Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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What is Jack's understanding of the beast in Lord of the Flies and how does he use it?

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Initially, Jack is as much confounded by the presence of the "beast" as the rest of the boys. He comes to realize that, as one of the few willing to aggressively (at least outwardly) hunt, he can use this overriding fear to control those who fear it too. Jack states, that "there is no beast. But if there was, he'd hunt it and kill it." This is liberating to many of the others who fear the beast but feel powerless to do anything about it. It leads the insightful reader to contemplate the notion that leaders might have an incentive to keep those they lead "in the dark" or at least fearful. The idea that those who are led need their leaders is a powerful inducement for a society which values compliance with authority. On the other hand, it reminds those who value liberty of the responsibility they have to insure that they are "paying attention" to the words and deeds of those they are willing to entrust their faith in.

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