A piece of white bone was placed under [the eyes], fitting close, and where the broad nostrils should have shown were narrow slits and between them the bone was drawn out to a point. Under that was another slit over the mouth, and their voices came fluttering through it . . . There were eyebrows above [the eyes], thinner than the mouth or the nostrils, black, curving out and up so that the men looked menacing and wasp-like.
This perception through the eyes of Lok of a human being's face is particularly disconcerting to a human reader. Golding's descriptions redefine the face—a symbol of humanity—as something monstrous, something that the reader might not even have recognized as human outside of this context. His multiple references to bones when describing the facial decorations evoke images of death and decay, while the simile comparing the men to wasps highlights just how dangerous and alien the homo sapiens seemed to Lok. They appeared to him as insects: thoroughly distinct from him as a species.
The two people beneath the tree were making noises fiercely as though they were quarreling. In particular the fat woman had begun to hoot like an owl and Lock could hear Tuami gasping like a man who fights with an animal and does not think he will win. He looked down at them and saw that Tuami was not only lying with the fat woman but eating her as well for there was black blood running from the lobe of her ear.
Lok's perception of this sexual encounter between Tunami and Vivani characterizes the almost child-like innocence with which he relates to the world. While he understands the concept of a sexual encounter, he doesn't understand the essentially "human" aspect of it—the sexually inspired violence which he misinterprets for the violence of consumption. He endeavors to portray all that he sees as naturalistic, from the simile comparing Vivani to an owl to the more extended simile describing Tunami. His motive for this is perhaps to seek some frame of reference whereby he can come to terms with these new creatures whose behaviors seem so strange to him.
What else could we have done?
This statement has the double effect of evoking sympathy and self-disgust within readers. On one level it demonstrates that, given the precarious nature of the homo sapiens' existence and the genuine horror with which they viewed Lok and the other outsiders, violence was an understandable response. On another level, however, it also illustrates the homo sapiens' clear penchant for violence, because it is illustrated that violence was not their only option. Through Tanakil's and Liku's short friendship, Golding illustrates that an alternative response might have been possible.
The reader, a direct descendant of this violent people, is left with the understanding that perceiving violence as the only option is a flawed—if human—understanding of conflict. This idea was especially salient to Golding, who was living through the legacy left in the wake of the violence of the Second World War.
The moon was through to the sunset side of the gap, but its light was hardly noticeable on the earth for the ruddy brilliance of the firelight.
In a novel which is first and foremost about survival, fire has contrary connotations depending on who is wielding it. In the hands of The Old Woman, it constitutes an essential tool for survival. In the hands of homo sapiens, however, it constitutes a frightening and mysterious threat for Lok and his companions who cannot understand how "the new people" are able to manipulate it so effectively. While it is the homo sapiens who consider the Neanderthals to be "devils," the "ruddy brilliance" of the fire they manipulate has Hellish connotations—born out by its use in their cannibalistic consumption of Lok's daughter.