Fallacy and Definition
The fallacy in question is pathetic fallacy. The fallacy is part of figurative speech whereby the natural world holistically or partially is given traits that belong to human beings. In such a case, it is assumed that nonliving thing in nature have got emotions just the way human beings do. Pathetic fallacy is an example of personification whereby lifeless objects are given traits that belong to human beings. Furthermore, personification is all about giving a description to non-human things in a manner that sees them as human beings. Pathetic fallacy is applicable to trees, animals, weather patterns and other aspects of nature. In some other instances, pathetic fallacy has been used to apply to emotional metaphor on daily objects that are not seen as natural. If pathetic fallacy is applied figuratively it is not regarded as a logical fallacy and so there is no error in so far as reason is concerned. However, should it be taken literarily then it is part and parcel of a fallacy. Pathetic fallacy is derived from Greek word ‘pathos,’ which simply means emotions. The meaning of the word has got a distant relationship with the common meaning of the term pathetic.
Employment of the Fallacy
Pathetic fallacy has been employed to show how lifeless objects can have traits that are not supposed to be a reserve for human beings. This is one way through which the works of literature can be improved and made colorful to attract many individuals. If this is the case, many people would definitely be happy about literary works, a factor that makes the study worthwhile. In effect, the field will continue developing. Without fallacies in literature, it would be very boring. This can be a major setback or disadvantage to literature as a discipline. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding comes up with a statement that portrays evil as negative in the lives of human beings (Golding 4). Golding employs boy’s fear, which he compares with the mythical beast. The intent of the author was to illustrate the assumption held by the boys that evil comes from external circumstances. This is an indication that he did not support the idea that evil can originate from within individuals, which is the position that is held by the boys. The fearsome beast, which is as a result of imagination, comes in the form of an animal that looks like a snake. The snake-like creature appears as if it is jungle vines. The boys are also in consideration of some other creatures that live in the sea or a ghost. The beast goes ahead to move all over the island but not according to what the boys had initially imagined. In such a case Golding intended to demonstrate to human beings that evil does not directly associate with specific individuals or groups but can come into forms that people did not think about while they were imagining. Furthermore, it is out of order to associate evil with particular situations. On that Particular Island, the beast features in terms of tribal dances that are deadly, manhunt, and war paint (Golding 11). In the external world, there is lust for power whereby a lot of control is exhibited in the nuclear war. This is a fallacy as the beast has been given traits that only belong to human beings. For instance, it is only human beings who lust for power. The hunger can make them use dangerous weapons including nuclear missiles so that they take control of everything in the government. They can even execute those who object their rule.
Before the start of the war, some of the boys had victimized piggy while they were being tortured by some boys in the playing field. The playing field is usually seen as an environment whereby carefree children have got an opportunity to be happy. The beast moves within the society that is civilized and expresses itself through different ways. It uses venues that are very acceptable for instance the military while the unacceptable forms are represented by criminality and madness. These traits are for human beings. As such, this is the second example of pathetic fallacy. The various ways through which the beast conducts itself are a symbol that human beings have got punitive consequences that are hidden in political maneuvers as well as nonviolent behaviors of power plays. Golding shows that evil is present everywhere and in everybody. Human beings have got a mission of not necessarily doing away with the evil but doing everything their reach so as to preventing evil from dominating their lives and everything that they do (Golding 19). Through science and writing, it is possible to minimize the consequences of pathetic fallacy. Ralph and Piggy manage to get a conch shell that they have found together. Ralph acts as the leader of the group and manages to bring together all the boys who survived. This annoys Jack who initially rivals Ralph. Ralph, due to his intelligence, gives Jack the chance to take control of choirboys. The boys decide to come up with their community. Therefore, Ralph proposes the need to have a fire, create hunting bands, and set up behavior protocols. The conch shell has been given human characteristic in the third example of pathetic fallacy as the boys held that it would give them a sign to begin their talks. A young boy cries upon remembering the beast that looks like the snake, a belief that Ralph is quick to deny its existence (Golding 22). Piggy is not happy about the behavior of other boys who do not take of the young boys. In fact, one of them has disappeared. He is also not happy about them failing to put up a shelter for their use.
