Nature of the Beast
By Josh, Clayton, Nadia
In Lord of the Flies, fear is neutralized by the realization that the only thing the boys have to fear is fear itself.
In Lord of the Flies, fear becomes paralyzing and unbeatable by the realization that the only thing the boys have to fear is fear itself.
The image of the “beast” strikes fear into all the kids, even though it’s just a figment of their imagination, it’s still a horrifying image for them all. The fear of the beast spreads so quickly from the boys.
Rather than combat the fear of the beast, Simon’s comment that the beast may be inside the boys is actually more chilling than the notion of a thing with claws and teeth. If the beast is inside the boys, then it is terrifying in a far more profound way. It means that we, people, are responsible for the horrors of the world. Simon doesn’t let us place the blame on some external object.
“Tell us about the snake-thing.”
“Now he says it was a beastie.”
“A snake-thing. Ever so big. He saw it.”
“In the woods.”
“He says the beastie came in the dark.” (2.73-80)
The little boys naturally think the beastie comes in the dark; fear of the unknown creature is that much greater when they can’t see it. Interestingly, this is the whole point of the beast; the boys can’t metaphorically see it for what it really is.
This is about as close as we’re going to get to Golding telling us that the boys are really animals, that they are a dark black creature.
Each of the boys combats his fear of the beast in his own way. Here we see Piggy using reason and “science” to convince himself it doesn’t exist.
2. How does fear play a major role in Lord of the Flies? What are the effects of fear on the boys as the story progresses?
3. What does the beast represent? How is it used by Jack to control the others? Are there parallels for "the beast" in the real world, the one outside of fiction?
4. What does Simon mean when he suggests that the beast is only the boys themselves?