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Comment on Golding's use of symbolism and imagery in "The Lord of the Flies"

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Introduction

Kyle Fahy 10 PR Comment on Golding's use of symbolism and imagery in "The Lord of the Flies" "The Lord of the Flies" was first published in 1954 by Faber and Faber Limited. It was written by William Golding (1911-93), who decided to write it because he wanted people to know the true nature of human beings. It is significant that it was published in the post war era because people still shared conflicting opinions about the war, which were reflected by the conflicts and skirmishes between Jack's tribe (who shared a totalitarianism view) and Ralph's tribe (who were democratic and preferred law and order). In this essay, I plan to concentrate my views about Golding's use of symbolism and imagery, and how it is important in a book like, "Lord of the Flies". I will also comment on how Golding writes the book on more than one level (the literal level, the symbolic level and as the ongoing battle between democracy and totalitarianism). The book, which is set during the Second World War, begins with an aeroplane crash landing on an isolated island after being shot out of the sky by a German plane. ...read more.

Middle

On the symbolic level it can be seen as the ongoing battle between good and evil, with a boy that truly represents one of these in each tribe, Simon (purity and innocence) in Ralph's tribe and Roger (who is inhuman and capable of murder without feeling guilty) in Jack's tribe. Finally the book can be interpreted as the feud between democracy and totalitarianism. A "symbol" is an object that can represent something other than itself. For example, the conch can be seen as a symbol for order and democratic principles such as, equality and free speech. When the conch is first discovered, it represents a part of the natural world that is untouched and unspoilt by people. Eventually, it becomes a symbol of authority and common sense. When the conch is destroyed, it represents the destruction of order and rational thought and behaviour. Traditionally the conch was used by the Greek mythological God, Triton to calm or raise the seas. This is like the way in which Ralph uses it to command respect and order from the other boys; "Ralph took the conch from where it lay on the polished seat and held it to his lips; but then he hesitated and did not blow. ...read more.

Conclusion

Purity on the other hand is represented by white and silver images such as the phosphorescence that is present when Simon is carried off to sea, and we finally realise his innocence in the novel. Each of the above images contribute to my understanding of "The Lord of the Flies" because the images of violence and destruction back up Golding's belief that evil is the one true cause of human nature. The images of nature, on the other hand, help to represent that, although humans are ultimately evil, there is still hope for mankind. The imagery of colour helps me to see that, despite the odds, innocence and purity will eventually triumph over evil as it did in Simon's heart. In conclusion to my essay, symbolism and imagery are used constantly throughout "Lord of the Flies" in a manner that represents the majority of humans as evil and black hearted, but, despite that image, all humans will eventually succumb to the innocence and purity of nature. Imagery and symbolism are important to the understanding of the novel because they are the true cause of the depth in the novel and, without them, Golding's view about human nature could not be put across in this novel as effectively or powerfully. ...read more.

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