Symbolism In "The Lord Of The Flies"

Essay add: 30-09-2015, 10:54   /   Views: 273
Symbolism In "The Lord Of The Flies"

William Golding’s novel, the Lord of the Flies, is full of things symbolizing and representing our modern day society and its struggle’s to maintain stability. Although it is difficult to pick only three symbols, as the most important ones, I believe one would be Ralph. Jack and the beast would be my other choices. Together, the three basically represent the world in which we live in.

Ralph definitely is one of the most important of the symbols in the book. He was the representative of civilization and its want to progress and develop in a positive way. He played this role with his parliamentary meetings, building of the signal fire, and making the huts. Ralph was the “good guy” in the story (the protagonist). I think he also represented the adventurous well-humored side of people. When they first arrived on the island his first thoughts were of how many fun things there will be to do and all the exploring that will be done since there were, “No grownups!” He also symbolized a modern person’s want to be good, but while not always being perfect, because Ralph was not perfect. He took part in a hunt (I believe the hunts partially led to the boys’ savage ways). He often teased Piggy as well. Like when Piggy asked Ralph not to tell the others his name Ralph later cried out, “He’s not Fatty, his real name’s Piggy!” Ralph, sadly, also took part in the accidental killing of Simon. “That was murder” was what he said to Piggy the next day when they realized the horrendous crime that was committed. Although he wasn’t perfect, Ralph tried really, really hard to maintain peace and order on the island.

Jack Merridew had to also be one of the most important symbols in the story. To put it bluntly, he was evil. After all, you can’t have good (Ralph) without evil (Jack). In every society that’s how it works. There are always people out to try do good and maintain order, while there is always a bunch that that just want to break the rules and just do what they want. Jack did exactly that by breaking away from Ralph and the main group to create his own tribe of hunters. But he did that only because he couldn’t take control of the main group after countless tries. “I ought to be chief because I’m chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp.” He then tried making Ralph look like a coward many times and at meetings he also would say, “Who thinks Ralph oughtn’t to be chief?” Jack might also represent the devil. He was always getting the other boys to “sin.” He tempted them to do bad things and to follow him and his ways. Cruelty to the littluns was also common for Jack. He even suggested, “Use a littlun” for hunting practice.

The third important symbol was the beast. The story revolved around the beast. The beast symbolized fear in a society that drives the people to do certain things or act in a certain way. It frightened the children thus making Jack’s group bigger since they felt safer from the beast with him. With Jack’s group getting bigger, Ralph lost control and chaos and savageness took over the island. Even though there wasn’t an actual physical beast (the beast was the fear inside each of them) people claimed to see it. Ralph described seeing it as, “The beast had teeth, and big black eyes.” Jack and his hunters believed the beast could change its physical form. That’s how they justified the killing of Simon; they said it took his shape.

The author gave just about everything in the story a meaning and representation of something in our community. The boys themselves represent different aspects of our society as a whole. Ralph was good and Jack wasn’t just a bad guy but he was as evil as they get. Ralph promoted the development of civilization on the island while Jack wanted to just gain more power over the children. Its somewhat like that in the world we live in today. We have people fighting for the common good and for peace and then we have a bunch of people fighting to destroy it all. We also have a fear of the unknown just like the children feared the beast.

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