In Lord of the Flies, is there actually a beast or it is just the boys' imagination?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I suppose it depends on how you look at it. There is not actually a living "beast" on the island (other than the wild pigs that are hunted) as the boys imagine, but they hear strange noises and even believe that they see strange movements at night. When the boys trek to the mountaintop, they see an object they believe to be a beast: It is "a creature that bulged." Fear of this creature prevents the boys from visiting the top of the mountain, where a signal fire could best be seen. It is Simon who finally discovers that what the boys believe to be the beast is actually the now decomposed body of a dead parachutist swinging in the breeze. Before his discovery, Simon has an hallucinatory conversation with the "Pig's head on a stick"--the Lord of the Flies. It tells Simon that it is the beast. But there is yet another form of beast on the island: It is the boys themselves, reduced to murderous "savages" as the laws of civilization dissolve around them.