The Darkness of Man's Heart

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The Darkness of Man's Heart
In his novel, Lord of the Flies, William Golding informs the reader that all men are susceptible to evil because of a darkness in their hearts. To present his theme, Golding relies heavily on symbolism. Three important symbols in the novel are the conch, Simon, and the pig's head impaled on the stick. Although Golding uses many literary devices, his effective symbolism is the basis for the success of this novel.

Among the many symbols Golding uses, the conch is one of the most important because it represents democracy. Piggy suggests that the boys use the conch at meetings to provide order. Democracy cannot flourish without intelligence, which is why Golding associates the conch with Piggy. The conch is more than just a symbol of order. Golding also stresses the beauty and fragility of the shell, along with its noble, echoing sound (Cox 49). When the boys murder Piggy, the beautiful and delicate conch shatters into a thousand pieces. The destruction of the conch marks the loss of the boys' sense of law and order. Through the use of this symbol, Golding demonstrates that democracy too is delicate and beautiful, and that without intelligence it cannot exist. The disruption of democracy can turn society to chaos and disorder.

Another integral symbol Golding uses is Simon, who is representative of all that is good on the island. Simon reveals a certain kindness and a deeper insight into human nature than the other boys on the island (Babb 24). Savagery does not triumph over Simon, who discovers the truth about the "beast" and tries to inform the boys that they only have themselves to fear. However, the boys savagely murder him before he can reveal what he has discovered. Simon is a Christ-figure, compassionate like Jesus and murdered like Jesus for bringing the truth. Simon's death symbolizes the ability of evil to turn people away from goodness and truth and towards violence and chaos.

Perhaps the most important of...
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