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The Lord of the Flies Symbolism – Overview of Symbols

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Lord of the Flies Symbolism

This novel takes place on a deserted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. The island is tropical and full of plants and animals that help to enhance the sense of “wildness” that pervades throughout the story’s events. While much of the events that take place on the island are violent and chaotic, it’s important to see this as a representation for the world at large. We find out in the beginning of the novel that the boys were being evacuated from England during a violent global war.

Due to author William Golding’s experiences during WWII, this helps to convey the thematic elements that reflect the belief he picked up during war time that humanity possesses a certain amount of inherent evil. Nothing about the setting in this novel will allow audiences to forget this concept.

There are also several motifs that are wonderful supports to the story’s overarching themes and symbolic elements. Major motifs include nature, Biblical references, bullying, and symbols of savagery. These motifs either highlight truths about man’s innate goodness or about humankind’s innate evils. Seeing as the novel explores the juxtaposition between the existence of both these forces, these are important motifs to look out for. You will find them connected to the story’s major symbols, as well. For example, when Simon is looking at the boar’s head on a stick in the beautiful clearing, he ponders the stark contrast between nature’s beauty and what the boys have experienced on the island. During this time, he has an important epiphany and conceptualizes it by imagining the Lord of the Flies.

Symbolism Overview

Here’s a list of major symbols in Lord of the Flies.

The Conch Shell

Piggy’s glasses, the signal fire, the lord of the flies, the groups of boys, symbolism in lord of the flies.

lord of the flies symbolism

When Jack and his hunters slaughter a sow, they stake its head on a stick as an offering to the best they believe is living on the island. When Simon returns to a beautiful glad and finds the sow’s rotting head there attracting flies, he imagines that it speaks to him as the Lord of the Flies. He tells Simon that every human heart contains evil, which leads Simon to his epiphany that the boys themselves are actually what they hear in the island’s beast. This is also a biblical reference, as “lord of the flies” is a literal translation of Beelzebub, a powerful demon in the Bible.

Throughout the novel, the boys are largely divided. Ralph and his group represent order, intellectualism, and civility. Meanwhile, Jack and his group of hunters represent the wild nature and savagery. Each group of boys symbolizes one side of the dichotomy in human nature: good vs. evil. This is represented in the novel as civilization vs. savagery.

Lord of the Flies Symbolism

Symbolism refers to symbols, or concrete image writers use to convey specific meanings to their readers. Different symbols are used to refer to different things, situations and circumstances that readers understand based on their contexts , environments, and situations. Symbolism in Lord of the Flies conveys various meanings to various readers according to their respective contexts, texts, and situations. Some of the significant symbols used in Lord of the Flies are discussed below.

Symbolism in Lord of the Flies

Piggy finds the conch, a shell, on the seashore and tells Ralph what it is. He also tells him an innovative idea of how and why to use it. It is then used to gather boys and call an assembly. In this connection, it becomes a symbol of authority, order, and law. It wins not only respect and obedience but also proves that the person who is holding the conch has the ultimate authority. When it is with a person, every boy is bound to pay respect and obey him. That is why Jack attacks conch to end the authority and establishes his own rule. The end of conch is an end of the era of law and order.

Piggy’s Glasses

Piggy is handicapped and wears glasses. He also has asthma. His asthmatic disability has blessed him with rational power . On the other hand, his glasses have given him an edge to start a fire. Hence, it becomes a symbol of life which is used to prepare a fire to use as a signal for rescue. It becomes so much significant among the boys that Jack and his hunters attack Ralph and Piggy and their group to snatch the glasses to make their own fire.

The Signal Fire

The signal created by fire by the boys is actually a symbol of life and safety. It also shows that civilization is alive on the island. When the boys determine to stay alive and to return to the civilization, they instantly accept Piggy’s suggestion to light the fire, using his glasses. However, as the boys become lazy and oblivious, they ignore to keep it alive. Hence, the fire eventually dies. Even by the end, it becomes clear that the signal fire is important for the civilized behavior and helped in the safe rescue of the boys.

The beast is actually the head of the parachuting dead soldier hanging by the branches of trees . It is infested with maggots and flies. The only boy who knows the reality of this beast is Simon. However, he fails to explain it to other boys. Therefore, it has transformed into a symbol of something dreadful and terrifying. In fact, this head symbolizes the inner savagery and barbarism of the boys in specific and mankind in general.

