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Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding a group of children are stranded on an island when their plane crashes. The freedom of having no parents while living in a society that doesn't enforce rules and laws are eliminated. As the novel progresses the kids find use for different items each symbolizing something of different significance. In this novel William Golding uses different objects to symbolize the difference between civilization and savagery.
Through out the novel, the conch shell represents a way to maintain organization and unity within the group. Ralph and Piggy discover the conch shell on the beach and use it to inform and call the boys together after the crash separates them. The conch shell then becomes a powerful symbol of civilization and order in the novel. This shell effectively influences rules during the meetings. This rule is; whichever boy holds the shell holds the right to speak. "He can hold it when he's speaking," (Golding 33), this explains how whoever is holding the conch has the right to speak; this shows a sense of civility. In this regard, the shell is most definitely a symbol. As the island civilization dissipates, the boys descend into savagery; the conch shell loses its power and influence among them. Also, the boulder that Roger rolls onto Piggy crushes the conch shell, signifying the demise of the civilized instinct among almost all the boys on the island.
Another symbol in this novel is the signal fire. This symbol is a representation of life. The boys create a watch system to make sure the fire stays lit at all times so they have a chance of being rescued. This signal fire burns not only on the mountain, but also on the beach. This is to hopefully attract the attention of passing ships. As a result, the signal fire becomes a test to the boys' connection with civilization. In the beginning, the fact that the boys maintain the fire is a sign that they want to be rescued and return to society. "There was a ship. Out there. You said you'd keep the fire going and you let it out!" (Golding 70). This quote explains how Ralph is angered with Jack when he let the fire burn out.
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An important symbol in this novel is Piggy's glasses. Piggy is the most intelligent, rational boy in the group, and his glasses represent science and logical reasoning within society. When the boys use the lenses from Piggy's glasses to focus the sunlight and start a fire, it portrays intelligence. "The flash of his spectacles" (Golding 44), this quote explains how the flash from the sun helps the boys start a fire while using Piggys glasses. 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. This symbol also shows how the boys use their mind while being stranded on an island.
The "beastie" portrays the symbolic significance of fear. The "Beastie" that frightens all the boys stands for the instinct of savagery. The boys are afraid of the beast, but only Simon figures out that they fear the beast because it exists within each of them. "There was confusion in the darkness and the creature lifted its head, holding toward them the ruin of face" (Golding 123). This shows that when the boys thought the beast had moved, they had all become frightened. It is easy to see that the beast resembles fear to the boys. As the boys become more savage, their belief in the beast grows stronger. By the end of the novel, the boys are making it sacrifices and treating it as their leader. All in all, the boys' behavior is what brings the beast into reality, so the more savage the boys become, the more real the beast seems to be.
The last symbol in this book is the most important of them all. This symbol is known as the lord of the flies. The Lord of the Flies is the severed sow's head that Jack places on a stake as an offering to the beast. This symbol becomes the most important image in the novel when Simon seems to speak to it, telling him about how evil lies within every human heart. When it comes to the death of Simon, the Lord of the Flies becomes both a physical sign of the beast and a symbol of evil. "The body lifted a fraction of an inch from the sand and a bubble of air escaped from the mouth with a wet plop" (Golding 154). This symbolizes the evil of the boys who have transformed form civilized to savage.
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, he uses different objects to symbolize the difference between civilization and savagery. Symbols are a main part of the novel Lord of the flies. This is true because just about every item in this book has a significant symbolic meaning.
Golding also shows how different people can feel the influences of the instincts of civilization and savagery. Piggy, for instance, has no savage feelings, while Roger seems barely capable of understanding the rules of civilization. When left to their own strategy, people naturally transform into a cruel, savage, and barbaric person. This idea of human evil is portrayed in Lord of the Flies, along with several important symbols.
William Golding also uses different objects in the novel Lord Of the Flies to symbolize the difference through civilization and savagery. When the boys first start off on the island, they all still have a sense of humanity and civilization. As the novel progresses on more and more, the boys become more savage and their sense of civilization begins to dissipate. As it slowly fades, their morale is replaced with a savage instinct which then starts to emerge. This is then portrayed when William Golding uses different objects to symbolize the difference between civilization and savagery during The Lord of the Flies.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. Broomall, PA. Chelsea House, 1996. This novel was used for examples and quotes for the essay.