Lord of the Flies Symbolism

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Symbolism in Lord of the Flies
Acclaimed author, William Golding, once said that his novel, Lord of the Flies, is symbolic from the very first page to the very last page and that throughout the course of the novel the meanings of the symbols are frequently changing, thus giving new interpretations of the symbols and the novel. Three of these key, persistently changing symbols of Lord of the Flies are the conch shell, which symbolizes order and power, Piggy’s glasses, which symbolize intelligence and the ability to see things for what they truly are, and the signal fire, which symbolizes civilization and the hope of being rescued. As the novel progresses, some of the symbolic items physical appearances, especially that of conch, follow the events of the novel and show what is happening to the ideas that the items symbolize. Throughout his novel, Lord of the Flies, William Golding includes many allegories and symbols, which change throughout the novel, to form the novel’s overall symbolism of the island being a microcosm of the world and of society.

Golding writes the conch shell, spotted by Piggy but claimed by Ralph, as a symbol of order, authority, power, and control. The conch’s symbolization of order and authority is shown through its use in calling tribe meetings and in its use as a talking stick, where only the boy holding the conch can be speaking. The symbolization of power and control is clearly shown when the tribe is holding an election for chief. The littluns, the youngest of the deserted boys, all scream out “Him with the shell. Ralph! Ralph! Let him be chief with the trumpet-thing.”(p.22). The young boys recognize the conch as a source and symbol of power, just as the reader recognizes the conch being symbolic of power. Over the course of the novel, the conch shell’s physical appearance changes and mimics the boy’s losing order in their island society. When the boys first find the conch shell, the appearance is described as “deep cream, touched...
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