How is fear presented in Lord of the Flies
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Fear is an elemental part of the boys’ life, it coexists with them throughout the novel, contorting and evolving at the hands of the boys’ imagination. This fear mutates, it grows from being just a singular emotion to a catalyst of events; it lives almost a life of its own upon the island, feeding off the lonely isolation of the boys and giving birth to ever more engulfing notions of the emotion. Ever developing the fear is never suppressed, never ‘washed to away from the island’, until the cleansing hand of civilization once again takes responsibility of the boys-this being the arrival of the navy ship and ‘a uniform’.
At first fear is merely the speech of the littlest children, harmless to those who were older and ‘mature’ enough to give it no heed. Maturity, it would seem, within the novel appears to have a definition that implies that the longer one has been in the bosom of society, educated and disciplined by her, the more mature they are. ‘He says the beastie came in the dark’ tells us far more than just the first incarnation of fear. The quote gives us the idea of the beastie, incidentally a ‘snake-thing’ (see Adam and Eve).
It introduces to us how the fear of the creature is amplified by the inability to see it, given by inclusion of the word ‘dark’, This is a running theme, without being able to ‘see’ the beast the boys are always set to be enslaved by its will, why else would they bring offerings to it, give a ‘gift for the darkness’? Evolution, as told by Darwin, is a progression, advancement in characteristics that enable something to survive, getting stronger and ‘fitter’ with each generation. Fear within the novel parallels this, it breeds; engulfing all but one, the most enlightened of the group.
Simon. As the fear evolves we begin to become presented by a much greater image than just that of a snake, we begin to see the boys’ expression of this emotion change, twisting into the next physical object that they may latch this ever present emotion upon. The snake becomes neglected as a taboo. This removal of the fear for this is, in a sense, a show of the detachment from even the most sinister element of religion-sin- for their lack of fear for the devil, for hell, enables them to be truly free to commit even the deadliest of sin.
The death of Piggy provides us an example of this, ruthless and cold in blood with not a care for consequence, not a care for the reaction of the religion they once hailed as ‘choir boys’ and as ‘British’. Throughout the novel fear is held on to, left to be attached. It goes from a snake of the ground to the sea, from sea to sky and from sky to themselves. The latter being noted without much notion of understanding on the boys part, with Simon being the only boy not to succumb to fear, for he was ‘enlightened’ to the fact of the beast being a part of them.
Fancy thinking the beast was something you could hunt’- words uttered by the taunting hallucination of Simons epilepsy. Said in a tone patronising in nature-a brief reminder of the age of the boys perhaps. When undertaking a reading of the novel the word ‘beast’ appears with an alarming frequency. It’s universal partnership to the fear within the boys allowing for its meaning to dissolve and crystalize as a new, ever cruder figment of imagination.
Could it be that the ‘beast’ is only present in replacement for God himself? Within the novel a key figure is forever ‘centre stage’, yet at not one point is belief portrayed. This figure takes many forms, be it snake or be it Jack, but at all times this beast takes a form that is bonded to fear. As a side note, in the text’s source for parody-‘The Coral Island’-fear is present only in a miniscule nature, with it being subdued by the notion of God’s protection.
In this original such phrases as ‘I should never omit to say my prayers’ are present, and, as the novel progresses we see how the boys of this text, Jack, Ralph and Peterkin, get by with a prowess and ease gifted to them by their ‘creator’. Their fear of god is ever present, and it would appear that this is what allows for them to survive such wonders. In all, fear is thrust upon us in an ever differentiating manner, in a way of such that leaves very little in way of emotional harmony within the boys.
It becomes amplified by the dark, without the guidance of one more mature in self they fall foul to the unknown, perhaps the most key example of darkness obscuring their nature being the relentless killing of Simon. As an object of the darkness he was removed without logic or thought, without reference to how one should conduct themselves in fear of god. Lord of the flies presents us with this: it presents us with two ways and means of fear, fear as the forceful, ever present emotion and the lack of fear for God.
Goldring presents us this through the continual lack of care for their actions, the lack of remorse for their activities-none of which deemed acceptable by the scriptures of God. He presents us this through the need to attach reason to fear-shown by the aforementioned continual evolution it undergoes. This all told to us for a reason, a warning of how society is to become should it be fuelled by post-war fear and aggression. ‘In God we can find salvation’, both relevant to his ideology for society and the lack of this recognition to belief from the boys.