When and where does the beast get mentioned for the first time?  

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 2, Ralph holds an assembly to establish rules and explain to the boys that they are on an uninhabited island. After Ralph mentions that they are on a "good island," a littlun with a mulberry-colored birthmark asks for the conch to address the others. The shy littlun then whispers to Piggy to ask Ralph what he is going to do about the "snake-thing." Initially, Ralph and the other boys laugh, but the littlun tells Piggy that the thing he is referring to is a "beastie." The littlun continues to tell Piggy that he saw a big, frightening snake-thing in the woods. Ralph then explains to the boys that beasties cannot exist on the small island and insists that the littlun was having a nightmare. However, the littlun continues to affirm that he saw the snake-thing, which worries the other boys. Jack then grabs the conch and tells the group that there is no such thing as a snake-thing. Ralph is the first to use the term "beast" when he responds to Jack by saying, "But there isn’t a beast!" (Golding 50). As the novel progresses, their belief in the beast becomes more unsettling. William Golding uses the beast to symbolize the boys' inherent wickedness throughout the novel.

luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 5, Ralph calls a meeting because he sees their civilization disintegrating and chaos beginning to take over.  There it comes out that, while things started out OK for them, people started getting frightened.  He wants to get the boys, especially the young ones, to realize that there is no beast as they think there is.  The little boys think there are beasts that live in the water and that the vines and creepers are like snakes - living, breathing, and dangerous. Ironically, Jack says that there is no beast in the forest and Piggy supports those words by saying he realizes there is no beast with claws and all, but he also understands that the beast the little boys refer to is real in another sense.  This is where the beast gets its first mention as a beast. In the next chapter, Simon realizes that the beast is human.  Chapter 8 is where Simon converses with the Lord of the Flies, which represents the beast that is actually the savagery inside each person.

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Lord of the Flies

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