And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.
The officer, surrounded by these noises, was moved and a little embarrassed. He turned away to give them time to pull themselves together; and waited, allowing his eyes to rest on the trim cruiser in the distance.
You read these last few sentences, close your copy of Lord of the Flies and think, “Man… That was intense.”
I have to admit that I have a soft spot for this novel. Every time I read it — which has been more than I can count on one hand — I see some new symbol I never thought about before.
So while it may be a lot to wrap your head around on the first readthrough, I’m going to help by explaining seven different symbols and grouping them into three Lord of the Flies symbolism ideas to help get you started on your essay.
Why Your Teacher Assigned This Book
You have to do a lot of reading for school, and sometimes the books your instructor assigns seem a little pointless. I’m sure that he or she actually has reason for assigning every book, but there is so much value in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies that the reasons you’re reading it should be obvious by the time you are done.
The first reason your instructor assigned you this book is because of its profound theme. The novel’s main theme is one that touches on the human condition: the struggle between civilization and savagery. What do seemingly civilized people, children in this case, do when there are no more concrete rules to govern them?
Furthermore, your instructor probably assigned you to read Lord of the Flies to get you thinking more about symbolism. Almost everything you come across, from the characters to the setting to the various objects, are symbols for something.
Before I give you an example of some of this Lord of the Flies symbolism, I will first give you a more in-depth description of what symbolism is.
What Is Symbolism?
Symbolism, simply put, is any concrete person, place, or object that represents a more abstract idea. In Lord of the Flies, different characters represent different concepts such as leadership and order (Ralph), intelligence and reason (Piggy), kindness (Simon), and savagery (Jack).
There are examples of symbolism in real life too. Some see a crown as a symbol of power, and a lion as a symbol of bravery or courage.
If this symbolism thing is still escaping you, read the following Lord of the Flies symbolism examples. They’ll really help you get the picture.
3 Lord of the Flies Symbolism Ideas
You, of course, don’t have to use the examples listed below. They’re here for example and inspiration purposes. You can group them however you want. You can choose to focus on one symbol or even write about all of these Lord of the Flies symbolism examples in one essay if you want — though that would probably be a really long essay.
Whichever way you cut it, these symbolism examples will give you a good starting point.
Evil Within: The Beast and The Lord of the Flies
The Beast and the Lord of the Flies are interconnected in this novel. The Beast is just a made-up monster that no one actually sees. At first, most of the boys shrug off the Beast, but as they fall further from civilization, they put more faith in it.
The Beast is a symbol for the evil and malice that reside within everyone, and it gets more powerful as the boys succumb to their savagery.
Jack’s savage group ends up making an offering to the Beast in the form of the Lord of the Flies — a pig’s head on a spike.
This shows not only how much the boys believe in the Beast (enough to make it an offering), but also how savage they have become (killing a pig and putting its head on a spike).
Simon is the only character who recognizes that the Beast is the evil inside them, and he’s the one who starts hearing the Lord of the Flies talk to him, evoking a great sense of fear.
The Beast and the Lord of the Flies end up becoming symbols for the same thing — the Beast as a mental manifestation and the Lord of the Flies as a physical manifestation of the evil and darkness within everyone.
The Conch Shell, Fire and Piggy’s Glasses: Rise and Fall of Order/Civilization
Photo by cheesy42 via flickr
The conch shell symbolizes order and civilization. Piggy quickly recognizes what the conch shell is and how to make sound from it, and it is Ralph that makes the most use of it.
In the beginning, all of the boys agree to meet whenever the conch sounds and that whoever is holding the conch in meetings is the one who gets to speak. The conch shell is destroyed by the boulder that also kills Piggy. This incident symbolizes the fall of order and civilization on the island.
Similarly, the signal fire represents the hold that order and civilization have over the boys on the island. At first, when the boys are trying to maintain the social order of the outside world, they attempt to keep the fire going.
The more vicious and savage some of the boys become, the smaller the signal fire becomes.
The signal fire, however, is not what gets the attention of a passing ship, but the destructive fire Jack lights to hunt Ralph.
Thus, fire as a whole in this novel can represent both civilization and savagery. The ability to control the fire as the boys did with the signal fire represents a controlled and orderly society, while the out-of-control fire shows the destructive force of a society without restrictions.
Piggy himself represents intelligence and logic, but it is his glasses that are a symbol of intelligence as a foundation for civilized society.
