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Symbolism in Lord of the Flies.

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Introduction

Symbolism in Lord of the Flies The story, Lord of the Flies, has many interesting symbols relating adult society to kids surviving on an island. Many of the characters and items in this novel such as Jack or the conch can be interpreted on a macroscopic scale but the most important being this; a microcosm of children on an island makes a great symbolic message about human nature, society and how grown-ups live and govern - and how they cannot. When you consider the time Period this book was written, you can see where Golding got some of his inspiration. Europe was still recovering after WW2 and the author probably wanted to comment on the political turmoil during the 50s. The island is a microcosm of the world during this time, and its scar represents human destruction once the kids were dropped or "reborn" on the island. If we look at the book as a political statement we can already sense leaders and followers. Obviously, Ralph, described as a good-looking, relying on common sense type of regular fellow, is the likable, fair, and even admired, democratic leader. He has a few loyal advisors and following. Piggy, a smart chubby boy, represents the scientific community and logical thinking, with glasses that represent clarity, civilization and the power to get back. He is essentially Ralph's method of governing. Sam `n Eric, the twin labourers, stuck with Ralph until the end and did a lot of cooperative activities for Ralph. They were the hut builders, fire tenders and wood gatherers. The little ones also liked Ralph. They were the citizens and at times were happy but slowly grew discontent as paradise became hell. Throughout the story the little ones didn't do much but in the beginning they did vote Ralph in and basically brought him into power. Because the people elected Ralph, he therefore is a true democratic ruler. ...read more.

Middle

In the ensuing fight, Jack punches Piggy, breaking and knocking off his specs. Finally, the fire is lit again, the pig is roasted, and everyone eats. The hunters reenact the hunt, with a wild tribal dance and one boy being the pig; this is the first time of many that the dance is performed. Significance: Roger's first showing of aggression foreshadows his becoming a very evil and sadistic figure, Jack's invitation to watch him paint his face is the start of their "evil friendship." Jack's mask of face paint represents a cover that he can hide behind, which liberates and frees him, allowing him to do anything when wearing it, without worrying about any important matters. Jack still does not understand Ralph's concern with the fire, and doesn't seem to care much for getting rescued. The primal dance performed by the hunters highlights their transition into savagery. One of several significant incidents in this story is when the hunting group killed the first pig. This is a significant scene because it is where the hunters of the group release the savagery that has been covered up by the fact that they were civilized. It also is a significant event because it is the first time that the group of boys ignores the priorities set by their leader, Ralph. Ralph felt that keeping a signal fire to alert passing ships of their presence was more important than finding another source of food. Having his orders disobeyed meant that he was losing power. This scene is also significant because it is the turning point when authority shifts from the hands of Ralph to those of Jack. Jack uses the power to cause chaos in the eyes of Ralph and Piggy. The most significant event in the book was when Simon saw the dead pigs head on a stick. The head was an offering by the tribe to the 'beast.' ...read more.

Conclusion

The author also blends abstract ideas with those that are concrete. He does this, for example, when developing the symbol of the beast and moving it more and more into the center of the human creature. This development holds similar symbolic actions and scenes together, making them understandable. This book made me realize that we are all beasts. The fact that we have authority over others and ourselves keeps us from unleashing our ultimate true character. The boys did not have any authority until Ralph and Jack took over. When they had a leader, they were a bit more under control. Another thing to mention is that before the crash, these boys were friends and treated each other with the respect and dignity that friends are supposed to give. So, there must be a power greater than anyone knows that can split a bond like this apart and turn individuals into ruthless, murdering savages. The most memorable line in the book is when the boys are picked up by the British cruiser (Captain speaking), "I should have thought that a pack of British boys - you're all British, aren't you? - would have been able to put up a better show than that" (201). This is a memorable line because Piggy said in the beginning of the book that the group was not savage because they were British and the British were the best of everything. When the Captain asks if the boys were British, it shows that Piggy was wrong. For the Captain to not recognize them as British means that they really changed while on the island. As the reader can see through the story, they did change. I would recommend this book to everyone because it reveals to us a side of true human nature that people want to hide. We forget sometimes that we are animals underneath the etiquette and properness that covers us. By reading this book, the reader will get a sense of who we could be, which is really who we are. ...read more.

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