The Lord of the Flies by WIlliam Golding: Fear

Essay by heathermarie116High School, 10th gradeA-, April 2004

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In our culture there have long been good or evil-based religions and cults that use some form of fear to maintain their followers: fear of god, fear of Satan, etc... The way Jack uses the beast in Lord of the Flies by William Golding shows that savagery uses a religion based around a common fear to manipulate the masses. This theme from the book clearly describes the way humans stick together and resort to fairly extreme ways of dealing with a common 'enemy'. The book mainly deals with sadistic or evil-based human urges that create a violent yet real religious conviction. In this case, first come the monsters, real or just in the heads of the people involved, followed by a leader who takes advantage of this shared fear to acquire a power over all who are afraid. Once the group is formed and has an effective leader, the real nightmare of rituals and religious idols begins.

There are numerous physical and intangible beasts that the boys on the island are scared of. The littluns have nightmares about a real beast that they believe lives on the island. Even the older boys such as Samneric become convinced there is an existent beast. "It was furry...[it had] head-wings. There were eyes-teeth-claws. The beast followed us [and] nearly touched me." Under normal circumstances Samneric are two very capable and intelligent boys. But after all the talk of the nightmarish creature they had heard so much about, Samneric exaggerated what was really a dead parachuter into a horrible monster. This also demonstrates the role that superstition can play in defining a religion. Simon on the other hand discovers that they only fear the beast because it exists within themselves, as spoken in the words of the Lord of the Flies, Beelzebub. "Fancy thinking...