The glasses are the physical manifestation of Piggy’s best qualities. He’s not athletic, but he has brains. The glasses are also one of the last remaining tools from the outside world. The boys use this tool, instead of more primitive means, to light the signal fire (the desire for order).
But the glasses, like the conch shell, are broken by savagery. When the glasses break, the last link the boys had to their past society is broken.
You can write about all three of these symbols in your essay to discuss the competing forces of civilization and savagery, which is one of the main themes of the novel.
Humankind’s Capacity for Destruction: The Island and the Scar
Photo by Doc Searls via flickr
Along with mankind’s inner evil and the forces of savagery and civilization, the Lord of the Flies symbolism also covers the destruction humans are capable of. Not only does this whole story take place during a war, which causes destruction on a massive scale, Golding also includes a couple symbols to demonstrate this point.
The island itself is a symbol of perfection — unadulterated natural beauty. It is said to have plenty of fruit, and the children are all able to build shelter from its resources. Even the pigs that some of the boys end up brutally killing seem to have never seen humans before.
But then the humans come, and the island’s beauty is disrupted from the moment the boys arrive. The crashed plane creates what the author calls a scar–literal, permanent visible evidence of a gash or wound. The plane crashing was a product of the destruction of war, and by the time the boys are rescued, they have engaged in their own kind of war and further destroyed the paradise.
Final Thoughts on Lord of the Flies SymbolismThese are only a few examples of Lord of the Flies symbolism, and I’m sure you can find countless more as you read through the novel. I’ll give you a hint though — most of the symbols involve opposing parts of the human condition:
- Savagery versus civilization
- Perfection versus destruction
- Kindness/goodness versus evil
I hope this helps get the wheels turning on your thoughts for your own essay. If you want to make absolutely sure that you got it, send it to one of the Kibin editors when you are done. They’ll let you know if you need to add anything and will help you get that essay cleaned up.
*Cover image by SpartanHedgey
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.
Piggy's Glasses, Irony, Power, and Doomed Heroes in Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Length: 1405 words (4 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
•Piggy’s glasses and his limited vision are important in the novel. How are they significant, and what themes do they represent?
Piggy’s glasses play an important role in showing Piggy’s personality. The stereotype of a person with glasses is that they are smart and intelligent. These Glasses are very important in showing Piggy’s characteristics, as these glasses symbolize his wisdom. In the novel, Ralph even admits that he cannot think like Piggy. Piggy’s glasses also symbolize that he is weaker and more nurturing than the other boys who just want to go hunting.
William Golding has been very clever in pointing out this by means of what he looks like. Once the glasses were broken this was also showing the state of social order on the island (since Jack punched Piggy and broke his glasses the social order dropped). As the condition of the glasses got worse so did the level of social order of the boys.
The glasses that Piggy wears are also very important to the boy’s survival and getting off the island, as the glasses create fire. Along with fire comes warmth and smoke. The smoke is a very vital part as the ongoing ships can see the smoke and then the ship can rescue the boys.
Piggy’s glasses are also a symbol of science because they create fire. This symbolism of science has been occurring since they first landed on the island and made a fire though the lenses.
As the glasses represent science, I believe that Piggy can as well because the boys find what science produced was useful, but they did not care about the science involved.
Ralph and the rest of the boys did not like Piggy as much as they would like the next man. The boys did not treat him as fair as each other and thought that he was useless. Soon Ralph came around to realize just how much he depends on Piggy and his wisdom.
• Provide a definition of irony and select three places where it is used in the novel.
The Australian English dictionary defines irony as, “mildly sarcastic use of words to imply the opposite of what is said”.
The first use of irony would be when Jack wants to kill a pig when he first landed on the island.
