The Lord of the Flies
William Golding
Contributed by Karim Chandra
Chapter 7

Richard ponders the recent happenings on the island, feeling hopeless. Simon, noticing Richard’s discomfort, reassures him that everything will become normal again. Meanwhile, Roger announces he saw pig droppings and launches another hunt. When they find the pig, it attacks Roger, but he hits it with a stick. The pig escapes. After it does, Robert pretends to be the pig, and the boys reenact the hunt. They start chanting a sinister refrain: “Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!” They get so caught up in the spectacle that it turns violent. They beat Robert until they become too exhausted to continue.

After resting from their reenactment, the boys consider how to use the remaining daylight. Ralph encourages them to relight the signal fire, and Maurice suggests returning to Piggy and the littluns before the sun sets. However, Jack decides to continue the hunt anyway. Ralph expresses concern for Piggy and the littluns, but no one except Simon volunteers to return to them. Ralph keeps suggesting they discontinue the hunt, but Jack is unrelenting, even when night falls. To avoid conflict with Jack, Ralph gives in. When they reach the mountain, Jack climbs to its summit while the others follow. Jack then returns to the other boys to inform them of what he saw. When Ralph moves forward, he sees what he thinks is a round, moving creature that lifts its head and looks at the hunters. He retreats, and the boys flee from what they think is the beast.


Ralph continues to embody sense and civility. He thinks of rescue, his parents, and the hopelessness of remaining stuck on an island surrounded by nothing except an unforgiving ocean. However, even Ralph’s humanity falls to savage impulses. Or perhaps Ralph’s true form is savagery, and he merely falls in line with that of the other boys.

The grotesque attack on Robert reveals the height of animosity humans can assume for each other. This merciless assault is one of animals, of brutes. Worse still is the fact that Jack considers using a littlun to act as a pig, should they perform another hunting reenactment. In an even more disturbing turn of events, the boys laugh off the incident. Under Jack’s leadership, they can do much worse. Jack’s open cruelty underscores his hatred for the youngest and most vulnerable members of their society: the littluns. He had previously expressed displeasure with their uselessness in hunting and building shelters. Now, however, Jack displays open disregard for their lives. Any remaining humanity in Jack seems gone.

The competition between Ralph and Jack recurs throughout this chapter. They disagree on almost everything, but Ralph gives in and follows Jack’s wishes. It seems impossible for Ralph and Jack to cooperate, suggesting their respective values cannot coexist. Whereas Ralph symbolizes civilization, democracy, and society, Jack represents disorder, chaos, and wildness. While Jack easily manipulates Ralph into following his ideas, Jack never changes his standpoint in favor of Ralph's. This implies Ralph may not be a strong leader, since he does not possess enough of a backbone to stand up for what he knows to be the greater good. He lets himself fall victim to Jack’s bullying and high-pressure tactics. As such, Jack's staunchness may be considered a useful, even admirable trait. Whenever Jack challenges Ralph, he changes his mind, often against his rational judgment. Although Jack does not have the boys’ best interests at heart, he commands greater authority over them. The boys would be better off if they had one leader who possessed both Jack’s confidence and Ralph’s rationality, but unfortunately, they remain caught in a power struggle between the two.

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