Supplemental Guide to Lord of the Flies/Gift for the Darkness

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Chapter 8: Gift for the Darkness

At the beginning of chapter 8, when Ralph tells Piggy what they saw, he is quite skeptical. Ralph tells him that the beast had teeth and big black eyes. Jack says that his hunters can defeat the beast, but Ralph dismisses them as boys with sticks. Jack tells the other boys that the beast is a hunter, and says that Ralph thinks that the boys are cowards. Jack says that Ralph isn't a proper chief, for he is a coward himself. Jack asks the boys who wants Ralph not to be chief. Nobody agrees with Jack, so he runs off in tears. He says that he is not going to be part of Ralph's lot. Jack leaves them. Piggy says that they can do without Jack, but they should stay close to the platform. Simon suggests that they climb the mountain. Piggy says that if they climb the mountain they can start the fire again, but then suggests that they start a fire down by the beach. Piggy organizes the new fire by the beach. Ralph notices that several of the boys are missing. Piggy says that they will do well enough if they behave with common sense, and proposes a feast. They wonder where Simon has gone; he might be climbing the mountain. Simon had left to sit in the open space he had found earlier. Far off along the beach, Jack says that he will be chief of the hunters, and will forget the beast. He says that they might go later to the castle rock, but now will kill a pig and give a feast. They find a group of pigs and kill a large sow. Jack rubs the blood over Maurice's cheeks, while Roger laughs that the fatal blow against the sow was up her ass. They cut off the pig's head and leave it on a stick as a gift for the beast at the mountain-top. This is placed in the clearing at the end of chapter 3, 'defiling' it in a sense. Comparing this with its previously Eden-like beauty, it may show how the island society has degenerated from its idealistic beginnings. Simon sees the head, with flies buzzing around it. Ralph worries that the boys will die if they are not rescued soon. Ralph and Piggy realize that it is Jack who causes things to break up. The forest near them suddenly bursts into uproar. The littluns run off as Jack approaches, naked except for paint and a belt, while hunters take burning branches from the fire. Jack tells them that he and his hunters are living along the beach by a flat rock, where they hunt and feast and have fun. He invites the boys to join his tribe. When Jack leaves, Ralph says that he thought Jack was going to take the conch, which Ralph holds as a symbol of ritual and order. They reiterate that the fire is the most important thing, but Bill suggests that they go to the hunters' feast and tell them that the fire is hard on them. At the top of the mountain remains the pig's head, which Simon has dubbed the "Lord of the Flies." Simon believes that the pig's head speaks to him, calling him a silly little boy. The Lord of the Flies tells Simon that he'd better run off and play with the others, who think that he is crazy. The Lord of the Flies claims that the Beast is not "something you can hunt and kill," but rather, is within each human - the evil, savage, side of human nature. After he foretells his own death, Simon loses consciousness.