The Lord of the Flies

This is the head of a pig that the hunters from Jack’s group impale and plant on a stick to offer a sacrifice to the beast. They believe that the beast which supposedly terrifies them will be pleased. It is a physical representation of their awe towards that beast. The phrase ‘the lord of the flies ’ refer to their naming it as the lord of those flies which swarmed the head of the dead soldier. It symbolizes something that is to be presented as a gift to the beast to hold sway over the flies as it is their lord.

There are mostly young boys on the island, and they all represent innocence. Ralph, with his sensible nature, is a specific representative of civilization and order. It is he who finds the conch and calls others to form an assembly. In this sense, he represents leadership and guidance. Therefore, he is a symbol of law, order, authority and civilization on the island.

In spite of the physical disability, due to weak eyesight and asthma, Piggy has a very clear perspective on things and is also a visionary in his thoughts. He represents those sane voices that are not heard much in the crowd, but they prove true. He shares the idea of lighting the fire by using his glasses. He also gives suggestions for an assembly and formation of rules on the island. In this sense, he is a symbol of rationalism, order, and legitimacy.

Jack does not show much of his true nature at the beginning of the novel . However, he proves highly unpredictable, barbaric and savage by the end. His first posture of being a hunter and an aggressive young boy shows his wild nature. He gathers a pack of boys with painted faces. He announces that they are his hunters and that he would train them for hunting. With the passage of time, they fall into the pit of savagery during hunting and become enemy of the group led by Ralph. They kill Piggy and chase Ralph to kill him next. Hence, Jack becomes a symbol of evil and savagery. He represents the savage culture as opposed to Ralph who represents civilization.

The pig is an animal found on that island. The boys, the group of hunters, led by Jack, find the traces of a pig and start hunting other pigs. With the course of time, it becomes their practice to talk how to hunt pigs and trap them. Once Jack plants the head of a pig on a stick, calling it ‘the lord of the flies’ with the purpose to present it as a sacrificial gift to the beast. Hence, the pig symbolizes a temptation for the boys to leave humanity and turn to savagery and barbarism.

The Naval Officer

The naval officer is a British officer of the Royal Navy. He appears by the end of the novel who comes to the island after seeing the fire. He confronts Ralph who is running for his life from Jack’s hunters. When he sees the boys playing the barbaric game, he scolds them for showing dirty and rude manners unbecoming of the British boys. He asks Ralph about their game and their presence on the island over which Ralph’s eyes are filled with tears. He is hardly able to narrate the barbaric episode to the officer when other boys appear. They instantly become a pack of civilized dirty boys after seeing the officer in uniform with a pistol in his holster. In other words, the naval officer represents order, authority, and culture. His uniform and pistol are symbols of the rule of law and the tools to establish it.

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symbolism essay lord of the flies

Lord of the Flies

William golding, everything you need for every book you read..

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symbolism essay lord of the flies

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William Golding

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Critical Essays Major Themes

Problem of Evil

Lord of the Flies was driven by " Golding 's consideration of human evil, a complex topic that involves an examination not only of human nature but also the causes, effects, and manifestations of evil. It demands also a close observation of the methods or ideologies humankind uses to combat evil and whether those methods are effective. Golding addresses these topics through the intricate allegory of his novel.

When Lord of the Flies was first released in 1954, Golding described the novel's theme in a publicity questionnaire as "an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature." In his 1982 essay A Moving Target , he stated simply "The theme of Lord of the Flies is grief, sheer grief, grief, grief." The novel ends of course with Ralph grieving the indelible mark of evil in each person's heart, an evil he scarcely suspected existed before witnessing its effects on his friends and supporters. The former schoolboys sought unthinkingly to dominate others who were not of their group. They discovered within themselves the urge to inflict pain and enjoyed the accompanying rush of power. When confronted with a choice between reason's civilizing influence and animality's self-indulgent savagery, they choose to abandon the values of the civilization that Ralph represents.

