From Squirrel to Jaguar

The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day. The flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass saw richly green” . In Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, readers often interpret this imagery as a soothing mood and believe that the lottery the villagers participate in is beneficial for them.

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However, as the short story progresses, one learns that the lottery, not only decides the fate of the villagers but also establishes an unexpected, brutal ending. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, imagery is the use of words to describe ideas or situations. Lord of the Flies by William Golding depicts a group of boys, whose plane had crashed, struggling to become powerful and get rescued on a deserted island.

Golding’s use of imagery emphasizes the characterization of the boys’ human nature while evincing the object’s and nature’s significance in the novel without explaining their importance. Throughout Lord of the Flies, Golding’s use of imagery not only reveals the hunters’ personality but adds to the character of Simon. In Chapter 3, Simon is seen caring for everyone when Simon found for them[the littluns’] the fruit they could not reach, pulled off the choicest from up in the foliage, passed down to the endless, outstretched hands” (56). The literal, tactile imagery presents Simon picking the best fruit for the littluns.

He is being characterized as Christ when he feeds the hungry people. In addition, Simon’s human nature is regarding the needs of not only the little boys, but of everyone. He once again showed compassion when Piggy was not given his share of meat, Simon shoved his piece of meat over the rocks to Piggy (74). Additionally, in Chapter 9, Golding describes Simon’s body after it was brutally murdered.

The tide swells and covers everything in a layer of silver (154) and illuminating Simon’s hair with bright features, then emphasizing that Simon’s shoulders became sculpted marble” (154). When the strange attendant creatures, with fiery eyes and trailing vapors, busied themselves round his head (154), they create a halo-type shape above Simon’s head. Golding makes it clear that Simon’s kind personality prevails through the boys’ darkness of evil. Silver is a precious metal and marble is a long-lasting stone. Both, in which, suggests Simon’s precious and long-lasting personality. The literal imagery, once again, connects Simon to Christ and recreates the Apotheosis of Simon. In addition to Simon, Golding’s imagery also explains the hunters.

At the beginning of the novel, Jack’s choir has order and are civilized when Jack commands them to Stand still! and obidient[ly] (20) listen to his commands. Then later in the book, Jack is seen looking for clues on the ground to hunt the pigs. As he’s looking for clues, Jack, except for a pair of tattered shorts held up by knife-belt, he was naked” (48). The imagery of Jack wearing nothing but tattered shorts makes him look like a savage. Afterword, Jack touches the droppings [that] were warm (49) and completely loses his link to civilization. Golding describes the hunters and Simon in a way that can only be interpreted by his distinguished use of imagery. Additionally, imagery is also seen to affect the metaphoric meaning of various symbols in Lord of the Flies.

The very first symbol that is introduced in the first chapter is the conch. Ralph and Piggy find the conch when they are walking around the beach. Then when Ralph picks it up, the conch has a deep cream[y] color and touched here there with fading pink (16). The fading pink in the conch indicates that its value can fade away, meanwhile, the conch is also delicate” (16). Soon after, Piggy suggests that we [Piggy and Ralph] can use this[the conch] to call the others” (16). Now the reader can identify that the beautiful conch represents order and the ability to control to boys. Order on the island is as delicate and fades away with time, just like the conch, while power seems to shift from one object to the next and one person to another. In Chapter 6, the conch is already losing its power and order when the exposure to the air had bleached the yellow and pink to near-white and transparency” (78).

Now, the conch has become a piece of glass”even more fragile than before. The imagery used to signify objects reveals the uses of the conch. Lastly, Golding’s imagery creates symbolic value for the fire by personifying its dangers. In Chapter 2, the boys succeed in creating a signal fire in hopes to be rescued. First, they were able to create a small flame [that’s] nearly invisible” (41). Without a doubt, the flame cannot harm anyone or anything. The invisibility expresses when the boys first came on the island. Their footprint was invisible and no one would be able to tell if there were people on the island. Then, when the fire crawled away through [the] leaves and brushwood (44), just like an innocent baby, it became a little bit more noticeable.

The boys also create a signal fire so that they will be noticed by oncoming ships and airplanes. As the fire turned into a bright squirrel (44), the fire spreads quickly. The fire is being represented as a squirrel Next, the fire becomes a jaguar (44) ”an uncontrollable vicious animal. The imagery of the flame crawling and turning into a bright squirrel then a jaguar, compares to when the boys get out of hand, they became destructive. The boys’ progress from being civilized into a savage reveals their true human nature in the imagery of the fire.

In the final analysis, important objects, the personalities of Simon and the hunters, and nature would not be able to reveal their full capacity of significance without the use of William Golding’s imagery throughout Lord of the Flies. The imagery that Golding presents in his novel demonstrates the importance of the characters human nature that enables them to commit certain actions. Golding’s novel, like The Lottery, expresses imagery to give more meaning to the overall plot and human nature. It is the way of human nature that parallels the book to everyday life. Does everyone have primal instincts buried deep within themselves? Perhaps, it’s just the way that people are, but like the objects presented in Lord of the Flies, people can change.

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