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Symbolism Of Lord Of The Flies English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1303 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The conch, the glasses, and the beast are all symbols that make Lord of the Flies such a great book to read. Throughout the story of Lord of the Flies, we find many important objects that the kids use like the conch shell which can represent democracy. Then there is Piggy's glass which represents intelligence and the word of the wise. Then there was "the beast" which was a really important through most of the chapters. Symbols in Lord of the Flies are items like Piggy's glasses or the conch, or even fear of "the beast" which makes up most of the story with symbolic ideas.

Throughout the story one of the only rules in the island is that anyone who has the conch shell has the right to speak. This is a good symbol that goes really well with order and democracy. The conch is first mentioned in the book in Chapter 1which says:

"If it really is an island-" "What's that?" Ralph had stopped smiling and was pointing into the lagoon. Something creamy lay among the ferny weeds. "A stone." "No. A shell" Suddenly Piggy was a-bubble with decorous excitement. "S'right. It's a shell! I've seen one like that before. On someone's back wall. A conch he called it." (Golding 15)

At first everyone was missing, but when Ralph blew the conch everyone gathered around and came were Ralph was. Also, the person who had the conch had the right to speak, because whoever had the conch had the right to speak. The conch brought order at first; because the person who had the conch was the only one who spoke, and no one had the right to interrupt them. Also, when all the kids crashed on the island, the only way to gather everyone was by blowing the conch since there was many littluns, like it says in the book, "We can use this to call the others. Have a meeting. They'll come when they hear us"(Golding 16) Also the conch governs the boys, because without the shell there would be kids all around the island, people would keep interrupting and being immature, and there would be no order. Not only did the conch bring order, but it also was a type of democratic item, because everyone had the rights to speak once they got the shell without the fear of being interrupted, and the person who found the conch, (Ralph) became leader of the initial tribe. In a sense it also gave the people respect because if they didn't find a way to have meeting in a orderly fashioned way.

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Piggy's glasses were the source of intelligence and confidence Piggy and other kids had. Piggy's glass are a highly symbolic item because they represents intelligence, confidence, and hope for rescue too. It represents intelligence because Piggy may seem to be a smart, mature boy, but without his glasses he is useless because he can't see well. If it weren't for Piggy, the kids would probably have been struggling even more on the island. Piggy is technically blind when his glasses break, which cause Piggy not to be able to help others in doing physically demanding chores. So if Piggy has an idea he may tell you what to do but not show you as an example, so one may be confused and mess up. Piggy without his glasses has some things related to the short story called "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst, because one of the characters in the story, named Doddle, is mentally and physically disabled. So Piggy without his glasses would be a bit physically disabled because he could not see what he is doing or where he is, and would be limited in doing many things like gathering food, building huts, making fires, etc. Piggy's glasses break in chapter 4 which says:

"Ralph made a step forward and Jack smacked Piggy's head. Piggy's glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks. "My specs!" He went crouching and feeling over the rocks but Simon, who got there first, found them for him. Passions beat about Simon on the mountaintop with awful wings. 'One side is broken.'" (Golding 71)

Thanks to Jack, Piggy was partially blinded and not only did it affect Piggy's physical capabilities, but his confidence too. It affected his confidence because he couldn't help all the others as much, and he had to be even more careful of breaking his other spec or else it would be even harder to make the fire. "'Piggy!' 'Have you got any matches?' The other boys took up and cry till the mountain rang. Piggy shook his head and came to the pile. 'My! You've made a big heap, haven't you?' Jack pointed suddenly. 'His specs-use them as burning glasses!'"(Golding 40) This shows that it is thanks to Piggy's glasses that they made a fire in such a short time. Another symbol is chance because without Piggy's glasses there is less chance to light a fire. In chapter 2 they light the fire with Piggy's glasses so it could be a signal for any boast o airplanes that pass by the island, which shows that they needed his glasses to make a fire, but in chapter 4, the fire signal is gone so technically his glasses are a chance for them to be saved, but without the glasses it is harder to make a fire for a signal, and harder for them to be saved.

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The littluns and the others had a fear throughout most of the story of the "beast" which can make a really good symbol because it represents savagery and mental illness. The beast represents savagery, because it is one of the main reasons Jack and his tribe became wilder as time passes, because as they became even more savage, their beliefs about the beast increased and of hunting the beast down too. If it weren't for the beast Simon probably would still be alive.

"A thing was crawling out of the forest. It came darkly, uncertainly. The shrill screaming that rose before the beast was like a pain… 'Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood' The beast struggled forward, broke the ring, and feel over the steep edge of the rock to the sand by the water. At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on the beast, screamed, stuck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teethes and claws" ( Golding 153)

The supposed beast was actually Simon, but since Jacks tribe was getting a bit mentally crazy and it was night, they decided to go attack the shadow that was coming towards them and kill it. This was thanks to the beast and how savage and crazy they have become. The beast also represents fear, because if no one would have mentioned a "beast", then everyone would be calm and there wouldn't be that type of violence. Fear also connects with "The Scarlet Ibis", because Brother had the fear that people would think him weird and make fun of him for having a disabled brother, and in Lord of the Flies fear was the cause that the beast was mentioned, which not only did it make them look like fools, but it caused violence and war throughout the kids.

Savagery because of "a beast", or chance to be saved because of glasses, or a conch shell giving order to a community, these are all symbols that make Lord of the Flies full of hiding meanings and figures. Lord of the Flies may look like a boring book made by an anonymous author, but William Golding puts such great symbolisms that makes the reader experience the emotions and the suspense of the characters and of the book. Many items throughout the story sound useless, but they are actually not, these items like the conch or the glasses have a really important meaning which are part of most of the story and have a huge significance. Not only items are important, in fact ones imagination is also important, because everyone in the island except for one or two create ideas of a beast which is also a very symbolic thing that one may feel is useless but is very important. Lord of the Flies has many items which are great symbols with great meanings that makes this such a great book to read.


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