Points of FearWhat are the main points of fear in "Lord of Flies." I have to write an essay comparing "Lord of the Flies" and 'Life is Beautiful," the movie--demonstrating...

Points of Fear

What are the main points of fear in "Lord of Flies." I have to write an essay comparing "Lord of the Flies" and 'Life is Beautiful," the movie--demonstrating how fear is shown, coped with, and how it affects the boys on the island. Anything would be great,


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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the beginning of "Lord of the Flies," it is interesting that many of the boys, having crashed upon an island, express no fears regarding the loss of the adults. Only Piggy has the rational fear, disturbed that there are no adults who survived the crash: 

That pilot...We was attacked!...I saw the other part of the plane. There were flames coming out of it

Again Piggy expresses a rational fear, inquiring about the boy with the mark upon his face:  "Where is he now?"  To this question the boys look at each other "fearfully, unbelieving," Evidently, they are too afraid to search for the boy.

By Chapter 2 the hunters search for pigs and encounter one  tangled in the creepers, but Jack cannot force his blade through the animal.  When the piglet tears itself loose, the hunters are left "looking at each other and the place of terror."  But, Jack vows to himself that "Next time there would be no mercy" and dares the others to contradict him.  Instead they avoid Jack by running and devouring food as they return to the meeting spot.  At this meeting the boy with the mulberry spot who has been lost earlier insists that he has seen a "beastie." However, Ralph laughs and looks at the others for confirmation; the older boys agree, but there is doubt in the smaller faces:  "their doubt required more than rational assurance."  Later, Jack asserts that there is no beastie, but if he were to find it, he would kill it.

When the conflict of Jack against Ralph and Piggy begins, Piggy tries for attention as he holds the conch.  While the huge blaze of the forest burns, Piggy realizes the power of the fire and how things are starting to get out of control:  "Piggy glanced nervously into hell and cradled the conch." Angered, Piggy tries to regain rationality by explaining the results of the boys irresponsible actions.  Again, the mulberry boy is lost and the crowd becomes silent as the boys look at each other fearfully, unbelieving.  They think the "beastie" has taken the boy.

As the compulsion to hunt and kill absorbs Jack's more civilized nature, he descends into savagery.  Recognizing this savage nature of Jack, Piggy and Ralph are very disconcerted, especially during a meeting in which Simon has walked off into the forest.  Earlier Simon tried to tell the group that the "beastie" is within them, but he becomes "inarticulate in his effort to express mankind's essential illness.."  Coming to "a place  of sunshine, Simon hallucinates in his fear and he has something like a seizure.  A dead pig's head rests upon a stake and talks to Simon.

You knew didn't you?  I'm part of you.....I'm the reason why things are no go? Why things are the way they are?

Ironically, Simon, who recognizes the evil within the boys, is beaten to death by them. His intuitive recognition of the irrational, savage nature of the boys has cost him his life. 

Once this irrationality has taken over the hunters and Jack, the others feel powerless against them.  Sam and Eric feel compelled to obey out of fear and join the hunters.  Piggy's glasses are stolen and when he comes for them, Piggy is killed by Roger.  While the boys joing Jack's group out of fear and savage frenzy, Ralph now fears Jack as the hunters chase him through the forest. Having become an animal at bay, Ralph is beset with " a spasm of terror" that makes him shake.  However, Ralph cannot admit to himself that the boys' descent into savagery has taken them to the point of killing:  "No, They're not as bad as that..."  The boys give chase, shouting

Kill the beast!  Cut his throat!  Spill his blood!

What the hunters do not understand is that they truly fear themselves, for the beast is within them. The dead parachutist  as "the beastie" is merely symbolic of the boys' spiritual death as rational human beings. This realization strikes them only when the rescuer arrives saving the desperately fearful Ralph from the doubly-pointed spear.  And, when the hunters see the rescuer, they cry.  They cry from the fear of recognition by the civilized world; they cry in the realization of what they have lost:  Piggy, the voice of reason, and Simon, the voice of their souls.  They  cry for what they have feared, but now embraced: the evil/beast within their hearts.

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Lord of the Flies

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