Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lord of the Flies

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Lord of the Flies

Symbolism is widely used in William Golding’s book, The Lord of the Flies. He uses it mainly to show the digression of the boy’s sense of civilization slowly falling away. He uses many examples to show this but three of them are prominent. The first is when the conch is shattered, because all the “authority” is lost. The second is when Simon dies, because he symbolized the rationality of the group. And the last example is when the boys’ “civilization” becomes totally hopeless. This is the scene where Piggy is killed. Each of these aspects of the civilization were forgotten as the boys become more barbaric, until the authority is restored again.

The conch is the boys’ way of showing who’s in charge. The conch is a white shell that Piggy finds in the beginning of the book with Ralph. After Piggy explains what the shell does, Ralph bows on it to call all of the boys to the little clearing that they later use as a meeting place. The shell is also used as a token, and the holder is supposed to be the only one who can talk. After a while it becomes the symbol of power, and a little while after that it becomes the power, and Ralph, instead of being the leader with the conch as a symbol of his power, it goes the other way. When the conch is crushed, the power of it is completely lost. The leadership of the civilization that was already threatened then crumbles into separate warring tribes.

The second scene is where Simon dies. Jack and Ralph are in a struggle for power and the boys have split into two separate tribes, because of the “beast”. Simon suggests that they go and make sure that it is indeed an actual beast, but no one pays attention. So Simon returns to his little clearing, where he had hidden earlier in the book. When he arrives, he finds the head of the sow that Jack’s hunters had murdered. He is quite disturbed by this and he becomes almost delirious. In his delirium, the head becomes “the lord of the flies”. The disgusting figure says to Simon that he will never escape the beast, because it is in all of the boys. Simon becomes very frightened and faints. When he wakes up, he realizes what the figure had said. In sudden understanding, he goes to the top of the mountain, where the beast had been “sighted”, and finds the dead parachute. Upon this enlightenment, Simon runs to the other boys to tell them his findings. When he reaches the boys, they are in a barbaric feast on the sow that they have roasted. They don’t even look twice at Simon, before they tear him to pieces, killing him with their hands and teeth. Simon represents the rationality and reason in the boy’s society. When he dies, it shows how barbaric and unreasonable the boys became in such a short amount of time.

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The last scene is where Piggy dies. Piggy represents the intelligent side in all of the boys. He is the voice of reason and intellect whenever anyone will listen to him. Piggy dies because the tribal rivalry gets carried away. After Jack and Ralph go crazy and start to fight, Piggy starts to yell, trying to make all of them see reason. But all of the boys in Ralph’s tribe are too far gone. They capture Sam and Eric and tie them up. When Piggy continues to yell, they throw a huge rock down the hill, it shatters, and blows the conch to pieces. Piggy dives away from the pieces and plunges down forty feet onto a red rock, and dies. His death signifies the death of the civilization.

When the English naval officer comes to the beach and finds the boys, he is amazed at the atrocities that the boys have become in a very short time, but what he didn’t see the gradual steps of torture that those boys had to go through in order to get to the state of being that they were in when the man found them.

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