The Beast of the Mind
Is there truly anything to be afraid of, or is it only the fear inside the mind? This question is brought up in William Golding's book, Lord of the Flies. The story is set on an uninhibited island, during the battles of war. They are left with no adults, no communication, and they must learn how to survive on their own. They slowly turn from high class children of Great Britain to intense savages of the jungle. The beastie initially represented slight fear in the littluns; however, as the novel progresses, the beastie increases it's fear in all of the children.
At the beginning, the beastie was a thing only the littluns believed in, while the biguns laughed and mocked about. For example, when they have the gathering of all the boys on the island, everybody circled and had a meeting. While the meeting was going a littlun wants to say something. As the littlun gasps for the courage to speak, he whispers into Piggys ear. Piggy renounces, "'He wants to know what youre going to do about the snake-thing. It was a beastie"'(35). Ralph and the other boys laugh at this and take it as a joke. This quote illustrates that the littlun is wondering how they will keep safe, how they will survive, and shows he is truly afraid. Later at another meeting or assembly, the biguns still see the beastie as a joke, when out of nowhere Percieval, a littlun, asks to speak and they let him. Percieval mutters something to Jack, and Jack recalled "'He says the beast comes out of the water"'(87). The last laughed died away, and everything became silent as they watched the wide ocean and its hidden creatures. This quote shows how the children are trying to come up with things on where the beast might be and how it stays out of sight. Thus, the beastie only frightens the littluns so far as it creeps its fear into all of the children.
By the middle of the book, the biguns start to believe in the beast, and are afraid of it. For example, they have a meeting and another littlun appear to be talking about the beast when Jack steps in, "'There isnt a snake-thing. But if there was a snake, wed hunt it and kill it. But there isnt a snake"'(36). This quote shows how the beastie is slowly changing the boys to believe in it. Later in the book the twins Sam and Eric run screaming back to the beach. Waking Ralph they yelled, "'We saw the beast, it was furry. There was something moving behind its head-wings. The beast moved too. That was awful, it kind of sat up-the fire was bright. There were eyes-teeth-claws-we ran as fast as we could, the beast followed"'(100). This quote shows they thought an actual beast chased them through the woods and how they described it as a fantasy. Now the beast is growing in the minds of all the children.
At the end of the book, the boys start offering sacrifices of their kills and even got so scared they killed a boy. Jack and his tribe kill a pig and after the pig is completely dead, Jack cuts the head off and puts it on a stake. He announces "'This head is for the beast. It is a gift"'(137).This quote shows how seriously afraid all these children are of this beast. Later in the story Jack and all the other boys are dancing and cheering while the rain comes, they start chanting and talking about the beast. Then "The circle became a horseshoe. A thing was crawling out of the forest. It came darkly, uncertainly. The beast stumbled into the horseshoe. Simon was crying out something about a dead man on the hill. The sticks fell and the mouth of the new circle crunched and screamed"'(152). Simon died, and the boys thought it was the beast. As they threw and jabbed with their sticks, they were full of fear. By this time every child believed in the beast and was tremendously afraid of it.
At first, there was no beastie, but by the end the whole island was drowning in their fear. Their fear was to be stranded forever and that they would not survive. The beastie showed that at the beginning it was only a mocked creature that only the littluns believed in. In the middle, the beastie started to creep its way into all of the children's minds, and by the end every single child believed in it and felt it was with them. Now you tell me is there anything truly to be afraid of?