Explain how the ritual dance in chapter 7 of "Lord of the Flies" is different from the others.

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As was mentioned in the previous post, the boys' ritual dance in Chapter 7 is much more violent and disturbing than their earlier chants. In Chapter 4, the hunters painted themselves and successfully killed a pig. When they returned to camp, they were chanting "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood" (Golding 96). As the novel progresses, the boys descend further into savagery and begin acting like barbarians.

In Chapter 7, the boys narrowly miss an opportunity to kill a pig and Ralph demonstrates how he threw his spear. Robert then begins to act like a pig as the boys make a ring around him. The boys then begin to hit and stab Robert with the butt end of their spears. They then grab Robert while Jack holds his knife up to Robert's neck. The boys begin to chant, and Golding describes their desire to maim Robert. Jack finally puts an end to the game but suggests that the next time they should kill a littlun. This ritual scene in Chapter 7 differs greatly in intensity when compared to their previous rituals. The boys have become so savage that they actually contemplate killing a littlun in their next ritual. 

sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The boys have enjoyed the chanting and dancing.  In Chapter 4, the dancing includes the violent chant of "Kill the Pig.  Cut her throat.  Spill her blood."  However, it isn't until Chapter 7 that the dance actually includes any violence.  In this chapter, after the exciting near miss with the wild boar, the boys dance around in a recreation of the hunt.  In their acting, Robert is placed in the role of the pig, and the boys antics take on a scary and inhuman reality to them.  The boys actually hit Robert, pull his hair, poke him with their spears, and he is hurt in the "dance".  Even Ralph expresses a desire to "squeeze and hurt" the "brown, vulnerable flesh".

When the dance ends, the boys act like it was nothing strange.  Even Robert, beaten and bruised, laughs it off, though his laugh is strained and uncomfortable.  However, it is here that the atmosphere on the island begins to change.  The beast inside each of the boys is starting to come alive, and it will soon take over - the next "dance" will not be even this safe.

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Lord of the Flies

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