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Ralph laughed, and the other boys laughed with him. The small boy twisted further into himself.
“Tell us about the snake-thing.”
“Now he says it was a beastie.”
“A snake-thing. Ever so big. He saw it.”
“In the woods.”
“He says the beastie came in the dark.” (2.73-80)
The little boys naturally think the beastie comes in the dark; fear of the unknown creature is that much greater when they can’t see it. Interestingly, this is the whole point of the beast; the boys can’t metaphorically see it for what it really is.
“You’ve noticed, haven’t you?”
Jack put down his spear and squatted.
“ Well. They’re frightened.”
He rolled over and peered into Jack’s fierce, dirty face.
“I mean the way things are. They dream. You can hear ‘em. Have you been awake at night?” Jack shook his head.
“They talk and scream. The littluns. Even some of the others. As if –”
“As if it wasn’t a good island.”
Astonished at the interruption, they looked up at Simon’s serious face.
“As if,” said Simon, “the beastie, the beastie or the snake-thing, was real. Remember?”
“If you’re hunting sometimes you catch yourself feeling as if –” [Jack] flushed suddenly.
“There’s nothing in it of course. Just a feeling, but – being hunted, as if something’s behind you all the time in the jungle.” (3.58-82)
Like so many negative emotions on the island, fear spreads quickly, from the littluns to the older boys.
“…fear can't hurt you any more than a dream. There aren't any beasts to be afraid of on this island . . . Serve you right if something did get you, you useless lot of cry-babies!" (5.79)
Jack ridicules the fear of others to subdue his own fear.