Consider two symbols, which you consider to be important in the novel,

Consider two symbols, which you consider to be important in the novel,

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Consider two symbols, which you consider to be important in the novel,
and show you have thought about how Golding makes use o

Consider two symbols, which you consider to be important in the novel
‘The Lord of the Flies’, and show you have thought about how Golding
makes use of them.

A symbol is ‘a thing regarded as suggesting something.’ The two
objects I have chosen are in my view the most symbolically important
in the novel ‘The Lord of the Flies’.

Firstly I have chosen the conch. The conch is very significant, as it
is the first recognizable object introduced. A conch is a shell, and
is described as ‘deep cream, touched here and there with fading pink.’
It is discovered in the first chapter of the book, ‘The Sound of the
Shell’ and is used to summon everyone together.

Traditionally, the conch was used by the Greek God of the Sea, Triton,
to calm or raise the oceans. Similarly, it was used by Ralph to
command order, attention and respect from the other boys, although he
did not use it intentionally to do this. The boys see it as a symbol
of authority, which must be obeyed unquestioningly. When this
authority is challenged by Jack in ‘Beast From Water’, and again in
‘Beast From Air’, it is the turning point leading to Ralph’s downfall,
and the demise of the conch.

‘ “Conch! Conch!” shouted Jack. “We don’t need the conch any more.” ’

Jack is undermining Ralph, merely to disguise his own insecurity. It
is at this point that Ralph realises the seriousness of the situation,
and is too scared to blow the conch, in case the boys do not regroup.

‘ “If I blow the conch and they don’t come back; we’ve had it.” ’

The conch is also representative of the boys’ loss of innocence, as
this is echoed by the conch losing colour, and losing significance to
the boys. When the conch is destroyed, it indicates the destruction of
order, and rational thought and behaviour. At the same moment the
conch is destroyed, Piggy is killed, which heightens the drama of the
situation, and stresses how important it is that the conch has been

In the microcosm of the island, the boys have virtually no discipline
or figure of authority, and so become more and more feral. Jack’s
behaviour in this situation shows that people will abuse power if it
is not earned. The power that he has corrupts him, and turns him from
a bossy schoolboy into a bloodthirsty dictator. At the beginning of
the novel, the boys were still subject to their conditioning by

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society, and Ralph was elected as leader in a controlled and civilized
manner. However, given the amount of freedom, the boys allow this
civilization to deteriorate, until eventually they are no more than

The second object of symbolic importance is the beast. Instead of
representing law and order, it represents the way in which the boys
perceive something outside of themselves as being evil, in order to
maintain a self-image of being good. This allows them to avoid
self-knowledge, and though it is most probably not intentional, only
Simon has the insight to see that the evil is inside them.

‘ “What I mean is…maybe its only us.” ’

The boys cannot comprehend their own behaviour, and so leap at the
chance to transfer it elsewhere; in this case, the beast, which does
not even exist. Fear of the unknown is a powerful force, and in this
case, results in hysteria.

Golding uses the boys’ fear of the beast to help purvey their fears
and desires. The snakes that they associate with the beast are only
present in their imagination, and not on the island. They are
clutching at straws in a desperate attempt to somehow separate their
behaviour from themselves. The snake is traditionally evil, and is
used by Golding to insinuate that evil comes from within, and further
develops the negative outlook on human nature throughout the book.
This is one of the many religious undertones throughout the novel, as
it stems from Genesis, when the serpent in the Garden of Eden tempted
Eve. Biblically, the ‘Lord of the Flies’ is the name of one of Satan’s
minions, regarded as the prince of evil spirits, and Satan’s

When the dead parachutist descends to the island, it is figuratively
synonymous with the beast, as it is given a physical form, which
somehow compounds the boys’ belief in the beast. Despite the fact that
it is a pathetic figure, robbed of all human dignity, only Simon will
approach close enough to realise the truth. This revelation made by
Simon somehow segregates him from the other boys.

The gift that the boys leave to pacify the beast eventually becomes
another physical manifestation of the beast, which portrays the boys’
absolute incomprehension of what the beast actually is. The pig’s head
on a stick makes it seem like a victory of war, whereas the slaughter
of the pig is just another factor of the degeneration of the boys –
they were not driven to kill the pig by hunger, but an animal instinct
to kill, something that has been all but removed from human nature in
modern society.

Their desperation to rid the island of the beast reaches a climax,
resulting in them killing Simon. This is ironic in a way, as he was
the only one who understood the nature of the beast. However it also
indicates the boys’ refusal to acknowledge that the beast was actually
their own evil.
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