Why does Jack hesitate to kill the pig in Lord of the Flies?  

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jack paused because of the enormity of taking a life, but he said he was choosing a place to stab.

The boys have a desperate need for meat, and Jack’s choir is chosen to be hunters.  However, the hunting is not just for food.  It is a show of dominance and power.  Simon, Ralph, and Jack find a piglet, and Jack draws the knife “with a flourish” but does not immediately kill the pig.  Instead there is a pause.

The pause was only long enough for them to understand what an enormity the downward stroke would be. Then the piglet tore loose ….They were left looking at each other and the place of terror. Jack’s face was white under the freckles. (ch 1)

Jack says he was looking for a place to stab the piglet, and the boys argue about how to kill a pig.  Ralph tells him to “stick” it, and Jack says you are supposed to cut the pig’s throat and let the blood run out.  The other boys know that stabbing the pig would result in “unbearable blood.”

Jack’s embarrassment at not killing the pig demonstrates that he is still young and immature.  He is not completely bloodthirsty yet.  He isn’t lost.  The thought of killing the pig and draining his blood was, at this point, too much for him.  However, the shame of not doing it was worse.  Soon Jack embraces his barbaric side, blood and all.

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Lord of the Flies

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