Lord of the Flies

Topics: English-language films, Number of the Beast Pages: 5 (1571 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Select one chapter from Lord of the Flies and assess its importance to the novel as a whole.
‘Lord of the Flies' is about what happens to a group of schoolboys when they are abandoned on an island following a plane crash. Chapter eight ‘Gift for the Darkness' has much significance in the novel, as it is here that Simon converses with ‘The Lord of the Flies'. Jack separates himself from Ralph's group, showing that Jack has now been consumed by evil. The signal fire is moved and now there are two marked rival groups on the island, one belonging to Jack and the other Ralph.

Chapter eight, ‘Gift for the Darkness', has many themes, one of the most prominent being the Beast, which is the boys' greatest fear. In chapter seven they had come across a dead parachutist and had believed it to be a beast. The beast represents the evil residing within everyone. The Beast is used as a scapegoat by the boys to avoid self-knowledge. Golding uses the boys' daydreams to show their fears and desires. The Beast gives the boys' fear something to focus on. Golding expresses various types of fears in the book and many are apparent in chapter eight.

There is fear that all is not known concerning the Beast. "The beast had teeth… and big black eyes." The boys did not actually see the Beast and are making this up. This only causes their fear to escalate except for Piggy's. He is by far the most intellectual and skeptical of the boys. He knows that the adult world and books would not abide by the legend of the ‘beastie'.

Just after the only kill in chapter eight, the boys' gradual degeneration into savages is obvious by their actions:
"Then Jack found the throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands…then Jack grabbed Maurice and rubbed the stuff over his cheeks."
This is almost a tribal ritual making a mask. The boys use masks to cover their identity and this allows them to kill.
"He was safe from the shame or self-consciousness behind the mask…"
This illustrates that the mask somehow gives the boys a sense of security.
"Demoniac figures with faces of white and red and green rushed out howling…"
From this quote it can be seen that the boys have totally lost their individuality and become like animals, almost indistinguishable from the other.
Jack is also an example of the boys' need for civilisation. They start off well; however, they degenerate into savages and lose all conscience and morals. The following quote illustrates this: "Right up her ass!"

"Did you hear?"
"Did you hear what he said?"
"Yeah, right up her ass!"

The boys have lost the ability to decide between right and wrong. "…the hunters followed, wedded to her in lust, excited by the long chase and the dropped blood."
This quote shows that the boys feel excited and natural about hunting a pig whereas before they may have recoiled in horror at the thought.
Golding sees evil as existing but undeveloped in human kind, this is the beast Simon comes to terms with. Golding implies that it is not society that is evil and man that is good but it is the society that is good and man that is evil. Society with its rules and order is required to subdue man's more evil and destructive nature.

Jack represents a dictatorial and aggressive leader. He constantly challenges Ralph's leadership and takes advantage of Ralph's democracy. "I've called an assembly", here Jack takes the initiative to call an assembly, and in this assembly he openly challenges Ralph for the second time. "Who thinks Ralph oughtn't to be chief?" and even after he has his own tribe he still tries to turn the boys against Ralph. Thus he shows his disapproval for democracy and love for dictatorship. Jack harbours emotions of anger and savagery. He is first the leader of the choir, then the hunters and finally in chapter eight, the savages. There are...
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