Describe the Symbols Used in The Lord of the Flies
The Lord of the Flies is the debut allegoric novel written by William Golding, which has not become too popular after it was published. But after a while it became a bestseller and was called one of the most significant novels written in English language, due to the problems it highlights, and a strong moral. Charles Brian Cox (“The Lord of the Flies. Critics Reviews,” n.d.) said “its exceptional strength stems from the fact that Golding believes: every detail of human life has a religious significance.”
While writing the story author wanted to show that evil is something external to human nature and looked for the extent to which human soul is free from evil. Author’s thoughts about the prevailing of evil in humanity and the fragility of modern civilization have found their reflection in a story about a group of boys stranded on a desert island.
Firstly, boys try to organize their lives wisely, in accordance with the rules of civilized existence, making efforts to create a semblance of democracy. But it does not last for long: the struggle for power erupts and panic breaks out, children feel the presence of the dreaded beast – the embodiment of their unconscious fears. And then, the order disrupts under the influence of dark instincts. Animal instincts which are asleep in human minds win, and fear and the instinct of self-preservation become destructive, lead to meanness and murder. Consequently, Golding claims that the biggest problem of society is the evil concealed in human soul.
The writer gives specific significance to simple items and phenomena. For example, a conch found by Ralph and Piggy acquires the meaning of symbol while becoming a horn which unites and summons children – it embodies the principles of civilization, law and equality. Boys associate the conch with a right to give a talk. But as a number of conflicts and contradictions increased, among them the conch loses its essence – its destruction means the eliminating of civilization all children believed in.
The true meaning of the symbols is not always revealed even by the end of the story. For example, a fire in the beginning of the novel is associated with salvation, it is a signal fire, but it quickly falls out of control and destroys one of the boys. Fire fades when Jack kills his first pig, and becomes a terrible destructive force during hunting to catch Ralph, although thanks to the fire boys were found and saved. The meaning of symbols changes as the story progresses, but also depends on the fact that main characters subjectively invest in these symbols.
Golding’ s heroes are not just specific boys with child logic and behavior, but also certain social and philosophical types of personality. Each character represents his own specific position (side of the human soul) in the struggle between two worlds – the world of savagery and common-sense world. But main conflict of the novel occurs between Ralph and Jack, who are shown as two different characters, two opposite personality types. Jack embodies willingness, cruelty and selfishness, Ralph is soft and inclined to searching for the truth. But simultaneously they both represent two inner beginnings, the two worlds of feelings and ideas.
Image of the symbol Lord of the Flies originally emerged unspeakably – it finds manifestation in boys’ fear and their feeling of some “beast.” Imaginary “beast” is generated by fear, which by its nature has two sides: state of fear and act of self-preservation. In both manifestations fear gives a push to cruelty, violence and blood. If rationalist Piggy does not see the gist of events, then Simon reaches this understanding by insight. Only he knows that the “beast” is hidden in their souls – it is a secret fear, cruelty and a willingness to kill. So, “beast” awakens in Jack, Roger, Maurice and becomes the essence, which then symbolically embodies in the The Lord of the Flies. This image opens in an external action (pig’s head impaled on a stick and plastered with flies) and inner (fear in the minds of the children). At the level of meaning it is the instinct of “beast,” awakened in children, and on the artistic level it is symbolic and fantastic form of The Lord of the Flies. That is why there are artistic ambiguity and ambivalence of this image. While planting a pig’s head on a stake, Jack announces: “The head is for the beast. It’s a gift” (“Important Quotes from Lord of the Flies,” 2012). This symbol reflects the pervasive evil that seizes man. “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 biblical name Beelzebub, a powerful demon in hell sometimes thought to be the devil himself” (“Lord of the Flies. Themes, Motifs and Symbols,” n.d.).
Hence, the author with help of describing such symbols as signal fire, the conch, “beast” and The Lord of the Files endows inanimate objects with human significance and meaning of life. Also, he points out the fact that animal instincts are likely to prevail in the environment of fear and hopelessness. According to D. Anderson (“The Lord of the Flies. Critics Reviews,” n.d.), “the story investigates the origins of moral degradation of humanity.” Jack in the first chapter of the book blamed himself for not having courage to cut the pig. Later he overcame himself at the expense of his soul’s principles, but changed drastically. And in nowadays society people often forget about honesty, justice, value of life and order. That is why it is natural that this narrative story has great popularity – someone, having read it, would recognize himself in one of the characters’ behavior. The moral of The Lord of the Flies is to make right choices in our life and do not forget that if we succumb to dark side of our soul we will have the “beast” inside us. On the whole, adult problems described here make us think about the fate of humanity, civilization ways, and relationship between personality and society.
