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The Lord of the Flies

A dead pig's head on a stick.

The Lord of the Flies appears in Chapter Eight. Jack and his hunters kill a sow and decide to leave an offering for the beast. They cut off the pig’s head, and Jack asks Roger to ‘sharpen a stick at both ends’. As Jack places the head on a stick he says: ‘This head is for the beast. It’s a gift’.

Simon has secretly watched this, and is haunted by the image. He believes the head is speaking to him silently, and tries not to look at it, as if willing it to disappear. Flies buzz around the head and the narrator names it the ‘Lord of the Flies’. The scene becomes even more terrifying as the Lord of the Flies appears to speak out loud. He tells Simon that he is the Beast and that he’s a ‘part’ of him.

The Lord of the Flies speaks in the ‘voice of a schoolmaster’ and represents an authority figure to Simon. This incident is all the more chilling since the boys are desperate for someone, like a teacher, to help them survive.  As he continues to speak, and as Simon begins to have a seizure, the head appears to expands ‘like a balloon’. The pig’s head threatens Simon and insists they are going to ‘have fun on this island’ and Simon is ‘not wanted’. At the end of the chapter, Simon is metaphorically swallowed by the head.

Golding’s original title for this novel was Strangers from Within. After it was accepted by Faber & Faber, the book was named Lord of the Flies.