The story, Lord of the Flies, has many interesting symbols relating to adult society to kids surviving on an island. Many of the characters and items in this novel such as Jack or the conch can be interpreted on a macroscopic scale but the most important being this; a microcosm of children on an island makes a great symbolic message about human nature, society, and how grown-ups live and govern – and how they cannot.
When you consider the time period this book was written, you can see where Golding got some of his inspiration. Europe was still recovering after WW2 and the author probably wanted to comment on the political turmoil during the 50s.
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The island is a microcosm of the world during this time, and its scar represents human destruction once the kids were dropped or “reborn” on the island. If we look at the book as a political statement we can already sense leaders and followers.
Obviously, Ralph, described as a good-looking, relying on common sense type of regular fellow, is the likable, fair, and even admired, democratic leader. He has a few loyal advisors and following. Piggy, a smart chubby boy, represents the scientific community and logical thinking, with glasses that represent clarity, civilization, and the power to get back. He is essentially Ralph’s method of governing. Sam `n Eric, the twin laborers, stuck with Ralph until the end and did a lot of cooperative activities for Ralph.
They were the hut builders, fire tenders, and wood gatherers. The little ones also liked Ralph. They were the citizens and at times were happy but slowly grew discontent as paradise became hell. Throughout the story, the little ones didn’t do much but in the beginning, they did vote Ralph in and basically brought him into power. Because the people elected Ralph, he, therefore, is a true democratic ruler.
He passes the conch symbolizing order around, lets others talk, follows rules, and does not intend to break them himself. There’s trouble enforcing the laws just like our democracies, today. However, we are still free-living citizens, much like the kids under Ralph’s reign.
Jack and Roger are the complete opposite. Jack represents the savagery and hate in all of us. Starting out as a choirboy, he slowly evolves into the hunting “Chief” of the opposition party. Methods used by Hitler were also used by Jack. Total control such as binding and strapping Wilfred and propaganda like using the beast to inspire fear and presenting himself as the only protection is used in his dictatorial rule. He overthrows Ralph with fun and then proceeds to use muscle once he had friends like Roger.
Roger is his right-hand man but is even worse. He starts out throwing rocks, moves on to torturing pigs, and in the end, he intentionally kills Piggy. He was a terror while torturing Sam n’ Eric and the executioner when he killed Piggy. He is what Jack uses to rule, much like Hitler’s personal guard, and is even more extreme and totalitarian than Jack.
Jack and Roger’s rise to power mirror real-life events. Ralph giving Jack control of the choir near the beginning of the book is reflective of many of the European dictator’s rise to power during WW2. Weak leaders of the Western world did not enforce the Treaty of Versailles nor did they resist the annexations done by Hitler before the war.
Nobody opposed him till it was too late much like this novel. Ralph tried, and their own little “war” broke out when the fire was stolen and continued until Ralph was saved by chance when the navy came, similar to the United States shifting the balance near the end of the war.
Simon is the primary religious and good figure because of his spiritual and prophetic ways. Never violent and pretty much alone is what he’s like throughout the story. He says to Ralph, “All the same. You’ll get back all right. I think so, anyway.” He hangs out in a tranquil spot in the book and plays with a lizard there in the movie, it was a gentle scene and he is depicted as a small, frail character.
These qualities make him innocent and pure but he was also the first to figure out what the beast really was. Shy and embarrassed he hides the fact that the beast may really be their inner fears, which is exactly what the beast represented. The beast turned out to be nothing more than a dead parachutist, who is freed by Simon, which in turn, frees the other boys’ fears.
He also experienced a “vision” like Moses while sitting next to the pig head also known as the Lord of the Flies, something that inspires fear and exploits the insecurities that the boys hold. This is a lot like the Devil people during the Middle Ages were so afraid of. To Simon, it represents danger and a bad omen because he falls victim to it while running away.
The beast says, “-Or else, we shall do you. See? Jack and Roger and Maurice and Robert and Bill and Piggy and Ralph. Do you. See?” The pig head was correct; Simon is killed by the whole group of dancing boys.
