Symbols in Lord of the Flies (I Got an a on This One!)

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There are many symbols in our lives that reflect our culture. Even when we don't know it, we are either influenced by symbols, or are helping those symbols influence others. Without the use of symbolism, a culture or society cannot continue to stand. William Golding's Lord of the Flies shows how symbols are created, and how those symbols become powerful. Three of the symbols he uses are the conch, the pig's head on a stick, and Piggy's glasses.

The first symbol we come across is the conch shell. It is a beautiful shell that Piggy and Ralph find lying in the lagoon. At first, it is simply a natural thing, in harmony with everything around it. But as soon as Ralph pick's it up and blows through it, it becomes a tool, an object to be used by man to conquer nature. Later, as the boys find Ralph and Piggy by following the sound of the shell, the conch becomes symbolic of order. It is this symbolism and nothing more that influences the boys to vote for Ralph as chief instead of Jack. "Him, him with the conch" (7).

The next important symbol that holds power over the boys is the pig's head on a stick. Without it, the island's evil influence would never have had a mouth to speak through. Jack and his tribe set up the pig's head on a stick as a sacrifice to the beast, the one thing they fear most. When the set it up, it becomes a representation of the beast, then it becomes the beast itself. Simon, in a sort of daze, recognizes the pig's head as the consequence for the boys' fear. Their fear is the real beast, and Simon talks to the fear by talking to the pig's head. During this conversation, Simon realizes that fear is the ultimate enemy of their small society, and that he must fight it. Simon feels threatened when the pig/beast tells him, "If you try to stop us, we'll do you too" (85).

Finally, Piggy's glasses become a controlling force in the boy's lives on the island by representing at first the ability to start a fire. At first, survival and...
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