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

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The ritual as performed on the sow in Chapter 8 also shows the boys’ callous disregard for life and their sadistic tendencies.

The killing is described in a sexual manner that is meant to highlight the violence of it. As Jack “stabs downward with his knife,” Roger finds a “lodgment”...

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The ritual as performed on the sow in Chapter 8 also shows the boys’ callous disregard for life and their sadistic tendencies.

The killing is described in a sexual manner that is meant to highlight the violence of it. As Jack “stabs downward with his knife,” Roger finds a “lodgment” for his spear and shoves it into the sow’s anus “inch by inch.” After the sow “scream[s],” Jack slits her throat, and the two attackers are “heavy and fulfilled upon her.”

In this description, Golding describes a symbolic rape of the pig. The phallic symbolism of the knife and spear are also clear indications that Golding intends for readers to interpret the scene in this way. This highlights his particular point of view about the nature of male violence. The longer the boys have remained on the island, the more they have matured. In some way, this brutal scene is indicative of their advance into adulthood. The boys believe that masculinity is defined by dominance and power, both of which are achieved through violence. The particularly sexual nature of this violence is meant to horrify and shock the reader in order to illustrate just how deranged the boys have become.

Worse, the other boys present find Roger’s torture of the sow hilarious, making a joke about it. The perverse enjoyment the boys draw from their ritual is further evidence of their corruption.

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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.

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