What happens in Chapter 4 of Lord of the Flies? (Summary)

What happens in Chapter 4 of Lord of the Flies

What happens in Chapter 4 of Lord of the Flies? This pivotal chapter delves deeper into the growing tensions and unraveling social order on the deserted island. As the boys on the island struggle to maintain their sense of civilization, they grapple with the beast’s haunting presence, confront their inner darkness, and witness the first signs of a power struggle that threatens to tear them apart. Chapter 4 marks a turning point in William Golding’s iconic novel as the fragile stability starts crumbling, exposing both the fragility and savagery inherent in humanity.

What happens in Chapter 4 of Lord of the Flies? (Chapter 4 summary and analysis)

What happens in Chapter 4 of Lord of the Flies? In this pivotal chapter, titled “Painted Faces and Long Hair,” a significant shift occurs on the island as the boys’ civilized behavior continues to deteriorate. Chapter 4 in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies opens with Jack hunting a pig but losing his chance to kill it due to his inability to overcome his fear. This failure marks a turning point for Jack, triggering his descent into savagery. Frustrated, he smears himself with colored clay and charcoal as camouflage, symbolic of shedding his former self and embracing the primitive instincts within.

The impact of Jack’s transformation is felt by the other boys as well. Ralph expresses concern over their dwindling chances of rescue, while Piggy attempts to maintain order and reason. However, their efforts are met with resistance from the restive group. The boys’ obsession with hunting intensifies as they become more preoccupied with satisfying their immediate desires rather than working towards their eventual rescue.

Maurice and Roger, two of the “biguns”, come out of the jungle. Roger watches three littluns (Henry, Percival, and Johnny) make sandcastles while Maurice goes for a swim. Roger follows Henry, one of the littluns, as he wanders off to play at the ocean’s edge. Roger begins to throw stones at Henry, although he deliberately misses him by a few feet.

Piggy tells the other boys about his plan to build sundials to keep track of the time, causing the older boys to laugh at him. At this moment, Ralph spots smoke on the horizon. Realizing it’s a ship, the boys look toward the mountain but see no smoke from their signal fire. Ralph and the other boys run to the top of the mountain only to find the signal fire has gone out and the ship has passed. As they survey the island below them, they see a procession of Jack’s hunters carrying a dead pig on a stake while chanting, “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.” The hunters reach the peak of the mountain. Unaware of the passing ship, Jack is triumphant after killing the pig. Ralph is furious at Jack for letting the signal fire go out, causing them to miss their chance to be rescued by the ship. Jack justifies his actions by claiming he needed additional hunters to kill the pig, including Samneric, who had been maintaining the fire.

Piggy and a few of the hunters also voice their displeasure with Jack. Angry at their criticisms, Jack hits Piggy, causing his glasses to fly off his face, which breaks a lens. As the tensions between Ralph and Jack increase, Jack eventually apologizes for letting the fire go out and suggests they cook the pig. Ralph asks Piggy for his glasses to light the fire. They roast the pig, but Jack refuses to give Piggy any meat. Simon, a kind-hearted boy, shares his meat with Piggy. As they eat, Jack and his hunters reenact the killing of the pig with a celebratory dance. Although Jack is apologetic, Ralph calls a meeting and walks away.

This chapter also introduces an eerie subplot involving a “beast” that terrifies some of the younger boys. Their fears manifest in nightmares and hallucinations, further destabilizing the fragile civilization they have attempted to establish on the island. As Simon contemplates this mysterious entity, he has an epiphany: “Maybe there is a beast… Maybe it’s only us” (Golding 89). This revelation foreshadows the central theme of inherent evil residing within humanity.

What happens to Piggy at the end of Chapter 4?

At the end of Chapter 4, Piggy is physically assaulted by Jack, resulting in the breaking of one of the lenses of his glasses. This incident occurs when Piggy criticizes the hunters’ immaturity. The text states, “Piggy’s voice rose to a shriek of terror as Jack snatched the glasses off his face. ‘Mind out! Give ’em back! I can hardly see!’ Piggy bellowed.” (Lord of the Flies, Chapter 4). This brutal act signifies not only Jack’s growing aggression but also the increasing power dynamics and violence on the island. It foreshadows further conflicts and tensions that will arise between Piggy and Jack as their opposing ideologies clash.

What happened to the fire in Chapter 4 Lord of the Flies?

In Chapter 4 of Lord of the Flies, the fire on the hill goes out because the boys neglect to maintain it. They realize their mistake too late, as it is mentioned, “They hurry to the top of the hill, but it is too late to rekindle the flame.” This failure has significant consequences as a passing ship does not notice them and fails to rescue them from the island. Ralph expresses his anger towards Jack and the hunters for their negligence: “You let the fire go out…And we’ve got no smoke.” This event further deepens the divide between Ralph’s group that prioritizes rescue and civilization, and Jack’s group that becomes increasingly savage.

Upon their return from hunting, Jack and his hunters are described as “covered with blood” and chanting a strange song. This scene signifies a shift in priorities for Jack and his followers as they are consumed by their primal instincts instead of fulfilling their responsibilities. The failure to maintain the fire symbolizes a loss of civilization and hope for rescue while highlighting growing tensions between Ralph’s group and Jack’s savage faction.

Who cries in chapter 4 of Lord of the Flies?

In chapter 4 of Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Percival is the one who cries. After being asked his name by Jack during an assembly, Percival becomes overwhelmed and starts sobbing uncontrollably. The following quote describes his emotional state: “The sobbing rose to an extraordinary pitch of suffering; then began to subside. One by one the shoulders of the big boys shook with laughter” (Golding 61). This moment serves as a stark reminder of the boys’ gradual descent into savagery and their loss of innocence on the island.

What does Ralph do at the end of chapter 4?

At the end of chapter 4 in Lord of the Flies, Ralph reprimands Jack for his brutality towards Piggy. As the boys are gathered on the beach, Ralph confronts Jack saying, “You didn’t ought to have done that. You can’t hunt, you can’t sing—”. This quote shows that Ralph is not pleased with Jack’s violent behavior and lack of responsibility. Despite this, Ralph still seeks to maintain order and calls a meeting stating, “And another thing. We ought to have more rules. Where the conch is, that’s a meeting.” This highlights Ralph’s determination to restore order and establish a sense of civilization among the boys.


Chapter 4 serves as a crucial turning point in Lord of the Flies as it showcases Jack’s transformation into a savage leader and highlights the growing tension between civilization and primal instincts among all the boys. It also sets the stage for further deterioration in their society as fear takes hold and darkness begins to consume them. With each passing chapter, Golding deepens our understanding of human nature’s capacity for both good and evil, leaving readers intrigued by what lies ahead for these young survivors trapped on the island.

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