Sunday, March 13, 2016

William Golding — Lord of the Flies, Mar 11, 2016


Original Sept 1954 Edition cover

The Lord of the Flies (LOTF), published in 1954, achieved such popularity for the author that it became a standard book prescribed for the GCSE in UK, and one of the KRG readers had done it for the Senior Cambridge. Another reader of an earlier vintage had to read a vastly superior novel, Treasure Island, for the same exam.

The author himself thought of LOTF as a minor work of his, and while thankful for the freedom it gave him, was not entirely welcoming of the notoriety. He was awarded the Man Booker prize in 1980 for the novel Rites of Passage, the first of a trilogy of novels of the sea. And wonderful to say, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983.

Joe, Ammu, Shoba, Sunil

Certain things are worth noting about this novel. The fruits the children eat are never given their names. Palm leaves are called 'feathers,' not in a metaphoric way; this is an unknown usage, not recorded in the OED, which points to the author's unfamiliarity with tropical foliage. The spectacles of Piggy, the boy suffering from myopia, are used to make a fire by focusing the sun's rays – which is actually impossible with the concave lenses used to correct for myopia.



The degeneration of the children's behaviour is meant to suggest that evil overtakes good when a system to preserve order ceases to exist. On the evidence of this novel the impulses toward sharing responsibility, purposeful action, orderly voicing of opinion and so on are drowned by the thirst for bloody adventure, killing, painting faces, ululation of battle cries, and such other blood sport.

Piggy with specs cracked

The suggestion that the introduction of girls into the mix would have mitigated the violence in the children's society was immediately rejected by a woman reader who feared that it would only result in rape being added to the crimes of bullying and murder.

The littluns

At the end the readers posed for a closing shot here below –

Joe, Sunil, Thommo, Ammu, Preeti, KumKum, Shoba, Kavita


Click below to read more ... 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Reading on Mar 11, 2016 


Present: Kavita, Priya, KumKum, Thommo, Joe, Preeti, Shoba, Sunil, Pamela
Guests: Mrs Mary Joseph (Ammu)
Absent: Ankush (on patrol?), Zakia (chicken pox of son, Wasim), Saras (cataract operation of mil), Talitha (away to Mumbai to visit son, Rohan), Gopa (away to B'luru to visit husband, Michael)


Next is an all-Shakespeare Poetry sitting, on Fri, Apr 22, the day before the Bard's 400th Death Anniversary.
Reading of the novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan will take palce Mon, May 23.

William Golding (1911-1993) won the Booker Prize in 1980 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983




Kavita – Introduction
William Golding was born in 1911 in Cornwall, UK, and educated in Marlborough grammar school where his father was a science master. Golding went to Oxford and studied natural sciences for two years before taking up English Litt. When he graduated he published a book of poems in 1934. He was briefly a schoolmaster before joining the Navy in 1940. He saw plenty of naval action and returned after the war to take up school-teaching again in Salisbury from 1945-62.

While he was there he wrote the Lord of the Flies. It was initially rejected by Faber and Faber, but later accepted by the intervention of a new junior editor and published in Sept 1954 with a few changes. His first novel made him a success and he was able to resign from school-teaching in 1961, visiting USA as a faculty member at a college. He continued publishing novels such as The Inheritors (1955), Pincher Martin (1956), Free Fall (1959), and The Spire (1964). In 1980 he published the first of a trilogy of novels consisting of Rites of Passage (1980), Close Quarters (1987), and Fire Down Below (1989). Rites of Passage won him the Man Booker prize in 1980.

In 1983 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the award was "an unexpected and even contentious choice", according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. See

Golding died of a heart attack in Sept 1993 after settling in Truro, Cornwall. It is good to learn from a review that Golding thought of the book, LOTF, which relieved him of financial worries for the rest of his life as a minor work. Many readers would agree:

A biography of Golding by John Carey is reviewed at

For those interested in teaching this book in class there is a set of references at

For an even-handed assessment of Golding's oeuvre the reader may consult the longish essay

Priya said if it were not for two boys in the novel (she means Ralph and Piggy, I suppose) the whole lot of them would have gone berserk. When one of the readers observed the absence of girls in the novel, KumKum thought it just as well, for she claimed they would have been raped. Thommo said the only female voice in the book is Piggy's aunt. It is a dark book, everyone agreed, but nothing much happens for the first hundred pages. They play-act imitating the wild boars they hunt and end up killing one of their number. Disorder is not expected of proper British children, as the naval officer implies who rescues them at the end of the novel. Thommo said that Jallianwalla Bagh massacre was not so much condemned by the British authorities for its barbarism, as for having demonstrated how contrary to British tradition the commanding officer, Dyer, acted!

