The Continual Breakdown of Society in Lord of the Flies
In the Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses a variety of symbols to represent ideas, or abstract notions or conceptions about people, places, and things. A symbol, according to the Webster's Dictionary, is an object that stands for something in addition to its literal meaning. In the book, there is a continual breakdown of society and civilization on the island. During this breakdown, Golding uses symbolism to further explain the process. Some of the things he symbolizes in the novel are the island itself, the conch, the boys clothing, and the violence.
In The Lord of the Flies, Golding symbolizes the island in many ways. To begin, the island was pure, and clean before they crashed. The crash left a scar on the island. The island was symbolized as the "Garden of Eden", when they got there, and at the end it was like "Hell on earth". The boys made the island unpure when they landed. Their survival altered the island forever. They killed animals, started fires, built huts, and by this they changed the natural state of the island.
Another thing that was symbolized in the book is the conch shell. The conch is what Ralph blew into to get the boys to come together. At first they established rules, one of them being the person holding the conch is the only person who can speak. The conch symbolizes order among the boys. As time past the boys acted more and more uncivil, and they didn't pay much attention to the conch. At this point, order stated to disintegrate. Towards the end of the novel, when the conch was shattered, all civilization of the boys shattered along with it. There was complete chaos on the island.
The clothing also represents the breakdown of the society. To begin, most of the boys were wearing school uniforms and some were wearing choir robes. This shows they are educated, civilized young men, who are most likely from, or around the city. As time passes, the boys do not remain fully clad. They shed their shoes and shirts. Their hair grows longer, and they are dirtier. This resembles their civilized ways beginning to fade. They also started using face paint for camouflage, and it eventually becomes a ritual.