In, Lord of the Flies, chapter 5, why does the group think that the "Beast" is a ghost?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Lord of the Flies it is "the Beast" that ultimately drives the boys' fears. Jack is quick to capitalize on these fears as he recognizes what motivates them and he is eager to gain control from Ralph.

After the ship passed by without rescue because their signal fire had gone out, Ralph is anxious to restore control and redefine "the rules." The meeting is "not for fun...but to put things straight" but his evening meeting does not serve its purpose  and instead the issue of "the Beast' and all its possible forms brings the meeting to a frenzy as the beast is too much for the boys to even think about. Jack tells the boys that the "littleuns" have nightmares and "fear can't hurt you...there is no animal-"

Ralph is concerned that Jack has personified the beast, making it more real. Jack is convincing in his argument against the existence of a beast which allays the boys fears for the moment.

Piggy, however, wants the boys to talk about the possibility of a beast to "show how silly" the littleuns are. The littleuns though become emotional and "reminded of their personal sorrows" the all begin to cry. Jack wants to clear the "beast-thing" up but when Percival mentions that , for him, the beast comes"out of the sea," the possibilities restart the argument.

It is Simon's contribution that introduces the spiritual side of "the Beast." Simon is unable to explain himself properly, providing an opportunity for laughter but when someone mentions that perhaps "it's some sort of ghost" and the fact that the meeting is held in darkness, amongst the shadows, adds to the possibilities. Piggy tries to reason but everyone is confused and Ralph even questions his leadership.

The chapter ends with Percival's nightmare, thus reinforcing the whole concept of "the Beast." The fight for order and "something grown- up...a sign" continues.

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Lord of the Flies

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