The pigs themselves may represent some sort of adult or feminine role because of the absence of females on this island. The pigs are the source of recreation, food, and comfort for Jack’s group. The language also suggests it, in Chapter Eight the group was “…fulfilled upon her.” They were also “…wedded to her in lust…” Painted, hunting “mothers” and nameless, tells us they’re moving away from society, going back to a primitive state. The pigs thought triggered this behavior.
Lord of the Flies is filled with symbolism and can be expressed in political terms or in a religious sense. There are many messages between the lines but the last one may be the most important. The ending takes them back to adult society and the real world.
The boys stop and let the officer take care of business… but he does not. The adult simply turns his back and lets the boys pull together, abandoning them. “The officer, surrounded by these noises, was moved and a little embarrassed. He turned away to give them time to pull themselves together; and waited, allowing his eyes to rest on the trim cruiser in the distance.”
Imagine a group of young boys who have just crash-landed on a deserted tropical island with no adults or supervision. William Golding showed in his groundbreaking novel Lord of the Flies, what may happen in just those circumstances. In his very complicated and diverse novel, Golding brings out many ideas and uses many literary devices. Above all others though comes symbolism of three main important objects being the conch, fire, and “Piggy’s” eyeglasses.
Through each of these three symbols, Golding shows how the boys adapt and change throughout the novel. These symbols also help to show each of the boy’s ideals on a variety of elements from human nature to society and its controls. All three of these symbols also change and are one of the most important elements of the story.
The first symbol, which is used all throughout the book, is the symbol of the Conch. The conch was a large shell that piggy had first unearthed on the island. The conch shows powers all throughout the book and always commands respect form the boys due to its importance. The importance and power would best be compared to that of a congregation when a Rabbi removes the Torah from the ark, which holds it.
The first quote which best shows the importance of the conch is when it is used by Ralph and Piggy to summon all the boys together when they find themselves alone on the island. “The Conch, we can use this to call the others. Have a meeting they’ll come when they hear us- (16).” Then again at the second meeting, we see how the boys are drawn to the Conch and how it is like a magnet to the boys, which draws them to whoever uses it.
“By the time Ralph had finished blowing the conch the platform was crowded (32).” The conch also shows the first idea of civilization and rules. One example is when there is disorder because everyone I talking at once. “Conch, that’s what the shell is called. I’ll give the conch to the next person who speaks. He can hold when he is speaking (33).”
Finally, the conch is used for is to show how Piggy does so much to help them and does not get credit for it. It was used that way when Piggy was the first one to see the Conch and Piggy was the one who knew what it was and instructed Ralph on how to use it. But when all the boys came from the Conch’s noise Ralph got credit for it.
The next symbol, which dominates much of the tale, is that of Fire. The fire which to early man was a savior and used for things such as cooking and heating, and which Ralph though would also be there salvation. The fire can be interpreted in many ways. The fire much like the boys starts out good and being used for constructive things. Like getting a ship to save them. “If a ship comes by the Island they might notice us. We must make a fire (38).” The fire also shows the responsibility that these boys need but only some of them seem to possess.
This I demonstrated when Ralph has Jack and the hunters in control of the fire. And they neglect it in order to go hunting this creates a great conflict. ” There was a ship out there. You said you would keep the fire going and you let it out? They may have seen us we might have gone home (70)!” As you can see the boys are not yet for the responsibility of the Fire and perhaps being in charge of themselves. Then finally the fire is used sort of as a mirror of the boy’s action.
That is as the boys started with good ideals of order and recreating a sense of community eventually all hell broke loose and they lost control of themselves and their own actions. The fire also was started for the useful purpose of getting a boat to save them it to gets out of control and claims the life of the young boy with the large birthmark on his face in the beginning and almost kills Ralph at the end.
