‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding

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‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding
'Lord of the Flies' is a dystopic novel written in 1954. A group of boys are marooned on a tropical island after their plane crashes while being evacuated during a nuclear war. With no adult survivors, they create their own "micro-society". Ralph is elected chief and he organizes shelter and fire. Jack, the head of the choir takes his boys hunting for wild pigs. A bitter rivalry develops between Jack and Ralph as both want to be in charge. The "hunters" become savage and primal, under Jack's rule, while Ralph tries to keep his group civilized. The growing hostility between them leads to a bloody and frightening climax.
In this excerpt, Simon, dreamy, peaceful boy and a part of Ralph's tribe, stumbles across a dead pilot that had been mistaken for the beast on the mountain. He runs to tell the others but stumbles into the circle Jack's tribe has formed, and is attacked and killed.
Long before Ralph and Piggy came up with Jack’s lot they could hear the party. There was a stretch of grass in a place where the palms left a wide band of turf between the forest and the shore. Just one step down form the edge of the turf was the white, blown sand of above high water, warm, dry, trodden. Below that again was a rock that stretched away toward the lagoon. Beyond was a short stretch of sand and then the edge of the water. A fire burned on the rock and fat dripped from the roasting pig meat into the invisible flames. All the boys of the island, except Piggy, Ralph, Simon, and the two tending the pig, were grouped on the turf. They were laughing, singing, lying, squatting, or standing on the grass, holding food in their hands. But to judge by the greasy faces, the meat eating was almost done; and some held coconut shells in their hands and were drinking form them. Before the party had started, a great log had been dragged into the center of the lawn and Jack, painted and garlanded, sat there like an idol. There were piles of meat on green leaves near him and fruit and coconut shells full of drink.

Piggy and Ralph came to the edge of the grassy platform; and the boys, as they noticed them, fell silent one by one till only the boy next to Jack was talking. Then the silence intruded even there and Jack turned where he sat. For a time he looked at them and the crackle of the fire was the loudest noise over the droning of the reef. Ralph looked away; and Sam, thinking that Ralph had turned to him accusingly put down his gnawed bone with a nervous giggle. Ralph took an uncertain step, pointed to a palm tree, and whispered something inaudible to Piggy; and they both giggled like Sam. Lifting his feet high out of the sand, Ralph started to stroll past. Piggy tried to whistle.

At this moment the boys who were cooking at the fire suddenly hauled off a great chunk of meat and ran with it toward the grass. They bumped Piggy, who was burnt, and yelled and danced. Immediately, Ralph and the crowd of boys were united and relieved by a storm of laughter. Piggy once more was the center of social derision so that everyone felt cheerful and normal.
Jack stood up and waved his spear.

“Take them some meat.”

The boys with the spit gave Ralph and Piggy each a succulent chunk. They took the gift, dribbling. So they stood and ate beneath a sky of thunderous brass that rang with the storm-coming.
Jack waved his spear again….
…Piggy touched Ralph’s wrist.
“Come away. There’s going to be trouble. And we’ve had our meat.”
There was a blink of bright light beyond the forest and the thunder exploded again so that a little un started to whine. Big drops of rain fell among them making individual sounds when they struck.
“Going to be a storm,” said Ralph, “and you’ll have rain like when we dropped here. Who’s clever now? Where are your shelters? What are you going to do about that?”

The hunters were looking uneasily at the sky, flinching from the stroke of the drops. A wave of restlessness set the boys swaying and moving aimlessly. The flickering light became brighter and the blows of the thunder were only just bearable. The littluns began to run about, screaming.

Jack leapt on to the sand.
“Do our dance! Come on! Dance!”
He ran stumbling through the thick sand to the open space of rock beyond the fire. Between the flashes of lightning the air was dark and terrible; and the boys followed him, clamorously. Robert became the pig, grunting and charging at Jack, who sidestepped. The hunters took their spears, the cooks took spits, and the rest clubs of firewood. A circling movement developed and a chant. While Roger mimed the terror of the pig, the littluns ran and jumped on the outside of the circle. Piggy and Ralph, under the threat of the sky, found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society. They were glad to pound the brown backs of the fence that hemmed in the terror and made it governable.

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

The movement became regular while the chant lost its first superficial excitement and began to beat like a steady pulse. Roger ceased to be a pig and became a hunter, so that the center of the ring yawned emptily. Some of the littluns started a ring on their own; and the complementary circles went round and round as though repetition would achiever safety of itself. There was the throb and stamp of a single organism.

The dark sky was shattered by a blue-white scar. An instant later the noise was on them like the blow of a gigantic whip. The chant rose a tone in agony.

“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, fell on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws.
The clouds opened and let down the rain like a waterfall. The water bounded from the mountain-top, tore leaves and branches from the trees, poured like a cold shower over the struggling heap on the sand. Presently the heap broke up and figures staggered away. Only the beast lay still, a few yards form the sea. Even in the rain they could see how small a beast it was; and already its blood was staining the sand. “

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