Last Updated 08 Nov 2022

The Theme of Fear in the Novel Lord of the Flies

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Glue is a strong liquid-y paste. Glue is also like fear. Fear is worry for what’s to come. It’s a common emotion to feel and it is present in literature, especially in the novel, Lord of the Flies. This book describes a band of boys stranded on an island who try to form a society, but turn on each other due to diverging views, sending them into chaos. Their societies were different, but they were still in order. I conclude that this is from fear, and that it is the key to maintaining order in society.

In the novel, Ralph, one of the leaders, convinces his troop that without a signal fire, no person will come to their rescue and thus they will be stuck on the island. His words cause some of the boys to worry, and therefore the boys become determined to keep a fire constantly lit so passing ships could save them. This reflects a motive and a reason to stick together. If the boys had disbanded, it would’ve been much harder to keep the fire going because it would be disorganized, which would heighten the chances of a dispute.

However, it is debated that fear from a threat will lead on to later violence, with statistics showing that 38.7% of a surveyed group of boys had fought more often, as claimed in an article (titled A Bully’s Future), which reveals statistics showing increased violence stemming from past trauma.

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I believe that the author is mistaken because she forgets submission. Submission is grown out of fear, and causes an individual to respect the power, because fighting back would bring pain. This can be seen in Lord of the Flies, when Ralph taunts Piggy, another stranded boy, about his old nickname. Piggy does not rebel, rather, he tries to reason with Ralph, by pleading not to tell the other boys. When Piggy is shunned by Jack, an aggressive 2nd leader who told him he was not allowed to explore the island with him and Ralph, Piggy quietly accepts his place as “lower” and remains silent.

Furthermore, this example carries into reality, with the Stanford prison experiment, where ordinary college students are paid to pose as prisoners and guards to see how people conform to given roles. It was discovered as the “guards” increasingly tormented prisoners with harshness, the “prisoners” became more obedient and likely to find ways to appeal to the authority, in order to avoid torture. This goes to prove how humans are driven by the worry of pain, making them comply, which keeps society balanced.

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