Allegory in Lord of the Flies
In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, which is set during World War II, English school boys, escaping war in England, crash on a deserted tropical island. From the protected environment of boarding school, the boys are suddenly thrust into a situation where they must fend for themselves. In order to survive, the boys copy their country’s rule for a civilized life by electing a leader, Ralph. He promises order, discipline, and rules for the boys so that they form a small civilized society. This civilized society does not last. Struggling with Jack who wants to be the leader and the boys’ fears of the unknown, Ralph is unable to maintain control, and the boys fulfill Golding’s perspective that human nature is inherently negative as the boys become savages that brutally and viciously kill. Golding creates an allegory by using symbols to show his pessimistic view of human nature through the boys’ desire for civilization, their struggle against evil, and their descent into savagery. Golding develops the allegory using symbols of the boys’ desire for civilization. Leadership and reasoning are represented by the symbols of Ralph and the conch and Piggy and his glasses. Finding a conch on the beach, Ralph uses it to keep law and order or peace among the boys. “Ralph grasped the idea and hit the shell with air from his diaphragm. Immediately the thing sounded” (15). Blowing into the conch, Ralph assembles the boys for meetings. He uses the conch to promote fair play by passing it around so that each boy has the opportunity to speak freely and express himself. “I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he’s speaking” (39). Ralph represents the order that is necessary in a civilized society, and the conch is the means by which he establishes this order. In addition to establishing order, Ralph organizes the boys into separate groups like hunters, gatherers, and shelter makers to aid the survival...
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