Chapter 4 "Painted Faces and Long Hair" Notes from Lord of the Flies

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Lord of the Flies Chapter 4 "Painted Faces and Long Hair"

Things continue to change and fragment amongst the boys, especially between the two contrasting personalities of Jack and Ralph. The littluns' nightmares continue to worsen. One day, three littluns, Percival, Johnny and Henry are building sand castles and digging. Nearby in the trees, Roger and Maurice linger, watching them. Roger and Maurice, just relieved from tending to the fire, emerge and kick aside the smaller boys' castles, laughing with pleasure. Maurice wanders away while Roger remains to observe Percival crying. The crying only gets worse when Johnny also, following the older boys' destructive behavior, scatters sand into the air, and Percival leaves, crying, as does Henry. Johnny is left with the castles all to himself after scaring them off. Roger then follows Henry to the beach and proceeds to toss stones at him although "[T]here 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." Chapter 4, pg. 56. Despite the lack of an adult authority, the old ways into which he had been brought up still stayed with him, and with Jack also (Roger is somewhat of Jack's second-in-command). These boundaries of their old lives continue to deteriorate as the boys continue to remain on the island.

Jack appears suddenly, having smeared clay on his face like war paint or a tribal mask and, joined by Samneric and Bill, proceeds to take them all on a pig hunt. With the addition of the mask, Jack transforms from within as well, already completing the move towards his primal impulses. "He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling." Chapter 4, pg. 58.

Topic Tracking: Government 4

At this time, Ralph and Piggy are swimming in the water hole, when Piggy suggests the idea of creating a sundial to keep track of time--like the shelters, Piggy strives to maintain a hold on the old world they came from. Suddenly, Ralph sees a ship out in the water, though it passes the island without pause. The signal fire on the mountain has gone dead, which Ralph realizes after climbing to the mountain's summit.

Jack had called all of his hunters, whose duty it was to tend to the fire, in order to hunt down and kill a pig at last. This time they succeeded, returning shortly thereafter to dangle the gutted carcass from a stake and chant "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood." Jack doesn't seem bothered that the fire was left untended and that the ship had passed by--he sees the slaying of the pig as more important, their minds "crowded with memories...of the knowledge...that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink." Chapter 4, pp. 63-4. Arguing, Piggy supports Ralph in reprimanding Jack for his negligence; in turn Jack smacks Piggy in the face, breaking one of the lenses of his glasses as they tumble to the ground. Simon appears from nowhere to retrieve them for him, acting kindly and selflessly as always.

Topic Tracking: Religion 3
Topic Tracking: Intellectual 3
Topic Tracking: Pig 3

Following this incident, the mountain's fire is lit this time not as a signal, but rather to roast the pig, which the children devour hungrily despite Ralph's lingering anger. The friendship between Ralph and Jack has officially "snapped and fastened elsewhere"--the "elsewhere" referring to Piggy.

Sensing this divide, Jack's resentment for Piggy increases as well, refusing to give him any meat until Simon gives up his own piece for him, much to Jack's frustration. He tosses a huge piece to Simon again to replace the one he had given up declaring, "'Eat! Damn you!'" His language continues to become more frantic: "'I painted my face--I stole up. Now you eat--all of you--and I---'" Chapter 4, pg. 67. As the chapter closes, the hunters retell the story of killing the pig with pleasure, going to the extreme of reenacting it in a strange ritual: Maurice taking on the part of the pig, surrounded by the other hunters who chant again: "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in." Ralph, gazing upon all of this, is greatly worried. Abruptly he announces, "I'm calling an assembly" and proceeds down to the platform to blow the conch with nothing else said. The rift between these two very different leaders becomes more defined than ever at this point. Only trouble and disagreement follow.

Topic Tracking: Government 5
Topic Tracking: Religion 4
Topic Tracking: Pig 4

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