Supplemental Guide to Lord of the Flies/Cry of the Hunters

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Chapter 12: Cry of the Hunters

Ralph hides, wondering about his wounds. He is not far from the Castle Rock. He thinks he sees Bill in the distance, but realizes that it is not actually Bill anymore, for he is now a savage and not the boy in shorts and shirt he once knew. He concludes that Jack will never leave Ralph alone. Ralph can see the Lord of the Flies, now a skull with the skin and meat eaten away. Ralph can still hear the chant "Kill the beast. Cut his throat. Spill his blood." He crawls to the lookout near Castle Rock and calls to Sam and Eric. Sam gives him a chunk of meat and tells him to leave. They tell him that Roger has sharpened a stick at both ends, but Ralph cannot attach a meaning to this (it probably means they are going to stake him, possibly as a sacrifice, showing their savagery). Ralph crawls away to a slope where he can safely sleep. When he awakes he can hear Jack and Roger outside the thicket where he hides. They are trying to find out where Ralph is hiding. The other boys are rolling rocks down the mountain. Ralph finally runs away, not knowing what he should do. He decides to hide again, then realizes that Jack and his boys were setting the island on fire to smoke Ralph out, a move that would destroy whatever fruit was left on the island. Ralph rushes toward the beach, where he finds a naval officer. His ship saw the smoke and came to the island. The officer thinks that the boys have been only playing games. The other boys begin to appear from the forest. Percival tries to announce his name and address, but cannot say what was once so natural. Ralph says that he is boss, and the officer asks how many there are. He scolds them for not knowing exactly how many there are and for not being organized, as the British are supposed to be. Ralph says that they were like that at first. The officer asks sarcastically whether the boys have sustained casualties, and is surprised when Ralph answers in the affirmative. Ralph then begins to weep for the first time on the island. He weeps for the end of innocence and the darkness of man's heart, and for the fall of Piggy. The officer turns away, embarrassed, while the other boys await the cruiser in the distance.