Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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Why is the mock hunt in Chapter 7 of Lord of the Flies important and what does it reveal about the boys?

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After Ralph throws his spear at a wild boar that runs through the bushes, Jack chases after the creature, wounding his arm in the process. The boys become overexcited by all this action and decide to re-enact the scene with Robert volunteering to play the boar. Thing rapidly get out of control, as the boys "pretend" to stab Robert with their spears and scream, "Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!" Robert is left terrorized and sniveling by this "game," despite being physically intact. 

This mock hunt is significant because it helps expand the group mentality that is developing within the boys and the thirst for violence that is lurking behind their carefully constructed exteriors. Robert suggests that the boys "want a real pig... because you've got to kill him," and this certainly appears to be true; the boys know that it was not nearly as satisfying to pretend to kill as it would be to actually kill. The boys are losing their humanity and their sense of being in contact with the civilized world and moving towards a more savage ethos. This, of course, is not the last hunt; they have gained a dangerous confidence that will enable them to kill (both a pig and a boy) later in the book. 

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In Chapter 7, the boys enact a mock-hunt in which they pretend Roger is the pig.  The boys circle around him, driving their spears into the ground.  The butt end of a spear hits Roger in the back, and it becomes clear that the boys are getting out of control.  Through the mock-hunt, the boys understand the power that they all possess to actually kill a living creature.  The chanting of "'Kill the pig!  Cut his throat!'" seems to hypnotize the boys and send them into their inner savage nature.  The boys are no longer afraid to kill as they were in the beginning when Jack hesitated before driving his knife.  In the following chapters, the boys do kill a sow and Simon, and this mock-hunt foreshadows the brutality of these two later killings.

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