In chapter nine of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, the dominant imagery of the "dancing boys" in the paragraph beginning "The sticks fell..." is that of a: a. Mouth b. Ring c. Horseshoe d....

In chapter nine of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, the dominant imagery of the "dancing boys" in the paragraph beginning "The sticks fell..." is that of a:

a. Mouth

b. Ring

c. Horseshoe

d. Beast

e. Crowd

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter nine of Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, is the story of boys who are civilized in the beginning of the novel but become savages by the end. What happens in chapter nine is a huge step toward savagery. The passage in question is below:

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. It was crying out against the abominable noise something about a body on the hill. The beast struggled forward, broke the ring and fell over the steep edge of the rock to the sand by the water. At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of  teeth and claws.

Your question is what image the circle of boys who kill Simon (the beast in the center of the circle) is most like. The imagery of this passage does not depict a crowd *though it is mentioned) or a horseshoe; the boys are in a ring that collapses in on Simon, but a ring is not a particular image here. That leaves mouth and beast. Visually, a mouth is an effective image for a collapsing circle, however, this circle of boys has a mouth that screams and crunches, it “leapt onto the beast [Simon]” (which a mouth cannot do), bites with teeth and tears with claws.

The imagery suggests that this circle of boys is a literal beast (choice D)—which is, ironically, exactly what Simon wanted to tell them. He tried to tell them that they were the beast, but it seems they have already discovered that. 

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Lord of the Flies

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