Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding
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Lord Of The Flies Chapter 7 Quotes

What are some important quotes from chapters 7 and 8 of Lord of the Flies?

In chapters 7 and 8, there are lots of quotes which link to the idea that human beings are, on some fundamental level, primitive, violent, and animalistic.

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Chapter 7

“Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!”

Ralph too was fighting to get near, to get a handful of that brown, vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering

In this first quote from chapter 7, the boys get carried away with a game in which they are pretending that one of them, Robert, is a pig whom they are hunting. Their adrenaline is high after a real hunt, and the boys are becoming used to the more primitive way of life on the island. The monosyllabic chant, beginning "Kill the pig!" emphasizes the simple, animalistic urges that almost overwhelm the boys at this time. The wider implication is that the boys are being taken over by the animalistic sides of their natures. Indeed, even Ralph feels the "over-mastering" impulse, or "desire," to "squeeze and hurt." Golding is showing here, and of course elsewhere in the text, that without social rules to constrain us, we are all potential victims to this more animalistic side of our human nature.

Once more they set out to climb the slope of the mountain. The darkness seemed to flow round them like a tide.

This second quotation from chapter 7 is a good example of how Golding uses the natural landscape as a metaphor for the boys' descent. The "darkness" in this quote seems malicious and sinister, and it represents the boys' descent into the darkness of violence. The longer they stay on the island, and the more they journey inland, the more they become cut off from the figurative light of civilizing influences.

Chapter 8.

At last Simon gave up and looked back; saw the white teeth and dim eyes, the blood—and his gaze was held by that ancient, inescapable recognition. In Simon’s right temple, a pulse began to beat on the brain.

In this quote from chapter 8, Simon looks back at the pig's head which the hunters have mounted on a stick. As he looks at the gruesome sight he is captivated by an "ancient, inescapable recognition." This recognition is the recognition that he is (to some significant and fundamental extent) primitive and animalistic. This reminder of our deeper, uncivilized nature, is ultimately what the pig's head, the so-called "Lord of the Flies," represents.

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In selecting passages from chapters of a novel that are significant, the student will want to seek those that reveal much about themes or character. In Chapter Seven of Lord of the Flies there is a growing tension between Ralph and Jack over the mantle of leadership which has been shifting back and forth, while in Chapter Eight the two key figures are Jack and Simon and the themes are the increasing evil and degeneracy of he boys into savagery.

Chapter Seven

Symbolic of the divide that increases between the manner of leadership between Ralph and Jack is the passage in which Ralph contemplates the vastness of the ocean that prohibits the boys' rescue.  On the other side where the lagoon and mirages exist--Ralph's side, so to speak--there seems the possibility of rescue;however, on the other side where Jack and the others hunt, there is a cruel vastness:

On the other side of the island, swathed at midday with might dream of rescue;but here, faced by the brute obtuseness of the ocean, the miles of division, one was clamped down, one was helpless, one wa condemned, one was---

As Ralph considers the futility of hoping for rescue, the intuitive Simon tells him, "You'll get back to where you came from." But, the despairing Ralph tells Simon curtly that he is crazy. "No, I'm not. I just think you'll get back all right." These words, of course, foreshadow Ralph's rescue.

Later, when a boar comes at Ralph, he remains calm, hurling his speak at the pig's nose, sending it for cover. After this incident with the boar, Ralph finds that he is excited by hunting,

Ralph was full of fright and apprehension and pride....He sunned himself in their new respect and felt that huning was good after all. 

This passage indicates how easily it is for a civilized person to slip back into the atavistic nature of man. Now, Ralph vies for the attention of the boys just as Jack has done.  However, when the boys dance around Robert in a mock ritual of killing a pig, Ralph thinks again. Later, he reminds Jack of the civilized world they have left behind, "Early evening. After tea-time, at any rate."

Then, when Jack states that the pig's tracks indicate that it has gone up the mountain, he suggests they track it even though it is near dusk. At this point, there is the conflict between Ralph and Jack for the mantle of leadership.  Inexplicably, Roger follows Ralph up the trail, acting as a sinister force:

Green lights of nausea appeared for a moment and ate into the darkness.  Roger lay behind him and Jack's mouth was at his ear....Roger bumped, fumbled with a hiss of breath, and passed onward.

Chapter Eight

In this chapter, the most significant action is the break of Jack and his followers from the group as he lays down the conch after seeking the leadership from Ralph, saying, "I'm not going to play any longer. Not with you."  Simon again tries to ameliorate, by suggesting that there 

"might be something to do....I think we ought to climb the mountain...What else is there to do?"

Of course, Jack and the hunters steal the fire, a significant action as it completes the divide between the two factions of boys, with the hunters becoming more and more savage.

Simon steals away and comes upon the head of the pig that Jack and the others have slain. Given to epilectic seizures, Simon feels one coming on and cannot move. With poetic prose that Golding reserves for only Simon's character, the Beast explains man's inherent evil to him,  

 "Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!" said the head. For a moment or two the forest and all the other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of laughter. "You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close close! I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are the way they are?"




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