Sample Literary Analysis Essay
The purpose of a literary analysis essay is to closely examine some aspect of a literary work. In
this essay, RHS student Moses Martinez analyzes the fears felt by the characters in William
Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Notice that the essay follows the proper MLA format.
November 17, 2005
Island of Fear
As humans, we all fear something, and we deal with those fears in ways that match our
personalities. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding shows the fears of Jack, Ralph, and Piggy
and chooses specific ways for each to deal with his fears. Therefore, each of the three boys
reacts to fear in his own unique way.
The first boy, Jack, believes that a beast truly does exist. He is afraid and admits it;
however, he deals with his fear with aggressive violence. He chooses to hunt for the beast, arm
himself with a spear, and practice killing it: “We’re strong—we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll
hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat—!”(91). He also uses the fear of the
beast to control and manipulate the other children. Because they fear the beast, they are more
likely to listen to Jack and follow his orders. Furthermore, Jack fears Ralph’s power over the
group and Piggy’s rational thought. This is because he knows that both directly conflict with his
thirst for absolute power. He responds to these fears in his familiar, violent way. He physically
and verbally abuses Piggy, and he argues with Ralph and questions his authority to such an
extent that he ends up leaving the group. Jack eventually consolidates his power by forcing the
last members of Ralph’s group into his tribe and ordering a hunt for Ralph.