This same choice is made constantly all over the world, all throughout history — the source of the grief Golding sought to convey. He places supposedly innocent schoolboys in the protected environment of an uninhabited tropical island to illustrate the point that savagery is not confined to certain people in particular environments but exists in everyone as a stain on, if not a dominator of, the nobler side of human nature. Golding depicts the smallest boys acting out, in innocence, the same cruel desire for mastery shown by Jack and his tribe while hunting pigs and, later, Ralph. The adults waging the war that marooned the boys on the island are also enacting the desire to rule others.

Ironically, by giving rein to their urge to dominate, the boys find themselves in the grip of a force they can neither understand nor acknowledge. The Lord of the Flies tells Simon "Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!" and then laughs at the boys' efforts to externalize their savagery in the form of an animal or other fearsome creature. Simon has the revelation that evil isn't simply a component of human nature, but an active element that seeks expression.

Outlets for Violence

Most societies set up mechanisms to channel aggressive impulses into productive enterprises or projects. On the island, Jack's hunters are successful in providing meat for the group because they tap into their innate ability to commit violence. To the extent that this violence is a reasoned response to the group's needs (for example, to feed for the population), it produces positive effects and outcomes. However, when the violence becomes the motivator and the desired outcome lacks social or moral value beyond itself, as it does with the hunters, at that point the violence becomes evil, savage, and diabolical.

Violence continues to exist in modern society and is institutionalized in the military and politics. Golding develops this theme by having his characters establish a democratic assembly, which is greatly affected by the verbal violence of Jack's power-plays, and an army of hunters, which ultimately forms a small military dictatorship. The boys' assemblies are likened to both ends of the social or civil spectrum, from pre-verbal tribe gatherings to modern governmental institutions, indicating that while the forum for politics has changed over the millennia, the dynamic remains the same.

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Symbolism in Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Symbolism in Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies Symbolism

Table of Contents

Introduction

Generally, symbolism is an object representing another to give it an entirely different meaning that is much deeper and more significant. Lord of the Flies is an ingenious work of literature in which the author, William Golding, explores the issues of civilization and savagery. Throughout the novel, the author hides powerful messages in some very unlikely places, and Golding’s use of this literary technique – symbolism – is the subject of this essay.

Symbol of Conch

One of the most important symbols in Lord of the Flies is the “conch” shell. The conch symbolizes democracy, law and order, authority, civilized behavior. It brings peace to the group of boys. It is the only item in the island that makes them united and keeps them civilized. Finally the conch shattered to thousand fragments when Roger releases the rock from above, killing piggy . The destruction of the conch symbolizes the end of civilized behavior and the beginning of autocracy, despotism and barbarism.

  • Lord of the Flies as a Dystopian Novel

Symbol of Piggy’s Glasses

Piggy’s glasses also carry symbolic significance. They symbolize knowledge, logic, intellect and science. Without them the boys would have never able to have fire. They are also lens or window through which goodness and evilness can be scanned. Piggy uses his glasses not only to see, but also to discern what is right, wrong, safe or harmful. When Piggy loses his spectacles, he also loses his clear vision and power of discernment.

Symbol of Fire

Fire also symbolizes survival and destruction, life and death. Fire is first used to try to attract a passing ship which would take the boys back to civilization. The flame also symbolizes hope. The boys keep the signal burning and their hopes alive. However, as the fire grows dim, it reflects the attitude of the boys and their loss of morale. At the end it becomes the symbol of rescue as the boys are rescued from the island.

Symbol of Beast

The Beast devised by the boys is imaginary, symbolizing the savage instinct within the hearts of all people. When the boys reach the climax of their savagery they begin worshipping the Beast and attributing inhuman qualities. The idea of the Beast can also be understood as propaganda used by Jack to attain a totalitarian government. The Beast, or The Lord of the Flies, (from which the novel’s title is taken), represents the devil, Beelzebub. The devil is the source of all evil.

Symbol of Island

The island itself serves a dual purpose; it is the symbol of hell as well as paradise. The island itself is a microcosm of planet Earth, alone in a vast surrounding universe with the capacity to sustain humanity, but also prone to destructive storms. Early in the story Ralph and his companions finds a certain glamour and enchantment on the island which is symbolic of Garden of Eden. In the last chapter, the whole island is turned into a blazing inferno which symbolizes hell.

Symbol of Painted Face

The painted faces of Jack and his “tribe” symbolize man’s return to primitivism and barbarism.

Symbolism in Characters

All the characters possess their symbolic value. Ralph symbolizes civilization and order. He shows the sophisticated side of man and holds the position of a democratic leader. Piggy represents the voice of reason in civilization. Clearly Simon is the Christ- figure , the voice of revelation. Jack and Roger symbolize evil. Jack shows the power-hungry and savage end of society while Roger represents brutality and bloodlust. The littluns represent the common people.

Symbol of dead Parachutist

The introduction of the dead parachutist symbolizes the fall of adult supervision. It also symbolizes the start of destruction. The appearance of the naval officer symbolizes the return of both adult supervision and civilization.

Golding with his superb brilliance has crafted the symbols in this novel to relate the gruesome picture of the post-World II human generation. These symbols help to convey the author’s message about human nature, with its contrasting poles of kindness and rationality and power and bloodlust. Well-written and meaningful,  Lord of the Flies  uses symbols to reinforce its telling of the tale of humanity.

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Piggy's Wisdom and Humanity in Lord of The Flies

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17 September 1954, William Golding

Allegorical novel

Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, twins Sam and Eric

William Golding wrote "Lord of the Flies" as a response and counterpoint to R.M. Ballantyne's youth novel "The Coral Island" published in 1857. While Ballantyne's novel presented a romanticized portrayal of young boys stranded on an uninhabited island, depicting them as cooperative and civilized, Golding sought to challenge this idealistic view. Golding was dissatisfied with the notion that children, when left to their own devices, would naturally form a harmonious and idyllic society. He believed that human nature was inherently flawed and prone to darkness and savagery, even in the absence of adult supervision. "Lord of the Flies" served as a critique of the optimistic perspective presented in "The Coral Island," aiming to explore the potential for moral degradation and the loss of innocence in a primal environment.

Innocence, Friendship, Childhood, Fear, Anger, Allegories.

The story follows a group of British boys who find themselves stranded on a deserted island after their plane crashes during a wartime evacuation. Without any adult supervision, the boys must establish their own society and survive until rescue arrives. Initially, the boys attempt to create order and maintain a sense of civilization by electing a leader, Ralph, and establishing rules. However, as time passes, the inherent savagery within some of the boys begins to emerge. Jack, the antagonist, gradually rebels against Ralph's leadership and forms his own tribe, indulging in hunting and violence. The conflict between Ralph and Jack symbolizes the battle between order and chaos, reason and instinct. As the boys succumb to their primal instincts, they gradually lose their sense of morality and descent into brutality. The novel explores themes of power, the loss of innocence, and the darkness that resides within all individuals. Ultimately, the arrival of a naval officer interrupts the boys' descent into savagery, revealing the horrors they have unleashed upon themselves.

"Lord of the Flies" by William Golding is set on a deserted tropical island in the midst of an unspecified global war. The location remains undisclosed, allowing the focus to be on the boys' struggle for survival rather than the specific geopolitical context. The island itself is described as a paradise, with its lush vegetation, beautiful beaches, and abundant resources. The island serves as an isolated microcosm where the boys' behavior unfolds without the influence of adult society. It becomes a blank canvas upon which the boys project their own fears, desires, and conflicts. The absence of adults and external authority creates a vacuum that allows the boys to establish their own social order and rules.

Symbolism (the conch shell, the signal fire, the beast, etc.), allegory (the boys' descent into savagery and the struggle for power), foreshadowing (the appearance of the sow's head), irony, imagery.

"Lord of the Flies" has had a significant influence on literature and popular culture since its publication. The novel's exploration of the darkness within human nature and its commentary on the fragility of civilization continue to resonate with readers worldwide. One notable influence of "Lord of the Flies" is its impact on dystopian and post-apocalyptic literature. The story's portrayal of a society descending into chaos and the exploration of power dynamics have influenced numerous works in this genre, such as Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games" and Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale." The novel has also had a profound influence on the study of human behavior and psychology. It raises important questions about the nature of evil, the role of society in shaping individuals, and the impact of isolation on human relationships. These themes have sparked discussions and academic analyses across disciplines, including psychology, sociology, and philosophy. Furthermore, "Lord of the Flies" has become a cultural touchstone, frequently referenced in various forms of media, including films, television shows, and music. Its enduring popularity and ability to provoke introspection and critical thinking contribute to its ongoing influence in contemporary society.

One notable adaptation of "Lord of the Flies" is the 1963 film directed by Peter Brook, which brought the story to life on the big screen. The film received critical acclaim for its raw portrayal of the boys' descent into savagery and its faithful adaptation of the novel's themes. The novel has also inspired theatrical productions, with stage adaptations being performed in different parts of the world. These adaptations provide a unique opportunity to experience the story in a live setting, further emphasizing the intensity and psychological depth of the narrative. Furthermore, the influence of "Lord of the Flies" can be seen in popular culture references, such as television shows, music, and literature. Its impact has sparked discussions and inspired creative works that explore similar themes of civilization, power, and human nature.

1. William Golding expressed dissatisfaction with his own work, describing his novel as dull and unrefined, a sentiment he later expressed in interviews and private conversations. 2. The impact of "Lord of the Flies" extends globally, as the book has been translated into more than 30 languages, allowing readers from diverse cultures to engage with its themes and messages. 3. Before finding a publishing home, "Lord of the Flies" faced considerable rejection, with publishers rejecting the manuscript a staggering 21 times. This highlights the initial challenges Golding faced in getting his work recognized. 4. Esteemed author Stephen King has publicly expressed his admiration for "Lord of the Flies," identifying it as one of his favorite books. King's endorsement speaks to the lasting influence and appeal of Golding's work. 5. "Lord of the Flies" has served as a source of inspiration for a range of musicians across different genres, including rap and metal. Bands like Iron Maiden have drawn inspiration from the novel, incorporating its themes and imagery into their music. 6. "Lord of the Flies" holds a significant place among the most banned books in the United States. Its exploration of dark themes and depiction of violence has led to challenges and attempts to restrict its availability in educational settings.

“Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.” “The thing is - fear can't hurt you any more than a dream.” “Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us.” “What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?” “We've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we're not savages. We're English, and the English are best at everything.”

The novel "Lord of the Flies" holds a significant place in literary discourse and continues to captivate readers across generations. Exploring timeless themes of human nature, morality, power, and civilization, it presents a compelling narrative that provokes introspection and critical analysis. Writing an essay about "Lord of the Flies" allows one to delve into the complexities of human behavior, the fragility of societal structures, and the potential for darkness within individuals. The novel's depiction of the descent into savagery and the loss of innocence offers a profound examination of the human condition. Moreover, "Lord of the Flies" serves as a cautionary tale, urging readers to reflect on the consequences of unchecked power, societal breakdown, and the thin veneer of civilization. It prompts discussions on leadership, group dynamics, and the inherent conflicts that arise in challenging circumstances. By exploring the multifaceted layers of the story, an essay on "Lord of the Flies" allows students to sharpen their critical thinking skills, analyze complex themes, and engage in meaningful conversations about the darker aspects of human nature and society. It remains a relevant and thought-provoking piece of literature that invites examination and interpretation from various perspectives.

1. Bhalla, R., & Kowalski, C. (2017). What Lord of the Flies teaches us about primitive defence mechanisms and societal discontent. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/what-lord-of-the-flies-teaches-us-about-primitive-defence-mechanisms-and-societal-discontent/348B50D2158ABAC55B3E94B2DB6F20BA The British Journal of Psychiatry, 210(3), 189-189. 2. Tippetts, C. S. (1926). The End of the Par Collection Litigation. The American Economic Review, 16(4), 610–621. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/2) 3. Alnajm, A. L. (2015). The main themes in Lord of the Flies. International Journal of English and Literature, 6(6), 98-102. (https://academicjournals.org/journal/IJEL/article-full-text/011E73A53478) 4. Gilfillan, James (1963) "Review: "Lord of the Flies"," Calliope (1954-2001): Vol. 10 , Article 25. (https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/calliope/vol10/iss1/25) 5. Arnold Kruger (1999) Golding's Lord of the Flies, The Explicator, 57:3, 167-169. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00144949909596859?journalCode=vexp20) 6. Chougule, R. B., & Hanash, M. M. SCARCE LIFE BETWEEN LEADERSHIP AND NATURE OF SAVAGERY IN WILLIAM GOLDING'S LORD OF THE FLIES. (https://www.literaryendeavour.org/files/9x6upa7d5i55pltczctm/2020-01%2007%20SCARCE%20LIFE%20BETWEEN%20LEADERSHIP%20AND%20NATURE%20OF%20SAVAGERY%20IN%20WILLIAM%20GOLDING%E2%80%99S%20LORD%20OF%20THE%20FLIES%20%20-%20Dr.%20R.%20B.%20Chougule%20&%20Manee%20M.%20Hanash.pdf) 7. Kabra, S. (2021). Lord of the Flies: International Intellectual Property Laws. UC Davis J. Int'l L. & Pol'y, 28, 1. (https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/ucdl28&div=4&id=&page=) 8. Burgess, J. (1963). Lord of the Flies by Peter Brook, Lewis Allen, Dana Hodgdon. (https://online.ucpress.edu/fq/article-abstract/17/2/31/38032/Review-Lord-of-the-Flies-by-Peter-Brook-Lewis)

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symbolism essay lord of the flies

Lord of the Flies – Christian Symbolism

The Lord of the Flies is a novel written by William Golding, and it is widely considered to be a classic in the literature world. The story is set on a remote island, where a group of boys are stranded after their plane crashes. The boys are forced to fend for themselves, and they quickly descend into chaos.

One of the most interesting aspects of Lord of the Flies is the use of Christian symbolism throughout the story. Many experts have interpreted the story as a commentary on the nature of man, and how Christianity can be used to control people.

Some of the most notable examples of Christian symbolism in Lord of the Flies include:

– The name of the book itself, which references Satan’s fall from heaven.

– The Lord of the Flies, who is a representation of the devil.

– The pig’s head, which represents the body of Christ.

– The conch shell, which represents the Christian sacrament of communion.

– The island itself, which is often seen as a metaphor for purgatory.

Overall, Lord of the Flies is an interesting exploration of Christian symbolism and human nature. It is a must read for anyone interested in either topic.

“When you kill the messenger of light, you prevent yourself from seeing reality. It’s like an orchid grower; a human being is essentially savage and terrified by nature, but he refuses deliverance and murders the messenger of light” (Dick, “Criticism” 197). This interpretation of our humanity as human beings is based on Christian theology’s idea of original sin, which has been used in several works of literature as a motif. One example is William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies. Golding makes his belief in original sin clear throughout the work by utilizing vivid Christian imagery.

One of the most striking examples of Christian symbolism in Lord of the Flies is the title itself. The Lord of the Flies is an allusion to Beelzebub, a name for Satan that originates from Hebrew. In the Bible, Beelzebub is referred to as one of the princes of Hell, and is known as the Lord of the Flies because he is the ruler of all insects that fly (“Beelzebub”). This reference to Satan reinforces Golding’s belief that man is inherently evil.

Another example of Christian symbolism in Lord of the Flies can be found in Simon’s death scene. After being stabbed by Jack, Simon falls down a hill and into a clearing. There, he sees a “great beast” that is “covered in blood” (Golding 158). This beast is a clear allusion to the Lamb of God, which is a symbol in Christianity of Jesus Christ.

In the Bible, the Lamb of God is described as a sacrificial lamb that was slain to take away the sins of the world (“Lamb of God”). Simon’s vision of the beast thus represents his acceptance of death and his understanding that he will be forgiven for his sins.

Finally, Golding uses Christian symbolism to underscore the theme of redemption in Lord of the Flies. One example of this can be seen in Ralph’s speech near the end of the novel. After finally being rescued, Ralph delivers a speech in which he asks the boys to think about what they have done. He tells them that “we have been saved for a purpose, and that purpose is to unite” (Golding 191). This purpose is one of redemption, as Ralph believes that the boys can be saved if they learn to work together.

Golding’s use of Christian symbolism in Lord of the Flies underscores his belief that man is inherently evil and in need of redemption. Through this symbolism, Golding provides readers with a powerful examination of the human condition.

The plot of Lord of the Flies is centered on a group of British boys who are stranded on a tropical island after their plane crashes. Ralph, Jack, and Piggy portray three distinct but equally vital roles in this dark tale (Golding wrote the novel as a Christian allegory). In his work, Golding is trying to convey a harsh lesson about life and the darkness that dwells within each one of us.

The play is often said to “open in Eden” since the boys’ arrival on the island, which was untouched and perfect, is comparable to that of Adam and Eve’s garden of Eden (Swisher 65). The tropical climate encourages the boys to take off their clothes, and fruit dangles from all the trees.

The Lord of the Flies is not only a physical entity, but also a spiritual one. He represents the devil, or evil, and he tempts the boys throughout the novel. The Lord of the Flies first tempts them with food, which Simon recognizes as an act of temptation (Golding 116). The Lord of the Flies also tempts the boys with power, which leads to the destruction of Piggy’s glasses and then to Roger’s savage beating of Henry. Finally, the Lord of the Flies tempts Jack with complete power over the island, which results in Jack’s descent into savagery.

The Lord of the Flies is not the only symbol in Golding’s novel. The conch shell, which Piggy and Ralph first use to summon the boys to meetings, also symbolizes order and civilization. It is a physical representation of the democratic process, with Ralph holding the conch and allowing each boy an opportunity to speak (Golding 63). The glasses that Piggy wears also symbolize civilization, because they allow him to see clearly. Without his glasses, Piggy is lost and helpless just like the other boys on the island.

The final symbol in Lord of the Flies is fire. At first, fire represents hope for the boys, because it means they will not be stranded on the island forever. However, as time goes on, fire becomes more and more dangerous. It burns down the forest, it causes the death of Simon, and it ultimately leads to the boys’ destruction.

Lord of the Flies is a complex and thought-provoking novel that contains many symbols that can be interpreted in multiple ways. Golding’s use of Christian symbolism provides a unique perspective on the darkness that lies within us all.

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  1. Lord of the Flies: Symbols

    Chapter 11 Symbols Previous Next Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. The Conch Shell Ralph and Piggy discover the conch shell on the beach at the start of the novel and use it to summon the boys together after the crash separates them.

  2. Symbolism in "Lord of The Flies" by William Golding

    To discuss symbolism in Lord of the Flies, this essay analyzes three main important objects being the conch, fire, the bestie, and "Piggy's" eyeglasses. Through each of these three symbols Golding shows how the boys adapt and change throughout the novel.

  3. The Lord of the Flies Symbolism

    The Signal Fire The Lord of the Flies The Groups of Boys Symbolism in Lord of the Flies The Conch Shell After the plane crash, Ralph and Piggy find the conch shell on the beach. Piggy's suggests using it as a trumpet to draw the other survivors to them.

  4. Lord of the Flies Symbols

    Lord of the Flies Symbols Next The Island The Island The tropical island, with its bountiful food and untouched beauty, symbolizes paradise. It is like a Garden of Eden in which the boys can try to create the perfect society from scratch. read analysis of The Island The Lord of the Flies (the Beast)

  5. Lord of the Flies Symbolism

    Some of the significant symbols used in Lord of the Flies are discussed below. Symbolism in Lord of the Flies Symbol #1 The Conch Piggy finds the conch, a shell, on the seashore and tells Ralph what it is. He also tells him an innovative idea of how and why to use it. It is then used to gather boys and call an assembly.

  6. Lord of the Flies: Central Idea Essay: What Does the Conch Shell

    Previous Next. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses a conch, or a large, milky-white shell, to symbolize a civilized society that regulates itself through democratic engagement. Initially, the boys use the conch to establish a society reminiscent of their familiar British social order: a civil society founded on discourse and consensus.

  7. Lord of the Flies

    Lord of the Flies, novel by William Golding, published in 1954. The book explores the dark side of human nature and stresses the importance of reason and intelligence as tools for dealing with the chaos of existence. In the novel, children are evacuated from Britain because of a nuclear war.

  8. PDF On Symbolic Significance of Characters in Lord of the Flies

    Such success has great relationship with the author's unique writing style—he puts symbolism in a delicate blending of fable, allegory and adventure story. Lord of the Flies depicts the transformation into savagery of a group of English schoolboys stranded on a desert island without adult supervision in the aftermath of a plane crash.

  9. Lord of the Flies Symbols

    Lord of the Flies is an intensely symbolic work at all levels of analysis. As an allegory, the story's most basic elements serve as symbols for aspects of human life. Golding builds this ...

  10. The Lord of the Flies (the Beast) Symbol Analysis

    The Lord of the Flies (the Beast) Symbol Analysis The Conch Shell The "Lord of the Flies," or the beast, inhabits the severed pig head that Jack 's hunters stake into the ground and leave as an offering. Simon recognizes that the Lord of the Flies is the savage monster buried in everyone.

  11. How does Golding use symbolism in Lord of the Flies

    Expert Answers. Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel and, as such, is full of many symbolic events, characters, items and places with significance way beyond the scope of a novel. The symbols ...

  12. Lord of the Flies Symbolism Essay

    Once Jack takes over, savageness is comes into play. The diminishing of the conch's importance in this story shows the start of the decline of the civilization on this island. When the conch shell is crushed by the boulder roger threw, this symbolizes the true end of civilization and the true start of a truly savage nation. Get Help With Your Essay

  13. Lord of the Flies Symbolism: 3 Ideas for Your Essay

    Some see a crown as a symbol of power, and a lion as a symbol of bravery or courage. If this symbolism thing is still escaping you, read the following Lord of the Flies symbolism examples. They'll really help you get the picture. 3 Lord of the Flies Symbolism Ideas You, of course, don't have to use the examples listed below.

  14. Lord of the Flies: Critical Essays

    The Lord of the Flies tells Simon "Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!" and then laughs at the boys' efforts to externalize their savagery in the form of an animal or other fearsome creature. Simon has the revelation that evil isn't simply a component of human nature, but an active element that seeks expression.

  15. Lord of the Flies: Symbolism Essay

    Lord of the Flies: Symbolism. Imagine a group of young boys who have just crash-landed on a deserted tropical island with no adults or supervision. William Golding showed in his ground breaking novel Lord of the Flies, what may happen in just those circumstances. In his very complicated and diverse novel Golding brings out many ideas and uses ...

  16. Symbolism in Lord of the Flies by William Golding

    Lord of the Flies is an ingenious work of literature in which the author, William Golding, explores the issues of civilization and savagery. Throughout the novel, the author hides powerful messages in some very unlikely places, and Golding's use of this literary technique - symbolism - is the subject of this essay. Symbol of Conch

  17. Lord of the Flies: Mini Essays

    Motifs Protagonist Setting Genre Allusions Style Point of View Tone Metaphors & Similes Questions & Answers Who is the Lord of the Flies? What is the conch and what does it symbolize? How does Simon die? Why does Jack start his own tribe? Do the boys get rescued from the island? Why is Ralph chosen to be the chief?

  18. Essays on Lord of The Flies

    The Ralph's Leadership in The Lord of The Flies by William Golding. Essay grade: Good. 2 pages / 968 words. A Good Hook Examples for "The Lord of the Flies" Essay A Descent into Chaos: Step onto the deserted island where order disintegrates, and savagery emerges.

  19. Characterization and Symbolism in "Lord of the Flies"

    Download. Essay, Pages 3 (671 words) Views. 1212. William Golding's novel, "Lord of the Flies," is a rich exploration of characterization and symbolism. Golding masterfully infuses his narrative with literary depth, bringing characters and symbols to life in a vivid and compelling manner. Throughout the novel, Golding's adept use of symbolism ...

  20. Lord of the Flies: A+ Student Essay: Would Piggy Have Made a Good

    Piggy may have the tactical smarts to be a good leader, but because he cannot convincingly act the role, he would not be able to marshal the boys if given the chance. Although his contributions often go unappreciated, Piggy comes up with some of the most important innovations on the island. He sees the conch's potential as a rallying device ...

  21. Lord of the Flies

    Some of the most notable examples of Christian symbolism in Lord of the Flies include: - The name of the book itself, which references Satan's fall from heaven. - The Lord of the Flies, who is a representation of the devil. - The pig's head, which represents the body of Christ.

  22. What is the symbolism of the candle buds in Lord of the Flies

    But to the rest of the boys, they may in fact symbolize the coming terrors of the night as they spill out "their scent and [take] possession of the island. The rest of the boys are absolutely ...

  23. Lord of the Flies: Important Quotes Explained

    Important Quotes Explained. Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law.

  24. Lord Of The Flies Symbolism Essay

    One of the symbols shown in Lord of the Flies is the constant theme of people and objects falling. Not only does this …show more content… Whoever had the shell could talk, and when the shell was blown all the boys came together. The conch was the thing that brought the boys together and made Ralph the leader.