Though not create people as fearful people,Though not create people as fearful people,

Though people make a majority of their decisions subconsciously, fear is at the core of them. The world often operates and plays with the emotion of fear, leaving it unavoidable. This constant presence underlines the importance of understanding how it affects humans and leads to the question of why fear has such a major role in people’s lives. William Golding wrote Lord of the Flies to explore the many aspects of human nature, including the role that fear plays in humanity. The characters that Golding employs for this are a group of boys stranded on an island with no adults. Each boy comes from a different background, and yet when they come together, fear is at the root of many of their actions as they work to survive. Golding demonstrates a few reasons for this fear. Fear plays a dominant role in society because it is part of human nature and people tend to overreact to their fear. Fear is not something that humans learn from each other, rather it is part of human nature to be fearful. A few days after the creation of the Earth, it entered the world and never left. It is entrenched in society and the way people live. A days into the story of mankind, Adam and Eve broke God’s command to them to not eat from the tree of life, and suddenly fear came into existence. When God comes to speak to Adam and Eve about what they did, Adam responds by admitting “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid” (The Holy Bible, Gen. 3.10). This is just a few days after the first humans were created. Adam and Eve were not taught to fear, it is an innate part of them and continues to be part of humans forever after this because they sinned. God did not create people as fearful people, but that is how it is now. Fear is not learned from others or the surrounding environment, which is why it plays such a major role in society – it is impossible for any human to be unafraid.  Each boy in Lord of the Flies displays this human trait as their fear contributes to the primary events in the book. Each boy is raised in a different environment and have different backgrounds. Piggy’s aunt raised him and kept him very sheltered from the outside world, in contrast with Ralph who was raised in a very different setting with both of his parents.  Readers catch a glimpse of Ralph’s childhood one day while he is sitting on the rocks. He is thinking about his past life at home and imagines a time when “Mummy had still been with them and Daddy had come every day” (112). This paints a very different picture from Piggy’s home life. Yet, both of these boys are fearful. Piggy constantly demonstrates this through the way he is afraid of some of the others. During one assembly, Piggy claims that  “we get frightened of people” (83), and Ralph regularly mentions the necessity of keeping a fire going, for fear of someone not rescuing them. Being fearful is a part of who they are, not because of their backgrounds but because they are human. This fear advances much of the plot and assists in building the island’s “society”. If fear was not part of human nature, it would not have been such a big element in the story. Fear has not only been a part of human nature from the beginning, but its role in society has begun to thrive over time. People begin to realize that overreacting is often necessary, as shown by many of the boys’ reactions to their fear of the beast in Lord of the Flies. By overreacting to fear, people save themselves from potentially fatal things. Shiping Tang, a professor at Fudan University, published an article about fear and conflict in which he explores this idea more in depth:Because failing to detect and (over-)react toward danger can be so devastating or deadly, our brain is willing to risk false positive (i.e., elicitation of a fear response to a stimulus that turned out to be harmless) than false negative (i.e., failure to elicit the defense response in a dangerous situation) when facing a unknown other. (6-7)Essentially, Tang is saying that the effects of not overreacting can potentially be far more extreme than what someone would lose if he or she chose not to react to something that warranted a reaction. Consequently, people are more inclined to have a false positive reaction. As people panic more than necessary when faced with fear and anxiety, they allow the fear to play a bigger part in their lives. Golding depicts this point in Lord of the Flies when the idea of a beast challenges the boys. Near the end of the book, the boys are acting out killing a beast when they notice “A thing was crawling out of the forest. It came darkly, uncertainly. The shrill screaming that rose before the beast was like a pain. The beast stumbled into the horseshoe” (152). The boys, led by Jack, go on to kill the beast-like creature, who turns out to be Simon. The boys risk a false positive reaction and overreact to their uncertainty.  While some may argue that this example does not show how overreacting to fear saved the boy, that is irrelevant to the fact of whether the boys overreact, which they do. Overreaction, not only in this example but in many others, is a key element that spurs a lot of the action in the book. The beast is not something to be afraid of in reality, so if the boys had not overreacted their fear would not play as big a part in their society. Yet, humans continue to panic when encountering fear, and it thus plays a major part in everyday society. Everyone experiences a wide range of constantly changing emotions, but fear continues to be a dominant one when it comes to decision making. Through human nature and the tendency to overreact, people allow fear to control their lives. Golding makes this point with the boys’ fear of the beast, as it drives major parts of the plot. There is no reason that fear needs to conquer all, but to move past it the reasons behind it must be identified.