How to Cite this Page
|William Golding's Lord Of The Flies Essay examples - The author, William Golding uses the main characters of Ralph, Jack, and Simon in The Lord of the Flies to portray how their desire for leadership, combined with lack of compromise leads to the fall of their society. This desire for leadership and compromise led to the fall of their society just like multiple countries during times of wars. In the Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses characters to convey the main idea of his novel. The story begins with a war, and a plane carrying several young boys, who are being evacuated, is shot down from the sky.... [tags: Lord Flies Golding]||975 words|
| Lord of the Flies and I Only Came to Use the Phone Essay - In Lord of the Flies and “I Only Came to Use the Phone”, the setting and actions of the characters work together. Both are used to show the many cases of irony in the stories. The irony in both stories reveals the true and basic nature in all humans. First, the authors show readers irony through the customs that the isolated characters bring with them from their previous homes. Ideally, the setting that Maria and all the boys come from represents civilization and order. It is seen that in the beginning, the character’s actions still reflect their old home.... [tags: lord of the flies, william golding ]|
:: 2 Works Cited
|Essay about The Very Unhappy Ending of Lord of the Flies - The Very Unhappy Ending of Lord of the Flies William Golding's Lord of the Flies indeed has a happy ending in the literal sense. The boys are rescued as their foolish cruelty reaches its apex by the loving, caring, and matured outside world. On the other hand, by whom and what are the boys rescued. Symbolically, the "happy ending" is exactly the opposite. Far from sacrificing artistic excellence, Golding's ending confirms the author's powerful symbolism. Readers know ample about the boys society and where it heads long before the "rescue." Ralph will be killed and to remain a perpetual gift to the "beastie." The boys' xenophobic view of the beastie is ironically unfounded because the b... [tags: Lord of the Flies Essays]||835 words|
|Lord of the Flies Essay - Nature or nurture. A question frequently asked but hard to answer or prove. This is where William Golding steps in. He writes a novel about a group of schoolboys stranded on an island, fighting to survive. Instead of acting how they have been taught by society, they turn into a disaster, breaking up into separate groups, having celebrations to hunt pig, and killing each other. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding, inspired by The Coral Island and Paradise Lost, shows the true nature of human beings in a society created by children.... [tags: Literary Analysis, William Golding]||1586 words|
| The Two Faces of Man Exposed in The Lord of the Flies Essay - The Two Faces of Man Exposed in The Lord of the Flies William Golding was inspired by his experiences in the Royal Navy during World War II when he wrote Lord of the Flies (Beetz 2514). Golding has said this about his book: The theme is an attempt to trace the defeats of society back to the defects of human nature. The moral is that the shape of society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system however apparently logical or respectable. The whole book is symbolic in nature except the rescue in the end where adult life appears, dignified and capable, but in reality enmeshed in the same evil as the symbolic life of the children on the isl... [tags: Lord of the Flies Essays]|
:: 11 Works Cited
|Essay on Irony in Lord of the Flies - The Lord of the Flies initiates an ironic structure from its first chapters that becomes evident by the end of the book. Both Ralph and Jack’s attitude are different in the beginning of the novel to the way they turned out in the end. It is ironic how the most optimistic or hopeful situations in the book turn out catastrophic and society only falls apart more. On the surface the story implies that it is the boys’ age and inexperience that causes them to create such a corrupt society, however, on the contrary, there is an exaggerated respect for the ‘adult world’ as you consider the reason why the boys are on the island in the first place.... [tags: essays research papers]||988 words|
|Lord of the Flies by William Golding Essay - William Golding explores the vulnerability of society in a way that can be read on many different levels. A less detailed look at the book, Lord of the Flies, is a simple fable about boys stranded on an island. Another way to comprehend the book is as a statement about mans inner savage and reverting to a primitive state without societies boundaries. By examining the Lord of the Flies further, it is revealed that many themes portray Golding’s views, including a religious persecution theme. Golding includes the theme of religious persecution to remind people of mans true nature, and by doing so alludes the fact that the next time society deteriorates, due to nuclear war, may be the last.... [tags: essays research papers]||957 words|
|William Golding's Lord of the Flies Essay - William Golding's Lord of the Flies "After all were not savages, we're English and the English are best at everything." - Trace the decline of civilisation during the novel. In this novel we can see the disintegration of reason and civilisation, which is inversely proportional to the rise of hedonistic ideas and savagery. We can also see that the island is a microcosm of the rest of the world, which is also disintegrating due to the nuclear war which is being waged. Also the 'littluns' in the novel represent the general public of the world and Piggy is the symbol of reason.... [tags: Papers]||1193 words|
|Essay on Lord Of The Flies: A Religious Allegory - Since its publication in 1954, the Lord of the Flies has amassed a prodigious cult-following for its blunt truths. Depicting the savagery of marooned school boys, William Golding's story presents a gruesome vision of post-war humanism in the mode of action and allegory. The Nobel Laureate's novel seems to many critics a striking analogue to the Bible (in certain aspects). Through its biblical parallels in settings, content, and overall meaning, Lord of the Flies becomes, in essence, a religious allegory.... [tags: William Golding]||1025 words|
|Symbolism in William Golding's Lord of the Flies Essay - Symbolism in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies renders either through a character, intention, or theme. The author uses these symbols to have a greater impact on the readers’ interpretation of the novel, rather than merely revealing the idea. First and foremost, the beast and its several manifestations are few of the many signs that support deeper meanings. Furthermore, there is Piggy, one with intelligence and responsibility and one very important symbol. Finally, there are the two fires which are vital representations in the novel that contrasts and demonstrates irony.... [tags: essays research papers]||1212 words|
He hesitates in doing so and this is a complete change from the savage chief Jack soon becomes. When Jack was hunting he could not handle driving a knife into another living things throat, due to all the blood. Ironically, the society that Jack is no longer on does not condone killing stops him despite the fact that he is no longer in that society. After a while Jack ends up finding another pig and this time he kills it, but Jack got so caught up in being the savage hunter that it later drives him to kill other people.
