Lord of the Flies


Chapter 12

Cry of the Hunters

Ralph travels toward the beach. He eats fruit. His appearance frightens the littluns. He sees a pig’s skull grinning at him and breaks it with a stick. He feels isolated and cut off from the rest of the boys on the island. After some time he returns to Castle Rock, wanting to believe that the savages are still boys underneath it all, that they will welcome him as one of their own. Ralph longs for human companionship. He is now the same as Piggy was at the beginning of the novel—a boy in need of friendship.

Ralph sees Samneric and tries to speak to them, but the twins feel compelled to do their duty to their new tribe. They tell Ralph that he must go. They try to tell him that it is for his own good and that the tribe has forced them to accept their new role. The twins tell Ralph that the tribe plans to hunt him down tomorrow. They speak of a fear of Roger, whose new role is that of executioner/torturer. They say that he has sharpened a stick at both ends, implying that it means to be used on Ralph when he is caught. Sam pushes a chunk of meat toward Ralph before one of the tribe comes to check on them. Ralph tells them he will lie low nearby.

Ralph retreats to his hideaway. In the morning he hears voices. One of the twins has been tortured into revealing where Ralph planned to be. The tribe assaults the hideaway by rolling three large boulders into it. One savage tries to enter the thicket, but Ralph wounds him with his spear. The tribe decides to smoke him out. Ralph crawls out, bulldozes his way over a smaller savage, and runs. The savages follow.

Ralph debates within himself whether it is better to climb a tree or keep up a perpetual sprint. His question is somewhat solved for him as he realizes that the island is on fire.

He runs and runs and hides under a mat of overgrowth near the edge of a cliff. Roger appears with his spear. He prods his spear under the mat. Ralph screams and plows over him, running as fast as he can with the fire on one side of him and the savages behind...

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