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Literary Devices In Lord Of The Flies

1383 words - 6 pages

Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you”. Lord of the Flies is a novel by William Golding written in 1954, centering on a group of boys stuck on an island who unsuccessfully attempt to govern themselves. They struggle against fear of outside forces as well as themselves, and the reader observes as they lose their innocence and slowly decline from civility in all its forms. In his novel, Lord of the Flies, William S. Golding portrays the theme that society can be corrupted because individuals are naturally corrupt through his use of the symbols of the beast, Piggy’s glasses, and the fire.
William S. Golding uses the symbol of ...view middle of the document...

In Lord of the Flies the beast symbolizes fear and hate, which can drive people to act immorally, selfishly, and corruptly.
While the beast illustrates fear and hate, Golding uses Piggy’s glasses as a symbol of power and dominance to demonstrate how individuals and society can be corrupted. In chapter 10, Ralph’s tribe is attacked by Jack and some of his hunters. They fight, and although no one gets seriously injured, they soon realize the true purpose of the mission. Golding affirms, “The chief led them, trotting steadily, exulting in his achievement. He was a chief now in truth; and he made stabbing motions with his spear. From his left hand dangled Piggy’s broken glasses” (168). From this excerpt we understand that the objective of the trip was for Jack to take Piggy’s specs. These represent power and dominance because with them comes along the ability to make fire. Since Ralph had the glasses, Jack’s tribe was dependent on them. Now, however, Jack and his followers were free to do as they pleased. We know that since the beginning of the novel Jack has aspired to be chief, but he was outvoted by Ralph. Even though he is the leader of the hunters and he obtains his own tribe, he is never seen as the chief until the moment he has Piggy’s glasses. Another time when Golding utilizes the symbol of the glasses is when in chapter 4 the fire goes out. Jack is obsessed with proving that he is capable of killing a pig and he forgets to stand watch and make sure the fire is still going. A ship comes near but the island goes unnoticed. Ralph and some others become angry at Jack for his irresponsibility. The author claims, “This from Piggy, and the wails of agreement from some of the hunters, drove Jack to violence. [...] Jack smacked Piggy’s head. Piggy’s glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks” (71). From this passage we can fathom that Jack’s first impulse was to behave violently when he began to grow enraged. Even though he had already punched him once, Jack decided it was not enough to express how he felt. Therefore, he decided to strike Piggy’s glasses because he thought that was the one thing that would truly have an effect on the boys and rawly express his rage. By breaking and stealing the glasses, which represent order, power, and civility, Jack’s character represents how individuals can be corrupted because they seek to destroy or control whichever element represents power.
Although Piggy’s glasses indicate power and dominance, the fire is a symbol for the conflict between control and chaos. In chapter 2, the boys have their first meeting. In this event they are discussing what they will do until they get rescued. Ralph proclaims, “‘We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must...

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