Monday, April 6, 2009

Symbols Essay



There are many symbols in “lord of the flies by William Golding. Through out the book Golding uses objects and characters as symbols to create an underling theme and mood to the book. The most prominent symbols are the conch, the head of the sow, the signal fire, the beast and of course the boulder that crushed Piggy.

The conch through out the story represents power and humility. At the beginning Piggy finds it and Ralph uses it to call the school boys to a meeting. At that meeting Ralph decides that only the people holding the conch is allowed to talk at meetings. This very literally translates to power because only the holder can call meetings and talk. However as the story continues the power of the shell is washed away with the boys sense for rules and order. Near the end of the book when Ralph and Jack fight Piggy is killed and the conch is crushed. This symbolizes the last strands of civilized life being broken.

In this story the sows head represents evil and darkness. This is emphasized when Simon comes upon it in the jungle and it speaks to him. What Simon is told by the head makes the reader feel like the boys are being controlled by this devilish influence haunting the island. The fact that the head is a ritualistic offering to a god of darkness which the boys most please with there barbaric acts is also a dark image. The head named “Lord of the flies” has a literal translation to a biblical character that is a demon or devil from the underworld.

The signal fire is a source which we can compare to amount of civilization left in the boys. At the beginning when the fire is started, but over time the fire is neglected as the amount of control and civility the boys have decreases. Through out the novel Ralph emphasizes the importance of this fire but the boys grow weary of Ralph’s plea and neglect to continue the signal fire. Ironically it is a signal fire that saves the boys but one that is set by Jack to burn Ralph out of the jungle.

At the beginning of the story the young boys are plagued with the idea of being killed by the beast. However as the story goes on the boys begin to worship the beast and make offerings to it. This is another symbol that represents darkness and evil. The appreciation for the beast is paralleled by the amount of savagery in the group. As the felling of civilization disappears the beast is treated more and more like a god.

Another memorable symbol from this book is the red rock that kills piggy. Rocks in literature usually represent power and strength but since its painted red it represents the violence around strength and power. When the rock falls and kills piggy and crushes the conch bringing civilization to an end, and the boys who have total disregard for Piggy’s life have turned into complete savages.

These are few of the symbols from the “lord of the flies. Through out the novel Golding uses these to illustrate his theme of darkness and humanities ability to kill when put to it. Some of these objects would be seemingly insignificant in real life but are very important to this books theme.

1 Comments:

Blogger shawnhache said...

Wilson,

A good look at the function of these symbols. My only concern is that some of this is strikingly similar to the spark notes page. I'm not accusing you of anything, but in the future if you use information that does not come from your own mind you MUST cite it; otherwise, you run the risk of plagiarizing! Also be sure to watch your grammar at times.

18/24

April 12, 2009 at 1:07 PM  

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