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, what happens in the air while the boys sleep?

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In the previous chapter, there are arguments among the boys over what the "beast" is, and Jack berates the boys for being afraid saying that if there were a "beast," he would have seen it since he is a hunter.  The approaching night makes the boys think that the "beast" may be a ghost,too.  At any rate, the meeting degenerates and the Ralph and Piggy fight over the conch, Simon is laughed at and ridiculed with a dirty joke when he gets to speak, and Jack declaires, "Bollocks to the rules!"

So, when the boys do retire for the night at the beginning of Chapter Six, their sleep is disturbed and sometimes

a littl'un cried out from the other shelters and once a bigun spoke in the dark.  Then they too fell asleep.

While they sleep a "sliver of moon" rises, but there are other lights in the night sky and popping sounds. Then,

A sign came down from the world of grown-ups, though at the time there was no child awake to read it.

A plane has been fired upon, a bright explosion ensues, and a figure drops beneath a parachute from the sky, a figure "with dangling limbs."  A pilot has been shot as he attempts to escape his burning plane.  The dead pilot comes to rest "among the blue flowers of the mountain-side."  And, it is this figure that the boys later equate with the "beast" when SamnEric discover it.  Ironically, the dead parachutist whose death is caused by violence, becomes a metaphor for the "beast" which Simon senses intuitively as the evil inherent in humanity.

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