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A Study Of The Symbolism In William Golding's "Lord Of The Flies"

1720 words - 7 pages

I have chosen to write about the symbolism in William Golding's first novel "Lord of the Flies". I chose to write about the symbolism because it is such an important aspect, which runs through the whole book and is crucial to the reader's understanding of the plot and the development of the characters.The plot is fairly simple but some very complex themes and symbolism are woven into it. The story starts with a group of young boys being marooned on an island previously uninhabited by mankind. They discover they are alone; there are no adults and they struggle to survive and to form a civilised society. This eventually leads to chaos, the breakdown of order and reason and a return to man's most primitive instincts. It is really quite a disturbing book, which makes the reader look at the dark side of man's soul.The first symbol the reader encounters is the island itself. It represents the whole world. The island seems like paradise, it reminds us of the biblical Garden of Eden, a place where everything is perfect until humankind arrives. Golding deliberately makes the island remote from the rest of civilisation to allow him to reveal the true nature of the characters and the world they create for themselves.The boys symbolise the whole of mankind. They create their own little world on the island. Their isolation from the rest of the world allows the author to experiment with them. The characters all remind the reader of people they know and so seem very real.When Ralph finds the conch he makes it the first rule that whoever has the conch is allowed to speak and everyone else has to listen to them because he realises that they need something to represent authority and rules. This shows that they have discovered the importance of communication in society. Language is unique to humans and is one of the things that make us different from animals. Towards the end of the story, the conch gets broken, this is a major turning point in the plot and symbolises the breakdown of communication, the disintegration of society and the point where the boys allow their primitive instincts to take over, making them almost animals.Early in the book, Piggy, one of the boys, is made fun of about his appearance, including the fact that he wears glasses. In the boys' first few hours Jack points out that Piggy's glasses could be used to reflect sunlight onto dry wood to make a signal fire to increase the chance of rescue. They realise that Piggy's glasses may be the most important thing they have.. Piggy's glasses symbolise the hope of rescue, clear thinking and being able to see the truth. When one of the lenses gets broken, things seem to breakdown and events start to become unclear, no one knows what is going on. When the 'savages' steal Piggy's glass, everything becomes unclear. The glasses are the power of fire and when the savages steal them, Piggy's group are left helpless with no hope of rescue. So the glasses are a symbol for seeing clearly, and for the power of...

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