Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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How does William Golding use the beast in the novel as a whole? What might the beast symbolize?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In the story, the boys fear a fictional beast, which they believe lives on the top of the mountain and desires to eat them. The littlun with the mulberry-colored birthmark is the first to claim he’s witnessed the beast, and hysteria quickly spreads among the boys after Samneric see the corpse of a deceased paratrooper on the top of the mountain, which they mistake for the beast. Shortly after Samneric claim that they saw the beast, Jack, Ralph, and Roger also witness the corpse and confirm Samneric’s discovery. The only boy on the island who genuinely understands the true nature of the beast is Simon , who is a symbolic Christ figure. Unlike the others, Simon realizes that the beast is actually the inherent evil inside each boy. Unfortunately, Simon cannot express his opinion in front of the boys because he is too shy and awkward. In Simon’s secluded spot in the forest, he hallucinates and...

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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jgrenning | Student

Golding uses the beast to symbolize humanity’s irrational fears and how they affect human conduct.

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