Fear as a Motivator
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Individual decisions
- Group actions
- Fight for survival
- Unifies the group
Think of your personal "beast" - the one thing that scares you the most. In your literary journal, draw or describe your beast. Has fear of this "beast" ever made you do anything irrational? Have you ever done something simply to avoid it?
His lips quivered and the spectacles were dimmed with mist."
This is the first time they realize the situation that they're actually in and the parameters of having to live on the island alone. The boys realize they're going to have to fight for survival.
'He was dreaming.'
Laughing, Ralph looked for confirmation round the ring of faces. The older boys agreed; but here and there among the little ones was the doubt that required more than rational assurance."
This quote introduces the beastie which eventually leads to their insanity. You can already start to see the fear and irrationality among the younger boys.
At first, the boys are afraid that they won't be able to survive, a fear that drives them to hunt the pigs on the island for food. After their first attempt at killing, they're taken aback by their savage behavior and urge to kill.
The boys looked at each other fearfully, unbelieving.
'-where is he now?'
Ralph muttered the reply as if in shame.
'Perhaps he went back to the, the-'"
The older boys' focus on survival has kept them from paying attention to the younger boys which has resulted in the death of the boy with the mulberry scar. This tragedy motivated to take more notice of the people involved rather than simply survival itself.
Bill spoke, unbelieving.
'Through the forest by himself? Now?'
'We can't spare more than one.'
Simon pushed his way to Ralph's elbow.
'I'll go if you like. I don't mind, honestly.'"
Fear, for the majority of the boys, hinders their ability to actively help and provide for the group. However, a few, including Simon, are able to get past their inhibitions and become leaders for the betterment of the group.
'Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!'"
The fear of the beastie has warped the boys' perspective. They mistake Simon for the beast and driven to kill him in a barbaric way.
2. Is fear an acceptable excuse for the boys' savage and violent behaviors?
3. Which character's actions most obviously reflect his fears?
4. In what real-world situations can you think of in which fear would be used as a motivator?
5. Out of all the things they feared (not being rescued, "the beast", etc) which one resulted in the most action against it? Why do you think that is?
6. Is facing your fears always better than running from them?
What thoughts do you have on fear as a motivator?