The Lord of the Flies
William Golding
Contributed by Karim Chandra
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Chapter 9
Summary

After recovering from his encounter with the Lord of the Flies, Simon ventures up the mountain and discovers the dead pilot’s body. Realizing the boys believe the dead pilot is the beast, he descends the mountain to find the boys and reveal the beast’s identity. At this point, Ralph and Piggy join Jack for a feast during which he gives the boys meat he successfully hunted. Unfortunately, after the feast, Ralph and Jack engage in a power struggle. After promising the boys abundant food and protection from the beast, Jack tells them to choose either himself or Ralph as their leader. Ralph insists on the importance of keeping the signal fire alive and sticking to plans that will result in them getting rescued. Despite Ralph’s best efforts to win them over, the boys prefer Jack’s argument and agree to join his tribe.

The boys then perform the same sinister dance from Chapter 7, this time with Roger playing the pig’s role. They march around the fire and chant “Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!” As a storm looms around them, they lose themselves in the dance and grow more excited and demonic. Suddenly, during the height of the storm, Simon bursts through the thicket and attempts to tell them about the dead pilot. The boys, confusing Simon for the beast, attack him violently. Simon sustains serious injuries. When the boys realize what they have done, they have gone too far. Simon dies. Meanwhile, the storm’s gusts blow the dead pilot’s body into the sea.

Analysis

This chapter shows the human tendency to support leaders who promise to meet immediate and basic needs over those who promise long-term freedom and civilization. While Ralph emphasizes the need for focusing on strategies that will result in rescue, Jack knows that the boys crave food and protection more than uncertain promises of a future outcome. Therefore, he promises them that he will feed and protect them. The boys agree to join his tribe, and Ralph is left with no one to support him, except Piggy and Samneric. The fear evoked by the threat of a beast compels the boys to ally themselves with Jack. As leader, Jack ensures that the boys enjoy every feast he gives them with ritualistic dances, and this practice comforts and entertains them. It also reinforces Jack’s power over them. People love those who can shield them from the world’s dangers. In politics, authoritarian leaders cultivate and then leverage fear in their followers to gain power. Like Jack, controlling leaders also use slogans, ritual, tradition, or even religion to solidify their followers’ loyalty.

The storm’s magnitude mirrors the intensity of the boys’ behavior. As they grow more intense and violent, so does the storm. When the boys perform their dance ritual, their blood boils with a desire to kill. By the time Simon appears in their midst, the boys have lost all their senses and any trace of humanity. They operate on brute force and possess no rationality. Only after Simon dies and the storm settles do the boys regain enough of themselves to realize they committed murder. When the storm of bloodlust conquers the boys’ hearts, nothing stops them from killing one of their own.

Throughout the book, Simon acts as a Christ-like figure, especially in this chapter. Just as Simon shares a truth that will help the boys, they misunderstand him, and even those who had once cared for him participate in killing him. Simon’s murder resembles that of Jesus Christ, who also sought to bring salvation to humanity but wound up crucified by the very people he wanted to help. However, although Christ succeeding in bringing the world salvation after his death, Simon dies in vain. In fact, Simon's death exacerbates the boys’ brutality.

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