Chapter 8

The color-coded boxes under "Analysis & Themes" below make it easy to track the themes throughout the work. Each color corresponds to one of the themes explained in the Themes section of this LitChart.

Summary


Analysis & Themes


Back on the beach, Piggy can't believe the beast is real. He asks what they should do. Ralph isn't sure. He says the beast is sitting up by the signal fire as if trying to intercept their rescue.

The intellectual Piggy can't fathom the beast's existence. Ralph considers the beast an enemy of civilization and rescue.

 

Jack says his hunters could kill the beast. Ralph says they're just boys with sticks. Infuriated, Jack blows the conch to call a meeting. Ralph begins to talk but Jack says he called the meeting with the conch, so he should get to speak. Ralph lets him. Jack says they've seen the beast: it's a hunter.

By blowing the conch to call a meeting, Jack shows he's still playing by civilization's rules. Note that Jack links himself and his boys to the beast by calling it a hunter.

 

Next Jack accuses Ralph of belittling the hunters. He says Ralph is like Piggy and isn't a proper chief. Jack calls for a vote to remove Ralph and make Jack chief. Nobody votes for Jack.

The boys' allegiance still remains with civilization and order. They're unwilling to surrender to savagery…so far.

 

Jack storms off, humiliated and crying. He vows to form a new group, and says anyone can join him when he hunts. He disappears into the forest. Everyone is stunned, but the meeting continues. Simon suggests they climb the mountain. Piggy considers the suggestion insane. He says they should just build a signal fire on the beach.

Jack (savagery) forms his own tribe outside civilization. Simon (spirituality) suggests they confront the beast. Piggy (civilization) strives to find a way to ignore and hide from the beast.

 

The boys build the fire and the littleuns dance and sing. After the fire, Ralph realizes that all the biguns but Samneric and Piggy have disappeared. Most have gone to join Jack.

A turning point: publicly the biguns are unwilling to oppose civilization, but privately they choose Jack, the beast, and savagery.

 

Simon has wandered alone into the forest. He enters a secret glade and sits there in the sun. Though he gets thirstier and thirstier, he continues to sit.

Like other religious mystics, Simon fasts and meditates.

 

Elsewhere in the jungle, Jack declares himself chief of the boys who have joined him. As chief, he says he's going to get more "biguns away from the conch." He also says that when his tribe hunts they'll leave some of the kill for the beast. That way, it won't bother them. Jack leads the boys into the forest.

Jack now treats the beast like a god. The other boys' fear of the beast increases their loyalty to Jack. Savage chiefs both fear the beast and use it to gain power.

 

The boys track, corner, and kill a big sow (a female pig). Jack cuts off its head. He decides they'll raid Ralph's camp fore fire to cook the pig, and invite everyone to a feast. Roger, meanwhile, sharpens a stick at both ends. They stake the pig head on the stick and leave it as an offering to the beast.

Jack and his tribe decide to attack Ralph's civilization. Their offering makes clear that to them the beast is now a god who demands sacrifice.

 

Simon witnesses the killing and staking of the pig from his secret spot in the glade. Simon is thirsty and exhausted, and the pig's head seems to talk to him. It tells him to leave and go back to the others. He stares at the pig's head, at the Lord of the Flies, and seems to recognize it.

Simon recognizes that the offering to the beast actually is the beast. In trying to appease the beast by sacrificing to it, Jack's tribe is actually making the beast more powerful.

 

Jack emerges from the forest into Ralph's camp. As his followers steal fire from the signal fire, he invites Ralph's group to come his feast, then disappears.

The purpose of fire has changed from rescue to cooking for survival.

 

Simon is on the verge of having a fit in the forest. The pig's head, the Lord of the Flies, speaks to him: "I'm the Beast … You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you?" As Simon descends into a faint, the Lord of the Flies says, "We are going to have fun on this island!" The beast warns Simon that if he tries to interfere Jack, Roger, Maurice, Robert, Bill, Piggy, and Ralph will "do" him.

The beast links itself to "fun" (savagery) and confirms it exists within men. The beast's threat is surprising: it says Piggy and Ralph will act with Jack and his tribe to kill Simon. The beast claims both civilization and savagery as allies against Simon's spiritual truth.