Into the Belly of the Beast

Today’s blog post will be taking a turn away from the zombies to talk about The Lord of the Flies by William Golding a classic novel that is still loved today. This book is brought into classrooms today because of what students can learn from the boys stranded on an island.

“’Fancy thinking the beast was something you could hunt and kill,’ said the head.”

The person speaking in this quotation is the head of the Lord of the Flies, also known as the beast. It is talking to Simon who is one of the seven kids that are stuck on this island without any adults. The boys are convinced there is some kind of beast that lives on the island; there are rumors that there is a beast that roams at night, but none of the boys have ever seen it. This is because the beast isn’t actually real. The beast is inside all of the boys, it lives in them. It is the evil that is inside all humans. In this quotation, the beast is telling Simon exactly that. The evil force the beast is talking about is not some malevolent force someone can see; it is not something people can hide from. Everyone has it, and this realization startles Simon. He tries to tell the other boys, but the evil force within them takes over, and the rest of them are convinced that Simon is the beast. They end up beating and killing him.

This plays into the idea of the fragility of human life. This is a huge characteristic of apocalyptic texts. As soon as there is a disruption to normal life, people automatically turn on each other. Humanity and the human condition are delicate things that require balance. Once there is something that can tip it people turn on each other and become the monsters they fear. Instead of coming together to fight the forces of evil, they turn into the evil they are trying so desperately to fight. Simon tried telling the others of what he had learned and instead of listening to him and taking the time to hear what he was saying they acted out of fear and impulse. Their actions are what cost Simon his life. The balance of human life was tipped.