Themes  Click on image to enlarge

Kavita read about the smaller boys known as 'littluns' who mostly lived their own life, punctuated by eating fruits and having bouts of diarrhoea, (being 'caught short' as the British euphemism puts it for needing to go fast to the toilet for the big job).


Pamela
The passage has a stand-off between Ralph and Jack. Ralph, the nominal chief tries to maintain order and preserve a permanent film of smoke over the island in order to be seen and rescued by a passing ship. Jack challenges his authority and considers it more essential that they hunt and kill pigs for meat in their diet. This contest of wills and the competition for followers in each group brings on the acts of beastliness and inhumanity that overtake the island's boys and leads to escalating violence and murder.


KumKum
The littluns are having nightmares and begin to imagine twisty things fighting and big horrid shapes moving about in the woods. Ralph tries to calm them and reprimands Simon for going missing; he was 'taken short' and needed to go into the woods. There are two groups; one is a choir group who've landed wearing black – which said Thommo can only mean it's Passion Week, close to Easter. Then there's the frightening aspect of a pilot who bailed out dangling amid the trees from a parachute. Sunil said Jack has the makings of a thuggish dictator.

Thommo referred to another film in which a group of fellows is stranded on an island and one of them is about to eat a fruit and it is knocked out of his hand by a black actor who knows the fruit is poisonous. A bird may eat it for they have immunity, but not humans.


Priya
The anxiety over ghosts and unknown beings on the island continues to trouble the boys. 'Supposing things are watching us and waiting' is the expression of their core anxiety. Piggy tells Ralph “If Jack was chief he’d have all hunting and no fire. We’d be here till we died.” Simon tells Ralph he's got to go on being chief else they have no hope of being rescued and besides Jack would hurt the children close to Ralph.

And then there's the sad hopeless crying for aunties and parents to be there. In one of their wailings a chap gives out his entire postal address as if by giving it he would be protected. It's like a soldier being asked for his name, rank and serial number, and rattling off his entire Aadhar card, said Thommo! Priya said they are still innocent children, but children can be vicious to each other.


Thommo
Piggy and Ralph are trying to usher democracy via the use of the conch. People are not prepared to listen to Ralph past a certain point. Anarchy reigns, and Jack tries to muscle in. Joe suggested that leaders getting started need goondas to enforce their commands, even those who want to bring about democracy. The kids are also pining for the order that elders can impose on life.
There was a comparison to Donald Trump at this point, the Republican contender for Presidential nomination in USA, who is popular with the disenfranchised voters in the primaries, but unpopular with the party high-command who want to control him and can't. He is not from the Establishment.


Joe
The passage dealt with one of the wilfully violent scenes at the end. As Jack's gang of hunter children hold their castle of rock, fortified with boulders that can be rolled downhill against any invaders, Piggy and Ralph show up to reason with them about keeping a fire going so they can be rescued. Piggy is Ralph's faithful chela, he cries out: “Which is better—to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is?” He is met with rocks. Ultimately a bigger one levered off the face of the cliff and rolled downhill gets Piggy between the chin and knee; he gets thrown sideways and comes careening downhill until his head lands on a rock and his skull splits open. All this is done to great shrieking among Jack's hunter-killer children.
The tally of killed is three children by the end of the story, and one goes missing in the forest fire.


Shoba
This is the ending of the novel when an officer from a naval ship, a cruiser, we are told helpfully, arrives on the island, having seen the smoke, and rescues them. The officer is taken aback that the children didn't lead the proper disciplined lives of British children with an official monitor giving commands and so on. That's the craziness of adults showing, as though order and discipline is the natural state of humans – it isn't among nations of adults and their leaders, so why expect children to suddenly discover ahimsa? And what's the cruiser off to do – fight a proper British war somewhere and cause mayhem.
Piggy is acknowledged as the 'true, wise friend,' by Ralph.
At this point KumKum mentioned inter alia being scolded into submission by authorities in the past. Thommo laughed and asked Joe if he was on to this? Joe replied, yes, but submission only at the hands of high officials!


Sunil
Ralph and Piggy are trying to come to terms with the killing of Simon in that gathering by the fire with Jack's people, the hunters. They feel remorse. They want to imagine that it was an accident, and they had both gone away before the actual killing took place.
Simon plays an enigmatic role. He's the guy who goes and hides in the tangled mass of creepers and sees the pig being killed and later observes the head of the pig impaled on a stick with flies buzzing all around it ('The Lord of the Flies'). Simon divines from that pig's head, that the beast of the island is Beelzebub (the Biblical name for the devil, the prince of the fallen angels, meaning Lord of the Flies). Moreover, the beast is in all of them. He fails to convince the others and is killed, and for Ralph it is the end of his power.