The Lord of the Flies. Critics Reviews. Retrieved from http://ru.wikipedia.org
Important Quotes from Lord of the Flies, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.brighthubeducation.com
Lord of the Flies. Themes, Motifs and Symbols. Retrieved from http://www.sparknotes.com
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Lord of the Flies is a book by William Golding and was written during WWII. His choice to join the navy changed the way he viewed the world. A group of students were being evacuated from an airplane that is in a lonesome island. Once the group is settled in, they elect a boy of the name Ralph to be leader. A dispute is started on how their will be rules and who governs who. Problems have risen and the group is torn apart. Lord of the Flies theme is that being hungry for power is natural in humans and examples are given when the band chooses a leader, decision making of the boys, and uncivilized acts among themselves.
The theme in Lord of The Flies is seen throughout the novel. For example, they voted on a leader to help have order and act in an organized manner. Jack was a nominee who ran against Ralph. JAck really wants to be the leader, but of course Ralph ends up being the popular vote. “We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything. ‘” (Golding 40). Golding states that the group must be organized, they are not animals. They know that without order, everything they are could collapse and be their downfall.
Plus they call themselves the best at everything so they could have some faith of getting by. “They obeyed the summons of the conch, partly because Ralph blew it, and he was big enough to be a link with the adult world of authority…. ” (Golding 50). Here it shows the Ralph had what it takes to be a leader, everyone listens and takes his orders without question. Towards the end of chapter four, a character by the name of Piggy wines about some rude hunters, Jack hits the poor character breaking the glasses they were wearing.
In the story, being power hungry is a pretty common thing and many examples are portrayed such as the group being split, so there is not one main leader. These islanders act in such a way now that they have obtained power. There will be groups. Jack doesn’t like the idea of Ralph being a leader, but is satisfied with his numbers in his own group. “The world, that understandable and lawful world, was slipping away. ” (Golding 82). It says that they everything they know about society is going downhill, they have started their own world.
Everyone wanted power, no one liked the idea of being a follower. “‘Shut up,’ said Ralph absently. He lifted the conch. ‘Seems to me we ought to have a chief to decide things. ’” Which very blatantly shows how much Ralph thinks he has total authority over all the boys. “I ought to be chief,” said Jack with simple arrogance, “because I’m chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp. ” (Golding 229-231). As of reading it is clear that Jack’s thirst for power was most utterly real and has been going on from the beginning of the book.
He saw himself as the big-shot. Evidence is given that Jack might want to be the antagonist of this novel, Lord of the Flies. All Jack really wants is to show he is the true leader nothing much, yeah he wants order, but all in the wrong ways. Finally, is the uncivilized way the boys have acted among the groups that have done more damage than good. They all go through this face to behave well and have order with each other trying there best to ignore all the negative and chaos of a bad government.
Biggest bust of the novel was when Piggy got demolished by a giant boulder that had flattened him. Who was to blame? Jack as everyone pointed fingers to him along with a so called Roger. Roger was a savage man, who knew that such evil could be brought out from a human being. “As he did so, he heard Jack’s voice from the top. ‘Heave! Heave! Heave! ” (Golding 193). Jack was most likely behind this diabolical plan that murdered the poor innocent Piggy. The great rock that had killed Piggy had bounded into this thicket and bounced there, right in the center, making a smashed space a few feet in extent each way. ”(Golding 192). It is obvious that these two men were the evil masterminds behind the death of Piggy. In the beginning of the book, the group came across a pig while hunting and without a doubt kill the poor creature. Jack’s true side came out, this was the part where he would become the bad guy in the story, stabbing the pig had been enough proof to show he is a killer.
In Lord of the Flies, a group who had been left on an island due to their plane coming on a crashing course evacuating their homes because of treacherous war, are now left to make there own decisions creating new order around them. While waiting for help to arrive, all sorts of issues are created with the main problem being leadership. Lord of the Flies theme is that being hungry for power is natural in humans and examples are given when the band chooses a leader, decision making of the boys, and uncivilized acts among themselves.