Lord of the Flies Summary and Analysis of Chapters 7,8,9 and 10

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Chapter 7: Shadows and Tall Trees


  • The groups of boys stop to eat as they make their way towards the mountain.
  • Ralph broods over the fact that the boys have become messy and undisciplined.
  • He feels that the ocean is like a wall that is blocking the boys’ hope of escaping from the island.
  • Simon lifts Ralph’s spirit by reassuring him that they will be rescued.
  • When Ralph and Simon talk, Simon tells Ralph that he knows that Ralph will make it back safely from the mountain.
  • Later that afternoon, the hunters find pig poop. Jack suggests they hunt the pig while they search for the beast.
  • The boys agree. They pursue a large boar that leads them on a wild chase.
  • Ralph gets caught up in the adrenaline of the chase, he has never been on a hunt before.
  • He throws his spear at the boar, and is impressed with his marksmanship even thought it just grazed the pig’s snout. He is surrounded with attention. Then Jack claims that his arm was grazed with the boar’s tusks and holds up the bloodied arm and the attention shifts to Jack. Ralph feels jealous. The boys are also a little upset that Ralph did not kill, only wounded, the pig.
  • The boar got away but the boys remain wound up after the hunt.
  • They reenact the chase among themselves, Robert playing the boar. They jab Robert with their spears, dance, and chant. First they begin playfully poking him but eventually lose sight of the fact that they are only playing a game and begin viciously jabbing him with the spears. Robert tries to drag himself away. The boys almost kill Robert before they remember themselves.
  • When Robert suggests that the next time they play the game they use a real boar, Jack says they should use a littlun instead. The boys are stirred up by Jack’s boldness.
  • Ralph tries to remind everyone that they were only playing a game
  • Ralph says that now, because of the failed hunt, they will not make it back to the platform and so someone will have to go. Jack says it will take hours         to go back but Ralph replies that someone can go through the jungle and that they can only sacrifice one boy. No onewants to go but Simon volunteers to go tell Piggy and the littluns that the group will not return until late that night.
  • It becomes dark and Ralph suggests that they wait until morning to climb the mountain because it will be difficult to see, let alone hunt the monster at night.
  • Jack challenges Ralph to climb the mountain that night. Ralph finally agrees, in hopes of regain his position in the eyes of the group.
  • None of the other boys want to go except for Roger.
  • So Ralph, Jack and Roger start climbing the mountain
  • Then Ralph and Roger wait near the top while Jack climbs alone to the summit.
  • Jack returns, claiming to have seen the monster. Ralph and Roger climb up and see a terrifying, large, shadowy form that looks like a giant ape. The form makes a strange flapping sound in the wind. Horrified.
  • The boys hurry down the mountain to warn the group.


  • It is significant to note that when Simon talks to Ralph, he never said that HE would make it back safely. **Like Christ he senses (possibly knows) that he will die soon.
  • The game the boys play after the boar hunt is a reminder of the power of the human instinct toward savagery. ** "The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering."
  • Before this chapter in the novel, Ralph could not understand why the other boys were more attracted to hunting, bullying, dancing, and feasting than to building huts, maintaining the signal fire, and striving to be rescued.
  • But when Ralph joins the boar hunt, he is unable to avoid the instinctive excitement of the hunt and gets caught up in the other boys’ bloodlust.
  • This scene is used to show that every individual has an undeniable, inner drive towards savagery, no matter how strong his or her instinct toward civilization and order is.
  • When the boys’ reenactment the chase, a further reminder of the connection between the thrill of the hunt and the desire for power is provided.
  •  Robert is nearly killed as the other boys get caught up in their excitement; they lose sight of the limits of the game in their mad desire to kill.
  • When Jack suggests killing a littlun in place of a pig, the group laughs. At this point, none of them, except maybe Jack and Roger, would go so far as to actually kill a littleun. The fact that the boys find the possibility exciting rather than horrifying is a problem.
  • The conflict between Ralph and Jack has heightened to a real power struggle
  •  As Jack’s temperament of violence and savagery almost fully replaces Ralph’s disciplined community in the boys’ conception of their lives on the island.
  • Ralph’s excitement in the hunt and his participation in the dance that nearly kills Robert is a major victory for Jack because the experience shakes Ralph’s confidence in his own instinct toward morality and order.
  • The conflict between Ralph and Jack is not purely a competition to prove who would be the better leader. In fact it is a competition of who is stronger and more courageous.
  • Jack goes up the mountain alone to prove his bravery, just like Ralph did in the previous chapter.
  • It is significant that Ralph discovers nothing, while Jack discovers what he thinks is the beast. This reflects the fact that Ralph does not believe in the beast, while the beast makes up a major part of Jack’s idea of life on the island.
  • Jack increases his influence within the group by provoking Ralph to act rashly and unwisely against his tendency toward levelheadedness, a manipulation that weakens Ralph’s position in the group.
  • Ralph realizes that it is foolish to hunt the beast at night but he also knows that, in a society that values strength, he cannot risk looking like a coward. A
  • As a result, he agrees to go up the mountainside at night.
  • This decision costs him the opportunity to prove to the others that Sam and Eric did not see the beast. If the boys had climbed the mountain during the day (like Ralph wanted to), they would have seen the dead parachutist. Because they go at night, the parachutist is distorted by shadows and so the boys recognize him as the beast.
  • In a sense, the degree to which each boy is prone to see the beast mirrors the degree to which he gives in to his instinct toward savagery.
  • This is a connection that emphasizes the idea that the beast is symbolic of the boys’ primitive inner instincts.

Chapter 8: Gift for the Darkness


  • The following morning, the news of the monster has caused the boys to be in a state of uproar as they gather by the platform. Now they will not have access to the mountain, this equals in no signal fire.
  •  Piggy, who was not on the mountain the night before, is baffled by the other boys’ claims and does not fully believe them.
  • Jack seizes the conch shell and blows into it clumsily, calling for an assembly.
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  • Jack tells the others that there is definitely a beast on the mountain.
  • He goes on to claim that Ralph is a coward who should be removed from his leadership role. He tells his hunter the lie that Ralph had said that they were “no good” (he twisted Ralph’s words).
  • Jack wants to have a new chief chosen.
  • When the other boys refuse to vote for him, Jack storms away from the group, enraged, embarrassed and crying, saying that he is leaving and that anyone who likes is welcome to join him.
  • Ralph does not know what to ...

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