Preeti
This is the dramatic passage where Jack's people fall upon Simon who is trying to tell them about his discovery of the body of a pilot hanging from a parachute up in the hills, and his epiphany that the beast they were anxious about is in all of them; it is nothing the devilish instinct of evil and destruction. But he gets no hearing and is drowned out by the chorus of voices crying out repeatedly:
Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”
Jack's boys work themselves up into a frenzy as they chant this cry and leapt “on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore.” It's a classic scene of mob violence; what each would shudder to do alone, none holds back from taking part once the anonymity of the mob is assured. Preeti chose this passage well to illustrate how the novel sheds light on evil.
Sunil drew an analogy between this and the ragging, the ritual humiliation of university students by physical and verbal bullying in colleges. He mentioned a student being thrown off a train in the process. Kavita from her knowledge told of an engineering college in Manipal where gangs of Punjabis, Biharis, and Malayalis were involved in fighting with knives.



Readings


Kavita p. 62
The smaller boys were known now by the generic title of “littluns.” The decrease in size, from Ralph down, was gradual; and though there was a dubious region inhabited by Simon and Robert and Maurice, nevertheless no one had any difficulty in recognizing biguns at one end and littluns at the other. The undoubted 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 and not particular about ripeness and quality. They were used now to stomach-aches and a sort of chronic diarrhoea. 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; and partly because they enjoyed the entertainment of the assemblies. But otherwise they seldom bothered with the biguns and their passionately emotional and corporate life was their own.


Pamela p. 202
He held out his spear and pointed at the savages. “Your only hope is keeping a signal fire going as long as there’s light to see. Then maybe a ship’ll notice the smoke and come and rescue us and take us home. But without that smoke we’ve got to wait till some ship comes by accident. We might wait years; till we were old—”
The shivering, silvery, unreal laughter of the savages sprayed out and echoed away. A gust of rage shook Ralph. His voice cracked.
Don’t you understand, you painted fools? Sam, Eric, Piggy and me— we aren’t enough. We tried to keep the fire going, but we couldn’t. And then you, playing at hunting. . . .”
He pointed past them to where the trickle of smoke dispersed in the pearly air.
Look at that! Call that a signal fire? That’s a cooking fire. Now you’ll eat and there’ll be no smoke. Don’t you understand? There may be a ship out there—”
He paused, defeated by the silence and the painted anonymity of the group guarding the entry. Jack opened a pink mouth and addressed Samneric, who were between him and his tribe.
You two. Get back.” No one answered him. The twins, puzzled, looked at each other; while Piggy, reassured by the cessation of violence, stood up carefully. Jack glanced back at Ralph and then at the twins.
Grab them!” No one moved. Jack shouted angrily.
I said ‘grab them’!” The painted group moved round Samneric nervously and unhandily. Once more the silvery laughter scattered.
Samneric protested out of the heart of civilization.
Oh, I say!” “—honestly!”
Their spears were taken from them.
Tie them up!”
Ralph cried out hopelessly against the black and green mask.
Jack!”
Go on. Tie them.”
Now the painted group felt the otherness of Samneric, felt the power in their own hands. They felled the twins clumsily and excitedly. Jack was inspired. He knew that Ralph would attempt a rescue. He struck in a humming circle behind him and Ralph only just parried the blow. Beyond them the tribe and the twins were a loud and writhing heap. Piggy crouched again. Then the twins lay, astonished, and the tribe stood round them. Jack turned to Ralph and spoke between his teeth.
See? They do what I want.”
There was silence again. The twins lay, inexpertly tied up, and the tribe watched Ralph to see what he would do. He numbered them through his fringe, glimpsed the ineffectual smoke.
His temper broke. He screamed at Jack.
You’re a beast and a swine and a bloody, bloody thief!”
He charged.
Jack, knowing this was the crisis, charged too. They met with a jolt and bounced apart. Jack swung with his fist at Ralph and caught him on the ear. Ralph hit Jack in the stomach and made him grunt. Then they were facing each other again, panting and furious, but unnerved by each other’s ferocity. They became aware of the noise that was the background to this fight, the steady shrill cheering of the tribe behind them.
Piggy’s voice penetrated to Ralph.
Let me speak.”
He was standing in the dust of the fight, and as the tribe saw his intention the shrill cheer changed to a steady booing.
Piggy held up the conch and the booing sagged a little, then came up again to strength.
I got the conch!”
He shouted. “I tell you, I got the conch!”
Surprisingly, there was silence now; the tribe were curious to hear what amusing thing he might have to say.
Silence and pause; but in the silence a curious air-noise, close by Ralph’s head. He gave it half his attention—and there it was again; a faint “Zup!” Someone was throwing stones: Roger was dropping them, his one hand still on the lever. Below him, Ralph was a shock of hair and Piggy a bag of fat.
I got this to say. You’re acting like a crowd of kids.” The booing rose and died again as Piggy lifted the white, magic shell.
Which is better—to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is?”
A great clamor rose among the savages. Piggy shouted again.
Which is better—to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?”
Again the clamor and again—“Zup!” Ralph shouted against the noise.
Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?”
Now Jack was yelling too and Ralph could no longer make himself heard. Jack had backed right against the tribe and they were a solid mass of menace that bristled with spears.