Another use of irony in Lord of the Flies would be when they decided to make a fire so ongoing ships could see the smoke. This attempt to get rescued which is suppose to save their lives ends up backfiring and burns out of control and then this results in a death of a littlun.
Despite their efforts to keep the fire going (which was the hunter’s job) the hunters were too busy trying to get some meat and a ship passed by and the hunters missed due to the fire going out.
For a third example of irony I have chosen when Ralph and Piggy say that Simon is acting “batty”. Simon was not acting weird, it was just his intelligence separating him from the other boys. Since Ralph and piggy are so high in this society they got everyone on Simon and they beat him to death. In the beginning of this novel it was never suspected that Ralph and Piggy were capable of murder.
The irony is that Ralph was supposed to be protecting them as the chief but instead they act in a way that can only be described as insanity. This is all the result fear and how far it can drive even the most sensible of us.
William Golding has written this in a very clever way and adding lots of irony, with telling the reader what even the most sensible of us can do at times of fear.
• Compare Ralph’s use of power with Jacks use of power.
The two boys Ralph and Jack are very different, one is a savage boy who wants to be the boss and be in charge and go hunting all the time, where another boy wants a civilization that’s not corrupt, where there is shelter and lots of food and water.
This essay will be exploring this allot deeper explaining how they use their power in their civilization.
The first day that the boys spent on the island they had a vote for a chief, someone who would make all the big decisions for them. Jack wanted to be chief so that they could live on the island like warriors and hunt for their meat. Ralph had more sensible ideas, he was going to build shelters, have a civilization going that was not corrupted in any way.
Ralph was elected chief but Jack insisted that he took the choir and renamed them the hunters. Jack used the hunters to hunt pigs with him and they also had a job to keep the fire going so ships could see smoke.
Ralph used his power to keep a democracy running and to keep order on the island. Ralph was purely trying to get the boys off the island safely.
Ralph had very sensible ideas and he relied very much on Piggy after he realized that Piggy is not as useless as Ralph made him seem.
Jacks ideas were a little bit more savage of what Ralph wanted to do, but Jack only wanted to hunt so he got control of the hunters.
William Golding has done a very good job in this novel, he has put two different people who want power for their different reasons and this creates conflict which entices people to read.
• Compare Piggy and Simon as doomed heroes.
Piggy and Simon are very much alike, in the sense of that they are misfits and that their physical appearances separate them from the other.
Piggy is very different from the other boys on the island. As he has glasses which make him look more intelligent and or weaker than others. Piggy also has “ass-mar” which contributes to him not being popular with the other boys. Piggy also has a very obvious weight problem, this is how he got the name “Piggy”.
Simon is not a very strong boy, but at the same time he’s not a very weak boy. Simon is not as fat as Piggy but he is known to faint. As an average with a personality and a physical state that is different to other he is bound not to fit in.
Simon and Piggy’s view of the world is different to the other boys on the island. As Simon and Piggy think about something then they will think it is real unlike the other boys who just think about the task at hand and what’s in front of them.
Simon and Piggy can be very different sometimes, like when they are having assemblies, Piggy will demand the conch and he can be very arguementive from time to time and he will speak his mind. Unlike Piggy Simon will just sit back and he will not share his ideas because he does not have many friends to back him up. Simon does not have many friends as he has no one in his age group so he is stuck in the middle of the littluns and the older boys.
I did not think that Piggy and Simon were going to last since they landed on the island. From the moment I read how they act and look it was obvious that they are not suited for this kind of environment.
William Golding has taken a bit of what happens in the animal kingdom and put it in a group of boys. This happens in the animal kingdom, the animals have to keep together in packs in order to stay alive and if you leave this pack you have less chances of surviving.