In the novel, Lord of the Flies, it is the “beast” which is the most important and symbolic. It remains, whether considered real or imaginary by the boys on the island, a significant ‘being’. William Golding has chosen to personify the evil that is inside human beings, in the beast. The beginnings of the idea of the beast occur, when Ralph, having been chosen by the group of boys as their leader, is now taking on his role, with an increasing confidence. He is assuring the ‘littluns’ that they will ‘have a good time’ on the island. Ralph explains that the island has everything that they could possibly need. At this point, a six year-old boy, distinguished only by a mulberry-coloured birthmark on his face, allows the seeds of apprehension, on the subject of the beast, to be planted in the boys’ minds. The little boy, with the help of Piggy, who encourages him to speak and interprets what he is saying, tells the assembly of boys that he is scared of ‘a snake-thing’. He believes that the beast turns into one of the jungle creepers during the day but becomes a snake or ‘beastie’ at nightfall. Although he tries to comfort the boy, Ralph appears to feel that this is just another childish fear, like a fear of the dark. But towards the end of this scenario, he attempts to dismiss the idea, which will cause the boys, at such an early stage, to feel any anxiety on the island. “But there isn’t a beastie!”
Nevertheless, Ralph’s efforts do not pay off:
‘There was no laughter at all now and more grave watching.’Unfortunately for Ralph, he has lost control, due to the fact that he is powerless to prevent the boys believing in the ‘creature’, though he himself does not firmly believe in the existence of the beast: ‘Ralph was annoyed and, for the moment, defeated.’ At the end of the chapter, as the fire is spreading...
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