KumKum p.84 (450 words)
So let’s hear from that littlun who talked about a beast and perhaps we can show him how silly he is.”
The littluns began to jabber among themselves, then one stood forward.
What’s your name?”
Phil.”
For a littlun he was self-confident, holding out his hands, cradling the conch as Ralph did, looking round at them to collect their attention before he spoke.
Last night I had a dream, a horrid dream, fighting with things. I was outside the shelter by myself, fighting with things, those twisty things in the trees.”
He paused, and the other littluns laughed in horrified sympathy.
Then I was frightened and I woke up. And I was outside the shelter by myself in the dark and the twisty things had gone away.”
The vivid horror of this, so possible and so nakedly terrifying, held them all silent. The child’s voice went piping on from behind the white conch.
And I was frightened and started to call out for Ralph and then I saw something moving among the trees, something big and horrid.”
He paused, half-frightened by the recollection yet proud of the sensation he was creating.
That was a nightmare,” said Ralph. “He was walking in his sleep.”
The assembly murmured in subdued agreement.
The littlun shook his head stubbornly.
I was asleep when the twisty things were fighting and when they went away I was awake, and I saw something big and horrid moving in the trees.”
Ralph held out his hands for the conch and the littlun sat down.
You were asleep. There wasn’t anyone there. How could anyone be wandering about in the forest at night? Was anyone? Did anyone go out?”
There was a long pause while the assembly grinned at the thought of anyone going out in the darkness. Then Simon stood up and Ralph looked at him in astonishment.
You! What were you mucking about in the dark for?”
Simon grabbed the conch convulsively.
I wanted—to go to a place—a place I know.”
What place?”
Just a place I know. A place in the jungle.” He hesitated.
Jack settled the question for them with that contempt in his voice that could sound so funny and so final.
He was taken short.”
With a feeling of humiliation on Simon’s behalf, Ralph took back the conch, looking Simon sternly in the face as he did so.
Well, don’t do it again. Understand? Not at night. There’s enough silly talk about beasts, without the littluns seeing you gliding about like a—”
The derisive laughter that rose had fear in it and condemnation. Simon opened his mouth to speak but Ralph had the conch, so he backed to his seat.


