Lord of the Flies: Novel Summary: Chapter 8
Golding’s eighth chapter begins with a meeting on the shore following the previous night of fright and unknown terror. It seems the beast is very close to the fire, which has long since gone out. Ralph suggests that the beast doesn’t want them rescued; indeed he doesn’t.
Soon Jack confronts Ralph in front of the assembly. He tells his hunters the lie that Ralph said they were "no good." Then he calls for another vote for chief. When no one votes for him, he becomes suddenly embarrassed and starts crying. He tells them, "I’m not going to play any longer. Not with you. I’m not going to be a part of Ralph’s lot."
When Jack leaves, three things occur: Ralph thinks that matters are hopeless; Piggy suggests building the fire on the shore; Simon decides to confront the beast.
Piggy is thrilled that Jack, his arch enemy, has left Ralph and the others. Golding narrates, "Piggy was so full of delight and expanding liberty in Jack’s departure, so full of pride in his contribution to the good of society, that he helped to fetch wood."
Soon Ralph and Piggy realize that many of the others are slowly and silently deserting camp to join Jack. Maurice, Bill, and Roger (Jack’s strongest supporters) are first to go. Simon has also left but for a different reason— he wants to find the beast, not to kill it, but to find out what it is and what it wants.
Meanwhile Jack and his dedicated followers go back to their hunt for pigs. When they see a large sow with piglets, they attack her, throwing dozens of spears into her body until she finally collapses in the middle of an open field. Yet this kill is different. Golding explains, "Then Jack found the throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands. The sow collapsed under them and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her. The butterflies still danced, preoccupied in the center of the clearing." This marks a major turning point for the adolescent boys. The pig satisfies not only their desire to kill, but also their sexual need. This is further exemplified when Robert boasts, "Right up her ass!"
Soon the boys cut off the head of the pig and leave it poking up from the ground on a stick sharpened at both ends. This is a sacrifice to the beast, or so they say. Simon, also is nearby, but for a different reason. Now he can confront the beast in his own way. Soon Simon begins hearing statements from the beast. The Lord of the Flies tells Simon "I know that" when Simon thinks to himself about the "infinite cynicism of adult life."
Eventually the beast begins speaking to Simon more directly. The Lord of the Flies tells him, "Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are?" This overwhelms Simon, seeing himself inside the mouth of the beast, losing consciousness and falling down.
Meanwhile, Jack and his hunters in face paint, steal fire for Ralph and Piggy.