Chapter 9 "A View to a Death" Notes from Lord of the Flies

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Lord of the Flies Chapter 9 "A View to a Death"

Simon awakens from his slumber after being confronted by the beast within, dubbed The Lord of the Flies. Although Simon's face is encrusted with dried blood from the many times they have stung him, the flies which were buzzing around him have returned to the stinking pig's head on the stake. Continuing up the mountain he alone has the will to actually stop at the sight of the bulging body all the others had feared and fled from--he sees "the beast" for what it really is, not a beast at all but simply a pitiful figure, a "poor broken thing," which, though the pilot's flesh rots, is still held together by a mass of rubber cords and cloth. Staggering now from his ordeal with the Lord of the Flies, he sees in the distance the pig-roasting fire on the beach. Assuming this is where he'll find the rest of the boys, he descends to warn them there is no beast on the mountain.

Topic Tracking: Religion 9
Topic Tracking: Beast 7

Meanwhile, Ralph leaves to go to Jack's pig roast at Piggy's insistence, who wishes to satisfy his own rumbling stomach. It is the sow whose head was cut off and given as a gift for the beast that will be devoured here. Even as Piggy fears and hates Jack he is compelled to go to him once again, bearing the first signs of inconsistency in his behavior as well. Even after Jack's hunters stole fire from them earlier to set the blaze for this feast, even as Jack has bluntly rejected Ralph's society and rules, the two still both agree to go. Upon arriving, there is a massive feast. Ralph and Piggy eat and then, after showing up for a free meal, Ralph attempts to call yet another assembly, for he has brought the sacred conch to the feast. He is laughed at and mocked by all of the boys. Without warning it begins to rain furiously and Ralph reprimands them for not having shelters to protect them from the storm.

However, Jack excitedly begins again the ritual dance enacted earlier, repeating the chant, "'Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!'" Chapter 9, pg. 138. The word "pig" sung in their earlier chant has been replaced with "beast" and it is this creature which Roger now mimics, surrounded by all the other boys who pretend to attack him. Ralph and even Piggy now take part as well. They "found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society. They were glad to touch the brown backs of the fence that hemmed in the terror [of the makeshift beast] and made it governable." Chapter 9, pg. 138. Yet again Ralph and Piggy have forgotten the signal fire, the shelters and all of the things to which they had clung and propelled them on thus far. Like Jack, they begin to forget their civilized roots and are consumed by this strange new power.

Topic Tracking: Government 11
Topic Tracking: Pig 7
Topic Tracking: Intellectual 9

As the pace grows more and more frantic and the thunderstorm above rises in fury, Simon suddenly appears from the forest and breaks through their circle, trying to warn and comfort them not to be afraid, that he has seen the beast and it is just a dead rotting body. Only he seems to remember what matters to them, trying as always to help in the midst of crisis. However, his voice is drowned out by their chanting and, knocked to the ground, Simon is stabbed by their spears, mistaken for the beast, as he was earlier by one of the sleepwalking littluns. The events are described almost as if the boys were animals or beasts themselves: "There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws." Chapter 9, pg. 139

At last they back off and see Simon's dead body in the sand, recognizing who he is. Simultaneously the wind breaks the pilot's body free from the mountaintop, dragging it down through the circle of boys on the beach and out to sea, scattering them in all directions, driven by fear. The wind carried it out over the reef and out to sea. Shortly after, with the rain stopped, the night stars reflect down into the sea, and "The water rose farther and dressed Simon's coarse hair with brightness. The line of his cheek silvered and the turn of his shoulder became sculptured marble." Chapter 9, pg. 140. In all of the confusion, the one boy who knew and truly saw things as they were was killed, as he had been warned would happen by The Lord of the Flies if he dared to try to warn them and not conform to his inner, primitive instincts. Simon had resisted even as all the others were consumed, including Ralph and Piggy who danced and chanted with the others and had joined in killing him.

For the last time, as in past days when he would attempt to convey his wisdom to the assembly, Simon and his words were ignored. His body is swept out to the ocean after the dead pilot's: "[S]urrounded by a fringe of inquisitive bright creatures, itself a silver shape beneath the steadfast constellations, Simon's dead body moved out toward the open sea." Chapter 9, pg. 140.

Topic Tracking: Beast 8
Topic Tracking: Religion 10

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