The Defeat Of Civilization Essay

818 words - 4 pages

In Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, the Beast singlehandedly removes civilization from the island. At first, the Beast is only perceived as a minor fear, however, by the end of the book, it is perceived as an idol. The Beast is first introduced as a figment of the boys’ imagination, but further develops into a legitimate creature—by the boys—later on. By the end, the Beast becomes an actual G-d that the boys worship by offering sacrifices to it, symbolizing the substitution of civilization with savagery by the boys.

Paragraph 1- When the Beast is first introduced, it symbolizes a growing fear that is present in all the boys, and exhibits the potential for savagery that exists in every individual. In the beginning, the majority of the boys burst into “laughter and cheers” when the Beast is first introduced as “the snake-thing” (35). The fact that the boys were laughing exhibits the civil behavior that initially lies within the group. As the story progresses, the Beast starts to become a growing concern to the boys as Ralph notes that “things are breaking up. I don't understand why. We began well; we were happy. And then—. Then people started getting frightened [of the beast]” (88-89). The boys’ fear of the Beast begins to separate them from civilization and exhibits the original loss of the boys’ civil behavior. Soon after, the boys—as a whole—start to suppose that “maybe there is a beast [living on the island]” (95). Their consideration of the Beast’s existence demonstrates the progression of their—already existent—fear. In short, the Beast that had started off as a joke now represents a fear that is growing within the group, and symbolizes the impact that fear originally has on civilization.

Paragraph 2- As the story unravels; the Beast is described as a concrete symbol with physical attributes, thus solidifying the tangible savagery that is now present amongst the boys. Initially, the Beast is affiliated to "squids—that are hundreds of yards long and eat whales whole" (95). Now, the Beast is thought to be a gargantuan sea-creature, rather than the microscopic fear it once was. Afterwards, Jack—with the intention of hunting the Beast—informs the group that “you can't have an ordinary hunt because the Beast doesn't leave tracks” (110). The Beast has solidified as a creature—from the air—that Jack and his...

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