November 15, 2018
Look in the Mirror, It’s You
The monster I’ve finally decided was worth writing about is the one portrayed in William Golding’s novel, ‘The Lord of the Flies’. It is unlike any vampire, ghoul, or zombie. It’s not the one that resides under your bed at night when it’s dark and you’re alone. Everyone has been aquatinted with it at one time or another, yet many are unaware of its presence. Deep within every human being lies their primal instinct of malicious savagery. The book is a depiction of this monster that is unleashed within a group of young, adolescent school boys, who found themselves alone and trapped on an uncharted tropical island. The story shows this monster’s capability of tainting even the most unsuspecting and purest of souls. Inside of you is a bottle full of primal monstrosity while social rule is the cap, but what happens when you lose the cap?
In the beginning of Golding’s novel, the school boys were evacuating Britain in order to escape a dangerous war zone. While flying, their plane gets shot down by an enemy pilot and crashes into an inhabited island. Unfortunately, the pilot dies upon impact. The boys, however, survive the crash and are left stranded on the island with no resources or sense of direction. After much discussion, they decide to elect two leaders; Ralph and Jack. Ralph was to be in charge of figuring out a way to signal help, build shelter, collect resources, and keep the boys in order. Jack, on the other hand, was in charge of leading a hunting group. The majority of the boys spend their first few days at the island playing and swimming, despite Ralph’s demands to take their situation seriously. During this time, Jack begins to obsess over hunting and disregards Ralph’s warnings. The two constantly butt-heads and their groups are further divided. Ironically, the island later becomes their own war-zone.
The monster subtly emerges within Jack and, after he and his hunting group obtain their first kill. They become frenzied and begin to dance around the carcass, almost as if they were glorifying its burning flesh. Jack’s blood lust grows rapidly, riling up his members and attracting more of Ralph’s boys into his hunting group. I believe this signifies the initial growth of the monster within Jack and its enticement to the others, whose sense of reason was not strong enough to reject temptation. “When the children in the novel are set free from the restriction and control of the adult world, their natural impulses surface and reveal their lust for power and savagery. This revelation of brutality is found in human nature.” (Alnajm) I believe that they had battled (the monster) within themselves before finally giving in and joining Jack. On one shoulder they had a sweet baby angel reminding them of the conditioning they had growing up to know the difference between right and wrong, while the devil stood on the other, convincing them to grant themselves the desires of their carnal flesh.
The smaller boys in the group later have dreams of a horrifying monster lurking within the island’s forest. Their perception later deceits them, causing a silhouette to appear as though the monster had manifested itself. They hurry back to the others and tell them about the awful experience they’ve just encountered. Jack then takes it upon himself to gather his boys up for a hunt to catch the ferocious beast, but ends up doing something much more sinister. For some reason, Jack decided that a violent sacrifice to the beast would rid them of their worries. First of all, what kind of twelve year old boy would even demise such an idea? “Hey guys, how about we decapitate this sow’s head in a ritual slaughter and put it on a stick to offer it to this monster?”…
…Which is exactly what they did. As if leaving it a dead sow as a gift wasn’t enough to earn their way into its good graces. I’d rather have the whole thing instead of just the head, personally. As you probably have already guessed, absolutely nothing good comes of this sacrifice. One of the boys by the name of Simon, happens to stumble upon the morbid lollipop that Jack and his hunters left for the beast. But by this time, flies were swarming in and around the decomposing head. Simon is paralyzed with complete shock as the fly-infested head begins to speak to him and basically says, “You will never escape me, for I exist within all men.” By saying this to Simon, I believe it was an inner reflection of himself and all the boys who have been giving in to their savagery. It says “you will NEVER escape me”, meaning that if you had been pushing away the monster inside you since you got to the island, you wouldn’t be able to keep up the act for long. Sooner or later, it’s what you’ll become because deep inside, it’s what you are. Naturally after an encounter like this, you’d run back to the group in order tonotify the others of what just had happened. As Simon scurried back in his puzzled fright, all of the boys (including Ralph) were eating the remains of a sow in a chaotic debauch. Madness was unleashed in every one of them, and when their eyes met poor Simon’s quick moving figure in the darkness, they immediately pounced. Simon met his unfortunate fate as the boys ripped and tore at his soft flesh, using only the teeth in their mouths and their bare hands. This just proves the monster’s claims, because even Ralph, the most rational thinker of them all, gavein to the monster within him as well. It was only a matter of time…
Things only went downhill from there. The next day after Simon’s brutal murder, both groups began to get violent with each other, and the monster made itself known to all. At first, Ralph was trying to reason with Jack, and urged him to think rationally for once. Jack, of course, couldn’t care less about rationality, and was seeking to quench his lust for blood. As the few members of Ralph’s group were ordered by Jack to be tied up, a boy in Jack’s group forces a boulder off the mountain – in the direction of a boy named Piggy (Ralph’s second hand man). The boulder ultimately crushes every bone in Piggy’s body, and the ocean ends up swallowing his mangled remains, wiping away his very existence. Piggy was the only boy who never lost himself, and gave into the monster. He thought critically and with reason up until his inevitable death. Again, this proves what the decapitated swine’s head had said before. Although Piggy had not allowed to be tempted by his inner savagery instincts, he was unable to escape the beast and lost his life. But the monster within them all wasn’t done yet. They hunted Ralph like he was nothing more than a filthy sow on the island. Jack and his boys decided to light the entire forest on fire, in order to smoke him out of his hiding place. Before you know it, flames engulf every tree and plant in sight. Smoke filled Ralph’s nostrils, forcing him to finally stagger back on the beach.
Finally, naval officers finally see the fire that they had set and set out to rescue the boys. Ralph is astonished by the rescue and begins to weep uncontrollably. “Ralph at the end of the novel, on the precipice, stares uncomprehendingly into the irrational darkness of his soul. He cries for the loss of innocence. He cries for the loss of his rational friend Piggy, who also denied the irrational.” (Fitzgerald, Kayser) The monster crept into the lives of these boys who didn’t even realize exactly what they were capable of, and it destroyed the ones who wouldn’t let it in. It’s something that lives in each and every one of us, what will you do when you lose your cap?
Alnajm, Lateef Alaa. “The Main Themes in Lord of the Flies”.
University of Kufa, Iraq-Alnjaf-Alghadee Q, Iraq. 20 April, 2015.
I used this scholarly source in my report to provide credibility to my claims for my readers to obtain. It helped me come up with more ideas and perspectives on the significance of the metaphors located within “The Lord of the Flies”, and I found it to be incredibly useful in my research.
2. Golding, William, and Edmund L. Epstein. Lord of the Flies: A Novel. New York: Perigee, 1954.
I used this book as the main source of my paper. It has given me a whole new perspective on what the reality of monsters are and how they dwell within anyone who allows it to. It provided me with a new aspect on monsters, outside the portrayal others have given them (vampires, ghouls, etc.). It is not only incredibly well written, but it is filled with an abundance of symbolic metaphors throughout the passage.
3. JF Fitzgerald, and JR Kayser. “Pride as Original Sin” – Studies in the Novel. The Johns Hopkins University press. Spring, 1992. JSTOR.
I used this incredibly scholarly source to assist me with proving the points I made within my monster paper. It gives a good and reliable insights on the book titled, ‘The Lord of the Flies’ which I had based my report about. It grants me credibility on my claims and was very useful in the creation of my paper.