A dead pig's head on a stick.

Lord of the Flies

The island is the home of a number of animals, most notably pigs, who become the target of the boys’ hunts. Ralph, Jack and Simon find the first piglet, although Jack is unable to kill it. After this, Jack becomes obsessed with hunting a pig, and is eventually successful.

‘Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood’.

In a distressing scene, Robert takes the ‘place’ of the pig after an unsuccessful boar hunt. The boys surround him and jab him with their spears, and Jack pretends to cut his throat. This scene foreshadows later events.

A pig’s head becomes a symbol of the beast, and this disembodied head also acts as a warning for Ralph. During the hunt for Ralph, Sam and Eric tell him that Jack has sharpened his stick at both ends; clearly Ralph is destined to end up displayed in the same way as the pig’s head.

The Inheritors

In contrast, the Neanderthal people in The Inheritors do not hunt, although they will eat fresh meat if they find it. Lok and Fa find a doe that has been killed by a sabre-toothed cat:

‘A cat has sucked all her blood. There is no blame.’

The people believe that all animals are born of Oa and it is wrong to kill them. However, as the people are hungry, Oa will not punish them if they eat another animal’s kill. The doe’s body is watched over by a pack of hyenas with their ‘evil talk’, and buzzards, who are told to go away by Liku. Their refusal to hunt animals is an important symbol of the Neanderthal people’s inherent goodness, and love of nature.