In Lord of the Flies, what chapter is it when Jack kills the pig the first time?

Jack kills a pig for the first time in chapter 4 of Lord of the Flies. His first success symbolizes the beginning of his descent into violence and savagery.

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In William Golding's popular novel Lord of the Flies, Jack and his hunters succeed in killing the pig in chapter 4. Jack does acknowledge the fact that the hunters helped him, but he also makes sure to let everyone know that he was the one who silt the pig's throat. On the surface, it might seem that Jack and the hunters went to kill the pig simply to provide meat or food for the boys; however, it's insinuated that Jack actually became obsessed with the idea of killing the pig ever since his first failed attempt to do so.

In the beginning, Jack was actually afraid to kill a little piglet, and he let it escape. He acted as any other scared and innocent child would act—he hesitated to deliver the killing blow because he's not a savage: he's a civilized human being, capable of feeling emotion and being rational.

Jack drew his knife again with a flourish. He raised his arm in the air. There came a pause, a hiatus, the pig continued to scream and the creepers to jerk, and the blade continued to flash at the end of a bony arm. The pause was only long enough for them to understand what an enormity the downward stroke would be. Then the piglet tore loose from the creepers and scurried into the undergrowth. They were left looking at each other and the place of terror. Jack’s face was white under the freckles....

They knew very well why he hadn’t: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood.

Jack feels shame and anger over not being able to kill the pig, and he makes it his mission to prove to everyone and to himself that he's not scared or incapable—he doesn't care about providing food anymore, and his main objective is murder, bloodshed, and establishing dominance. Jack makes himself a clay mask in order to hide from the pigs better, but also to hide his shame and his fear; the mask liberates him from self-doubt and allows him to be as vicious, violent, and bloodthirsty as he wishes. The mask essentially transforms him from an immature and scared boy to a cruel and heartless hunter.

He looked in astonishment, no longer at himself but at an awesome stranger. He spilt the water and leapt to his feet, laughing excitedly. Beside the pool his sinewy body held up a mask that drew their eyes and appalled them. He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling. He capered toward Bill, and the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness.

Jack's success in killing the pig in chapter 4 actually signifies his gradual descent into savagery.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 6, 2021
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Although Jack doesn’t succeed in killing the pig until chapter 4, his intent is already there beginning in chapter 1 when he, Simon, and Ralph come across a pig caught in the undergrowth. Jack has the perfect opportunity to stab it, but as he hesitates, it gets away. When Ralph asks why he didn’t, Jack makes excuses. But he feels shame about it.

They knew very well why he hadn’t: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood (31).

So now Jack feels that he has something to prove.

In chapter 2 we quickly see that killing a pig has become an obsession for Jack. During their meeting after exploring the island, Jack announces that they need an army so they can hunt the pigs. When Simon and Ralph recount how the pig got away before Jack could stab it, “Jack slammed his knife into a [tree] trunk and looked around challengingly,” saying “‘next time!’” (33). His penchant for violence is there on the surface and foreshadows the violence he will soon unleash on the other boys. The pigs are just a stepping stone.

In chapter 3 we see Jack alone in the jungle, crawling through the undergrowth like an animal in pursuit of his prey “and for a minute became less a hunter than a furtive thing, ape-like among the tangle of trees” (49). His other hunters have long since given up, but Jack’s obsession with killing a pig won’t let him quit. He argues with Ralph, justifying all the time he spends on his thus-far fruitless endeavor. “We want meat” quickly becomes “We need meat.”

By chapter 4 Jack has determined that his failure lies in the fact that the pigs see him coming, so he paints his face with colors of earthen clay. When his hunters see his darkly painted face and shrink away in fear, Jack realizes the awesome power the mask gives him.

He began to dance and his laughter became a blood-thirsty snarling . . . and the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness.

Under this influence, he is able to actually revel in the blood as he finally kills a pig with his hunters. They deliver the pig to the camp as they chant, “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood” (69). Expecting praise from Ralph, Jack proudly announces, “I cut the pig’s throat . . . There was lashings of blood” (69). From this point on, Jack never washes the mask off. It is this mask that allows Jack’s transformation from hunter to a descent into violent savagery against the boys themselves.

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Jack and his band of hunters successfully kill their first pig in chapter 4. When Jack enlists the help of Samneric to join the hunt, the twins dismiss their duty of maintaining the signal fire at the top of the mountain. While Jack and his hunters are out in the forest tracking down pigs, Ralph spots a passing ship. Unfortunately, the signal fire is extinguished, and the ship passes the island without stopping. However, Jack returns to Ralph and the others in a triumphant mood as he elaborates on the way his hunters encircled and killed their first pig. While Jack is telling his story, Ralph simply responds by saying, "You let the fire go out" (Golding, 47). Despite Ralph's irritation, Jack is proud of his accomplishment, and the boys collectively feast on the first pig.

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