Notes on Lord of the Flies Themes

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Lord of the Flies Topic Tracking: Beast

Chapter 1 "The Sound of the Shell" & 2 "Fire on the Mountain"

Beast 1: Fear of a "beastie" on the island is first stemmed from a littlun with a distinctive marking, a "mulberry-colored birthmark" on his face, who says the beast comes out at night. Both Ralph and Jack, thinking these to be simply childish nightmares, comfort everyone that there is no beast. It is this same mulberry birthmarked boy, who disappears after the boys' first fire burns out of control across the island.

Chapter 3 "Huts on the Beach" & 4 "Painted Faces and Long Hair"

Beast 2: Fear of the beast has not diminished--quite the contrary, the fear has intensified in strength amongst the littluns. Shelters are built to provide a "home" for them so that they will not be afraid of the island. Simon calls attention to this when he comments that the children are afraid of the beast as if it were a real creature.

Chapter 5 "Beast from the Water" & 6 "Beast from the Air"

Beast 3: The beast has become a topic of discussion during assembly and Simon has been mistaken for the beast by one of the littluns out sleep-walking. Piggy gives his scientific opinion that there is nothing to be afraid of on the island unless they are afraid of people. Simon tries to add to this by ambiguously stating this about the beast: "Maybe it's only us."

Beast 4: From the world of grown-ups comes an object mistaken to be the beast, the body of a deceased pilot having come to rest on the island. Samneric see this body swaying in the wind and, terrified, flee back to the beach where the others are sleeping. The boys' imaginations run wild and, seeing scratches on one of the twin's bodies(caused by braches as they ran down the mountain), the boys are sure that the beast had attacked Samneric.

Chapter 7 "Shadows and Tall Trees" & 8 "Gift for the Darkness"

Beast 5: A sow's head is cut off and left by the hunters as "a gift for the beast." Whereas previously the beast had incited fear and worry amongst the boys, now Jack attempts to befriend it by offering the head of a nursing mother pig which his hunters had killed, as a peace offering.

Beast 6: Curious as always, Simon waits by the bloodied sow's head, buzzing with flies, to see if a beast would, indeed, come to claim its gift. There is an odd occurrence as the beast now given a name, The Lord of the Flies, speaks to Simon with a voice appearing from nowhere declaring "I'm a part of you"--in fact, a part of all the boys. The Lord of the Flies threatens Simon by saying that if he attempts to explain this understanding of the nature of the beast to the others, they shall all kill him, including Ralph and Piggy.

Chapter 9 "A View to a Death" & 10 "The Shell and the Glasses"

Beast 7: Simon goes to climb the mountain in the dark to see what exactly was the beast Samneric had supposedly seen. Upon arriving, the beast is discovered to be a "pitiful" thing, the body of a decaying pilot and nothing more. Unafraid and very casual about the whole thing, he descends to the beach to warn the boys that there is in truth no beast at all.

Beast 8: Simon is mistaken for the beast as he enters the boys' tribal dance, trying to warn the group that there is no such thing as the beast. As the boys attempt to slay the beast during their ritual, they are described as beasts themselves, with no sound "but the tearing of teeth and claws" as they surround and attack Simon. This is the second time Simon is thought to be the beast, the first when the littlun Phil was sleep-walking and saw him in the woods.

Beast 9: In response to thoughts about the murder of Simon, Jack assures his hunters that the thing they had attacked was indeed the beast who came to them disguised in the form of Simon. The beast no longer is a concrete thing to be pictured but takes on the role of an abstract, supernatural force: "You can't tell what he might do," Jack warns them all. He proclaims that it is a thing which they can't kill.

Beast 10: Piggy is attacked at night while sleeping by Jack and his hunters with the intent to steal his glasses. Piggy too, who had been so steadfast in objecting to the presence of a beast, now cries loudly "It's come...It's real!" during the attack. Jack and his hunters now are mistaken for the beast.

Chapter 11 "Castle Rock" & 12 "Cry of the Hunters"

Beast 11: Jack's name is invoked by Ralph in anger when he calls Jack "a beast and a swine." Jack himself has become a beast now in Ralph's eyes, even as Jack saw Simon as the beast in disguise. Hunting and the ritualistic behaviors of the Jack's tribe all are consider bestial after Ralph's comment. Being like a pig (a "swine") is also equated with the beast.

Beast 12: After earlier dubbing Jack to be a beast, now Ralph behaves as such. He wildly attacks the hunters as they chase him, "foaming" madly. His movements are compared to those of an animal wondering, "Couldn't a fire outrun a galloping horse?" as he runs, screams and attacks to defend himself in order to not be killed. Unlike Simon who put up little defense or counterattack after being surrounded by the boys' spears, Ralph actually tries to escape and fight back and, by doing this, shows his own beast-like nature.

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