Lord of the Flies


Chapter 9

A View to a Death

Just as in a Shakespearean tragedy when nature reflects the actions of people, so too does the sky begin to change and reflect the sudden turmoil unleashed by Jack’s open rebellion. Cloud accumulation and rising hot air fill the island with the feeling that the sky is about to explode.

Simon sleeps in the forest. When he wakes, he leaves his retreat. The flies swarming over the pig’s guts are momentarily disturbed but quickly settle back over their meal. The sow’s head no longer speaks to Simon, and the boy crawls away from it toward the mountain. On the mountain he sees what the others have believed to be the “beast”—that is, he sees the dead man in the parachute. Flies swarm around him, as well. Simon untangles the parachute lines from the rocks, vomits, and weakly moves to tell the others of his discovery.

Meanwhile, Ralph and Piggy venture toward Jack’s group. Jack orders them to be given some meat. Ralph and Piggy eat hungrily. It is plain that Jack is now in a position of power. Ralph, however, tries to reassert his authority. He tries a number of tactics: First, he points out that he was elected to lead and that Jack and his men were nominated as hunters. Then he tries to base his power on the possession of the conch. None of Ralph’s points make the slightest impression on Jack. There is only one power that Jack recognizes, and that power is force. Jack asks Ralph if he is prepared to show force. Ralph does not appear to be prepared to do so. The thunder in the sky grows louder, frightening the smaller boys. Ralph tries to reaffirm his authority by arguing that at least his camp has huts—shelter from the coming storm. Jack shrugs this argument off by performing his hunting dance. The boys participate in it out of a communal urge. They sing their chant, “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”

At this frenzied high point in the dancing, Simon crashes out of the woods with his announcement of the beast. His sudden appearance...

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