The final object that is used as a symbol in the novel is the eyeglass of Piggy. Piggy’s eyeglasses exhibit how the boys on the island use things but don’t take care of them and understand them. The eyeglasses were used to make the fire. ” His specs-use them as burning glasses (40)!” Then though even though the glasses showed to be useful for starting the fire they are not taken care of eventually broken lost and then destroyed.
This is very similar to how the boys on the island treated Piggy. Piggy showed himself to be useful in instances where he found the conch and always worked for the order. But then even though he always wanted to help his fellow boys he is brutally and without feeling murdered just like one of the real pigs. This shows how the boys’ on the island are actually destroying themselves by destroying everything that is useful to them.
Throughout the novel, Golding does a magnificent job of symbolism. Already shown are three main symbols, which play an important role. Through all of these symbols, Golding brings emotion thought and symbolism together in Lord of the Flies. The symbols throughout the novel change with the boys and show how they feel about a range of issues.
Symbolism – Throughout the novel, Lord of the Flies, Golding uses many images and symbols to portray evil and destruction. Symbolism Throughout the novel, ‘Lord of the Flies’, Golding uses many images and symbols to portray evil and destruction.
One of the main symbols is the beast, and it destroys the relationships of the boys and is the main symbol of evil. The conch, on the other hand, is the symbol of good and represents the pure side of the boys. There are also many symbols which tell us about their life on the island and ‘set the scene’ in a deeper way.
Piggy is not seen to be responsible, just because of the way he looks. The conch helps the boys take control of the situations they are in and reassures the boys that it is good on the island.
They sort of confiding in the conch and when the conch is held up, it is a sign of respect for each other, and the respect of law and order. Many meetings were held to discuss plans and the conch is the center of these assemblies. Whoever is in possession of the conch, has the right to speak and speak his mind. When the island begins to fall apart, the conch is soon dismissed and no one pays attention to it.
‘The conch exploded’ and ‘ceased to exist’, and when this happens, the boys don’t have any respect for each other, especially piggy, and begin to lose sight of what is good and what is evil. The boys start hunting for their food, and when they come across the pig for the first time, Ralph Can’t help himself and kills the pig, it seems like he does this for pleasure and he enjoys the experience.
The hunting seems exciting to the boys and they all eventually want to hunt. He later kills many more pigs and they eventually turn into savages. They eventually turn into animals themselves and they can’t help killing and it becomes natural for them to kill. Jack has a natural skill for hunting. They eventually progress from animals to people, and the use of weapons becomes greater.
In the novel Lord of the Flies by British author William Golding, symbolism and setting play a key role in story development. Symbolism was used throughout the novel when a feeling or a concept was given a physical shape in an inanimate object.
Some of these symbols included the conch shell, Piggy’s glasses, fire, and the painted masks. As the story developed, the meaning of these objects changed significantly in co-ordinance with the events of the novel. The setting played a big role in this story; there were three main parts to the island.
The beach represented good, the jungle held all the evil as well as the Lord of the Flies, and finally, nothing grew or lived on the mountains, which were not important until the end of the novel. The development of the theme in the Lord of the Flies by the use of symbolism and setting is clearly evident.
Throughout the novel, the meaning and purpose of the symbols changed. In the very first chapter of the story, the conch was found on the beach. Then Piggy and Ralph, two of the main characters, decided to blow it to help bring the rest of the boys to where they were. For this reason, the conch represents unity. From that day on the boys used the conch to call meetings and the holder of the conch had the power and freedom to speak and every else had to listen.
As the story progressed, this right was abused, especially when Piggy tried to speak and Jack told him to “shut up.” At the end of the book when Jack is on the run from Ralph’s tribe, he thinks to himself “there was no solemn assembly for debate nor dignity of the conch.”
This shows us how much the boys depended on the conch during times of crisis. At the same time in the story when the conch began to lose power, Jack’s painted face mask begins it’s ascension to power as the most powerful symbol on the island behind the fire. The first time he created the mask it was stated that the mask “.
Symbolism is a very powerful literary device that helps the reader better understand a novel. Certain colors can hold meaning, and this meaning can change throughout the novel. Lord of the Flies by William Golding tells the story of a group of boys from London who is stranded on a deserted island during WWII.
