Symbolism in Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Topics: William Golding, Bankruptcy in the United States, Symbol Pages: 3 (1153 words) Published: September 12, 2012
Gonzalo Barril Merino

Lord of the Flies Essay

Describe the use of symbolism in Lord of the Flies

By understanding symbols, you get a better picture of the novel “Lord of the Flies” and the hidden messages and references to human nature and a criticism of society. The author, William Golding, uses a huge amount of symbolism to reflect society of the outer world with the island. Symbols of fire, the conch and water are described all throughout the novel. Fire represents hope, strength and knowledge, but it also represents disorder and destruction, switching from good and useful to evil and uncontrollable. The conch, a precious shining pink shell, found by Piggy, rescued by Ralph, and later given to Piggy to hold, represents democracy, but it is fragile and weak. Its power is not respected by Jack, who talks without holding the conch (rule established in the beginning) and disobeys its power. Finally, water. Water is everywhere, surrounding the island and also found inside. Water emanates a calm aura that relaxes the characters, which often bathe in the pool. Also, rain generates an aura of tension in the kids. Whenever there is a storm, they act different. Finally, water “cleans” the island, when it sucked Simon and Piggy’s bodies to the depths of the ocean.

All throughout the novel, fire is present in the kids life in the island. Since chapter two, “Fire on the Mountain”, fire is created with Piggy’s glasses. Fire starts by being a symbol of power, as the kids feel enraptured and started dancing when it was lit for the first time. However, it transforms in a symbol of destruction and disorder when it was uncontrolled by the kids, and it started spreading through the island, burning everything on its way. In chapter four, fire is a symbol of hope, and when it was extinguished by Jack because he needed hunters to track a pig, hope is lost, because a ship, seen by Ralph, goes away. The kids have lost an opportunity to be rescued. The hope must...
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