In The Lord of the Flies, the beast goes through many transformations throughout the book, and has literal and symbolic meanings that further describe it. When the boy with the birth mark on his face first sees the beast, he claims that he, “[saw] a snake-thing […] in the dark” (31). The reality of the beast to the boy is that of a snake or vine, but it really just represents his fears, and how they take control of what he thinks is real and what isn’t. After jack comes back from a day’s hunting, he describes being alone as, “a feeling [that you’re] being hunted, as if something is behind you all the time in the jungle” (47). Jack claims that the thing watching him is a hunter or predator, but it actually just symbolizes the feeling he has in the situation that he’s in. Percival, a littlun, tries to tell Ralph where he thinks the beast lives and states that, “the beast comes out of the sea, [a squid]” (81). The figure they think they see in the water really just represents a dark shape or animal. As the twins Sam and Eric tend to the fire on the mountain, they look over the edge, only to see, “the beast, there were eyes, teeth claws” (93). What they really saw was a parachutist, that parachutist symbolizes their fears taking a human form that scares the daylights out of them. After Jack, Simon, Roger and the other hunters kill the sow, the pig’s head talks to Simon, and states, “fancy thinking the beast was something you can hunt and kill” (133). To Simon, the boars head is talking to him in the form of the beast. This event represents the beast becoming a reality, talking thinking and listening. Throughout the book, the beast has taken on many different forms that the boys thought they saw. The symbolic meanings of the forms of the beast explain how ones fear can overcome their perception of reality.
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