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Lord of the Flies Chapter 4

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by Andrea Smith on 25 March 2013

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Transcript of Lord of the Flies Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Painted Faces and Long Hair Percival The littlun Percival had early crawled into a shelter and stayed there for two days, talking, singing, and crying, till they thought him batty and were faintly amused. Ever since then he had been peaked, red-eyed, and miserable; a littlun who played little and cried often. Littluns Those aged about six, led a quite distinct, and at the same time intense, life of their own. They ate most of the day, picking fruit where they could reach it... They were used now to stomach-aches and a sort of chronic diarrhea. They suffered untold terrors in the dark and huddled together for comfort. Apart from food and sleep, they found time for play, aimless and trivial, in the white sand by the bright water. They cried for their mothers much less often than might have been expected; they were very brown, and filthily dirty. They obeyed the summons of the conch, partly because Ralph blew it, and he was big enough to be a link with the adult world of authority...But otherwise they seldom bothered with the biguns. Key Moments Roger led the way straight through the castles, kicking them over, burying the flowers, scattering the chosen stones. Maurice followed, laughing, and added to the destruction. The three littluns paused in their game and looked up. As it happened, the particular marks in which they were interested had not been touched, so they made no protest. Only Percival began to whimper with an eyeful of sand and Maurice hurried away. In his other life Maurice had received chastisement for filling a younger eye with sand. Now, though there was no parent to let fall a heavy hand, Maurice still felt the unease of wrongdoing. At the back of his mind formed the uncertain outlines of an excuse.

How did Maurice feel after his behavior? Why? Roger The shock of black hair, down his nape and low on his forehead, seemed to suit his gloomy face and made what had seemed at first an unsociable remoteness into something forbidding. Roger stooped, picked up a stone, aimed, and threw it at Henry— threw it to miss. The stone, that token of preposterous time, bounced five yards to Henry’s right and fell in the water. Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. Roger’s arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins. Jack Jack planned his new face. He made one cheek and one eye-socket white, then he rubbed red over the other half of his face and slashed a black bar of charcoal across from right ear to left jaw. He looked in the pool for his reflection, but his breathing troubled the mirror. Beside the pool his sinewy body held up a mask that drew their eyes and appalled them. He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling. He capered toward Bill, and the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness. Piggy wore the remainders of a pair of shorts, his fat body was golden brown, and the glasses still flashed when he looked at anything. He was the only boy on the island whose hair never seemed to grow. The rest were shock-headed, but Piggy’s hair still lay in wisps over his head as though baldness were his natural state and this imperfect covering would soon go, like the velvet on a young stag’s antlers.
What is the symbolism in the fact Piggy's hair doesn't grow?
The fire was dead. They saw that straight away; saw what they had really known down on the beach when the smoke of home had beckoned. The fire was out, smokeless and dead; the watchers were gone. A pile of unused fuel lay ready.

Ralph turned to the sea. The horizon stretched, impersonal once more, barren of all but the faintest trace of smoke. Ralph ran stumbling along the rocks, saved himself on the edge of the pink cliff, and screamed at the ship.

“Come back! Come back!”

He ran backwards and forwards along the cliff, his face always to the sea, and his voice rose insanely.

“Come back! Come back! Ralph Ralph reached inside himself for the worst word he knew.

“They let the bloody fire go out.” Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood! He noticed Ralph’s scarred nakedness, and the sombre silence of all four of them. He sought, charitable in his happiness, to include them in the thing that had happened. His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink. He spread his arms wide.

“You should have seen the blood!” As Ralph begins to berate him for letting the fire go out:
Jack, faced at once with too many awful implications, ducked away from them. He laid a hand on the pig and drew his knife. Ralph brought his arm down, fist clenched, and his voice shook...Jack went very red as he hacked and pulled at the pig. “You could have had everyone when the shelters were finished. But you had to hunt—”

“We needed meat.”

