Thursday, June 30, 2011

lord of the flies

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“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts happens to man. All things are connected…” �Unknown. What is a man without the beast that lives within? As we compare this quote to the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, we receive the understanding that the so called “beast” that lived on the island was not that of reality, but more so the beast that lived inside the boys themselves. The beast plays the most significant role in the novel because it is represented in various forms and is portrayed differently by all the characters. The beast represents evil and the lack of civilization. There is a physical beast or a physical representation of the inner beast within, that not everyone is gifted enough to find out for themselves who or what this beast really is.

The beast representing evil is the main focus of the novel. The boys are scared of something on the island but they don’t know what it is that they fear. “The fear of the unknown can be a powerful force, which can turn you to either insight or hysteria.” This quote applies to the boys’ reaction on the unknown creature that “lurks” the island. Darkness symbolizes evil and the beast only exists at night. Daylight brings safety to the island but at night in the dark, not even a group of young boys can feel safe together. There are three characters that can be symbolic to the evil beast and they are Simon, a shy spiritual and gentle boy, Jack, the jealous hunter who is very hot tempered, and the parachutist, dead from war. Simon does come in contact with the physical beast, the Lord of the Flies itself, a pig’s head on a stick covered with a thick black halo of flies, but never receives the opportunity to share his experience with the others. Simon is a martyr and it is actually a good thing because since he did not succeed in sharing his information about the beast with the others, they now have to find out for themselves what it is they fear. One has a better understanding of something once he actually comes in contact with it. The parachutist is a figure of war that has been dropped on the mountaintop. Right above them, “something like a great ape was sitting asleep with its head between its knees. The creature lifted its head, holding toward them the ruin of a face.” 140. This was actually the outline of the dead body that has not decayed because it is wrapped in a tarp that is protecting and preserving it. The beast also represents evil in the character Jack. Jack’s main priority is to hunt and kill which carries out his evil intentions.

The lack of civilization is tremendous throughout the novel because as the boys become accustomed to the island, they start losing the rules, and an island with no rules is chaos. The boys start turning into savages and rip apart whatever they can get their hands on, including fellow savages and friends. They can’t control their horrid actions because evilness has taken over their sense of mind. The only thing the boys think about all day long is how “to get a handful of that brown, vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering.” 10. They also acted uncivilized when they killed the female pig. They acted in such a vicious manner that the killing of the pig can be compared to a rape. Bloodshed has covered the island for the boys have fallen into an out of control bloodlust.

Every person that lives and walks the earth has some sort of beast or evil creature dwelling inside of him or her. This is examined the best in Simon, the sacrificial scapegoat. Simon is a very secretive person and doesn’t like to share his inner emotions with others. He does actually come in contact with the beast itself and he has a confrontation where the beast metaphorically speaks to him. On top of him fearing the beast, he is absolutely terrified of Jack. Jack’s inner beast within is just dying to escape to terrorize the island. Jack’s personality is similar to that of an animal; barbaric. He expresses these actions when the boys play the game of killing Robert. They act with a cannibalistic behavior and if regret wasn’t an issue, they would have gone along and actually killed him. “The vivid horror of this, so possible and so nakedly terrifying, held them all silent.” . Ralph is being influenced by Jack and is being drawn into the bloodlust that has taken over the island. He longs for the comfort of his home and to rid himself of the fears and dangers of the island. There is a famous quote that can illustrate this situation. “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” �Anon. This can be defined as the mysterious fear that hovers over the island.

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The physical representation of the beast is not really clear because each child has a different imagination and pictures life in his or her own personal way. One littlun’ is scared of a “beastie” that he hears at night. “And I was frightened and started to call out for Ralph and then I saw something moving among the trees, something big and horrid.” . It is not known where this beast comes from or if it really exists. There is an imaginary beast that is the result of all the illusions and mirages that occur all over the island. The beast from water can be depicted as a scary creature that swims or creeps through the depths of the ocean. No one has actually met this physical beast either. The only proof that a real physical beast exists is the pig’s head on the stick that Simon converses with.

Why is the concept of the beast significant? Throughout the novel there are many examples of the multiple explanations and personalities of the beast. The beast is portrayed as the inner beast within, as a physical beast, and as a beast representing evil. All this leads up to the lack of civilization and how the boys turn into savages and murderers. This novel could not have been put together better.

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