Fear in William Golding's Lord of the Flies

Fear in William Golding's Lord of the Flies

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Fear in William Golding's Lord of the Flies


Human's fears should not be taken lightly. Fear could do anything to one's minds, though without fear, man can be as savage as animals. In the book Lord of the Flies, William Golding presented fear of the unknown to be a powerful force in a man's mind. Fear of the unknown is a powerful force, which can turn to either insight or hysteria. The kids feared of not being rescued off of the island, so they made signal fires on top of the mountain. Then, there and gone, Roger's fear of the old rules he abided to. Also, there were the fears of the beast which confused and isolated the kids from the top of the mountain.
The kids' fear of not being rescued from the island led the group to the top of the mountain to make signal fires. They used Piggy's glasses in order to make that fire:
Jack pointed suddenly. ‘His specs- use them as burning glasses!'
Piggy was surrounded before he could back away. ‘Here- let
me go!' His voice rose … Jack snatched the glasses off his face…
Ralph moved the lenses back and forth…Almost at once a thin
trickle of smoke rose gently…(Golding, 40-41).
Piggy, who represented clear conscience or brilliance in mankind had no respect or say over much things on the island from the others. Piggy thought it was a bad idea and indeed, it was:
Smoke was rising here and there among the creepers…Small flames
…crawled away through the leaves and brushwood, dividing and
increasing…Acres of black and yellow smoke rolled steadily
toward the sea (Golding, 44).
This fire destroyed a big part of the island, thus limiting them on meat or fruits to survive on. This same disaster happened again when Jack and the hunters hunted Ralph, "Now the fire was nearer; those volleying shots were great limbs, trunks even, bursting. The fools! The fools! The fire must be almost at the fruit trees-what would they eat tomorrow" (Golding, 198). They went as far as burning the whole forest to smoke out Ralph. The event, if wasn't for the ships noticing the fire and rescuing them was all but positive, the hunters didn't think as to what would happen next after they burn the forest and kill Ralph. Ralph of course wasn't even a threat to them; Jack feared that Ralph's presence could be disastrous toward his control.

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Roger's fear of the old rules of his society he abided also changed him. He first wouldn't do anything mean toward anyone because he fears of what the adults might have to say to him:
Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet
there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter,
into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was
the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the
protection of parents and school and the policemen and the law (Golding, 62).
Here was the fear inside of him, buried. This buried emotion was lifted moments later when Jack found some charcoal to paint their face with: "He looked in astonishment, no longer at himself but at an awesome stranger. He spilt the water and leapt to his feet, laughing excitedly" (Golding, 63). The painted faces lifted all of their fears, changing them into more savage beings, which supposedly were to be used for hunting to blend themselves within the environment. After a while longer, Roger's fear of the old rules had completely vanished:
High overhead, Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment,
leaned all his weight on the lever. Ralph heard the great rock
before he saw it…The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow
from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white
fragments and ceased to exist…Piggy fell forty feet and landed
on his back…(Golding, 181).
The breaking of the conch let everyone's inner savagery officially comes out. Their fear of the old society's rules (presented by the conch) has been completely lifted, turning them into savages.
The fear of the beast isolated the kids from making fire on top of the mountain. The "beast" came at night when no kids were awake:
A sliver of moon…but there were other lights in the sky, that
moved fast, winked, or went out, though not even a faint popping
came down from the battle fought at ten miles' height. There
was a sudden bright explosion and corkscrew trail across a sky
; then darkness again and stars (Golding, 95).
No one witnessed this moment so they didn't know where the beast originated. They came looking for the beast later on and they found it, "Before them, something like a great ape was sitting asleep with its head between its knees…there was a confusion in the darkness and the creature lifted its head, holding toward them the ruin of a face" (Golding, 123). They witnessed this and made a conclusion that it was indeed the beast. From then on, they didn't come up to the mountain to make fire anymore, because they feared for their lives. Simon though, didn't believe about the beast and came up there to see the beast. Simon found the beast and tried to tell the others, but he came at the wrong time:
A thing was crawling out of the forest. It came darkly, uncertainly.
The shrill screaming that rose before the beast was like a pain.
The beast stumbled into the horseshoe. ‘Kill the beast! Cut his
throat! Spill his blood!'
The boys killed Simon there and then. It was out of fear, but turned into a murder.
The unknown fear within us has proved to be a powerful force which can turn anyone into anything, can give us an insight or an uncontrollable emotion/hysteria. The kids' fears of not being rescued turned into a disaster when they first made signal fires on top of the mountain but gave them insight on how to make fire. Roger's fear of the old rules turned into hysteria when he hid it and later on, made him a murderer. The fear of the beast, only out of savagery, weren't realistic at all, but only Simon had learned to realize that. Fear is in every man's mind, it will always make the decision between right and wrong, and man must learn to control fear and not turn it into hysteria. Fear must be controlled and one must not bow down to fear, or like in the world today, terrorism, if mankinds are meant to survive.
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