Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a modern allegory that attempts to trace the defects of society back to the inherent evil in human nature. A group of young British schoolboys survives from a plane crash during the Second World War and is stranded on an island. Illustrated as a microcosm of the world, the island transforms from a “breathtaking paradise” into “living hell” when the boys become aware of a life-threatening beastie, and begin their struggles between morals and savage instincts. In this novel, the two symbols, the fire and the beastie are used significantly to enhance the theme of the novel.
Golding uses the fire as the first symbol to reveal the growing instincts of savagery. Earlier in the novel, the fire symbolizes safety and hope for all of the schoolboys. Ralph, the chosen chief of the group, initially realizes the significance of the fire, stating, “if a ship comes near the island they may not notice” (49) them, therefore they “must make a fire” (49). At this point, the fire indicates the boys’ hope for being rescued off of the island. However, as the story progresses, the symbol of the fire shifts and becomes representative of the savage instincts that begin to grow within the group. When Jack, the antagonist, leaves Ralph and forms his own clan, Golding associates the fire with “meat” and “feast”. Tracing the event where Jack “raids” Ralph and the littluns to take the fire, Golding conveys the idea of how “safety and hope” is also “raided” away along with the fire. It then denotes fear for Ralph, as he mentions that he is “scared” of the fire. Using the transformation of the fire as a metaphor, Golding suggests how the inherent evil is brought out by addressing to the growth of savage instincts.
Functioning as the second symbol, the beastie restrains the inherent darkness in human nature and emphasizes it powerfully. When the boys first begin to suspect the existence of a beastie, Piggy, the intellectual outcast,...
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