The True Beast

Lord of the Flies has many interesting quotes that tell a lot about the world around us. The way the “leaders” of the book deal with stressful situations, outlines the main flaws of political leaders today. But the quote I find most interesting is said by a more quiet character of the book, Simon. Although he doesn’t talk much, each word he says has a lot means a lot. The statement he makes foreshadows all that they will do and highlights what they have done. At the moment where the boys were on the brink of insanity over the beast, he shared with them, “Maybe there is a beast- maybe it’s only us.” (Page 95-96 of my book, Page 89 of your book)

The beast had it’s first-mention when a boy with a mulberry birthmark spoke out about seeing a snake-like beast. Originally the boys assumed that the kid just had a bad dream and brushed away the claim. However, the thought of the beast stayed in the back of their minds. Jack even described that when he was hunting he felt “as if you’re not hunting, but- being hunted.” This slight anxiety came to a climax when Ralph tried to have a formal assembly about the fire on the mountain. They went off on a tangent discussing the beast’s existence. This brought most of the boys to the brink of insanity. With this, Jack has a revolution of sorts and claims that he will hunt and kill the beast. Their terror for the Beast of the island blinds them from the fact that they might be the true Beast.

What Simon means by this, is that the only monster that’s on the island is the boys. The island was better off before they came along. It flourished and thrived without their disturbance, then they came along and dropped boulders in the forest, killed pigs, and cut up the flowers. They literally made a permanent scar on the island. They aren’t just destroying their surroundings, but they’re also gonna destroy one another. They already let countless kids kill themselves on the island. The little ones are eating rotten fruit and baking themselves in the sun, and nobody seems to care about them. And amidst all this chaos and destruction, Simon is the only person that can see the truth, Simons the only one that can see the true beast. It’s as if Simon is Jesus, giving us the warning and telling us to follow him to the light.

What I find even more interesting, is that when the boys are given this idea, they reject it. Like the high priests in the synagogues, They refuse to admit their faults. It’s also very similar to the people of today. We demonize the opposition and refuse to see anything wrong with ourselves or our ideologies. We laugh at their ideas and throw pencils at one another. (Funny that our government is just as functional as a couple of kids with a conch.) Instead, we should see the merits in their thoughts and see the faults in our own. A good example of this antagonizing would be the senators that voted for Kavanaugh. Everywhere they go, there are crowds of protestors. Some even have protested at the senator’s homes. I understand that the activist feels like they’re preventing a rapist from becoming a supreme court judge, but these tactics of doxing and humiliation are cruel, even Nazi-like. And Simon feels this hate towards him.

In Lord of the Flies, we’ve seen many thought-provoking quotes, but none are as interesting as Simon’s quote. It ties in so well with the message of the book, yet it also shows a crucial issue with modern politics. We degrade the opposition to mere idiots and assume that we are right. We assume that they are the beast, when in reality we may be the true beast.

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