Lord Of The Flies By William Golding In William Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies, a group of boys revert from civilized children to savages. The boys are stranded on a tropical island with no adults in authority to tell them what to do. Only one tool, a knife, and their intelligence provide the boys with the ways to survive. The story shows how the boys gradually loose their ability to behave in a socially acceptable way. They divide into two groups. One group tries to stay with normal behaviors.
The other group changes into irrational savages. This descent into savagery is conveyed to the reader through the use of symbolism. The boys themselves represent the different facets of society from the calm and rational to the disorganized and irrational. Two of the boys have leadership skill. Ralph, one of the oldest of the boys, is voted in as the first leader.
He brings all of the boys together and starts trying to figure out a way for the boys to get rescued. He sets up a signal fire. If any passing ships come by they may see the smoke and come and rescue them. Jack is the oldest of all of the boys and starts going along with Ralph. He slowly drifts away from what is wanted of him.
He gets a group of kids together to go pig hunting. While they are hunting, the fire goes out. Ralph gets very angry with Jack for letting that happen. So Jack decides to form his own group. His group is called the hunters. The only things they live for is hunting pigs and killing the beast. They never really care if they ever get off the island. Ralph, the politician symbolizes a civilized and rational person; Jack, the hunters, symbolizes the uncivilized and irrational (1).
Two boys are the victims in the story. Piggy, the fat, nearsighted asthmatic, is a rationalist who functions as Ralph’s Prime Minister. He is the intelligent one. It is Piggy who teaches Ralph how to use the conch. Because Piggy has asthma, he can’t blow into it himself (1). He has almost all of the answers to the boy’s questions, but they do not like him.
So they refuse listen to what he has to say. Piggy wears glasses. These symbolize political vision, which, until they break act as “the mirror of magistrates”. Simon symbolizes Christ. He has been blessed and cursed with the gift of prophecy, but like Cassandra, on mythology, is doomed to be ignored.
He is the sacrifice. He knows the evil that lives in man’s devil-ridden nature, but he doesn’t know how to say it to the others (2). He is killed by Jack’s hunters. Symbolically, he is killed by the evil on the island to save the rest of humanity (3.). The power of good and evil are strong forces in the book and are represented by the pig’s head, the conch, the paratrooper, the Beast, and the killing of Piggy.
The conch is the symbol of authority and order. Whoever has it has total freedom to speak at the assembly. It is used by Ralph to gather all of the kids together for the assembly. The title of the book, Lord of the Flies, refers to the head of the pig, which is a translation of the Judeo-Christian word Beelzebub. Beelzebub was the right hand man of Satan.
It represents the darker side of human nature (2). The paratrooper frightened the boys when they found him. The boys thought that he was the Beast. The Beast is another example of Satan. People fear Satan just as the boys feared the Beast.
The death of Piggy and the breaking of the conch symbolize the destruction of Ralph’s power (1). It is also the end of any hope the boys had of being sensible again. The flies symbolize death and decay, which are extensions of Satan (3). Lord of the Flies is about struggles and conflicts in society: good vs. evil. Civilization vs.
society. Intelligence vs. emotion. Leadership vs. anarchy. Through these boys in a small island setting, William Golding’s use of symbolism helps create a vivid picture of the action, the descent into savagery by a group of British students.