The book displays Golding’s thoughts on how humans act when there are no societal rules. The novel uses symbols to show how quickly the boys on the island descend into violence, and how extreme that violence really is. This symbol leads to a deeper understanding of how when society is not watching, things can become horrific.
Over the course of the novel, the color pink progresses from a symbol of innocence and order to representing death and disappointment, demonstrating that without rules, man loses structure and devolves into chaos.
At the beginning of the novel, the color pink represents peace and calm. At this time, the island is unscathed. When the boys first land, they explore the land to determine if it is an island or not. In their journey, they mention multiple times a serene pink cliff: “The most usual feature of the rock was a pink cliff surmounted by a skewed block, and that again surmounted, and that again, till the pinkness became a stack of balanced rock projecting through the looped fantasy of the forest creepers.
Where the pink cliffs rose out of the ground there were often narrow tracks winding upwards” (Golding 26). Since everything is fine so far, the island is described as pink in the very beginning shows that pink is tied to innocence. The “pink cliff” (Golding 26). is mentioned many times throughout the beginning of the boys’ stay on the island. The color is also something calming.
After a job is completed, in this case laboriously gathering wood to make a fire, the color is mentioned to describe the island once more accompanied by a mood of accomplishment: “One by one, as they sensed that the pile was complete, the boys stopped going back for more and stood, with the pink, shattered top of the mountain around them.
Breath came evenly by now, and sweat dried” (Golding 39). After doing a difficult job, the boys stop for a minute and appreciate it, surrounded by the beautiful pink mountain. This image of the beautiful pink mountain along with the satisfaction of a job well done demonstrates that pink symbolizes peace and calm in the beginning of the novel.
As the story of the boys progresses, the color pink begins to symbolize death and disappointment. Tension forms between the boys because one of them, Jack Merridew, believes he can be a better leader for the group than their current leader, Ralph. This causes a lot of hate and the color pink starts to reflect it. The color of the conch shell which represents leadership, but it begins to fade: “Exposure to the air had bleached the yellow and pink to near-white, and transparency” (Golding 72).
The conch shell’s color is becoming bleached, signaling that leadership and civilization is starting to die. And, without leadership, the boys have no support system and things can easily fall through the cracks. The color pink is used again to describe a peaceful scene when Jack’s group of hunters finds another pig to kill: “A little apart from the rest, sunk in deep maternal bliss, lay the largest sow of the lot. She was black and pink; and the great bladder of her belly was fringed with a row of piglets that slept or burrowed and squeaked. […] One piglet, with a demented shriek, rushed into the sea trailing Roger’s spear behind it.
The sow gave a gasping squeal and staggered up, with two spears sticking in her fat flank” (Golding 134). The matronly nature of the sow and how brutally they killed its pink body shows that even though pink is still being used to describe a peaceful scene, the serene situation is destroyed in the end. The color pink also symbolizes disappointment and death later in the novel. When Piggy dies, he falls off the pink cliff and into the sea: “Then the sea breathed again in a long, slow sigh, the water boiled white and pink over the rock; and when it went, sucking back again, the body of Piggy was gone” (Golding 181).
The sea sighs before turning pink with Piggy’s blood, showing a disappointment in the fact that three people have died on the island. The color pink has changed from a symbol of peace to one of death.
The theme of Lord of the Flies By William Golding is that without rules, man loses structure and devolves into chaos. This is very evident through the change in the meaning of the color pink. Pink represents a peaceful color in the beginning. This highlights how fresh and new the island is.
But, as the boys begin to make the island their own, the meaning of the color changes. First, the unscathed island is described as pink multiple times, showing how peaceful their original situation is. But, by the end, pink had been used to describe blood in the ocean surrounding the island. The color pink amplifies the fact that these seemingly innocent children have the power to do some serious damage if left without a stable civilization.
The theme of the book is shone through this symbol to better intensify its message.
