The Use of Symbolism in Golding's Lord of the Flies Essay
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The Use of Symbolism in Golding's Lord of the Flies
"His head opened and stuff came out and turned red. Piggy's arms and legs twitched a bit like a pig after it has been killed" (217). This is what can happen to someone when all signs of civilization, order and power disappear and have no more meaning to members of a group or society. In the writing of William Golding's Lord of the Flies (1954), the symbol of power and civilization is the conch. Once that is lost, all bets are off. When the novel begins, two boys are talking about what has happened and why they are on this island. While walking on the beach, the main character Ralph then proceeds to find a shell which the two boys call the conch. Blowing on this shell Ralph calls a…show more content…
In the very beginning the conch is used to bring all of the boys in the story together. Ralph blows it and they come. This is the first sign of its power. The boys have been lost and now there is this thing, much like a school bell, calling them to be brought together. It has brought order to this strange place in which they are stranded.
During these boys' escapade, when one wants to speak in front of the assembly, one must have the conch in his hand. "We'll have to have hands up like at school...Then I'll give him the conch"(35). They are setting up rules just as they had learned in their civilization. They are also making the conch the only way one can talk at meetings.
All throughout this novel the boys are called to meetings to discuss the rules, the fire, and many other assorted things. One of these things is a beast that comes in the night but does not leave foot prints or any trail at any time. All the boys are very afraid of this beast and what it may do to them if it gets hold of them. As it turns out the beast is in the boys: "'You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you?'"(172). This is the "lord of the flies," also known as the beast, talking to Simon the first boy murdered. The beast is their unwillingness to maintain a civilization; it is their transformation into savages. All the time at all these meetings the boys respect the conch and whoever held the conch was respected, even if he was not liked. Once this symbol of
Show MoreSymbolism is a literary device used by authors to give deeper levels of meaning to objects and better demonstrate the theme. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, is a popular novel considered to be a “classic” by many. Golding’s literary work is contains many examples of symbolism to help readers better understand the novel’s themes. Three such cases are the conch shell, the fire, and the sow’s head that was put on a stake. Through closer study of the novel, it is evident that each of these objects possess a deeper meaning leading to the overall theme of the downfall of humanity.
The conch shell is the first to be introduced in the novel when Ralph spots it and picks it up. Immediately it becomes the symbol of stable civilization…show more content…
The state of the conch is in direct correlation with the state of the boys’ relationship with each other; when it finally shatters it signifies the point when the relationship between Ralph and Jack is shattered beyond repair. “The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into thousand white fragments and ceased to exist.” (Golding 200). Its shattering is also simultaneous with Piggy’s death, not by coincidence, as Piggy is most prominent representation of civilization and rules on the island. The conch is also a reminder that physical objects have no greater power than that which is given to them. When first found, it was treated with near reverence. “‘I seen one like that before…It’s ever so valuable…’” (Golding 11). Throughout the novel, Piggy is the one for whom the conch holds the most importance. After Jack’s boys raid their camp during the night, he says that he thought they had come to steal the conch. However, for Jack, the conch has by this point lost all value, and he laughs at Piggy when he brings it up. [Recheck source] Even Ralph realizes that the conch has lost the value it once had. “‘You’re still Chief.’ Ralph laughed again…‘Ralph! Stop laughing like that...’” (Golding, 172). He laughs because he realizes how silly it was to convince himself that a shell was the bearer of such power, but Piggy doesn’t understand why he is laughing because he still believes that everyone