At what point did the boys descend into savagery in Lord of the Flies? Explain the event.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In Lord of the Flies, Golding deliberately develops the boys' descent into savagery slowly, as to reveal the dangerous and seductive nature of giving over to base urges and animalistic desires.  The boys arrive on the island as proper English school boys, complete in their privage school uniforms and choir togs, but even during their first day on the island, the reader can see how the environment of the island challenges the boys' former preconceptions of proper social behavior.  For example, the oppressive heat immediately has the boys stripping out of their school clothes to be more comfortable; in normal society, running around naked would be strictly taboo, but on the island, of course, the boys begin to accept their nudity as a practical matter. 

The boys' shedding their clothes is the first major indicator of their transformation into savages, but perhaps the most shocking example of true savagery occurs in Chapter Eight, "Gift for the Darkness," as the hunters ruthlessly and violently hunt and kill the sow.  Hunting in itself is not an indicator of true savagery, but the boys' violent actions, exultation, and sheer enjoyment of the brutality during the act suggests that they have completely transformed into violent savages.  The boys feel an inherent thrill as they stalk their victim during the hunt and work themselves practically into a frenzy as they jab their spears at the sow.  Roger, particularly, derives enjoyment from the sows' shrill squeal as he drives his spear in further.  The shocking blood-lust demonstrated by Jack, Roger, and the other hunters not only reveals their true savage natures, but also foreshadows future scenes of death, such as Simon's tragic end.