Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Chapter 8

Gift for the Darkness

The tale of the Beast is related to Piggy and the boys must decide what to do. Ralph tells Jack that they are not armed well enough to kill it. Someone comments that, "...now that thing sits by the fire as though it didn.t want us to be rescued." Which, in a sense, is what the "real beast" is doing.

Jack calls an assembly by blowing the conch. He tells the group that the Beast is real; they have seen it. Also, Ralph has called the hunters cowards and Jack accuses Ralph of being a coward himself. Jack asks the assembly if any of them think Ralph should not be chief. No one raises their hand. Jack, in defiance, says, "All right then... I'm not going to play any longer. Not with you...I'm not going to be a part of Ralph's lot." Jack feels that survival is a game to be played and he is fed up with the rules that Ralph deals. He invites others to come join him and runs off into the forest.

Simon steps forward to propose that they climb the mountain. No one wants to. Instead, Piggy decides that the signal fire should be moved to the beach, and the kids start building a fire. The fire is lit, and as the crowd gathers, it is noticeably smaller. Most of the bigguns have left to go "play" with Jack. The only bigguns left are Ralph, Piggy, Samneric and Simon.

Simon wonders off to the mat of creepers, while Jack gathers a group of boys in the forest to teach them how to hunt. They decide that Jack will be chief, they will forget the Beast, and they will try to take more bigguns away from Ralph.

They begin to track a pig and and it leads them to Simon's clearing. A few pigs are laying around and the group decides to attack a sow and her piglets. The piglets escape, but the sow is brutally killed. Jack decides to offer the pig's head as a gift to the Beast. He orders his new henchman, Roger, to sharpen a stick at both ends. One end is jammed in the rocky earth and the other is draped with the head of the sow. Simon climbs from under the creepers and is confronted with the head.

Later, Jack and his gang raid Ralph's encampment. They steal a burning log for their own fire and Jack invites all the boys to come join his tribe at the feast they are to have that night. As the "savages" leave Ralph comments about how he wishes he could have fun too, but still the fire is more important to him. Nonetheless, this importance of the fire and of rescue are drifting away from Ralph and he must be constantly reminded of it by Piggy. A storm is building above the island and thunder promises rain.

Back at the clearing Simon is having a "discussion" with the pig's head. This discussion is probably mostly in Simon's head, but Golding uses this interview as an eerie way to unveil the theme of the novel. Golding now refers to the fly-covered pig's head as the "Lord of the Flies." The Lord of the Flies asks Simon if he's afraid of him. It says:

"...I am the Beast... Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close, close! I'm the reason it's no go? Why things are the way they are?"

Although Simon may have known that the Beast was really inside the kids, it is now confirmed. Now that Simon knows for sure, the Beast warns him not to tell anyone the truth, otherwise he will be killed.

Contents