In Lord of the Flies, the color pink changes throughout the course of the novel, thus highlighting that without rules for the boys to live by, the situation can turn disastrous very quickly.
The boys realize that the seemingly annoying rules that their parents set for them are no longer in place, so they are free to do whatever they please. Things quickly go south. Through the description of the island at the beginning and the description of the surrounding ocean in the end, the color pink begins by representing peace and ends by representing death. The development of the symbol shows that people can easily turn to violence if there are no rules to regulate their actions.
Example #6 – Lord of the Flies Human Nature
There is a central duality in humans; on the surface, they may seem composed and civilized, but underneath that exterior, there lies a dark and malevolent being who does not show himself normally. A black and twisted part of the soul, where a man is reverted back to his primitive self and they lose all reasoning and logic. One way to reach this primitive being is through fear: in wars and other terrifying situations, people start to lose themselves.
This is seen in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, a novel demonstrating the madness of stranded boys on an island, where he demonstrates the dark and primal sides of human nature that show themselves in dire situations through vivid imagery and foreshadowing.
Jack, from Lord of the Flies, slowly deteriorates into a shell of the man he once was. The reasoning for this is fear, as Jack slowly lost hope of escape and slowly loses his composed self and becomes an animal who wasn’t afraid to kill and torture, as a result, he loses almost every essence of humanity within him. William Golding uses vivid imagery to show the reader the effects of fear on humans.
One example of this is when he describes the graphic scene where Jack and his hunters nearly kill a boy while playing. He creates an eerie scene that quickly changes from lighthearted to the dark and creepy scene where a child almost dies. It represents the derailment of the boys as they quickly lose their humanity without even realizing it.
This occurs on pages 114-115 in the book The Lord of the Flies, at first Robert “squealed in mock terror” because he was acting for the mock hunt, but soon he cried “in real pain”, and as the scene progressed Ralph “grabbed Eric’s spear” and “jabbed” Robert. As this scene continued, the crowd began to shout “Kill him!” and “all at once” the hunters began to surround him and continually stab him until “Robert was screaming and struggling”.
However, most of the boys soon regained logic and realized that they went to far, however, Jack only said that it was a “good game”. Another example of imagery used in The Lord of the Flies was the description of Jack and the Choirboys who represent the cruelty and primitive side of human nature. On page 19, Jack and the Choirboys are initially described as “something dark” and were also wearing “black cloaks” which hid their bodies.
In this scene, there is a large amount of black used to describe the choirboys which is fitting because they represent the malevolent side of humanity. This is also described by L L Dickson who in his critique of The Lord of the Flies also points out the fact that “Jack’s choirboys are clothed in black.” Black is often a color associated with darkness and evil, and this shows how William Golding uses imagery to express ideas in his novel The Lord of the Flies.
While, some people such as Jack go senile from fear, others react differently. For example, Piggy from Lord of the Flies does not lose his humanity and manages to hold on to his reasoning and decisiveness until his death. Although there were moments where he lost himself, he held on to his civilized self and tried to prevent the fear from consuming him up to his tragic death. Along with vivid imagery, William Golding also uses foreshadowing to express the dark sides of human nature.
William Golding used vivid imagery in the scene where the hunter Robert, was being “jabbed” and was crying in “real pain”. This scene also shows the foreshadowing William Golding used because it represents the gradual change from the Hunters hunting pigs to the Hunters hunting Ralph and those who oppose them. It also represents the change from the playful and childish side of humans to the sinister and evil side.
Another example of foreshadowing in The Lord of the Flies was Jack’s obsession with killing pigs. For example, on page 69, he neglected his duty to light the fire and instead went hunting, he says that he “cut the pig’s throat” and had a “smashing time” unaware that his obsession with hunting a pig had potentially prevented the boys from getting off the island.
This foreshadows his unhealthy obsession with bloodshed and killing living things. It also foreshadows that he prioritized hunting and killing more than even being rescued and leaving the island. L L Dickson also shares this opinion and wrote in his criticism that, Jack’s “impulsive decision to be a hunter and kill pigs” foreshadows Jack’s “demonic monomania” for cruelty and destruction.
