Literary Devices in Lord of the Flies
English III - 2nd Period
Is every human being predisposed with the capabilities to do evil? This question has stimulated minds since the beginning of time. In the Bible, as far back as the book of Genesis, we find the ineluctable capacity of man to commit evil. Likewise, in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies we find the depiction of the proclivity of man to transgress. William Golding “presents the universe under the guise of a school adventure story on a coral island” (Forster V). Golding presents the universe and the inescapable struggle of human kind between good and evil through his prolific use of symbols and metaphors.
Symbols are one of the principle literary devices used by Golding in Lord of the Flies. Golding uses many of the devices discovered by the boys to represent vital elements of structured society. Ralph makes the statement, “The fire’s the most important thing” (Golding 162). The fire symbolizes the structured society the boys want to exist on the island. The fire represents structure and organization. Without the fire, the boys will never be rescued, and without an organized, structured society, they will not survive. Just as organization and structure are essential to the perpetuation of a society, the fire is vital to the survival of the boys on the island. When describing the setting of the novel, the narrator states, “It [the island] was roughly boat-shaped” (Golding 27). Golding uses this symbolic reference to show that the island symbolizes seclusion. Like a boat, the island needs a cap- tain. The boys are in their own world and Golding creates a sense of urgency for one of the boys to step up and take charge of their “ship.” Golding also uses the conch, an instrument used to call meetings and establish order, as a major symbol of power. Piggy has the conch and tries to use it to voice his opinion but, “the conch doesn’t...
Cited: Forster, E. M. Introduction. Lord of the Flies. By William Golding. New York: Riverhead Books, 1997.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Riverhead Books, 1997.
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