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Lord of the Flies

By BestSeller Nov 29, 2014 1091 Words
Symbolism in The Novel Lord of the Flies
The novel Lord of the flies by William Goulding, Is about a plane load of British school boys that crash land on an uninhabited island, with no adults, in 1954 while being sent to safety from an atomic bomb threat. They elected one of the older boys, Ralph as the leader. They begin their society on the island with some order, over time, many of the boys’, Jack especially, rebel, Jack forms his own tribe of savages, who light the island on fire causing total chaos. This essay will prove Goulding uses object people and places to symbolize man’s desire for order and equal desire for chaos.

Object in Lord of the Flies are used successfully to symbolize man’s desire for both order and chaos. The conch represents order, democracy and authority. At the start of their society the conch is used to call assemblies, “The toy of voting was almost as pleasing as the conch” (Goulding 18). This symbolizes man’s desire for order. The conch represent democracy because whomever was holding them conch was elected the leader, showing order. The conch is colorful in the beginning, “Deep Cream, touch with faded pink” (11). As the order fades, so does the conch, “Piggy lifted the white, magic shell” (200), and “The conch exploded into a thousand white fragments” (200). “There was no solemn assembly for debate nor dignity of the conch.” (218) the conch is gone and so is any order, represent chaos, and the demise of civilization.

Piggy’s glasses symbolize intelligence, he is the smartest of all the boys’. “The effort to express the mathematical process involved was too great.” (67). Piggy knows much more than the others. His glasses also represent fire, “His specs—use them as burning glasses” (40). The glasses are used to start the fire to be rescued showing order, and because they represent fire the also show power to whoever has them, “We shall take fire from the others.” (178) When the savages steal the glasses they set the island on fire, “The fire was a big one” (219)” causing chaos and destroying there society.

Fire is there hope for rescue and their connection to the outside world. “If a ship comes near, they might not notice us, so we must make smoke at the top of the mountain” (37) they make a controlled fire for rescue, showing order. “No fire; no smoke; no rescue;” (266”) Ralph uses the fire to bring hope to himself and the others. The fire that got them rescued was ironic because it was started to kill, to cause chaos. “The sky was black. The officer grinned cheerfully at Ralph. ’We saw the smoke’” (223). The sky was filled with smoke that attracted the officer to the island. Ralph was rescued by the very thing made to kill him.

Their hair symbolizes savagery, “Smudged blood over his forehead as he pushed down the plastered hair.” (75) Jack pushes his hair down in front of his face, he uses his hair like a mask, covering their identity. The longer it grows to more savage they become. “His fair hair plastered over his eyebrows and he pushed it back.” (67) Ralph pushes away his hair, pushing away his savagery. The color of their hair also represents order and chaos. “Red-headed and inevitably leading procession” (72) Jack is a red-head showing evil and chaos, while Ralph’s fair hair shows order and goodness.

Ralph symbolizes man’s optimistic ambition to self-govern despite historical record of failure. “’Him with the shell.’ ‘Ralph, Ralph’” (19) When they arrive on the island the first thing they do is elected Ralph as leader because he is older, and has the conch. “Ralph wept for the end of innocence” (225). the end of the book, after killing Simon, and watching Piggy die, after Ralph had been hunted by his former friends, after everything that happen on that island. Ralph wasn’t a kid anymore.

In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding the character Piggy symbolizes Intelligence, The lower class having no say, and an adult type figure. “The effort to express the mathematical processes involved was too great.” (67). He is a lot smarter than the other boys on the island. “He can’t hurt you: but if you stand out of the way he’d hurt the next thing. And that’s me” (101). Piggy is killed by a rock, Ralph moves out of the way, and Piggy is the one who gets hurt, just as he said. Piggy is picked on, and in through the entire novel, you never learn his real name, and he knew Jack and Roger hated him. “Piggy watched him in disgust. ‘Like a crowd of kids-‘” (52) Piggy was like an adult type figure, he saw everyone else as children, because they were.

Jack represents evil and violence, and man’s desire for chaos. “We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything. So we’ve got to do the right things.” (58), at the beginning he wants to be a leader, so he tries to make rule, making order. “He tried to convey the compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up.” (70). Jack’s obsession with killing a pig clouds his mind, and turns into savagery. “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!” (218), it is Jack who starts the wild dance that ends with the death of Simon, and he also talks Roger into killing Piggy. “’I ought to be chief’, said Jack with simple arrogance.” (28) Jacks obsession with blood and power causes chaos with the destruction of the society, and lighting the Island on fire.

Simon represents a spiritual person in the story. His spiritual personality of goodness is the exact opposite of the evil in the other boys. “Then, amid the roar of bees in the afternoon sunlight, Simon found for them the fruit they could not reach, pulled off the choicest from up in the foliage, passed them back down to the endless, outstretched hands.” (78), He is good because he wants to be good not because of the rules, like Roger. He is able to see what the beast actually is, but before he had a chance to tell the other boys what the beast was, he was killed, “There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws.” (219) because the boys thought he was the beast when he came falling down the mountain with the parachute over him. 

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