vines. He hurls his stick but misses the pig and he is angry he has missed “the promise of meat”.

andrewnightingale's profile pic

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

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The imagery that Golding uses here is apt to describe the actions of an animal. This indicates that Jack has lost much of what is human about him and that he has begun the descent into savagery. The fact that he 'was bent double' implies that he had lost his upright position and was stooping as an animal, such as an ape, would when it is on the prowl.

Furthermore, his nose was 'only a few inches from the humid earth', emphasizing his animal-like stature. It is as if he is seeking or following a scent as an animal would do, either when hunting for prey or to protect its territory and seeking out the scent of other animals that might have trespassed into its domain.

The above images are further accentuated when Golding uses a simile: 'Then dog-like, uncomfortably on all fours ...' Jack has assumed the posture and actions of a dog and, although he is uncomfortable in this position, chooses to ignore his discomfort and continues behaving as if he were some creature.

Golding continues in this vein, further stressing Jack's animal-like behavior by stating that "his bare back was a mass of dark freckles and peeling sunburn." It is as if Jack has actually turned into an animal. He is driven by an instinct to hunt and kill, which is one of the most basic and most savage of all urges.

 

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