How is the following quote significant in William Golding's Lord of the Flies?"You and your blood, Jack Merridew! You and your hunting! We...

How is the following quote significant in William Golding's Lord of the Flies?

"You and your blood, Jack Merridew! You and your hunting! We might have gone home." 


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poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter Four of Lord of the Flies, the boys have been stranded on the island for a good amount of time and have settled into a routine, with various responsibilities being assigned to the older boys. Jack is responsible for making sure that the signal fire is maintained so that any passing forms of transportation (boats, planes, etc.) could spot it and rescue them.

Rather than do his job, Jack leads a group of the boys on a wild hunt to kill the pig that roams the island. In the meantime, he lets the signal fire go out; Ralph and Piggy spot a passing ship on the horizon, but without the fire, they cannot flag it down. When Jack and the hunters return with their dead pig, Piggy verbally attacks Jack's love of blood and hunting.

Ultimately, this an unusual outburst from the normally timid Piggy, one that illuminates the differences in Jack and Ralph's prerogatives: while Ralph simply wants to get the boys off the island, Jack is more interested in maintaining a violent dictatorship and exploring the act of killing. Ralph and Piggy eschew these lowly pursuits, which eventually leads to a schism in the tribe. This quote suggests that the connection to human civilization is slowly dimming on the island, and that Jack's bloodlust will soon cause more terror.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The significance of this quote is tri-fold.

First, it demonstrates that Jack had a different priority than Ralph. Although feeding the group of boys is a noble cause, it is not the cause that will provide complete relief or resolution to their most important problem: being stranded on an island.

Second, it symbolizes the quest for power. Both the words "blood" and "hunting" illustrate the type of power Jack wishes to employ given the chance. Jack would be a dictator given that opportunity. Here he is receiving criticism for having such goals.

Third, it demonstrates that all people need to fulfill their roles for success to occur. Had Jack implemented the goals that Ralph set out for him, the group could be rescued. Being the case that he didn't do it, the group remains questioning their option for rescue.

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Lord of the Flies

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