Lord Of The Flies: A Cautionary Tale - Analysis

1257 words - 6 pages

Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn't you?
I'm part of you? Close, close, close! I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are what
they are?

William Golding's Lord of the Flies is a disturbing book that details the descent of
several boys trapped together on an island without adult supervision. The different
characters of the boys on the island represent different and mostly dark, sides of
mankind. In this way, the book often presents a dark, frightening, and therefore often one-sided, view of humans. Golding's novel incorporates a complex, interwoven tapestry of
symbolism in this novel to detail the boy's primal fears. Golding illustrates that when
mankind is confronted with their deepest most primal fears, they revert to violent
behavior. Using the characters of Jack and Ralph, Golding explores how a darker side
of man can emerge. The characters of the Beast and the Lord of the Flies are
imaginary monsters created by the boys. They can be said to symbolize fear and
bloodlust. Jack's character embodies this bloodlust and a thirst for power, while Ralph
symbolizes democracy and a need for order. The two traits end up being a deadly
combination. However, there is also an element of compassion that is revealed in the
character of Simon. This character contains the kernel of hope in the novel and
therefore, for humanity as a whole. In particular, Simon presents a more reflective,
aware, and intuitive side of humanity. This side of humanity offers the reader something
positive to look for in themselves.

The Beast, one of the most important symbols in the novel, is utilized to highlight the
theme of man's deepest primal fear and the impulse to give in to violence. The Beast is
something the smaller children constructed, however, it ends up scaring almost everyone
on the island, despite their attempts to hide their fear. While the children describe the
beast as a physically clawed monster- dangerous in a literal sense- the idea of The Beast
symbolizes a greater evil among the boys. It is a symbol, representing the fear of the
unknown. It also represents the darkest parts of mankind. The boys know little to
nothing about The Beast, or if it even exists, and yet they have a strong irrational fear of
something attacking them. In one of the most violent and disturbing scenes in the book,
they go so far as to kill one of their own, swept up in a blaze of fear and instinct. Simon
comes out of the woods, injured to tell the group something about a dead man on a hill
(p. 152). In this moment, Simon ceases to be human, and the only thing that matters is
their fear. The Beast was on its knees in the center, its arms folded over its face. It was
crying out against the abominable noise about a body on the hill (152).
The boys fear of a beast is so strong that even as Simon is trying to explain himself,
and has fallen into a submissive position, all they can think of is to kill h...

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