Priya
The trouble is: Are there ghosts, Piggy? Or beasts?”
Course there aren’t.”
Why not?”
“’Cos things wouldn’t make sense. Houses an’ streets, an’—TV—they wouldn’t work.”
The dancing, chanting boys had worked themselves away till their sound was nothing but a wordless rhythm.
But s’pose they don’t make sense? Not here, on this island? Supposing things are watching us and waiting?”
Ralph shuddered violently and moved closer to Piggy, so that they bumped frighteningly.
You stop talking like that! We got enough trouble, Ralph, an’ I’ve had as much as I can stand. If there is ghosts—”
I ought to give up being chief. Hear ’em.”
Oh lord! Oh no!”
Piggy gripped Ralph’s arm.
If Jack was chief he’d have all hunting and no fire. We’d be here till we died.”
His voice ran up to a squeak.
Who’s that sitting there?”
Me. Simon.”
Fat lot of good we are,” said Ralph. “Three blind mice. I’ll give up.” “If you give up,” said Piggy, in an appalled whisper, “what ’ud happen to me?”
Nothing.”
He hates me. I dunno why. If he could do what he wanted—you’re all right, he respects you. Besides—you’d hit him.”
You were having a nice fight with him just now.”
I had the conch,” said Piggy simply. “I had a right to speak.”
Simon stirred in the dark.
Go on being chief.“
You shut up, young Simon! Why couldn’t you say there wasn’t a beast?‘
I’m scared of him,” said Piggy, “and that’s why I know him. If you’re scared of someone you hate him but you can’t stop thinking about him. You kid yourself he’s all right really, an’ then when you see him again; it’s like asthma an’ you can’t breathe. I tell you what. He hates you too, Ralph—”
Me? Why me?”
I dunno. You got him over the fire; an’ you’re chief an’ he isn’t.”
But he’s, he’s, Jack Merridew!”
I been in bed so much I done some thinking. I know about people. I know about me. And him. He can’t hurt you: but if you stand out of the way he’d hurt the next thing. And that’s me.”
Piggy’s right, Ralph. There’s you and Jack. Go on being chief.”
We’re all drifting and things are going rotten. At home there was always a grown-up. Please, sir, please, miss; and then you got an answer. How I wish!”
I wish my auntie was here.”
I wish my father. . . Oh, what’s the use?‘
Keep the fire going.” The dance was over and the hunters were going back to the shelters.
Grown-ups know things,” said Piggy. “They ain’t afraid of the dark. They’d meet and have tea and discuss. Then things ’ud be all right—”
They wouldn’t set fire to the island. Or lose—”
They’d build a ship—”
The three boys stood in the darkness, striving unsuccessfully to convey the majesty of adult life.
They wouldn’t quarrel—”
Or break my specs—”
Or talk about a beast—”
If only they could get a message to us,” cried Ralph desperately. “If only they could send us something grown-up.. . . a sign or something.”
A thin wail out of the darkness chilled them and set them grabbing for each other. Then the wail rose, remote and unearthly, and turned to an inarticulate gibbering. Percival Wemys Madison, of the Vicarage, Harcourt St. Anthony, lying in the long grass, was living through circumstances in which the incantation of his address was powerless to help him.


Thommo
Daring, indignant, Piggy took the conch.
That’s what I said! I said about our meetings and things and then you said shut up–”
His voice lifted into the whine of virtuous recrimination. They stirred and began to shout him down.
You said you wanted a small fire and you been and built a pile like a hayrick. If I say anything,” cried Piggy, with bitter realism, “you say shut up; but if Jack or Maurice or Simon–”
He paused in the tumult, standing, looking beyond them and down the unfriendly side of the mountain to the great patch where they had found dead wood. Then he laughed so strangely that they were hushed, looking at the flash of his spectacles in astonishment. They followed his gaze to find the sour joke.
You got your small fire all right.”
Smoke was rising here and there among the creepers that festooned the dead or dying trees. As they watched, a flash of fire appeared at the root of one wisp, and then the smoke thickened. Small flames stirred at the trunk of a tree and crawled away through leaves and brushwood, dividing and increasing. One patch touched a tree trunk and scrambled up like a bright squirrel. The smoke increased, sifted, rolled outwards. The squirrel leapt on the wings of the wind and clung to another standing tree, eating downwards. Beneath the dark canopy of leaves and smoke the fire laid hold on the forest and began to gnaw. Acres of black and yellow smoke rolled steadily toward the sea. At the sight of the flames and the irresistible course of the fire, the boys broke into shrill, excited cheering. The flames, as though they were a kind of wild life, crept as a jaguar creeps on its belly toward a line of birch-like saplings that fledged an outcrop of the pink rock. They flapped at the first of the trees, and the branches grew a brief foliage of fire. The heart of flame leapt nimbly across the gap between the trees and then went swinging and flaring along the whole row of them. Beneath the capering boys a quarter of a mile square of forest was savage with smoke and flame. The separate noises of the fire merged into a drum-roll that seemed to shake the mountain.
You got your small fire all right.”
Startled, Ralph realized that the boys were falling still and silent, feeling the beginnings of awe at the power set free below them. The knowledge and the awe made him savage.
Oh, shut up!”
I got the conch,” said Piggy, in a hurt voice. “I got a right to speak.”
They looked at him with eyes that lacked interest in what they saw, and cocked ears at the drum-roll of the fire. Piggy glanced nervously into hell and cradled the conch.
We got to let that burn out now. And that was our firewood.”
He licked his lips.
There ain’t nothing we can do. We ought to be more careful. I’m scared–”
Jack dragged his eyes away from the fire.
You’re always scared. Yah–Fatty!”
I got the conch,” said Piggy bleakly. He turned to Ralph. “I got the conch, ain’t I Ralph?”
Unwillingly Ralph turned away from the splendid, awful sight.
What’s that?”
The conch. I got a right to speak.”
The twins giggled together.
We wanted smoke–”
Now look–!”
A pall stretched for miles away from the island. All the boys except Piggy started to giggle; presently they were shrieking with laughter.
Piggy lost his temper.
I got the conch! Just you listen! The first thing we ought to have made was shelters down there by the beach. It wasn’t half cold down there in the night. But the first time Ralph says ’fire’ you goes howling and screaming up this here mountain. Like a pack of kids!”
By now they were listening to the tirade.
How can you expect to be rescued if you don’t put first things first and act proper?”
He took off his glasses and made as if to put down the conch; but the sudden motion toward it of most of the older boys changed his mind. He tucked the shell under his arm, and crouched back on a rock.
Then when you get here you build a bonfire that isn’t no use. Now you been and set the whole island on fire. Won’t we look funny if the whole island burns up? Cooked fruit, that’s what we’ll have to eat, and roast pork. And that’s nothing to laugh at! You said Ralph was chief and you don’t give him time to think. Then when he says something you rush off, like, like–”
He paused for breath, and the fire growled at them.
And that’s not all. Them kids. The little ’uns. Who took any notice of ’em? Who knows how many we got?”
Ralph took a sudden step forward.
I told you to. I told you to get a list of names!”
How could I,” cried Piggy indignantly, “all by myself? They waited for two minutes, then they fell in the sea; they went into the forest; they just scattered everywhere. How was I to know which was which?”
Ralph licked pale lips.
Then you don’t know how many of us there ought to be?”
How could I with them little ’uns running round like insects? Then when you three came back, as soon as you said make a fire, they all ran away, and I never had a chance–”
That’s enough!” said Ralph sharply, and snatched back the conch. “If you didn’t you didn’t.”
“–then you come up here an’ pinch my specs–”
Jack turned on him.
You shut up!” “–and them little ’uns was wandering about down there where the fire is. How d’you know they aren’t still there?”
Piggy stood up and pointed to the smoke and flames. A murmur rose among the boys and died away. Something strange was happening to Piggy, for he was gasping for breath.
That little ’un–” gasped Piggy– “him with the mark on his face, I don’t see him. Where is he now?”
The crowd was as silent as death.
Him that talked about the snakes. He was down there–”
A tree exploded in the fire like a bomb. Tall swathes of creepers rose for a moment into view, agonized, and went down again. The little boys screamed at them.


