Fear is a Primitive Emotion (Lord of the Flies)


The message that William Golding portrays in the text is that fear is a powerful primitive emotion; he gets this message across by using fear throughout the book. Fear has a way of taking control of human emotions and actions; nevertheless, it can widely affect decision-making. In society, there are two ways to respond to fear; in which case, there is flight or fight. Fear is demonstrated throughout Lord of the Flies, the author shows in the text that fear is a very powerful primitive emotion.

The experiences the boys have been through change their perspectives and have shown the audience that fear is a primitive emotion. "You have doctors for everything, even the inside of your mind. You don't really mean that we got to be frightened all the time of nothing? Life,' said Piggy expansively, 'is scientific, that's what it is...I know there isn't no fear, either.' Piggy paused. 'Unless-' Ralph moved restlessly. 'Unless what?' 'Unless we get frightened of people.' "(Golding 90). A mind is a complicated place filled with mystery. Piggy believes that fear is an emotion that is dependent upon others rather than life itself. Therefore, the boy's perspective of fear is portrayed differently, due to their journey on the island.   

Fear has a way of taking control of human emotions and actions. “In front of them, only three or four yards away, was a rock-like hump where no rock should be. Ralph could hear a tiny chattering noise coming from somewhere—perhaps his own mouth. He bound himself together with his will, fused his fear and loathing into a hatred, and stood up. He took two leaden steps forward.” (123). Ralph was frightened, teeth chattering, he spontaneously became filled with anger, he stood up and began to walk towards the object. He was afraid of the rock-like hump in the distance but, then all of the sudden, a different emotion, hatred, came over him. Fear plays with human actions and emotions; which in turn, leads to inconsistency and confusion. 

Fight or flight are primitive responses to dealing with fear and or danger. Sam and Eric were both on fire duty when they believed that they saw a beast. Their reactions came to play soon after being traumatized because, “Then as though they had but one terrified mind between them they scrambled away over the rocks and fled.”(140). This reaction to fear is described as flight because the twins ran away from the scene where they had locked eyes with the beast. After fleeting, they consulted with Ralph about the horrible beast they had supposedly seen. 

William Golding demonstrates that fear is a primitive human emotion and can ultimately control behavioral response. It is our body's reaction to alert us from any internal and external danger or harm; furthermore, fear is a primitive reaction to protect the body. As shown in the book, the responses to fear include fight or flight. In conclusion, fear is a primitive emotion, it can not only change but alter decision making.

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