What Does It Mean to Say That Lord of the Flies Is an Allegorical...

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What Does It Mean to Say That Lord of the Flies Is an Allegorical Novel? Discuss Its Important Symbols.

By | April 2012
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In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, there are many key characters, settings, objects and events that symbolise ideas much deeper than what is first perceived. It is these important symbols that make Lord of the Flies an allegorical novel. It is the constant struggle to maintain civilization and resist complying with the savage urges that rages within each human individual that plays a central theme throughout the novel. Significant objects like the conch and signal fire; plot events such as the pig hunts; the main characters and even Ralph’s hair are all symbols that have a grander meaning and transform this story into an allegorical novel. Throughout Lord of the Flies, the conch acts as a vessel of political legitimacy and democratic power. In the course of the novel, it is used to call the boys to order. No boy may speak unless he is holding the conch, and once it is in his possession, he is spared of any interruptions. It is the initiative of the boys that created this “rule of the conch”, thus representing the speech, rules and politics of society. However, in later chapters this symbol of structured civilization is over thrown by instinctual savagery when Rogers thundering boulder kills piggy and destroys the conch. This is when Jack runs forward claiming that he can now be chief. Jacks quick jump for power, based on the fact of the conch breaking, implies that his rise to leadership was being held back by the democratic power that Piggy and Ralph held in the conch. When piggy and Ralph blew into the conch, the younger boys would still listen. But once the conch was shattered, so was all form of law and order on the island. The purpose of the signal fire varies during Lord of the Flies, but ultimately becomes a key representation of the boys’ connection to civilization. The initial idea of the fire was to keep it burning strong in order to attract any passing ships. This was a solid plan until the simple signal fire turned into an uncontrollable blaze,...