Is there pathetic fallacy in chapter 2 of Lord of the Flies?

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Pathetic fallacy is a literary device in which emotional states are attributed to inanimate objects or objects of nature. It is similar to personification, but pathetic fallacy has the deliberate function of creating a mood by attributing emotions to things that cannot literally have emotions. In chapter 2 of ...

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Pathetic fallacy is a literary device in which emotional states are attributed to inanimate objects or objects of nature. It is similar to personification, but pathetic fallacy has the deliberate function of creating a mood by attributing emotions to things that cannot literally have emotions. In chapter 2 of Lord of the Flies, both the island and the fire are described as having emotions, so pathetic fallacy does exist in this chapter.

When the boys first build the bonfire, they are excited by it. The wood they have piled on the fire is said to have emotions, and those emotions match the mood of the boys: "Whole limbs yielded passionately to the yellow flames." This is an example of a pathetic fallacy.

When the fire gets out of control, it is personified as an animal. These descriptions are examples of personification, but not pathetic fallacy: "Small flames ... crawled away," "one patch ... scrambled up like a bright squirrel," and "the flames, as thought they were a kind of wild life, crept as a jaguar creeps." Since no emotion is attributed to these personifications, they are not pathetic fallacies.

However, this description is a pathetic fallacy: "a quarter mile square of forest was savage with smoke and flame." The word "savage" implies anger, especially in the context of two paragraphs later, where Ralph becomes "savage" and tells Piggy to shut up.

Later, Golding writes, "the fire growled at them." Whether this is a pathetic fallacy or merely personification is debatable. A growl is usually an angry warning, so one could say the "growl" is a pathetic fallacy. Describing a tree with creepers that "rose for a moment into view, agonized, and went down again" is another pathetic fallacy at the end of the chapter. The last sentence of the chapter refers to the "unfriendly side" of the mountain; that could also be considered a pathetic fallacy, attributing the emotion of unfriendliness to the burning mountain.

These pathetic fallacies are subtle, but they reflect the boys' emotions and help set the mood of the chapter.

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