Fallacy of false truth has been used to convince people to believe on something which are not actually true. In the book, the fallacy of false truth has been used in various instances. As time goes by the little boys are scared by nightmares. Jack is so obsessed with hunting. This affects his communication with Ralph, who wants a shelter to be established. As such, they disagree. Jack does an experiment with mud and charcoal with an aim of creating a hunting mask. Upon realizing his success, he dances. Some boys who are afraid of the mask follow him leaving the fire to go off. They go hunting and catch an animal but Ralph is not happy with Jack. A ship appears on the horizon but the boys do not find a way of signaling it as if it was a human being. The fallacy of false truth has been employed in various instances to show that things that are actually true may be depicted as false.
Complex question or loaded statements has also been used in several instances. Complex questions are used to find comprehensive explanations to various issues that may arise between different characters. Piggy blames Jack for his actions and Jack punches him in the stomach and head leading to the destruction of his spectacles. Jack then apologizes but loses respect for him. Ralph is no longer interested in the adventure and loves Piggy not because he is the leader but thinker. They abandon fire and huts that joined them together. Ralph wants the fears addressed but Jack describes the group as behaving like children. Piggy explains that there is no any other fear than that of the people (Golding 36). However, Simon suggests that the fear of the beast is real. The following day morning the body of a dead pilot is discovered in a parachute and it is mistaken for the beast. Ralph calls all people to the assembly where together with Simon, Jack and the rest agree on investigating the matter. Simon is not able to see the beast without seeing a person. He relates the beast to human beings and so applies the pathetic fallacy. He sees the beast as sick and heroic, which are traits for human beings. Ralph finds it hard to balance fear, hopelessness, and humanity. This is after reminiscing about his past life but Simon encourages him to be very strong. Jack spots a boar that is then killed by Ralph, who was not interested in hunting issues in the first place. At the camp, Jack directs the rest of the boys to act on hunting skills where Robert will be treated as the pig to be hunted in yet another example of pathetic fallacy (Golding 40). He yells that they should kill the pig by cutting its throat. Robert, who is scared, emphasizes the need to have an actual pig but Jack settles for a littlun. This fallacy has been employed to so as Jack can explain to Ralph the various strategies he uses in sporting a boar. As such, Ralph also employs the same strategies to sport and kill the boar.
In a different setting, Simon decides to let Piggy know that they may not go back in time. Ralph wants the group to go to their camp but Jack continues to taunt him with the issue of the beast. When at the peak of the mountain, the ghost of the dead pilot features to them and they decide to run away. Piggy and the rest of the boys are informed about the ordeal. Jack wants to lead his hunting group to fight off the beast but Ralph believes that the way to go is by lighting a rescue fire. Jack decides to take the conch and call the boys to assembly without Ralph allowing it. Jack tells them to choose between either him or Ralph because Ralph is comparable to Piggy. Jack wanted the boys to remove Ralph as the leader but they did not buy his idea. Jack is frustrated and leaves the group as Simon encourages the boys to go to the mountain so that they can confront the beast. Piggy then suggests starting a fire on the beach, which the boys supported. Roger, Bill, and Maurice who are not there are thought to be with Jack (Golding 54). The hunting group attacks a boar that is with her piglets. They only leave the head for the beast after which they go to the camp headed by Ralph and steal fire. Simon goes back to the mountain where he imagines that the beast is chiding him as innocent and directing him not to destroy the fun by the hunters. This is another pathetic fallacy as used in the piece of work.
The fallacy of suppressed evidence has also been used in the book. This fallacy is used to prevent the truth from being revealed. Simon decides not run away but is frustrated because it is not possible to kill the beast and so he loses his consciousness. Simon wakes up when he realizes that the ghost of the dead pilot staggers towards the foot of the mountain. The ghost gives a revelation that the beast cannot harm anybody although it is horrible. The hunters continue feasting and Jack is garlanded and painted in a manner comparable to an idol. Ralph and Piggy join them and Jack orders the hunters to serve them with meat. Ralph asserts his authority as the group’s leader but this is objected by Jack who holds that because he is the one who has provided food he is the leader. He declares that the conch does not have any important meaning in the island. When it rains, Ralph tells the others that he has got shelter. Jack realizes that his supporters are divided on shelter and food and so he tells them to dance. This fallacy has been employed since it is deductive in nature. As such, it can be used by learners to improve on literature.
