What happens when Jack, Ralph, and Simon encounter the pig in "Lord of the Flies"? What does this tell you about Jack so far?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 1, Jack, Ralph, and Simon set off on an expedition to explore the island. While they are returning to base camp, they hear the sound of a squealing pig. They follow the noise and find a piglet caught in a group of vines and branches. The piglet is violently thrashing in an attempt to free itself. The three boys surround the squealing pig, and Jack takes his knife out. Jack holds his knife in the air but hesitates to bring it down to kill the pig. Jack pauses long enough for the piglet to escape from the vines. As the boys laugh, Jack claims that he was trying to pick a right place to stab the pig. Ralph asks, "Why didn't you---?" (Golding 31). The reason Jack didn't kill the pig was because of the blood and sheer brutality necessary to take the life of an animal. Jack's hesitation and decision not to kill the piglet tells the reader that he is still heavily influenced by society. Jack is still a civil character at this point in the novel and has a conscious. Killing an animal would be a traumatic experience for Jack. He is still innocent and has not yet become a ruthless tyrant. As the novel progresses, Jack descends into barbarism and becomes the leader of his own tribe of savages.

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Lord of the Flies

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