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Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

Primitivity Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

All at once, Robert was screaming and struggling with the strength of frenzy. Jack had him by the hair and was brandishing his knife. Behind him was Roger, fighting to get close. The chant rose ritually, as at the last moment of a dance or a hunt.

"Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!"

Ralph too was fighting to get near, to get a handful of that brown, vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering. (7.74-76)

Blame it on mob mentality or the lure of primitivity or being called four-eyes one too many times, but our sweet Ralphie just went out of his skull.

Quote #8

They surrounded the covert but the sow got away with the sting of another spear in her flank. The trailing butts hindered her and the sharp, cross-cut points were a torment. She blundered into a tree, forcing a spear still deeper; and after that any of the hunters could follow her easily by the drops of vivid blood […].

Here, struck down by the heat, the sow fell and the hunters hurled themselves at her. This dreadful eruption from an unknown world made her frantic; she squealed and bucked and the air was full of sweat and noise and blood and terror […]. The spear moved forward inch by inch and the terrified squealing became a high-pitched scream. Then Jack found the throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands. The sow collapsed under them […].

At last the immediacy of the kill subsided. The boys drew back, and Jack stood up, holding out his hands.

“Look.”

He giggled and flecked them while the boys laughed at his reeking palms. Then Jack grabbed Maurice and rubbed the stuff over his cheeks . . .

“Right up her ass!” (8.191-196)

Get all the kids out of the room, because this has just gone from understandable food-related slaughter to... something else. The hunt is no longer about just having meat to eat—it's about literally bathing in their power over a helpless animal. We're not surprised that people tend to read this as a rape scene.

Quote #9

The dark sky was shattered by a blue-white scar. […] The chant rose a tone in agony.

Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”

Now out of the terror rose another desire, thick, urgent, blind.

“Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”

Again the blue-white scar jagged above them and the sulphurous explosion beat down. The littluns screamed and blundered about, fleeing from the edge of the forest, and one of them broke the ring of biguns in his terror.

“Him! Him!”

The circle became a horseshoe. A thing was crawling out of the forest. It came darkly, uncertainly. The shrill screaming that rose before the beast was like a pain. The beast stumbled into the horseshoe.

“Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”

The blue-white scar was constant, the noise unendurable. Simon was crying out something about a dead man on a hill.

“Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Do him in!”

The sticks fell and the mouth of the new circle crunched and screamed. The beast was on its knees in the center, its arms folded over its face. It was crying out against the abominable noise something about a body on the hill. The beast struggled forward, broke the ring and fell over the steep edge of the rock to the sand by the water. At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws. (9.89-99)

This passage really conveys the frenzied state the boys are in when they kill Simon. But does it justify the action? Does it function as an excuse for the murder?

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