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

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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In "Lord of the Flies" chapter 8, how does the sow's killing differ and how does Golding's viewpoint change?

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In Lord of the Flies, in chapter eight, the killing of the sow is more a torturing of the sow. Roger is particularly cruel. He twists his spear in the anus of the sow until the sow screams in agony:

They corner the wounded pig, and when she falls they are on her. Roger is particularly cruel, driving in his spear slowly by leaning his weight upon it until the sow screams in agony. Then Jack cuts its throat.

Next, Jack slings the blood on the others. They become hysterical with laughter when they see where Roger's spear is:

Jack begins to rub the blood on his hands onto Maurice, and then they notice Roger withdraw his spear. They become hysterical because he had pinned the sow by driving the spear through its anus. They reenact the slaughter until they grow tired.

They become obsessed with the kill. They reenact the killing over and over until they become tired. No longer do they kill the sow for meat, they have become more evil in their actual killing of the sow. They torture the sow before they finally slit its throat. 

Once they have killed the sow, they decapitate it. Then they hang the head on a stick as a sacrificial gift to the beast:

They decapitate the sow and leave its head impaled on a stick sharpened at both ends as a sacrifice for the beast. “The silence accepted the gift and awed them. The head remained there, dim-eyed, grinning faintly, blood blackening between the teeth

Jack and the hunters are now performing rituals as they kill the sow. They are engrossed in the slaughtering of the pig. It is more than just killing the sow for meat. They are worked up into a frenzy as they kill the sow. They act out a gory killing. The sow was helpless. She was nursing. They had no compassion on the sow. This act has turned into savage killing with dancing and ecstatic pleasure in the kill:

 Jack and his hunters have killed a nursing sow. Although the pig in such a condition was essentially helpless, the boys feel victorious and brave in their prowess. As their descent from civilization to savagery advances, they succumb to tribal celebration by dancing over their kill. Rather than just taking the meat for food, they glory in this act as a prehistoric ritual of “appeasing the gods.” Severing the sow’s head, they impale it on a sharpened spear and set it up as an offering to the “Lord of the Flies.”


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