Joe (526 words) p.179 bottom Ch 11 Piggy is slain
Piggy’s voice penetrated to Ralph.
Let me speak.”
He was standing in the dust of the fight, and as the tribe saw his intention the shrill cheer changed to a steady booing.
Piggy held up the conch and the booing sagged a little, then came up again to strength.
I got the conch!”
He shouted.
I tell you, I got the conch!”
Surprisingly, there was silence now; the tribe were curious to hear what amusing thing he might have to say.
Silence and pause; but in the silence a curious air-noise, close by Ralph’s head. He gave it half his attention—and there it was again; a faint “Zup!” Someone was throwing stones: Roger was dropping them, his one hand still on the lever. Below him, Ralph was a shock of hair and Piggy a bag of fat.
I got this to say. You’re acting like a crowd of kids.” The booing rose and died again as Piggy lifted the white, magic shell.
Which is better—to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is?”
A great clamor rose among the savages. Piggy shouted again.
Which is better—to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?”
Again the clamor and again—“Zup!” Ralph shouted against the noise.
Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?”
Now Jack was yelling too and Ralph could no longer make himself heard. Jack had backed right against the tribe and they were a solid mass of menace that bristled with spears. The intention of a charge was forming among them; they were working up to it and the neck would be swept clear. Ralph stood facing them, a little to one side, his spear ready. By him stood Piggy still holding out the talisman, the fragile, shining beauty of the shell. The storm of sound beat at them, an incantation of hatred. High overhead, Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever.
Ralph heard the great rock before he saw it. He was aware of a jolt in the earth that came to him through the soles of his feet, and the breaking sound of stones at the top of the cliff. Then the monstrous red thing bounded across the neck and he flung himself flat while the tribe shrieked.
The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist. Piggy, saying nothing, with no time for even a grunt, traveled through the air sideways from the rock, turning over as he went. The rock bounded twice and was lost in the forest. Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across the square red rock in the sea. His head opened and stuff came out and turned red. Piggy’s arms and legs twitched a bit, like a pig’s after it has been killed. Then the sea breathed again in a long, slow sigh, the water boiled white and pink over the rock; and when it went, sucking back again, the body of Piggy was gone.


