Lord of the flies chapter 8

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English Literature Coursework (Lord Of The Flies)                       Assignment 1

Unit 7, Prose 1914

Chapter 8 raises fundamental issues involving the modification and degradation in certain characters’ behaviour from their normal life of civilization. It is the main chapter in which democracy is demolished, savagery kicks in and the definitive chapter in which Simon has the ultimate encounter with the Lord Of The Flies. I will explore Golding’s use of symbolism, plot, imagery, language, Christian morals, setting, themes and story structure as well as the novel’s overall historical context to establish the fact that chapter 8 is the most significant chapter to the novel as a whole.

It is only in chapter eight when Ralph, Piggy and Simon react very differently and for different reasons. Being under the immense pressure because of the gradual immersion of a dystopia; some of the boys lose control; however others capitalise on the fear of the other boys for their own gain.

        This is the vital episode in which Ralph experiences difficulties dealing with ‘the beast.’ He acknowledges its existence and in doing so spreads fear amongst the other boys. This is evidenced when Ralph describes the beast as having ‘teeth’ and ‘big black eyes.’  Ralph automatically decides that fighting the beast is doing the impossible; which leaves the boys with no alternative than to hide from the beast and live under its shadow. Ralph describes the beast as ‘big’, leading to the connotation of Ralph’s fear and his mention of ‘teeth’ and ‘eyes’ suggest further examples of that fear. The way Ralph comments on the ‘beast’ illustrates the notion that Ralph is not afraid of mentioning it’s name but his fear lies with the beast’s capabilities as they could cause serious repercussions. Chapter 8 is the preliminary time in which Ralph’s fear about the beast is conveyed in his own word which expresses the chapter’s great magnitude and relevance.

Ralph’s unoptimism contributed to his poor management of the beast. He did not appreciate that the ‘littluns’ understood him seriously and saw the news as a sign for panic.  Ralph explains, ‘I don't think we'd ever fight a thing that size, honestly, you know. We'd talk, but we wouldn’t fight a tiger. We'd hide. Even Jack ‘ud’ hide.’ Ralph’s apathy is conveyed when he says ‘I don’t think we’ d ever fight’ because he makes himself believe that his hopes are very slim. When Ralph progresses to describe the beast with the terms ‘that size’ the reader and other characters are under the impression that the beast is huge and can not be fought.

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Ralph’s mention of hiding is symbolic because in chapter 4, Jack painted his face as a symbol of hiding his social conscience. Jack’s idea of masks was the first time in which reality became distorted on the island and the boys were beginning to change their behaviour and appearance in order to fit in with the surroundings.

 Ralph's priority is to evacuate the island rather than confronting or fighting the beast. He concludes that the only way of evacuating the island is by being rescued and his main concern is the maintenance of the fire in hope ...

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