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How does Golding use the 'beast' in the novel as a whole?

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Introduction

How does Golding use the 'beast' in the novel as a whole? The beast is the existent but undeveloped evil in human kind. The novel shows how under the right circumstances, this beast will reveal itself. In the novel the beast is used symbolically to hide the fact that the boys are being influenced by iniquity and descending into savagery. Many of the boys focus their fears solely on the beast. This means that they can shun the responsibility of self knowledge and prolong the time before they have to accept that they are losing their grasp on civilization. Jack takes advantage of one boys fears by almost clarifying them. He tells the boys that when he goes hunting, he and his hunters will 'look for the snake thing too'. This may have planted doubt in some of the boys minds, who previously didn't believe in the beast. The beast is the soul and minds of the boys. It portrays many of the common fears which are ripe when '[they all] have to look after [themselves]'. There are no adults present on the island to give comfort and security. Simon begins to act as that adult. He says that 'maybe it's only [them]'. ...read more.

Middle

Piggy tries to get Ralph to say that they were not involved in the dance, but Ralph knows that they were, even if only slightly. Ralph admits to Piggy that '[he is] frightened. Of [them].' Even though the supposed beast has been killed, the fear has not gone. Simon was in fact going to tell the others that the beast on the mountain was actually a dead parachutist. 'There was a speck above the island, a figure dropping swiftly beneath a parachute a figure which had dangling limbs'. This figure was a pilot whose plane had been shot down. The boys could only see a flapping, a sort of pulsating on top of the mountain. Jack and Ralph attempt to climb the mountain and see what is there but are scared away. Later Simon climbs the mountain and sees the reality. 'Simon felt a flicker of incredulity, a beast with claws that scratched, that sat on the mountain top. However Simon thought of the beast there rose an inward sight, the picture of a human at once heroic and sick'. The parachutist had been dead for quite a while and there were a lot of flies swarming around the corpse. This symbolizes the Lord of the Flies eating away at civilization. ...read more.

Conclusion

The boys are not listening to Simon who in fact is correct. This shows that they do not want to accept that the beast does not exist. The 'littl'uns' are the first to mention a 'beastie' or 'snake-thing'. The boy with 'one side of his face blotted out by a mulberry coloured birthmark' tells an assembly that 'the beastie [comes] in the dark' he also said 'it came, and went away again an' came back and wanted to eat him'. Ralph tries to explain this rationally by saying '[the boy] was dreaming' and that 'he must have had a nightmare. Stumbling about among all those creepers'. It is quite easy for young children to see creatures in the shadows. The 'littl'un' may have woken in the night and seen a creeper swinging in the dark; this may have resembled a snake. The fear of the 'snake-thing' or the creepers may suggest a fear of the jungle and the fact that it is an unknown place to the boys. Although there are the 'big'uns' as well as the 'littl'uns', the 'littl'uns' may be craving an adult presence to put aside their fears and act as a comfort. As civilization is creeping away from the boys, their fear also increases. As their fear increases 'the beast' gets a tighter hold on the boys' minds and actions, influencing many major situations. By Zoe Spencer 10F ...read more.

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