Civilization vs. savagery, reason vs. impulse, order vs. chaos, law vs. anarchy, or the broader heading of good vs. evil. This is a dilemma every single human being goes through on a daily basis. Weather we do what we know is right, live by rules, act peacefully, follow moral commands and proceed with the values we were grown up to respect or give in to our savage/ animal side, the instinct to gratify one’s immediate desires, enforce one’s will, and act violently to obtain supremacy over others. Throughout the book there are three main symbols: the conch, the signal fire, and the Lord of the Flies. These symbols help the reader to understand and capture the boys struggles to maintain civility and how they slowly graduate into what they finally become by the end of the novel: savages.
In the beginning of the book the boys tried to be civil, live by rules, be peaceful to one another and follow moral commands. The conch’s literal role in the novel was to summon meetings, however there was a much deeper meaning to it. The conch represented rules, democracy and civilization and when it got crushed it was clear that all these signs had long vanished and that the boys had long lost their innocence and humanity for they were now savages. The conch was used throughout the book to establish order and all respected its authority for only the ones who held the conch spoke during meetings. We can see from the very beginning that the conch set order, by blowing in to the conch Ralph and Piggy were able to reunite all the survivors, this straight away showed the reader how the conch held some sort of authority that throughout the book became clearer. The entire first chapter--The Sound of the Shell--is devoted to the conch, and its symboli...
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...the beast itself.
Within all of us there is the fight between evil vs. good, right vs. wrong, and civilization vs. savagery. However, to which side we give in to is our choice. In the book the boys try to maintain civility, order, be good and practice what’s right. However, they slowly give in to the darker side and by the end they all become savages, killing two out of the three still civil persons on the island and hunting down the last (Ralph). There are many symbols throughout the book that help the reader see this fact and foreshadow what might further on come in the book. The three main symbols in the novel (in my opinion) were the conch, the signal fire and the Lord of the Flies. These three symbols slowly graduate form civil to savage as so do the boys.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: The Berkley
Publishing Group, 1954.
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