Jack stood up as he said this, the bloodied knife in his hand. The two boys faced each other. There was the brilliant world of hunting, tactics, fierce exhilaration, skill; and there was the world of longing and baffled common sense. Jack transferred the knife to his left hand and smudged blood over his forehead as he pushed down the plastered hair...
Piggy fusses at Jack for letting the fire go out...
This from Piggy, and the wails of agreement from some of the hunters, drove Jack to violence. The bolting look came into his blue eyes. He took a step, and able at last to hit someone, stuck his fist into Piggy’s stomach.
Piggy sat down with a grunt. Jack stood over him. His voice was vicious with humiliation.

“You would, would you? Fatty!”

Ralph made a step forward and Jack smacked Piggy’s head. Piggy’s glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks. "I apologize."
Clearly they were of the opinion that Jack had done the decent thing, had put himself in the right by his generous apology and Ralph, obscurely, in the wrong. They waited for an appropriately decent answer. Yet Ralph’s throat refused to pass one. He resented, as an addition to Jack’s misbehavior, this verbal trick. The fire was dead, the ship was gone. Could they not see? Anger instead of decency passed his throat.

“That was a dirty trick.”

They were silent on the mountain-top while the opaque look appeared in Jack’s eyes and passed away.

Ralph’s final word was an ingracious mutter.

“All right. Light the fire.”

With some positive action before them, a little of the tension died. Ralph said no more, did nothing, stood looking down at the ashes round his feet. Jack was loud and active. He gave orders, sang, whistled, threw remarks at the silent Ralph—remarks that did not need an answer, and therefore could not invite a snub; and still Ralph was silent. No one, not even Jack, would ask him to move and in the end they had to build the fire three yards away and in a place not really as convenient. So Ralph asserted his chieftainship and could not have chosen a better way if he had thought for days. Against this weapon, so indefinable and so effective, Jack was powerless and raged without knowing why. By the time the pile was built, they were on different sides of a high barrier. Ralph’s dribbled. He meant to refuse meat, but his past diet of fruit and nuts, with an odd crab or fish, gave him too little resistance. He accepted a piece of half-raw meat and gnawed it like a wolf. “I got you meat!”

“I painted my face—I stole up. Now you eat—all of you—and I—” Then Maurice pretended to be the pig and ran squealing into the center, and the hunters, circling still, pretended to beat him. As they danced, they sang.

“Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in.” With some positive action before them, a little of the tension died. Ralph said no more, did nothing, stood looking down at the ashes round his feet. Jack was loud and active. He gave orders, sang, whistled, threw remarks at the silent Ralph—remarks that did not need an answer, and
therefore could not invite a snub; and still Ralph was silent. No one, not even Jack, would ask him to move and in the end they had to build the fire three yards away and in a place not really as convenient.

So Ralph asserted his chieftainship and could not have chosen a better way if he had thought for days. Against this weapon, so indefinable and so effective, Jack was powerless and raged without knowing why. By the time the pile was built, they were on different sides of a high barrier.

How has this moment irreversibly changed the dynamic between Ralph and Jack? When they had dealt with the fire another crisis arose. Jack had no means of lighting it. Then to his surprise, Ralph went to Piggy and took the glasses from him. Not even Ralph knew how a link between him and Jack had been snapped and fastened elsewhere.
“I’ll bring ’em back.”
“I’ll come too.”
Piggy stood behind him, islanded in a sea of meaningless color, while Ralph knelt and focused the glossy spot. Instantly the fire was alight, Piggy held out his hands and grabbed the glasses back. Piggy spoke, also dribbling. “Aren’t I having none?”
Jack had meant to leave him in doubt, as an assertion of power; but Piggy by advertising his omission made more cruelty necessary. “You didn’t hunt.”
“No more did Ralph,” said Piggy wetly, “nor Simon.” He amplified. Ralph stirred uneasily. Simon, sitting between the twins and Piggy, wiped his mouth and shoved his piece of meat over the rocks to Piggy, who grabbed it. The twins giggled and Simon lowered his face in shame.
Then Jack leapt to his feet, slashed off a great hunk of meat, and flung it down at Simon’s feet. “Eat! Damn you!”
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