William Golding uses both vivid imagery and foreshadowing to clearly show the dark and vile side of humans. All humans share this evil side, however, it is not always apparent. Some are never forced to reveal this side even until they die. Others only show this side and do not have to be in dire situations for it to surface. While this malevolence is a negative side of humanity, it is inevitable and will always be a part of the duality of human nature.
Example #7 – Freudian Theory of Mind in Lord of the Flies
Freudian’s theory on personality comes from the school of thought that personality is divided into three sections that correlate. The three sections of personality include the Id, ego, and superego. The theory places these sections into classes where Id falls under unconscious while ego and superego fall under preconscious and the conscious consecutively.
In the book lord of the flies, Freudians’ theory is presented by the different symbols used by the author. The symbols used include conch, dagger, Piggy’s specs, painted faces and long hair, the beast, and fire.
The theory of Id is manifested in lord of the flies where we find Jack becoming more primitive and acting on his instincts. A good example of this is the part where Jack abandons the signal of fire and prefers hunting instead. Jack becomes irrational and acts on impulse rather than thinking his decision through.
When it comes to the ego the character that depicts this best is Ralph. According to the Freudian theory, the ego is the mediator between rationality and irrationality brought about by the Id. The fact that Ralph gives in allowing the jack to control the choir as a compromise although he is chief. The piggy is a symbol that is used to represent the conscience. The fact that piggy confronts Jack when he lets the fire signal go out portrays him as the conscience planting remorse and guilt feelings for the wrong done.
The beast is used as a representation of jack and his inability to use the rational parts which are the ego and superego. Simon is the only boy who is shown as an exception when he offers his meat to piggy. Simon is referred to as the only boy that can sport the true nature of the beast which shows he can overcome the basic desires of Id.
Example #8 – interesting ideas
Do I need to write an essay on symbolism in lord of the flies?
Here’s a bit of info. Don’t use it directly, just snippets of the passage. Golding uses a lot of symbolism in The Lord of the Flies. The entire book is symbolic of the nature of man and society in general as the island becomes a society metaphorical to society as a whole and the hunt at the end of the book symbolic of the war.
A symbol Golding uses throughout the book is the conch. It represents authority and order. The person holding the conch had the power, and it created order and rules since when it was called, everyone had to listen. Another symbol is Piggy’s glasses. It symbolized knowledge and insight. While Piggy had them, he was able to give advice to the group, such as that of the signal fire.
It was the glasses that created the fire. However, after the glasses are broken, the group loses what insight they had. The war paint is also a symbol. It symbolized the rejection of society. In a way, when they put on the mask of war paint, they took off the mask of society and revealed their true inner selves which were savage.
Help with the lord of the flies! And symbolism!?
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
The Conch Shell:
Ralph and Piggy discover the conch shell on the beach at the start of the novel and use it to summon the boys together after the crash separates them. Used in this capacity, the conch shell becomes a powerful symbol of civilization and order in the novel.
The shell effectively governs the boys’ meetings, for the boy who holds the shell holds the right to speak. In this regard, the shell is more than a symbol—it is an actual vessel of political legitimacy and democratic power. As the island civilization erodes and the boys descend into savagery, the conch shell loses its power and influence among them.
Ralph clutches the shell desperately when he talks about his role in murdering Simon. Later, the other boys ignore Ralph and throw stones at him when he attempts to blow the conch in Jack’s camp. The boulder that Roger rolls onto Piggy also crushes the conch shell, signifying the demise of the civilized instinct among almost all the boys on the island.
Piggy is the most intelligent, rational boy in the group, and his glasses represent the power of science and intellectual endeavor in society. This symbolic significance is clear from the start of the novel when the boys use the lenses from Piggy’s glasses to focus the sunlight and start a fire. When Jack’s hunters raid Ralph’s camp and steal the glasses, the savages effectively take the power to make fire, leaving Ralph’s group helpless.
The Signal Fire:
The signal fire burns on the mountain, and later on the beach, to attract the notice of passing ships that might be able to rescue the boys. As a result, the signal fire becomes a barometer of the boys’ connection to civilization. In the early parts of the novel, the fact that the boys maintain the fire is a sign that they want to be rescued and return to society.
When the fire burns low or goes out, we realize that the boys have lost sight of their desire to be rescued and have accepted their savage lives on the island. The signal fire thus functions as a kind of measurement of the strength of the civilized instinct remaining on the island. Ironically, at the end of the novel, a fire finally summons a ship to the island, but not the signal fire. Instead, it is the fire of savagery—the forest fire Jack’s gang starts as part of his quest to hunt and kill Ralph.
The imaginary beast that frightens all the boys stands for the primal instinct of savagery that exists within all human beings. The boys are afraid of the beast, but only Simon reaches the realization that they fear the beast because it exists within each of them.
As the boys grow more savage, their belief in the beast grows stronger. By the end of the novel, the boys are leaving it sacrifices and treating it as a totemic god. The boys’ behavior is what brings the beast into existence, so the more savagely the boy’s act, the more real the beast seems to become.
The Lord of the Flies:
The Lord of the Flies is the bloody, severed sow’s head that Jack impales on a stake in the forest glade as an offering to the beast. This complicated symbol becomes the most important image in the novel when Simon confronts the sow’s head in the glade and it seems to speak to him, telling him that evil lies within every human heart and promising to have some “fun” with him. (This “fun” foreshadows Simon’s death in the following chapter.)
In this way, the Lord of the Flies becomes both a physical manifestation of the beast, a symbol of the power of evil and a kind of Satan figure who evokes the beast within each human being. Looking at the novel in the context of biblical parallels, the Lord of the Flies recalls the devil, just as Simon recalls Jesus. In fact, the name “Lord of the Flies” is a literal translation of the name of the biblical name Beelzebub, a powerful demon in hell sometimes thought to be the devil himself.
Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, and Roger:
Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel, and many of its characters signify important ideas or themes. Ralph represents order, leadership, and civilization. Piggy represents the scientific and intellectual aspects of civilization. Jack represents unbridled savagery and the desire for power.
Simon represents natural human goodness. Roger represents brutality and bloodlust at their most extreme. To the extent that the boys’ society resembles a political state, the littluns might be seen as the common people, while the older boys represent the ruling classes and political leaders.
The relationships that develop between the older boys and the younger ones emphasize the older boys’ connection to either the civilized or the savage instinct: civilized boys like Ralph and Simon use their power to protect the younger boys and advance the good of the group; savage boys like Jack and Roger use their power to gratify their own desires, treating the littler boys as objects for their own amusement.
The novel itself is like a social experiment; ie, what are people like if you take away all of the trappings of modern life, such as technology, tv, government, etc? what are people like if just left to their own devices? Children rather than adults are better ‘test subjects’ for this experiment because they have not been conditioned to the same extent by modern life.
I think the novel suggests that civilization masks mankind’s more primitive instincts. These darker drives are represented by the slaughtering of the pig and its head on a stick. In contrast, civilization itself is symbolized by the conch shell and also Piggy’s glasses – so when Piggy’s glasses are broken it’s like the nail in the coffin for Ralph’s attempts to stop the boys’ descent into savagery: there is a lovely line right near the end of the novel when it says something about Ralph ‘crying for the darkness of man’s heart’ which sums it up nicely.
My other favorite quotation from the book is in the chapter ‘A gift for the darkness.’ Simon has an encounter with the pig’s head on a stick and imagines that it is the devil speaking to him: ‘At last, Simon gave up and looked back; saw the white teeth and dim eyes, the blood – and his gaze were held by that ancient, inescapable recognition.’ This quotation, I think, is saying that the pig’s head on a stick forces Simon to come face to face with the dark side of man’s heart that has always been there, hence ‘ancient.’
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