What is the mood in Chapter 7,  "Shadows and Tall Trees" in Lord of the Flies?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The overwhelming mood of this chapter is one of fear and disgust at the violence of the boys as they gradually sink more and more into some kind of primeval bloodlust that consumes all of their conscience and understanding of what is right and wrong. This is first indicated during the pig hunt that the boys embark upon, and even Ralph, the character doing his best to support the cause of civilisation and reason, becomes consumed with bloodlust and is delighted at the blow he landed upon the pig. However, the most disturbing section of this chapter is when the boys play at pig hunting, and they become so engrossed in the game that they forget their "pig" is actually a real boy who they are trying to kill:

All at once, Robert was screaming and struggling with the strength of frenzy. Jack had him by the hair and was brandishing his knife. Behind him was Roger, fighting to get close. The chant rose ritually, as at the last moment of a dance or a hunt. 

The way that this game has obviously gone beyond a lighthearted amusement is shown by the "strength of frenzy" that consumes Robert as he does everything he can to escape Jack. Again, even Ralph is shown to be completely dominated by the desire to "squeeze and hurt." The chilling way in which these boys have so quickly lost any sense of being civilised, and have reverted to some kind of brute barbarism which has no respect for life and where only the strong rule is shocking. The mood of this chapter is therefore one of horror and disbelief at the attitudes of these boys and the way that they are consumed with the desire for violence. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial