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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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12
Quote #1

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?

Quote #2

[Simon saw] the picture of a human at once heroic and sick. (6.140)

Simon doesn't go out and put a spear up the butt of a dying pig, but he does lose his innocence in another way: he realizes that we're the beasts. Heroic, sure—but sick. You know, fallen.

Quote #3

"You've noticed, haven't you?"

Jack put down his spear and squatted.

"Noticed what?"

"Well. They're frightened."

He rolled over and peered into Jack's fierce, dirty face.

"I mean the way things are. They dream. You can hear 'em. Have you been awake at night?" Jack shook his head.

"They talk and scream. The littluns. Even some of the others. As if—"

"As if it wasn't a good island."

Astonished at the interruption, they looked up at Simon's serious face.

"As if," said Simon, "the beastie, the beastie or the snake-thing, was real. Remember?" (3.58-67)

Ralph wants to build shelters, because he knows that the kids are afraid—but all Jack wants to do is hunt. Would that have helped? We know that the boys themselves are the beast, but the boys don't. Maybe building huts would have helped them feel safe enough to keep Simon alive.

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