The Power Of Chanting

The Power Of Chanting

The power of repetition can come into play in several ways. At times, it can be used when studying to remember material for an important test. At others, it can be used to get a point across, such as in a speech or debate. It can even be used in the context of religion or a strong belief, presented as a means to symbolize the importance of said thing.. In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, chants are used as a way to instill fear or as a forewarning several times throughout the story, establishing the beliefs and behaviors of the group.

In one scene, the boys discover they are trapped on an island in the middle of nowhere. One by one, little boys are making their way to each other, when someone realizes there needs to be a leader to keep everyone in control. Without one, things would become hectic. They desperately try to find materials to survive, to: make a fire, a pig to hunt and kill, and suitable shelter. They get in the habit of having to hunt, as as they’re hunting and killing the pig, something interesting happens. Savagely the boys chant, “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.” (Pg 69). This act of describing what they’re going to do to the pig reoccurs frequently throughout the book. These boys, who are no older than 12 years old, are dancing and singing while taking a living animal’s life. They’ve never known what it was like to have to truly depend solely on each other to pull their weights and capture this animal. None of them knew what it was like to have to rely on what little knowledge they had about hunting. The desperation of hunger took over, and turned those boys into people they weren’t. The boys are mysteriously placed on what seems to be a deserted island and have to figure out a way to survive. Chanting and dancing while killing a pig is far beyond “normal.” Everyone has subconsciousness that partly make up the worst sides of them. After being boxed out of society, the boys don’t necessarily have to follow all of the previous norms and rules, which allows their natural capacity of evil to take over their entire beings piece by piece--those rules seemingly now non existent. The power of chanting these minimal words is a way to keep their sanity. Since they’ve never had to take another living animal’s life before, they have no idea what’s going on. They’re feeling overwhelmed, and by chanting, they learn to with it.

In many religions, chanting is something the participants of that religion practice. Most of them would even say that chanting religiously is extremely popular and helpful. For some chanters, they believe that chanting will help them through their hardships, hoping for their voices to be heard by a higher being. In a case study that was performed to see what would happen to the moods of Buddhists if they were being shown negative or neutral pictures while chanting Amitābha or Santa Claus silently to themselves, it stated, “Results showed that viewing negative pictures (vs. neutral pictures) increased the amplitude of the N1 component in all the chanting conditions. The amplitude of late positive potential (LPP) also increased when the negative pictures were viewed under the no-chanting and the Santa Claus condition.” According to this study, viewing negative pictures can cause the brain to go through some sort of PTSD trauma. It can sometimes make the purest souls become evil. Amitabha, which translates into Pure Land Buddhism, is a pure place. Santa Claus is an adult who gives back to children who deserve his gifts. Together, they’re the most saintly of things. Having them together, chanting them separately, and looking at negative pictures all together, have changed their moods in a positive way. It has raised their LPP. The negative pictures were affecting with their mental state, and by chanting Amitabha or Santa Claus’s name, calmed them down and relaxed their soul. Yes, their mood still changed, but they weren’t as triggered by what they were seeing.

Later on in the book, the boys have taken a turn from innocent and clueless, to reckless and dangerous. It seems as though they can’t tell the difference from right and wrong. Right before this happened, some of the hunters were climbing up a mountain when they discovered pig droppings. After that, they decided to hunt a pig, which they did. The only problem was that they were unable to kill it. With its tusks, it cut Robert on his forearm. The boys chant,  “Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!” (Pg 114). When Robert gathered the others and told them what happened, they started throwing jabs at him, made a ring, and started stabbing him with the butt of their spears chanting. The evil surrounding them on that island took control over their decision making. It was making them see and do things that they wouldn’t have normally done. They were willing to kill one of their own, which is why the chanting came into play. They could see the blood on his forearm and thought he was a pig. The excitement and fear kicked in, and chanting was the only thing they had left to get back to their regular selfs. After they did so, they stopped torching Robert, and decided to hunt and kill a real pig.

In conclusion, chanting is a powerful source of meditation. Chants calm and relax the body, are relatively easy to remember, and there are different ways to partake in one. In Lord of the Flies, chanting is mainly used to symbolize how important an action or an object is, but it’s also used to calm and relax the bodies of the children It  isn’t only used in fiction, though. A lot of religions use chanting as a way to reach out to the figures who are higher than them It sometimes can even alleviate people’s negative emotions, and cause them to have positive perspectives. When something like that happens, there would be more peaceful and senseful citizens in the streets.

Works Cited

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin, 2006.

“Symbolism in Lord of the Flies .” Symbols and Symbolism in Lord of the Flies Lord Flies Essays, 123HelpMe,

Bremner, J. Douglas. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, Les Laboratoires Servier, Dec. 2006,

Gao, Junling, et al. Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers Media S.A., 2016,

Geduld,, Marcus. “Why Do People Chant in Various Religions?” Quora, 30 Dec. 2012,

“Saint Meinrad Archabbey.” History of Chant - The Monastery | Saint Meinrad Archabbey,

Soard, Lori. “Cheers Chants and Songs.” LoveToKnow, LoveToKnow Corp,

Comments (2)

Salvatori Camarote (Student 2020)
Salvatori Camarote
  1. Meditation is something very interesting. I never realized how valuable to people it could be, I always understood it made people calm, but I didn't realize the extent of it. With chanting, I usually imagine it at sports games as motivation, I had never really seen it used as a fear tactic and a plot device like it is in Lord of the Flies.
  2. Often times in the book there did not seem to be many rational figures if there had been the boys might have been able to control themselves more and prevent themselves from becoming so violent.
Serenity Baruzzini (Student 2020)
Serenity Baruzzini

From your essay, I've learned how chanting can affect the mind and body in good and bad ways. Chanting is a form of repetition, and when something is repeated enough, we believe it to be true. It's not a problem that needs to be solved, but we should remind ourselves that our words matter and be conscious of what we lead ourselves to believe.