Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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Why is Jack unable to kill the pig in Lord of the Flies by William Golding?

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Perhaps, it is less a question of Jack's being from a civilized society and more his socio-economic class that prevents his killing the pig. For, there are many civilized people who slaughter livestock such as pigs, cattle, and chickens. Farmers. ranchers, shepherds, etc. and their sons have killed animals, sometimes out of mercy and sometimes for food as have hunters who shoot wild boar, elk, deer, etc. But, judging from the choir uniforms and the group of all boys, Jack and the others have most likely attended a rather exclusive school and are probably residents of higher-level neighborhoods in urban areas. And, in all fairness to Jack, shooting an animal, or even killing one penned or tied is, indeed, different from impaling one with a spear as it charges by as there is also the element of surprise in this venture. However, as already mentioned, as Jack sheds his black cape and reverts to a creature closer to the earth himself and experiences hunger for meat, his qualms about non-essentials disappear.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Lord of the Flies by William Golding is set on a tropical, deserted island, and the characters are all English school boys. The reason that is particularly significant is that English school boys certainly know right from wrong and how to be obedient to rules; however, if one were going to break the rules, a deserted island might be the place to do it.

One of the "rules" of society is that people should not kill. Of course this is true about human beings, but it is equally true about animals. People in a civilized society just do no go around killing things, even a school boy who carries a big knife around with him.

Jack is not a pleasant boy. In fact, he is not even a very nice boy. He talks big, bragging about what he is going to do if he ever gets a chance to kill a pig for meat. We take that...

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marinifern | Student

Because Jack was too civilized and he thinks that killing animals is wrong. Later in the novel, when the boys were more comfortable with life on the island, Jack and his hunters were able to kill the pigs. But in the beginning he acted as a well bred civilized boy who does not wish to kill animals or to see blood.