Essay about Fear and Ignorance: The Worst of All Evils

Essay about Fear and Ignorance: The Worst of All Evils

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Fear releases evil within man’s heart. In William Golding's novel, Lord of the Flies, British schoolboys become castaways on an uninhabited island. As the boys live on the island, rumors of a beast circulate, bringing to light the boys’ inner savagery. The boys' moral degradation becomes even more apparent when they are compared to Simon, a pure soul who, despite suffering from epilepsy, treks up a dangerous mountain to discover the truth about the beast. Religious symbols, such as Simon, the Lord of the Flies, and the setting, show that when good and evil collide, fear and ignorance become dangerous enemies of reason.
Simon emerges as a Christ figure who confronts his fears and inner evil and by doing so, becomes stronger spiritually than the rest of the boys. Despite physical weakness, Simon exhibits enormous personal courage and purity, qualities often associated with Jesus Christ. Just like Jesus Christ, Simon presents himself as a helper and aide from the start, especially towards the younger boys. Simon often leaves the others to go off by himself after a hard day, though he often stops to help the littleuns “[finding] for them the fruit they [can] not reach, [pulling] off the choicest from up in the foliage, [passing] them back down to endless outstretched hands” (55), similar to Jesus feeding the hungry throughout the Bible. Simon's courage in the face of his own fear and evil nature leads him up the mountain to discover the truth about the beast. Before he may confront the beast, however, Simon must face his own fears and defeat the evil within him. He does so, denouncing the authority of the Lord of the Flies, his inner evil, and labeling him only a "pig's head on a stick" (147). After waking, though he "[staggers] some...


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...cene of beauty represents Jesus' own place of meditation. As such, its destruction ends all hope for reason on the island until the arrival of a ship whose naval officer saves Ralph and appears in bright, shining white clothes. This evokes the image of angels, the original warriors of Heaven who protect the righteous and punish the wicked.
Golding uses religious symbolism to illustrate his idea of humanity’s inner evil and its connection with fear, especially with ties between Biblical references and Simon, and the Lord of the Flies, and the island. Fear and ignorance oppose sound logic and reasoning and cause the growth of evil within a population. Golding wants readers to understand their own evil, so they might fight and repress it. Fear and ignorance release the evil existing within human hearts, and by confronting it, a human may preserve true purity of soul.

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