The beast

by You Have My Word

At 23 ripe years of age, I have taken up the task of finally reading The Lord of The Flies. Appalling, I know. I was never forced to turn its pages at any stage of my schooling, but I figured it’s a classic that any self-respecting writer should have read.

Quite frankly, I don’t like the overly descriptive style as much as I’m aware of its important and role in the telling of the tale (a rather woeful one at that). I am fascinated, however, at the transformation from humanity to savagery. Blame it on survival, maybe they were literally going insane, but I’ve just painfully read through the detailed account of how Simon was killed! (I’m not at the end so don’t spoil it for me, more than death has). Granted they thought he was the beast…

That got me thinking though. Fact is, according to my own interpretation anyway, the beast represents anything that they are not familiar with, anything that makes them scared, anything they can’t control, anything that could do harm even if it can’t – but only we know that. It’s not so different from our lives presently. We fear all things we can’t control or see or understand – the unknown.

When we’re small we have monsters in the closet and under our beds, and they don’t go away just because we grow up. We don’t outgrow them, they simply go from monsters under our beds to monsters in our heads. Even more terrifying! So we chase and fight and even kill (metaphorically speaking) the beast and in turn end up doing those things to ourselves.

I don’t yet have a solution for this conundrum, maybe it comes at the end of the book, maybe I’ll only realise The Fix in another 23 years (although I hope not). I think a good start though, is realising that the monster we think is there, is actually not a monster. When we can see it in the light, we see it’s not so scary after all.