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Symbolism in "The Lord of the Flies"

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Introduction

Simon informs the boys of the truth about the beast. "What I mean is... maybe it's only us" Only Simon has come to the realisation that the beast is within them and it is a manifestation of the boys' own evil actions. It can be argued that the boys' actions are directly proportional to the beast's strength and status. The more savage the boys become, the more they respect and serve it; until it captivates them. However, ironically when Jack becomes chief, he says, "Forget the beast!", but succumbs to its rule as the novel progresses, this indeed happens as the boys decide to take a gift for the beast and Jack says, "This head is for the beast. It's a gift." Firstly the boys do not forget the beast regardless of how hard they try, and this is further proof for the fact that it exists within because they are unable to. ...read more.

Middle

Jack wasn't tainting his own name with his actions anymore, but rather the mask committed and held blame for them. Jack lusts power and status, and this mask immediately offers him precisely that. "He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling." His laughter and dancing instantly evolved into this animalistic behaviour subconsciously and automatically, and it was this 'no fear' attitude of his, and the absurdity of the mask which created fear within the boys which led to them being subservient to him. "The mask compelled them." The boys had no other choice; it subjugated them. Golding uses this mask as if it is hypnotising the boys, and it is the new order in society which is in total conflict with their old society which only conditioned them to good and just acts; this order conditioned them to evil. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fire symbolises the boys' rescue and it represents hope. When the boys worked hard to get rescued, the fire burned brightly symbolising that the chance of rescue was very high, but when the fire was put out, it reflected the fact that Jack and others were not trying hard, and their hope had also been put out. Ironically, even though the fire represented hope and rescue, the boy with the birthmark was killed by the fire, and Golding suggests that even things with inherent good can also commit bad. Also, it is symbolic that Jack couldn't light the fire, "'Will you light the fire?' Now the absurd situation was open, Jack blushed too. He began to mutter vaguely." He blushed in embarrassment at the fact that he couldn't do it and this symbolises that he cannot ignite his own hope. However Piggy had an immense amount of hope and belief such that even his glasses was sufficient to light the fire. ...read more.

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