I think the following quote, “Kill the pig, cut her throat…" from Lord of the Flies is more than a sentence. Can you explain its deeper meaning?

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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The main point of this quote, which is a chant uttered by the boys as they participate in a somewhat frenzied and primitive dance around the fire after eating pig killed by Jack, is that it is savage in nature.  It shows how the boys are devolving; they are becoming less civilized, returning to a time of savagery. When Jack killed the pig, he cut its throat.  This method of killing is up close and personal, thus even more brutal.  The boys are championing this brutality in the chant. One of the reasons Golding wrote the book was because he was appalled at what mankind could do to one another after having seen what happens in war. He wants the reader to get the feeling of savage nature and the boys' chant and dance around the fire displays that. The rest of the chant is "Spill  her blood."  This is what people do to one another in war - spill blood.  Golding believed that everyone has an inner beast only kept in check by one's desire to keep it in check and by society's rules.  He uses this chant to show that the boys are letting out their inner beasts, some more quickly than others, but all are beginning to participate in this unleashing.

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andrewnightingale | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The full sentence reads:

“Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.” or 

“Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in.”

Golding calls the sentence a chant, which is significant. A chant is defined as a phrase or sentence which is rhythmically repeated by a group of people. The repetition can be in the form of a shout or a song and is typical in stadiums or protests where fans or protesters sing or shout it loudly. The chant indicates a unity amongst those who use it and is used to inspire.

Chants are also typically used in depicting savage tribes who perform rituals and use the repeated cry to create a frenzied atmosphere in which members are caught up and drawn into rhythm, creating a sense of almost unconscious abandon. It is believed that the chant supersedes and replaces all rational thought and responses to it bring out the feral nature of those who are caught in its grip.

The chant is first uttered in chapter 4 after Jack and his hunters had managed to kill a wild boar. Jack had cut its throat and he and his hunters had carried the gutted carcass back to the camp. It is clear that the hunters had been overwhelmed by the experience for they were excited about talking about it and relating their experience. This event signifies a turning point in the novel.

The success of the hunt brings about a much more distinct demarcation between the hunters and the other boys. The vocabulary in the chant indicates their savage nature. They had ceased to be civilized British schoolboys and were now true savages, also indicated by their earlier decision to paint their faces and carry sharpened sticks. The words "kill," "cut," "spill. . . blood," and "bash" are not terms one would expect from well-behaved and orderly individuals. The words denote a brutal desire to hurt and maim. The real purpose of the hunt -- to get food -- is forgotten.

The boys are now driven by an innate lust for blood. The chant becomes part of a ritual in which the boys play a hunting game. Roger becomes the game's first victim, and he is hurt by the other boys when they prod at him while uttering the chant. Even Ralph and Piggy are later overwhelmed by its power and participate in the game during a fierce storm. The extent of their innate savagery is displayed to its fullest when they, with the other boys, kill Simon on the beach.

In conclusion, the chant becomes a symbol for the boys' savagery. Its hypnotic rhythm brings them in touch with their innate desire for blood and destruction. Once they start the chant, they lose all reason and become a beastly mob, intent upon wreaking havoc.