Shoba
Squirming a little, conscious of his filthy appearance, Ralph answered shyly.
Hullo.”
The officer nodded, as if a question had been answered. “
Are there any adults—any grown-ups with you?”
Dumbly, Ralph shook his head. He turned a halfpace on the sand. A semicircle of little boys, their bodies streaked with colored clay, sharp sticks in their hands, were standing on the beach making no noise at all.
Fun and games,” said the officer.
The fire reached the coconut palms by the beach and swallowed them noisily. A flame, seemingly detached, swung like an acrobat and licked up the palm heads on the platform. The sky was black.
The officer grinned cheerfully at Ralph.
We saw your smoke. What have you been doing? Having a war or something?”
Ralph nodded.
The officer inspected the little scarecrow in front of him. The kid needed a bath, a haircut, a nose-wipe and a good deal of ointment.
Nobody killed, I hope? Any dead bodies?”
Only two. And they’ve gone.”
The officer leaned down and looked closely at Ralph.
Two? Killed?”
Ralph nodded again. Behind him, the whole island was shuddering with flame. The officer knew, as a rule, when people were telling the truth. He whistled softly.
Other boys were appearing now, tiny tots some of them, brown, with the distended bellies of small savages. One of them came close to the officer and looked up.
I’m, I’m—” But there was no more to come. Percival Wemys Madison sought in his head for an incantation that had faded clean away.
The officer turned back to Ralph.
We’ll take you off. How many of you are there?”
Ralph shook his head. The officer looked past him to the group of painted boys.
Who’s boss here?”
I am,” said Ralph loudly. A little boy who wore the remains of an extraordinary black cap on his red hair and who carried the remains of a pair of spectacles at his waist, started forward, then changed his mind and stood still.
We saw your smoke. And you don’t know how many of you there are?”
No, sir.”
I should have thought,” said the officer as he visualized the search before him, “I should have thought that a pack of British boys—you’re all British, aren’t you?—would have been able to put up a better show than that—I mean—”
It was like that at first,” said Ralph, “before things—”
He stopped. “We were together then—”
The officer nodded helpfully.
I know. Jolly good show. Like the Coral Island.”
Ralph looked at him dumbly. For a moment he had a fleeting picture of the strange glamour that had once invested the beaches. But the island was scorched up like dead wood—Simon was dead—and Jack had. . . . The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.
The officer, surrounded by these noises, was moved and a little embarrassed. He turned away to give them time to pull themselves together; and waited, allowing his eyes to rest on the trim cruiser in the distance.


Sunil Beginning of Ch 10
Piggy eyed the advancing figure carefully. Nowadays he sometimes found that he saw more clearly if he removed his glasses and shifted the one lens to the other eye; but even through the good eye, after what had happened, Ralph remained unmistakably Ralph. He came now out of the coconut trees, limping, dirty, with dead leaves hanging from his shock of yellow hair. One eye was a slit in his puffy cheek and a great scab had formed on his right knee. He paused for a moment and peered at the figure on the platform.
Piggy? Are you the only one left?”
There’s some littluns.” “They don’t count. No biguns?”
Oh—Samneric. They’re collecting wood.”
Nobody else?” “Not that I know of.”
Ralph climbed on to the platform carefully. The coarse grass was still worn away where the assembly used to sit; the fragile white conch still gleamed by the polished seat. Ralph sat down in the grass facing the chief’s seat and the conch. Piggy knelt at his left, and for a long minute there was silence.
At last Ralph cleared his throat and whispered something.
Piggy whispered back. “What you say?”
Ralph spoke up.
Simon.”
Piggy said nothing but nodded, solemnly. They continued to sit, gazing with impaired sight at the chief’s seat and the glittering lagoon. The green light and the glossy patches of sunshine played over their befouled bodies.
At length Ralph got up and went to the conch. He took the shell caressingly with both hands and knelt, leaning against the trunk.
Piggy.”
Uh?”
What we going to do?”
Piggy nodded at the conch. “You could—”
Call an assembly?”
Ralph laughed sharply as he said the word and Piggy frowned.
You’re still chief.”
Ralph laughed again.
You are. Over us.”
I got the conch.”
Ralph! Stop laughing like that. Look, there ain’t no need, Ralph! What’s the others going to think?”
At last Ralph stopped. He was shivering.
Piggy.”
Uh?”
That was Simon.”
You said that before.”
Piggy.”
Uh?”
That was murder.”
You stop it!” said Piggy, shrilly. “What good’re you doing talking like that?”
He jumped to his feet and stood over Ralph.
It was dark. There was that—that bloody dance. There was lightning and thunder and rain. We was scared!”
I wasn’t scared,” said Ralph slowly, “I was—I don’t know what I was.”
We was scared!” said Piggy excitedly. “Anything might have happened. It wasn’t—what you said.”
He was gesticulating, searching for a formula.
Oh, Piggy!” Ralph’s voice, low and stricken, stopped Piggy’s gestures. He bent down and waited. Ralph, cradling the conch, rocked himself to and fro.
Don’t you understand, Piggy? The things we did—”
He may still be—”
No.”
P’raps he was only pretending—”
Piggy’s voice trailed off at the sight of Ralph’s face.
You were outside. Outside the circle. You never really came in. Didn’t you see what we—what they did?”
There was loathing, and at the same time a kind of feverish excitement, in his voice. “Didn’t you see, Piggy?”
Not all that well. I only got one eye now. You ought to know that, Ralph.”
Ralph continued to rock to and fro.
It was an accident,” said Piggy suddenly, “that’s what it was. An accident.” His voice shrilled again. “Coming in the dark—he hadn’t no business crawling like that out of the dark. He was batty. He asked for it.” He gesticulated widely again. “It was an accident.”
You didn’t see what they did—”
Look, Ralph. We got to forget this. We can’t do no good thinking about it, see?”
I’m frightened. Of us. I want to go home. Oh God, I want to go home.”
It was an accident,” said Piggy stubbornly, “and that’s that.”
He touched Ralph’s bare shoulder and Ralph shuddered at the human contact.
And look, Ralph”—Piggy glanced round quickly, then leaned close— “don’t let on we was in that dance. Not to Samneric.”
But we were! All of us!”
Piggy shook his head. “Not us till last. They never noticed in the dark. Anyway you said I was only on the outside.”
So was I,” muttered Ralph, “I was on the outside too.” Piggy nodded eagerly. “That’s right. We was on the outside. We never done nothing, we never seen nothing.”
Piggy paused, then went on.
We’ll live on our own, the four of us—”
Four of us. We aren’t enough to keep the fire burning.”
We’ll try. See? I lit it.”
Samneric came dragging a great log out of the forest. They dumped it by the fire and turned to the pool. Ralph jumped to his feet.
Hi! You two!” The twins checked a moment, then walked on.
They’re going to bathe, Ralph.”
Better get it over.”
The twins were very surprised to see Ralph. They flushed and looked past him into the air.
Hullo. Fancy meeting you, Ralph.” “We just been in the forest—”
“—to get wood for the fire—”
“—we got lost last night.”
Ralph examined his toes.
You got lost after the. . . ”
Piggy cleaned his lens.
After the feast,” said Sam in a stifled voice. Eric nodded. “Yes, after the feast.”
We left early,” said Piggy quickly, “because we were tired.”
So did we—”
“—very early—”
“—we were very tired.”
Sam touched a scratch on his forehead and then hurriedly took his hand away. Eric fingered his split lip.
Yes. We were very tired,” repeated Sam, “so we left early. Was it a good—”
The air was heavy with unspoken knowledge. Sam twisted and the obscene word shot out of him. “—dance?”
Memory of the dance that none of them had attended shook all four boys convulsively. “We left early.”


Preeti
He ran stumbling through the thick sand to the open space of rock beyond the fire. Between the flashes of lightning the air was dark and terrible; and the boys followed him, clamorously. Roger became the pig, grunting and charging at Jack, who side-stepped. The hunters took their spears, the cooks took spits, and the rest clubs of firewood. A circling movement developed and a chant. While Roger mimed the terror of the pig, the littluns ran and jumped on the outside of the circle. Piggy and Ralph, under the threat of the sky, 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 and made it governable.
Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”
The movement became regular while the chant lost its first superficial excitement and began to beat like a steady pulse. Roger ceased to be a pig and became a hunter, so that the center of the ring yawned emptily. Some of the littluns started a ring on their own; and the complementary circles went round and round as though repetition would achieve safety of itself. There was the throb and stamp of a single organism.
The dark sky was shattered by a blue-white scar. An instant later the noise was on them like the blow of a gigantic whip. The chant rose a tone in agony.
Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”
Now out of the terror rose another desire, thick, urgent, blind.
Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”
Again the blue-white scar jagged above them and the sulphurous explosion beat down. The littluns screamed and blundered about, fleeing from the edge of the forest, and one of them broke the ring of biguns in his terror.
Him! Him!” The circle became a horseshoe. A thing was crawling out of the forest. It came darkly, uncertainly. The shrill screaming that rose before the beast was like a pain. The beast stumbled into the horseshoe.
Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”
The blue-white scar was constant, the noise unendurable. Simon was crying out something about a dead man on a hill.
Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Do him in!”
The sticks fell and the mouth of the new circle crunched and screamed. The beast was on its knees in the center, its arms folded over its face. It was crying out against the abominable noise something about a body on the hill. The beast struggled forward, broke the ring and fell over the steep edge of the rock to the sand by the water. At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws. 

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