Please explain the following quote from William Golding's Lord of the Flies": "[Y]ou can feel as if you're not hunting, but--being hunted, as if something's behind you all the time in the...

Please explain the following quote from William Golding's Lord of the Flies":

"[Y]ou can feel as if you're not hunting, but--being hunted, as if something's behind you all the time in the jungle." 

 

Asked on by katiebug123

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The quote you mention is spoken by Jack Merridew in chapter three of Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. Jack has just returned to the beach after another unsuccessful pig-hunting expedition. He is frustrated by that, and Ralph is frustrated because he is working virtually alone to make shelters for everyone. With the exception of Simon, the others '"work for five minutes, then wander off or go hunting." All Jack can think about is better ways to hunt.

Their conversation centers around the need for shelters because the boys are all sleeping restlessly and experiencing nightmares because they are afraid of what they call "beasties"--the non-specific term for everything the boys fear. Even Jack and Ralph tacitly admit to some fear, as in this statement by Jack:

—in the forest. I mean when you’re hunting, not when you’re getting fruit, of course, but when you’re on your own—” He paused for a moment, not sure if Ralph would take him seriously.

“Go on.”

“If you’re hunting sometimes you catch yourself feeling as if—” He flushed suddenly. “There’s nothing in it of course. Just a feeling. But you can feel as if you’re not hunting, but—being hunted, as if  something’s behind you all the time in the jungle.”

Ralph is "incredulous" and Jack quickly tries to pretend he has not really revealed some of his own fears, but it is too late. Neither of the boys is interested in talking about their own fears, so they quickly change the subject.

This admission of fear is real and both boys understand it; however, they decide not to talk too much about it so their fears will not overcome them as they have some of the littluns. 

 

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