Symbols In Lord Of The Flies By William Golding

884 words - 4 pages

Symbolism is used in literature to provide detail and imagery to any plot orcharacter. Authors use symbols to enhance the experience of the novel. William Goldinguses many symbols in Lord of the Flies thus enhancing its meaning and overall impacton the reader. Through the use of symbols, Golding allows readers to understand theideas and themes he is trying to convey.One symbol in the novel is Piggy's eyeglasses. His glasses represent his intellectand ability to think clearly. When it mentions in the novel that Piggy's glasses are foggyor they are being cleaned, it symbolizes that Piggy's emotions are getting in the way ofhis reasoning. "Piggy's glasses were misted again- this time with humiliation." (25)When his eyeglasses were broken, Piggy was unable to clear his emotions. "'One side'sbroken.' Piggy grabbed and put on the glasses. He looked malevolently at Jack." (71) Asa result, Piggy's decisions and actions were clouded by his emotions and desires otherthan being influenced by his intellect and reasoning. By his glasses being used as asymbol, it helps us understand Piggy's character better.Another object that could be interpreted and analyzed as a symbol is the conchshell. The conch symbolizes order and rules in a society. In the novel, when the conch ispresent and acknowledged, there is order. "Ralph felt the conch lifted from his lap. ThenPiggy was standing cradling the great cream shell and the shouting died down." (33)However, when the boys forget about the conch, they seem to also forget about theirobligation to be civilized. Jack knew that if he detached himself from the conch he isdetaching himself from civilization. Therefore, he chose not to abide by it when hecreated his own tribe. "You haven't got it with you. You left it behind... And the conchdoesn't count at this end of the island." (150) As the story develops and the boyscontinue to cut their ties with order and society, the conch is no longer used. "...theconch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist." (181) The conchwas the boys' final tie to civilization; once that was lost there was no turning back.The face paint used by Jack's tribe is a third symbol Golding uses to representan important theme in Lord of the Flies. When they first landed on the island, the boyswere strongly connected with their past civilization and society. Their actions anddecisions were based on what they were raised to do. Once Jack put on the face paint,it was as if he became a different person. "...the mask was a thing on its own, behindwhich Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness." (64) He was moreconfident and was not going to let his conscience interfere with his decisions. Jackbecame free of all of his ties from the past. "They understood only too well the liberationinto savagery that the concealing paint brought." (172) The face paint demonstrates theboys' transformation from civilized people into savages.Symbols play an important role in the development of the plot in Lord of the Flies.William Golding uses symbols to help express several themes to readers. Piggy'seyeglasses help us understand the nature of human beings. It is human instinct to letour emotions influence our decisions and actions. However, if we allow our humaninstincts take over, we will make bad decisions that we will regret. The conch shelldemonstrates to us the repercussions of forgetting society's rules. If we choose tobecome savages and leave order, our society will become corrupted. The idea ofinnocence and the loss of it is depicted through the face paint. When they put on theface paint, the boys forget the rules embedded in them from their past lives. As readers,we must recognize the ideas and lessons that this novel is trying to portray to us. It isour obligation to make sure that we understand how to survive as a society. If we donot, we will share the fate of the boys stranded on the island. To rescue ourselves andour society from corruption, we must be able to overcome our human instincts anddesires and be able to maintain rules and order.


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