Lord of the Flies is a book where a group of boys is stranded on an island with no adults or grown-ups. The boys have to survive on the island and were also faced with the challenge to create a new society from scratch. The main themes of this book are power and organization of society. There are also many symbols in this story. For example, the conch shell. I believe that the conch shell represents democracy and order. When all the boys land on the island, Ralph immediately realizes they need some kind of order to keep things under control. He decides to use a conch shell as a way of keeping that order. Since all the boys are British, they model their way of keeping order after what they knew and grew up with. For instance, the conch shell was used to call assemblies where they could vote on things. Also, during an assembly, everyone was allowed to talk as long as they were holding the conch. The conch promoted order and law while also promoting democracy and freedom of speech. Another symbol is the fire. I believe the fire represents power and a connection to the outside world. From the beginning, Ralph thought that fire should be the boy’s main priority. Ralph believed that by keeping a lit fire on the island, it would make smoke and a passing boat would come to rescue them. In the later chapters of the story, fire became a sign of power.
The fire was once again used for rescue but also for warmth, and cooking of animals. Next, Piggy’s glasses are also a symbol relating to power. Piggy’s glasses were used to concentrate the sun onto a pile of sticks, therefore making a fire. They were important because the glasses were the only way of making fire on the island. Whoever had the glasses had the power of warmth, safety, food, and rescue. While democracy was present and the conch shell was still intact, the boys were willing to share resources and help each other survive. Later in the book, the hunter group did not want to share resources and took Piggy’s glasses for themselves. This is the first step of an authoritarian government taking control away from the people while still claiming that they were doing good. In the end when the conch is smashed and Piggy dies, democracy and freedom of speech truly dies on the island. Last, The Lord of the Flies, which is the pig head that Simon talks to, could represent the darker parts of humanity. It reminded Simon that at our core we are all just animals and no matter how hard we try to create civilization, we may abandon law to assure survival. In this essay, I have explored many different symbols in the Lord of the Flies; that as a whole describe the ideas of power and civilization. 2. Throughout the whole story, the boys are scared of a “beast” that roams the island at night.
This beast causes many conflicts during the story. One time the hunters decide to give the beast a gift of a pig’s head on a stick. This pig head is eventually referred to as the Lord of the Flies because of how many flies surrounding the pig. Later, Simon climbs up the mountain alone and runs into the Lord of the Flies where they talk and the Lord says “You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are…You know perfectly well you’ll only meet me down there—so don’t try to escape!”(Golding 143). When the pig mentions “you’ll only meet me down there”, I think that the Lord of the Flies is talking about Simon’s death. After Simon talks with the pig head, he went down the mountain to the dinner hosted by the hunters. When he got there he became part of an odd ritual by the boys and was killed. This was a main turning part of the story. This also leads me to believe that the real beast that Simon was unable to mention was their own evil. I believe that in this case, man is the true beast. The boys, especially Jack, were drawn to power and wanted to be chief no matter what. They all started to look out for only themselves and not the group. The boys were too busy trying to survive and only Simon realized their true problem of selfishness and greed. 3. An allegory is usually a piece of writing that can be interpreted to have an underlying or hidden meaning. For example, Animal Farm may be an allegory for the conflict between German authoritarian rule versus Western democracy. I believe that Lord of the Flies is an allegory for civilization and a dispute about the best way to govern people. Lord of the Flies was written following World War II, where many countries were figuring out the best way to govern their people. Should everyone put trust in one ruler? Or should there be a democracy?
Lord of the Flies explores multiple systems of government and shows what happens. When all the boys were in one group and had trust in each other, like a democracy, things went well. They were sharing resources and had faith in getting off the island. Later, when the boys had split up and there was one clear ruler, like a dictatorship, things got worse. Groups were stealing resources from one another and being told to hunt and kill boys from the other group. By the end of the book, two boys had lost their lives from the changes on the island. There is a connection to this scenario in real life. Government changes are not always peaceful and people could lose their lives for what they believe is right. In this essay, I explored how Lord of the Flies was an allegory for civilization and styles of government. 4. Character development and loss of identity is a main theme in the Lord of the Flies. The main character that changes throughout the story is Jack. From the beginning, Jack was envious of Ralph and the power that he had. More and more conflicts arose between the two of them. At one meeting, Jack and Ralph could not agree and Jack got upset. “‘Hands up,’ said Jack strongly, ‘whoever wants Ralph not to be chief?’… His voice tailed off. The hands that held the conch shook. He cleared his throat and spoke loudly. ‘All right then.’”(Golding 127). None of the boys had raised their hands. Jack was embarrassed and defeated. Then, Jack decided to leave and create his own tribe of hunters. This is also a main turning point in the Lord of the Flies.
The next time you see Jack in the story, he is covered in camouflage war paint. This war paint represents a mask he can hide his emotions behind. This affects his personality by making him more comfortable and confident to act and say different things than he normally would. This camo paint also makes him a better hunter. He can blend in with the surroundings to go unnoticed to pigs. This paint that Jack wears reveals and hides part of his personality. It hides Jack’s humanity and emotions while revealing his greed and desire for power. 5. At the start of the story, the littluns (or the children) instantly become a group separated from the others. The littluns stayed together throughout the story under Ralph’s leadership. These children were very immature and scared and as a result, needed support and guidance. They naturally followed Ralph because he gave them the guidance and protection they needed. Essentially, he was their father. Therefore, the littluns role in the story was to provide a comparison between Ralph and Jack’s style of leadership. As I have discussed before, Ralph represented democracy, freedom of speech, and security. Conversely, Jack and his hunters represented a dictatorship and loss of freedom. For the littluns, they had a choice of which leader, or parent, to follow. They had a choice of who could provide them with safety and guidance. Therefore, the littluns represent common people who look for guidance, leadership, safety, and support from their government. 6. At the end of the story, all of the boys are a part of Jack’s tribe. Jack orders all of them to hunt Ralph down. Sam and Eric, who were forced into Jack’s tribe, feel empathy for Ralph and tell him where the hunters are going to search.
The next day, Jack and his hunters begin the hunt. Ralph finds a shrub to hide in for a little while but eventually gets found. He runs away from the hunters as fast as he can and finds other hiding spots in the forest. In response, Jack sets fire to the whole forest to flush Ralph out. Ralph runs out of the forest and onto the open sand. On the beach he is met by a boat and navy officers. The officers noticed the fire that Jack had set. Then the hunters, in pursuit of Ralph, come out of the forest and onto the beach. Eventually, they all began to cry realizing that they were not just saved, but that they “wept for the end of innocence” and that it had been replaced by “the darkness of man’s heart” (Golding 202). Even though they are no longer on the island, they will never be truly rescued. The things they had seen and done on the island will never leave their thoughts.
For example, Ralph saw his whole life crumble before him. He lost his sense of safety and trust in others because of Jack and his tribe. Another example is the killing. At the end of the story the navy officer asked “Nobody killed, I hope? Any dead bodies?” (Golding 201) Ralph responds to the officer saying that two died and the bodies are gone. In excitement from their hunt, the boys had killed Simon while he was trying to explain what he saw up on the mountain. The other victim was Piggy, who was killed by a giant boulder trap set by Jack. The memories and experiences from the island will haunt these boys forever. True rescue was never possible.