what are the theories that the boys have about the evil on the island. explain the paradox of the boys' attitude toward the beast.

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the little boys first thinks he sees a snake, and during an assembly he names it as a “beastie.”  This is dismissed by the older boys as only a nightmare, but the idea resonates in all of them.  Other theories grow, such as perhaps some sort of “beastie” comes out of the ocean, although Ralph continues to insist they are afraid of fear, and “fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.” The irony here is that in fact fear can hurt, for it their fear that ultimately manifests itself as the beast. In Chapter 5, even Simon, who “sees” more than the other children, ventures: "maybe there is a beast.” Piggy vehemently disagrees. Then, the twins think they see the beast, which is the man in the parachute. Finally, when Simon has his confrontation with the pig’s head, offered to “the beast” as part of their kill, he learns what in fact the beast is:“I’m part of you,” says this head, this “Lord of the Flies.” In Simon’s hallucination, the “lord” continues: “I’m the reason why…things are what they are.” This means that the raw violence of the boys on a hunt which created the head on a stick, covered with flies, is the beast. Thus the paradox is that they are the beast, so they cannot eliminate it without eliminating themselves.

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Lord of the Flies

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