The book also contains the fallacy of questionable statistics. The fallacy is used to raise statistical questions that cannot be proved or supported with statistical evidence. The hunters, in a circle, chant as Simon approaches to tell them about the dead pilot. They kill him instantly because of believing that the circle had been broken by the beast (Golding 62). Later on, rain and the wind release the parachute that carries the body towards the sea. Tides are also seen lifting Simon who floats in the sea. This is another instance when pathetic fallacy has been applied. Eric, Sam, Piggy, and Ralph are guilty of the murder of Simon but they exonerate themselves by saying that they did not kill him. Jack then informs his hunting colleagues that Simon disguised himself yet he was the beast. Ralph finds it hard to continue with his sanity prompting him to remember the way he was as a child. Piggy tells him that the rescue fire is what mattered at that point in time. Roger, Maurice and Jack attack at night to steal Piggy’s glasses and this brings about hopelessness. Piggy and Ralph are compelled to recover the glasses from Jack’s fort. Roger kills Piggy instantly with a big levered rock. Jack also wounds Ralph by stabbing him but Ralph manages to run away. Eric and Sam provide him some little food after warning him about the intention of Jack to kill him the following day. Ralph hides in some bush where he sleeps but is woken up by hunting sounds (Golding 71). The hunters send boulders in order to have Ralph smashed. They then light a fire on the forest so that Ralph can come out. Ralph run towards a naval officer along the beach where all the boys start crying the moment the officer takes note of a cruiser within the horizon.
Reason as to Why the Fallacy is Being Employed
The pathetic fallacy is of great importance to the various scenarios in the lives of human beings. It fits in different spheres of life especially when people want to act using no human things. This is an indication that even lifeless objects are important in the lives of human beings and can be used whenever people do not want to give some horrifying examples with people. The pathetic fallacy can be used figuratively. In this case, it works like any known metaphor. It gives the description under perspective the texture and the depth that it deserves thereby enriching the writing (Arangno, Welshon, & Yarnell 17). The problem, however, is that the pathetic fallacy can be overplayed which the case is with any known metaphor. This is the reason as to why the pathetic fallacy is applied sparingly. In some cases, the pathetic fallacy is applied literarily. This is an indication that there is faulty reasoning in the field of hard sciences. For instance, it is very easy for an individual to conclude that electromagnetic attraction has made it possible for the negative ions to go near the positive ions. Movement is a trait that is only possible with living things and in particular human beings for that matter as they are the subject of discussion in this case. The physical and natural sciences have, in most cases, used the pathetic fallacy to justify the many experimental explanations and this is very encouraging because it makes understanding for people very easy. This is the reason as to why human beings are able to visualize the behaviors of the ions in real life situation. Emotionally, it is not possible for ions to express their feelings because they are lifeless objects. They do not have any cognitive element that is able to express what they want rather, the kind of attraction that they have towards each other is because of physical forces that are impersonal.
Pathetic fallacy is didactic in nature and is often used in learning institutions as a tool for teaching. In real life situations, the fallacy is important as it also helps people to connect the relationship between lifeless objects and the living things. There are some things that can only be tried with non-living things as things that are alive are not supposed to be put under such trials. This has improved the knowledge that people have in the universe and if this is the case moving forward, many people will be so much enlightened to the advantage of the society as a whole. However, whenever the fallacy is used for teaching purposes, it is not supposed to be taken very seriously because if that happens, it can result in over-sentimentalized views that may not work well for the world that we live in. It is also very important to understand that the pathetic fallacy is a boost to creativity and imagination, which has made literary work very rich. It can be used to describe situations that human beings fear without the situations necessarily existing. There is the possibility of using the pathetic fallacy by authors to come up with the tone or mood, which is the opposite of the action. This is why it is possible to use figurative language in the world of literature. It makes the field become something that many people enjoy and happy to be associated with. The pathetic fallacy also assures human beings of various ways of comprehending and fully understanding the world that they live in. This makes it easy to know how to handle various issues that disturb the people on a day-to-day basis because they know the various possible approaches that are at their disposal and are relevant. It is also essential in widening the scope of thinking for viewers and readers and this broadens their emotional intelligence so that they boost their emotional understanding. Parents can use it to promote dialogue with their children thereby improving their emotional understanding. When people become emotionally sensitive, they are in touch with the reality and this is important in coordinating their day-to-day activities for the better. If pathetic fallacy would not have been used in literature, it would be very dull and people would have found it very hard to understand because it would not be entertaining.
- Arangno, Lorraine, M. A. R. I. E., Welshon, Robert, Rex, and Yarnell, Patrick. “Critical Thinking: Formal and Informal Reasoning”. (5th Ed). S.l.: Kendall Hunt, 2016. Print.
- Golding, William. “Lord of the Flies”. (2017).