What are the attitudes Ralph, Jack, Piggy, and Simon have towards the "beast" and what attitudes to life as a whole do they imply?
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In Chapter 5, Ralph holds an assembly to discuss the identity of the beast. Ralph mentions that he does not believe in the beast and thinks that fear distracts the group from focusing on important aspects of survival, like maintaining the signal fire. Ralph's attitude towards the beast reflects his motivated personality and affinity for civilization. Ralph does not want their fear to stand in the way of maintaining an organized, structured society.
Jack agrees with Ralph that a beast does not exist, but blames the littluns for frightening everyone. He then ridicules them for crying and accuses them of being "sissies." Jack's attitude concerning the beast relates to his personality by illustrating how he is quick to blame others and bully the weaker boys on the island. He shifts blame to the littluns and attempts to increase his status by agreeing with the chief.
Piggy attempts to solve the identity of the beast pragmatically. He mentions that "life is scientific" and concludes that the only thing the boys should possibly fear is each other. Piggy is intelligent and continues to solve problems logically. He examines the possibility of various animals on the island and decides that there is no beast.
Simon says, "maybe there is a beast" (Golding 125). The boys immediately question Simon, and he becomes silent. Simon does not have the courage or ability to explain that the beast is "mankind's essential illness." Simon's position concerning the beast reflects his personality. Simon is an intuitive individual who grasps the deeper knowledge needed to understand the true identity of the beast. Unfortunately, his shy personality prevents him from voicing his opinions.
Ralph, reflecting the attitudes of the son of a military man, is reluctant to believe in "the beast". He believes the idea of the beast is just a distraction and they must concentrate on more important things, like the condition of the huts and lack of fresh water. His focus and attitudes are practical, based on setting up a well running society. Jack, on the other hand, doesn't really believe in the beast but is willing to use it's possible existence as a source of power over the littleuns. He criticizes the littleuns for believing in the beast, but in doing so, puts the fear of the beast in their minds. True to his nature, Piggy tries to explain logically why the beast cannot exist. But when he tries to get the littleuns to express their fears openly, chaos follows. Simon, who is doesn't believe in the beast either allows his fear of speaking to the rest of the boys result in his humiliation. When Ralph admonishes him for moving around at night, this allows Jack to humiliate Simon by associating Simon with "loose bowels". This shows that Jack is opportunistic and cruel, and that Simon is thoughtful but shy. Thus the "beast" helps show the true personalities of the boys.
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