The Menace Within

The extreme situation of being on the island leads the boys to become more savage and less human. Their fear of an unknown beast becomes their fear of each other as they devolve into a more savage state. The boys mold their fears of perpetual existence on the island into the form of a mysterious menace in the jungle. In the beginning, the boys’ uncertainties about the island are unformed and their original concept of the beast is vague. It is just a “beastie, a snake thing” (36) until Jack begins to acquire the habits of a brutal creature. Jack, after killing the pig, exclaims “there were lashings of blood…laughing and shuddering” (68) as his last ties to civilization wear away. Jack’s sanguine actions pull attention from the hopes of rescue to the thrill of the hunt. As time goes on the children are hunted by their more savage, bloodthirsty selves. This gives the beast form; a vicious, clawed antagonist. The beast takes shape with “eyes… teeth… claws…slinking behind the trees.” (100) The boys’ primal instincts emerge as they become part of their worst nightmare. The fears of an inhuman specter, a wild animal hunting them in the jungle, are their fears of their own animalistic inner selves.

Ch 5: "Beast from Water" & Ch 6: "Beast from Air" small group mini-essay paragraph writing challenge (in lieu of the typical in-class essay):

Link: original quotations and assignment

Links to the specific student responses