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Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

Primitivity Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

He [Jack] capered toward Bill, and the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness. (4.33)

Well, that's one way to answer the question. If Jack is hiding behind the mask, then the thing/person/creature committing these heinous acts isn't Jack; it's the mask. Is Golding giving Jack a way out?

Quote #5

The hunters' thoughts were crowded with memories […] of the knowledge […] that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink. (4.121)

There's more here than a simple survivalist instinct to kill for food. The boys aren't hunting just because they're hungry; they're hunting because they need the power. Hm. "Imposed their will upon it," "taken away its life"—that sounds a lot like war to us.

Quote #6

"We spread round. I crept, on hands and knees. The spears fell out because they hadn't barbs on. The pig ran away and made an awful noise—"

"It turned back and ran into the circle, bleeding—"

All the boys were talking at once, relieved and excited.

[…]

Then Maurice pretended to be the pig and ran squealing into the center, and the hunters, circling still, pretended to beat him. As they danced, they sang.

"Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in."

Ralph watched them, envious and resentful. (4.197-206)

We start off with boys killing pigs, then boys pretending to kill boys who are pretending to be pigs, and finally Jack hunting down Ralph in pretend—maybe—hopes of impaling his head on a stick. The boys get eased into murder, just like we get eased into reading about it. And, just maybe, that's how we get ourselves involved in bloody wars.

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