Lord of the Flies


In Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses many types of symbolism. He uses examples such as the fire, the conch and hair growth. More specifically Golding states the condition of the conch, the state of the fire and the length of the boy’s hair to symbolize the savages that live within in the boys.


Golding uses the length of the boy’s hair to symbolize savageness in the boys. Initially, the longest hair grows on Jack, the most savage of the boys, and is first mentioned as he is on all fours smelling animal droppings. “His sandy hair, considerably longer than it had been when they dropped in, was lighter now; and his bare back was a mass of dark freckles and peeling sunburn” (Golding 48). Jack does not fight the growth of his hair and lets it could his mind. As the story progresses, his hair grows longer and Jack becomes more familiar with evil. Jack’s hair growth is mentioned when he is down on all fours, smelling fresh pig droppings, acting like an animal and a savage. Next, Ralph’s hair grows long, but he cannot bear being in his face and is always pushing it out of his eyes to remember things. “ Ralph pushed the idiot hair out of his eyes and looked at Piggy. ‘But the ….oh…the fire! Of course, the fire!’ “ (141). Jack does not like the hair as it is called “idiot hair”. When the hair gets in Ralph’s face, he forgets what he is going to say, but as soon as he pushes it out of the way he remembers. Ralph’s long hair is making him become a more uncivilized person, and allows evil to cloud his mind but he will continue to fight against it. Lastly, Piggy’s short hair lets him remain the civil person he is and think straight.


He was the only boy on the island whose hair never seemed


to grow. The rest were shock headed, but Piggy’s hair still


lay in wisps over his head as though boldness were his natural


state and this imperfect covering would soon go, like the velvet on a young stag’s antlers (64).


Piggy is the only one on the island whose hair has remained the same and maybe even receded. He is the only one who is very intelligent and does not allow the evil to take over his mind. Piggy understands that the beast is a mind game and still believes that the conch holds authority.


Golding uses the state that the conch is in to symbolize savageness.


First, when the boys found the conch, it was in perfect condition and had a deep, rich color to it.” In color the shell was a deep cream, touched here and there with fading pink. Between the point, worn away in to a little hole, and the pink lips of the mouth, lay eighteen inches of shell with a slight spiral twist and covered with a delicate, embossed pattern” (16). The conch was in good condition at the time when the boys behaved like civil human beings and not savage animals. When Ralph and Piggy found the conch they used to call for others. Many kids came to the sound of the conch and the group of boys decided to use it to call meetings. Secondly, when the conch’s vibrant colors began to fade, the boys separate and act uncivil. “ The group of boys looked at the white shell with affectionate respect. Piggy placed it in Ralph’s hand and the littluns, seeing the familiar symbol, started to come back” (141). Golding mentioned the bleached color of the conch at the some time the savage group of hunters state the fire. The boys are beginning to spread apart and hate each other. Because the conch is still useable, it still maintains some power of order, but only for the one who are not savage. Lastly, when the conch ceases to exist, there is no order among the boys, and they are all savages. “ The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist” (180). The conch exploded when Roger killed Piggy. All sense of