How can the storm be seen as a example of pathetic fallacy?Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The storm that batters the island can be interpreted as a pathetic fallacy--the attribution of human emotions or characteristics to nature--because it embodies the chaos and savagery of the hunters in Chapter 9 of Lord of the Flies.

When Simon recovers from his seizure, he struggles through the creepers and staggers against the battering wind as he attempts to return to the others and report to them his revelations about the "beast."  On the grassy platform, the boys celebrate their hunt.  With the approaching storm, Ralph and Piggy feel trepidation, so they join the others.  As the thunderstorm builds, rain begins to fall; the littl'uns panic and run.  Then, in imitation of the natural turbulence, Jack orders the ritual dance, and Roger pretends to be the pig.  The boys chant, "Kill the beast! Cut his throat!  Spill his blood!"  At this point, the beast--the body of Simon falls over the steep rock onto the beach.  Simultaneously, the "clouds opened and let down the rain like a waterfall" and the gale-like wind blows as the parachutist falls and is swept out to sea.

Somewhere over the darkend curve of the world the sun and moon were pulling, and the film of water on the earth planet was held, bulging slightly on one side while the solid core turned.  The great wave of the tide moved farther along the island and the water lifted.  Softly, surrounded by a fringe of inquisitive bright creatures, itself a silver shape beneath the steadfast constellations, Simon's dead body moved out toward the open sea.

Not only does the storm imitate the turbulence of the anarchy that has overcome the island, but it eradicates the intuitive Simon who is the only one who has understood the evil within man, the beast.

Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The storm can be analyzed as a pathetic fallacy specifically through the experience of Piggy and Ralph, whose fear sets them apart from the others, as well as through the needless, tragic death of Simon.

At this moment in chapter 9, Jack, fully in touch with his most animalistic, most brutal self, leads the other boys towards violence and murder, while Piggy and Ralph hang on to their own personal sense of civilization by noticing and experiencing fear. The emotion of fear, ironically, keeps them rational, and they do not collapse into primitive beings like the other boys. The storm, whose clouds "brooded," may give voice to Piggy and Ralph's fear and confusion; as the storm breaks and the rain falls, perhaps the water from the sky symbolizes their tears, which are a normal human expression of sadness and regret, as well as fear. As well, perhaps the storm and the rain are mourning the death of Simon, who is mistaken for the beast in the chaos. The noise of nature is angry at the senselessness of the brutal attack on Simon, and then the rain grieves for his death.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A pathetic fallacy is a type of personification that gives human emotions and qualities to nature, which reflects the mood of the story.

At the beginning of chapter 9, a terrible storm is brewing, which foreshadows the dramatic event that will take place later on in the chapter. Golding personifies the storm by mentioning that the clouds "brooded" as the storm begins to form in the sky. As the chapter progresses, a violent storm erupts as Jack and his savages engage in their ritual dance. Lighting strikes and heavy rain falls as the wind whips throughout the dark island. Unfortunately, Simon stumbles from the forest, and the boys initially mistake him for the beast. As Simon crawls onto the beach, the boys savagely murder him as the rain crashes down from above. The storm would be considered a pathetic fallacy because it imitates the confused, chaotic emotions of the boys on the island. The storm also represents the violent release of emotions as they brutally murder Simon. 

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Lord of the Flies

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