In his book, Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses symbols to give power and meaning to his novel. Golding uses symbols to illustrate the novel’s main theme, which is the struggle between good and evil. “All human beings have a dark side that can cause the breakdown of individual or community moral standards, if this dark side gains sway over reason and right thinking.” (Henning field, “An overview of Lord of the Flies”.) The usage of major and minor symbols clarifies the complicated subject matter of the book. Others are minor symbols that are often unnoticed. They do not interfere with the plot, but add to and clarify the idea and meaning of the novel. Without the use of symbols The Lord ...view middle of the document...
No conch means the power is for the taking and Jack wants it.
Fire is the next major symbol used in Lord of the Flies. Ralph has determined the signal fire must be kept going, in case a ship passes the island. The first fire the boys light burns out of control and one boy is missing, believed to be burned up. At the end of the novel Jack lights in his attempt to hunt and kill Ralph lights a fire which causes the boys to be rescued. “If the boys’ world is just a symbol for the real world, then they’re not being rescued at all; they’re just going on to a larger scale of violence-to grow up into soldiers getting sent off to war.” (Shoop.com)
In both scenarios, fire is used to represent both rescue and destruction.
Piggy’s glasses are the next major symbol in Lord of the Flies. They communicate the power of science and knowledge in civilization. His glasses were used with sunlight to start a fire on the mountaintop, so they could be rescued and can cook their meat. When Jack’s hunters invade Ralph’s camp and steal the glasses, they take control to make fire, which leaves Ralph’s group powerless. The glasses were no longer a symbol of logic and intellect, but became a symbol of how far the boys have strayed from the civilized world of England.
The Beast represents the savage instinct within all humans. It is not really a beast, but the body of a dead airman who parachuted onto the island. “The airman’s dress and the parachute are suggestive of the continuation of war and destruction in the adult world.” (Halder, 142) It becomes an imaginary shape that the boys learn to fear. As their fear increases so does their cruelty. They begin to worship the “beast” like god. Jack used their fear to strengthen his chances of becoming leader on the island. He is the one who is a beast when he uses terror to achieve is goal. His behavior is a symbol for the evil of mankind. Simon knows the truth; the beast that scares them is representative of their fear for each other.
Even the title Lord of the Flies has symbolic importance. It is another name for the devil or Satan. “Lord of the Flies is derived from the name Beelzebub, which has a sound like the buzzing of flies. It also references the spread of filth and decay associated with flies, as the Devil is considered a spoiler and ruiner of innocence. (Capristo, et. al) Golding selected the name for the novel’s title because it represents the primitive, savage make up of human beings, even children.
Golding uses symbolism in the various characters of the story. We can find symbolic meaning in the four main characters of Lord of the Flies: Ralph, Jack, Piggy, and Simon. In Lord of the Flies Ralph and Jack are the two leaders on the island. They represent the story’s main conflict of good versus evil. They both use power symbols to control the other characters.
Ralph uses the conch shell as a symbol of law and order. The boys gravitate to the conch since it represents the order they were used to, and were...