10th Honors literature
Symbolism in Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies is an allegory and many of its characters and features in the novel signify important themes or ideas. The boys ultimately turn into savages and lose all characteristics of a rational thinking person. "'Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!'" (Golding 104). Many symbols influence the course of the novel. The three most important symbols include the conch shell which represents unity, the signal fire which depicts the need for the boys to be rescued, and the Lord of the
Flies which represents evil and temptation.
The Lord of the Flies is the bloody pig that Jack and the other hunters place on a stick as an offering to the beast. This symbol becomes one of the most important in the novel when Simon speaks with the head. “Simon’s head was tilted slightly up. His eyes could not break away and the Lord of the
Flies hung in space before him”(Golding 143). The Lord of the Flies tells Simon that evil lies within every human and that he was going to have some “fun” with him, which foreshadows Simon’s death. In a way the Lord of the Flies becomes a physical symbol for the beast along with a symbol for the power of evil and the influence that it has on even the most innocent person. Looking at the book as a parallel to the Bible we can see that the Lord of the Flies represents Satan just as Simon represents Jesus. A literal translation of The Lord of the Flies is the name Beelzebub, which is thought to be the Devil himself. People picture Beelzebub as a giant insect which is pictured on the front of the novel.
During the beginning of the book, Ralph and Piggy discover a conch shell which they use to call all the other boys to the beach. At the beginning the conch represents order and civilization. The shell assigns order in the group because whoever has the shell may speak. As the novel goes on and the boys lose themselves to savagery,while the shell loses its power and influence among them.The shell is an important part of the novel because the boys have a sentimental value for the it. While talking about
Simon’s murder, Ralph desperately clutches the shell. Also near the end of the novel, Roger pushes a boulder onto Piggy which also crushes the shell."The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee: the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist”(Golding 181). This signifies the downfall of civilization and irrational thinking among the boys.
The signal fire in the book first burns on the mountain and later on the beach. The fire is used to attract the attention of passing ships that could rescue the boys. “We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice…