"Golding illustrates that the source of human evil is fear." Provide evidence and quotations from for this thesis. I need 3 arguments and each argument requires 3 pieces of support.  2 of the...

"Golding illustrates that the source of human evil is fear." Provide evidence and quotations from for this thesis. I need 3 arguments and each argument requires 3 pieces of support.  2 of the pieces are direct quotations from the novel.  The novel is Lord Of The Flies by William Golding.

Expert Answers
sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That's a great thesis.  It makes a claim about the book that I feel can be strongly supported.  

There are plenty of instances in the book where Golding shows how the boys did something evil or acted in an evil manner because they are afraid of something.  More often than not, fear is what causes the boys to act.  Unfortunately, fear almost always causes the boys to act in hateful, malicious, and evil ways.  

Over the course of the entire novel, Golding shows readers a transformation that happens to the boys on the island.    When the boys are being introduced, readers might have high hopes for the overall survival of the boys.  They all seem to be friendly to each other, and they are actually excited by the possibility of being on the island together for a few days. Ralph actually announces to the boys that there is nothing to worry about.  In his opinion, the island is a place where they all can enjoy themselves until rescue shows up. 

“While we’re waiting we can have a good time on this island.”

He gesticulated widely.

“It’s like in a book.”

At once there was a clamor.

“Treasure Island–”

“Swallows and Amazons–”

“Coral Island–”

The allusion to The Coral Island is an interesting allusion because Golding was supposedly influenced to write Lord of the Flies because of his earlier experience with The Coral Island. He even borrowed character names from the book. In a nut shell, The Coral Island is about a group of boys that get stranded on an idyllic island paradise, and they successfully work together to build shelters and canoes. Additionally, they vanquish the island's "false gods" by using fire.  It's a story of bravery and goodness.  Golding's book is about fear and moral degeneration. 

Golding's book only initially begins like The Coral Island because the boys aren't afraid of anything.  The boys even hold an election in order to set up a basic government, a chain of command, and a division of labor.  

“Jack’s in charge of the choir. They can be—what do you want them to be?”


Jack and Ralph smiled at each other with shy liking. The rest began to talk eagerly.

After this moment, Ralph decides that the island needs some exploration.  He and two other boys excitedly head off, and everybody else (except Piggy) is content to hang out together.  

This entire fun vibe begins to fall apart in chapter 2 when the boys are given something to be fearful of and worry about.  One of the littluns tells the group that he saw a "beastie." 

Ralph laughed, and the other boys laughed with him. The small boy twisted further into himself.

"Tell us about the snake-thing."

"Now he says it was a beastie."


"A snake-thing. Ever so big. He saw it."


"In the woods."


"He says the beastie came in the dark."


There was no laughter at all now and more grave watching.

Immediately after this, readers are told that Jack "seized the conch."  He doesn't ask for it.  He takes it for himself and announces that he and his hunters would kill the beast if it existed.  In the previous chapter, Jack showed himself incapable of killing a pig that they might need for food; however, now that he is fearful, his inner bloodlust has been triggered.  

Over the course of the next few chapters, the boys' fear continues to escalate and grow.  Readers can see how it's becoming a problem for the group, and Ralph sees it too.  The littluns aren't sleeping because of their fear, and their talk of the beastie is beginning to put everyone else on edge.  Consequently, Ralph and Jack begin to argue and bicker with each other more than they actually work together. 

In an attempt to get everybody's fear under control,  Ralph calls another meeting.  He berates everybody for slacking off on their jobs.  His goal is to get everybody to focus on an assigned task.  If everybody is working on a task, there isn't time to always focus on fear. Ralph correctly realizes that all of the problems are linked to everybody's fear. 

“Things are breaking up. I don’t understand why. We began well; we were happy. And then—”

He moved the conch gently, looking beyond them at nothing, remembering the beastie, the snake, the fire, the talk of fear.

“Then people started getting frightened.”

Jack actually supports Ralph in this argument, but Jack is less tactful.  

“The thing is—fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream. There aren’t any beasts to be afraid of on this island.”

Jack also confidently tells everybody that he has been all over the island and hasn't seen any beast. 

Piggy also puts in his own opinion on the matter, and more or less says the same thing about not needing to fear anything. Unfortunately, he ruins his own advice by stating out loud that if the boys should fear anything it should be each other.

“Unless we get frightened of people.”

Fortunately, the pep talk seems to have worked.  Everybody is back to a bit of joking around until one of the littluns states something that nobody had thought of before.  

“He says the beast comes out of the sea.”

The meeting digresses into chaos, screaming, and insults.  

Jack was up too, unaccountably angry.

“Who cares what you believe—Fatty!”

Once again, fear has caused the boys to ignore all forms of decorum.  They are at each other's throats.  Jack goes running off, and many boys follow him.  It's the start of a serious division between Ralph's supporters and Jack's supporters.  

By chapter 8, fear and the fear of the beast has turned Jack, Roger, and the other choir boys into monsters.  They no longer hunt to supply everybody with food.  They hunt because they enjoy the kill, and they have even begun to mutilate carcasses by stabbing spears up an animal's anus. Additionally, fear causes Jack to begin making sacrificial offerings to the imagined beast. 

“This head is for the beast. It’s a gift.”

By the end of the story, whether or not Jack is afraid of the beast isn't clear.  What is clear though is that Jack is afraid of losing power to Ralph.  It's why Jack so badly wants Ralph dead. Jack has gotten a taste of real power, and he wants to keep it.  He's willing to be incredibly violent and cruel to keep it too.  That's how he keeps his power over the other boys as well.  They are afraid of Jack, and that fear motivates them to listen to his every command no matter how sinister.

“I said ‘grab them’!”

The painted group moved round Samneric nervously and unhandily. Once more the silvery laughter scattered. 

I'm unsure of what 3 specific arguments your essay is going to contain, but the above evidence and quotes can be tailored to help you with a variety of arguments.  

Read the study guide:
Lord of the Flies

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