What role does the ritual play in lord of the flies chapter 8?

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

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The ritual killing of the pig  originates in chapter four with the boys forming a circle and chanting "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in" (75).  In chapter eight, the ritual darkens to a deeper and more agressive level of violence, one in which the boys are no longer pretending to be hunter and prey, but are actively killing their prey with much more bloodlust than ever before.  The violence escalates as:

"the sow fell and the hunters hurled themselves at her [...] she squealed and bucked and the air was full of sweat and noise and blood and terror" (135).

The boys' use of the ritual in this dark scene foreshadows just how dangerous the ritual can be when the boys lose control; the next time the boys perform their ritual dance, it will end in Simon's death.