Symbolism in Lord of the Flies
The novel Lord of the Flies is about a group of British boys who are deserted on a tropical island. They come across many situations and items that lead into an adventure or a conflict. Golding uses symbolism to define these objects in the story.
One use of symbolism is the conch. It represents order and stability. This is a good use of symbolism because it is what first brings the boys together. The idea of a conch, a small item, representing unity is odd. It also symbolizes the end of peace when it is broken. It is logical that when the conch is shattered so is order. When there is no control, chaos reigns. It depicts authority because when someone has the conch they are the only one allowed to talk. It is similar to the quote “the power of the pen” because the person with the small article has power. It is also like a judge’s gavel in that the small object has supremacy.
The pig’s head is another object symbolized in the story. It reveals the true nature of the beast. It represents the enternal, sinister nature in all men. It shows that all men are inherently evil. It is sometimes referred to as the “Lord of the Flies” or Satan. When bodies rot and decay, flies form around them and that is what happens when people are sent to Satan. Men are often referred to as pigs and since Satan is a nasty, corrupt man these names are appropriate. It shows the savagery of Jack’s tribe. They are cruel, demented boys. Killing a pig and sticking its head an a stick represents this well.
Piggy’s glassses are an additional commodity used for symbolism. They represent the power of intelligence. This is also a good use of symbolism because Piggy is the most intelligent one. It is logical that his glasses would be the source of intelligence since he is the only one with glasses and the smartest boy. They are a link into the adultword. Glasses help people see, and they help the boys see as adults would. They allow the boys to conceive and reason like adults. When the specs are broken, the boys are no longer tied to the adultword. It is the same as when someone breaks their glasses they can not see as well. The boys are not able to understand, rationalize and contemplate like adults would.
William Golding uses symbolism in Lord of the Flies to reveal some of man’s cultural aspects. The conch stands for power, similiar to a badge or a judge’s gavel in today’s society. The pig’s head shows that man is inherently evil, while Piggy’s glasses symbolize the power of intelligence. Throught the book, Golding uses objects in the boys’ everyday life on the island to symbolize items in our world today.