How does Ralph describe the beast in Chapter 8 of Lord of the Flies?  

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ralph describes the beast as having big back eyes and teeth, and says it is too big to fight.

On the hunt for the beast, the boys see the dead parachutists.  In the dark and in their fear, they think it is the beast.  Ralph tells the others that they saw the beast.

“The beast had teeth,” said Ralph, “and big black eyes.” (ch 8)

Ever practical, Ralph does not display false bravado when it comes to the beast he has actually seen.

“I don’t think we’d ever fight a thing that size, honestly, you know…” (ch 8)

He points out that they are only brave enough in the light, and describes Jack’s hunters as nothing more than boys armed with sticks.  Jack is highly offended by this, and accuses Ralph of being rude to the hunters.

This is where the boys begin to break up.  Jack and Ralph have always been at odds, but never more so than the decision about what to do with the beast.  Jack decides to take his hunters and break off, leaving Ralph with mostly the littleuns and only Simon and Piggy.

Even after they have "seen" the beast, there is disagreement among the boys about what it looks like, where it comes from, what its motivations are, and what to do about it.  Ralph's indecision and frustration is seen as cowardice and incompetence by Jack, who thinks violence is the answer to everything.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 7, Ralph, Jack, and Roger climb to the top of the mountain and see the dead paratrooper for the first time. The dark atmosphere makes the paratrooper look like a giant ape as it sways in the wind. The boys immediately panic after witnessing the paratrooper and believe that they've spotted the beast. The three boys then race down the mountain and hold an assembly to describe what they've witnessed.

At the beginning of chapter 8, Ralph, Jack, and Roger discuss what they saw at the top of the mountain and describe what they think is the beast. Ralph tells the boys that the beast has teeth and big black eyes. However, Ralph struggles to recall exactly what the beast looks like but remembers that it is extremely large. Ralph tells Piggy,

"I don't think we'd ever fight a thing that size, honestly, you know. We'd talk but we wouldn't fight a tiger. We'd hide. Even Jack 'ud hide." (Golding, 96).\

Ralph does not elaborate on the beast's appearance but does offend Jack by saying that his hunters are no match for the creature at the top of the mountain. Jack then interrupts Ralph's assembly and attempts to usurp power before quitting the group. 

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Lord of the Flies

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