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What are the boys really scared of?

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Alex Cresswell 10-01 What are the boys really scared of? Being stranded on a desert island is a situation that can have a severe physical and mental impact on those involved. As the boys on the island discover, such a situation can lead to their true selves breaking out from beneath their childish exteriors. The boys' brutality is an expression of frustration surrounding the lack of rules and restrictions that civilised society provided for them in their previous lives. Brutality is their way of dealing with the things they cannot emotionally cope with, and is a way of releasing all their feelings, such as fear. The fact that there are no adults has an impact on the boys, as the lack of authority provides them with limitless freedom, which is something they have never faced before, and do not know how to deal with. "Here at last was the imagined but never fully realised place leaping into real life" - this gives us a clear idea as to how the boys initially view the island. Golding shows us how the boys are still subconsciously connected to civilised society, through various references made through comparisons to feature of the jungle. An example would be describing the boulder as "like a bomb", which also makes a connection to the events of the war in the outside world. ...read more.


The references to World War 2 strengthen this 'decay' of civilised society - a return to the underlying brutality that drives all humans, just as it does the animal kingdom, to whom we often consider ourselves superior. In the beginning of the novel, the boys on the island seem as though they do not care about the implications of their situation, and seem content with enjoying themselves and generally being childish about everything they encounter. Golding makes this aspect obvious from to the beginning so as to create a contrast as the story unfolds. Golding uses symbolism throughout the story to represent some of the non-physical aspects of the boys' fears on the island. "If you're hunting sometimes... you can feel as if you're not hunting, but-being hunted, as if something's behind you all the time in the jungle." This of course refers to the beast. The beast, although initially a physical symbol, actually represents the evil that resides within man. The children are all aware that such a beast exists, but none of them realise (except Simon) that it lies within them. Manifested in various forms throughout the story, the beast constantly plagues the littluns-the least conditioned by society. At one point during the story, Piggy says, "I know there isn't no beast-not with claws and all that, I mean-but I know there isn't no fear either...Unless-...Unless we get frightened of people." ...read more.


The idea of ghosts seems to remind the boys of the events of the littleuns burning to death, and perhaps that the ghosts could be their spirits coming back to haunt them. Again, as a means of dismissing the awful truth, they resort to childish behaviour- "at once the platform was full of noise and excitement, scramblings, screams and laughter." Golding's view is that the theme of the novel is to trace the problems of society back to the sinful nature of man. He wrote the book to show how political systems cannot govern society effectively without first taking into consideration the defects of human nature. The defects of human nature are signified in Golding's novel through the characters of Jack and his hunters. Here, Golding shows that men are inherently evil; if left alone to fend for themselves, they will revert back to the savage roots of their ancestors. This is seen in the novel near the end, when the tribe is hunting Ralph. What about the naval ship that comes to save the boys at the end of the novel? While the ship saves the boys from killing each other, who will save the ship from killing other ships or being killed? In this way, the society of the outside world mirrors the island society on a larger scale. ...read more.

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