Lord of the Flies

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Lord of the Flies Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The boys adjust to life on the island. The younger boys are now called 'littleuns." The older boys are "biguns." The littleuns generally play all day and become terrified at night.
For now, the beast exists in the boys' nightmares, but it will soon enter their conscious minds.
Themes
Human Nature Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
As three littleuns play in the sand, two biguns, Maurice and Roger, emerge from the forest. Maurice heads off to swim, but Roger stays behind. When one of the littleuns, Henry, wanders off, Roger follows him. Henry plays at the edge of the ocean, happily controlling the movements of the little animals living there.
Though quite young, Henry shows the innate savage love of dominance and power as he enjoys controlling animals smaller than he is.
Themes
Human Nature Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Roger watches Henry from a distance, and finds some nuts blown from a tree. After a pause, Roger throws the nuts and then some stones at Henry, but he purposely aims to miss by a few feet.
Roger treats Henry as Henry treats the animals. Roger wants to go further, to actually hurt Henry, but civilization holds him back.
Themes
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Jack emerges from the forest and calls to Roger, telling him to follow. In the jungle, Jack paints his own face for hunting camouflage. The mask makes him feel liberated: Jack begins dancing and snarling. He gets Roger, Samneric, and some others to come hunt with him.
Jack's mask shields him from civilization's hold, stripping him of his civilized identity, making him anonymous and free from shame.
Themes
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
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On the beach, a bunch of biguns, including Ralph and Piggy, rest and talk. Soon Piggy comes up with a plan for them to build sundials so they'll know the time. The other boys laugh at him: his obesity, glasses, and asthma make him an outsider.
Jack hunts pigs to feel strong and part of a group. "Civilized" boys pick on Piggy for the same reason: it's human nature.
Themes
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Suddenly Ralph spots smoke on the horizon—it's a ship! Everyone looks at the mountain, but there's no smoke from their signal fire. They run to the mountaintop and discover the fire is dead and the ship has passed. Below them they see a procession of hunters carrying a pig on a spit and chanting, "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood." The hunters come up to the mountaintop. Jack, not realizing what's happened, is triumphant after killing the pig. Furious, Ralph tells Jack about the ship. Jack responds defensively: he says he needed more hunters to circle the pig.
Savagery and civilization clash in the open for the first time. Jack chooses to hunt over tending the fire. His choice has devastating consequences: a ship and the prospect of rescue pass. Jack has decided that rescue (civilization) is not as important to him as hunting (savagery), while Ralph has clearly taken the other side.
Themes
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Piggy and even some of the hunters start yelling at Jack. Jack, humiliated and angry, hits Piggy. Piggy's glasses fly off, breaking a lens. Jack mocks Piggy and everyone laughs.
When he feels most vulnerable, Jack abuses a victim weaker than he to regain his authority.
Themes
Human Nature Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Eventually Jack apologizes for letting the fire die. Ralph asks Piggy's permission to use his glasses to light the fire. Ralph realizes he and Piggy have become allies.
The boys take sides: Ralph and Piggy favor rescue and civilization, while Jack favors hunting and savagery.
Themes
Civilization Theme Icon
They cook the pig, but Jack refuses to give Piggy any meat. Simon shares with Piggy.
Simon is generous and not in conflict with anyone.
Themes
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack and his boys begin to reenact the killing of the pig in a kind of ritual dance. Ralph announces that he's calling an assembly and walks away.
Ralph interrupts the savage ritual dance by calling a meeting, a symbol of civilization.
Themes
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon