Summary: How William Golding Uses Symbolism in the Novel

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Themes are the hidden message in a work of literature that is indirectly or directly stated in the text. There are various themes in ‘Lord of the Flies’. The themes that William Golding, the writer of this novel, uses to help the audiences to understand parts of the text and emphasis on these points. This event is portrayed in themes. Civilization versus savagery, loss of innocence and power. Throughout the novel, Golding uses different types of literary techniques to demonstrate and to support the themes. This is to enhance his readers to the main conflict in the novel, Lord of the Flies by William Golding was civilization versus savagery. The boys had a dilemma either to live as savages, with no rules or to live in a civil manner, where they would live in a democracy.

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In this novel, Golding uses symbolism to convey various meanings to various readers according to their respective contexts, texts, and situations. The conch symbolises democracy, law, and order. It brings peace to the group of boys. It is the only item on the island that can unite them and keep them civilized. It was also the thing that persuaded most of the boys to choose Ralph as their leader. Ralph uses the conch to share his power with the rest of the boys. The Lord of the Flies is the sow’s head which Jack impales on a stick and becomes the complicated central symbol of the book. It is like the physical demonstration of the beast. This symbolises the evil within human beings and the early instinct of savagery.

“His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggle pig… taken away its life like a long satisfying drink.” Jack has killed his first pig and this quote is describing his mental state afterward. He is exhilarated and proud of himself for being able to take away another being's life. All the things that Jack describes as 'satisfying' have to do with the actual action of killing the pig, rather than having found meat to feed themselves with. What really matters to Jack is the feeling of superiority in being able to kill another living thing. Although Jack had stated that killing pigs was important for the whole group because of the meat it provided, it is clear that he wants to kill pigs only to satisfy his barbaric instincts; not to get meat. '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 dares not throw…. protection of parents and school and policemen and the law.' Roger is trying to bullying a littlun, Henry, by throwing stones at him, but the influence of the rules of his old life in civilization are still too strong. He 'sees' a radius around Henry where he cannot throw stones, and so Henry is not hurt. This space around Henry symbolizes the protection of the parents, school, policemen, and the law. This is the 'taboo of the old life', and it is what keeps Roger from actually hitting Henry even though he has a strong urge to do so. This is important because it demonstrates the boys' savage instinct beginning to dominate them. “I’m going to get more of the biguns away from the conch and all that.” Jack’s affection of authority wish by any chance to get even with the littlun by making as a pet of his tribe even if it means taking the innocent ones away from civility.

Lord of the Flies features many themes revolving around the boys on the island; however, the most prominent theme is civilization versus savagery. The characters of Ralph and Piggy represent civilization while Jack represents savagery. The symbols of the conch and Piggy's glasses symbolize the peace between civilization and savagery. However, when they are broken, savagery takes over civilization.Civilization will always become savagery at a certain point, as there is no such thing as a perfectly civilized society.

In Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, the boys experience a true loss of innocence. It is because they are removed from the influence of society, they lose their innocence and turn to more savages’ ways to achieve power.

“He snatched his knife out of the sheath and slammed it into a tree trunk. Next time there would be no mercy.” The first time this theme appears in the book is when Jack makes the decision to prove himself. Without realizing it, he chose savagery over the civility he had when he first came to the island. “And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and un-wiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart…” This quote shows how the boys have lost the interest in personal hygiene, they think that they’ll never get off the island so they stop caring. But not Ralph as he still hopes that someday they will get rescued by someone. “Then, amid the roars of bees in the afternoon sunlight, Simon found for (the littluns) the fruit they could not reach, pulled off the choicest from up in the foliage, passed them back down to the endless, outstretched hands.” This quote represents how Simon knows that the littluns need to be taken care of or they will die so he picks fruit for them to eat and not starve that shows loss of innocence because kids his age aren’t supposed to be caring for the younger children but with no adults or volunteers he knows he’s the only that cares.

In William Golding’s novel “The Lord of the Flies”, the struggle for power over control of the group shows how an individual is able to grasp power through satisfying immediate needs of others, ultimately leading to corruption that one individual does not have enough power to resist. Golding is trying to prove how effortless it may be to capitalize on situations which provide everlasting power that one intelligent person cannot rebel against without support from like-minded individuals.

Jack is telling the boys to make a fire to scare away the beast. “A fire! Make a fire!” At once half the boys were on their feet. Jack clamoured among them; the conch forgotten. “Come on! Follow me!” …. crowd swayed toward the island and was gone – following Jack. This quote reveals that Jack is taking charge of the boys and telling them what to do. I’m a chief. I’ll go. Don’t argue.” This quote is important because when Jack and the other hunters do not listen to Ralph, he has to assert his power over them. “Ralph pushed Piggy to one side. I was chief, and you were going to do what I said.” When Ralph asserts his power here, he does for the sake of the signal fire and for the hopes of the kids of getting rescued.

Therefore, Power is very important in this novel. Ralph’s power was lost, the boys went wild, and became barbaric.


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