In every novel symbolism is used in countless ways to show what the author is trying to tell the readers. In the novel, Lord of the Flies, the author, William Golding, uses many symbols throughout the novel. The novel tells the story of a group of young British boys stranded on an island due to their plane crashing. As the story progresses, the readers are introduced to multiple symbols that repeat in the book. The boys on the island establish rules in order to maintain civilized behaviour but, readers see that the boys lose their civilization over time.
Symbols are presented to show the main theme of loss of civilization that turns into chaos and savagery. The theme is best represented through the symbols of conch shell, Piggy’s glasses, and beast.To begin with, the symbol of the conch shell strongly presents the theme of loss of civilization. The conch shell is the first rule established by the boys, whoever holds the shell is the only individual that can speak and the others are not allowed to interrupt.
At the beginning of the novel, the shell is practically perfect, there is not one flaw spotted on it, The shell was interesting and pretty and a worthy plaything. (Golding 11). As the book progresses readers see that the conch begins to lose value to the boys as they begin to disobey the rules Conch! Conch! Shouted Jack, we don’t need the conch anymore. We know who ought to say things. (Golding 110 – 111). As the conch begins to lose importance to the boys it shows that civilization is starting to vanish. Towards the end of the novel, the shell eventually breaks showing the boys have completely lost their way of civilization, …the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist. (Golding 201). The conch shell symbolizes power hence, whoever has the conch has the power to speak, overtime the conch also symbolizes order in civilization, however, once the conch is destroyed it represents that civilization is too. Therefore, chaos and savagery spread.Similarly, not only was civilization loss due to the conch being destroyed but as well as Piggy’s glasses. Piggy’s glasses is another symbol used to present the ideal theme of loss of civilization. Piggy is no doubt an intellectual character and tends to have good ideas throughout the book, he takes the role as Ralph’s advisor. Through Piggy’s glasses, he is able to ironically, see what must be done for survival. When the boys begin to turn against Ralph’s tribe, Piggy believes that getting rescued is more important than hunting a pig, this causes a disagreement between the two tribes as the two want something different. Ralph wants to have rules in order to keep civilization in tack, whereas Jack’s tribe wants to hunt and cause chaos, Which is better” to be a pack of painted niggers like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is? (Golding 200). Piggy uses racial slurs to compare Jack’s tribe as a representation of savagery. In addition, once Piggy is murdered by Roger his glasses are useless this causes the boys to begin to lose sight of what is wrong and right as there’s no one to talk sense into the boys, There was no Piggy to talk sense. There was no solemn assembly for debate nor dignity of the conch. (Golding 218). Piggy’s lens that is broken is a big turning point since, it’s the first time that the boys results to violence showing the downfall of civilization, Ralph made a step forward and Jack smacked Piggy’s head. Piggy’s glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks. (Golding 71). Piggy’s glasses are used throughout the novel to showcase a civilized society that the boys do not see. Once Piggy’s is gone the boys lose vision of the civilization hence, resulting in chaos.Last but not least, the theme of loss of civilization is also shown through the symbol of the beast. The beast represents the savagery within every kid on the island. The boys are unaware that the beasts existence is living within them and is brought into reality due to the boys’ actions. At the beginning the boys stay civil and get along with each other, as time passes on the island the kids resort to savage actions hence, unleashing their inner beast. The beast is first evident when Ralph wants control back, this shows that their inner beast appears due to one’s desire, Something he had not known was there rose in him and compelled him to make the point, loudly and again. (Golding 40). When spending more time on the island the kids begin to get progressing more violent and start to show no remorse, I hit him, said Ralph indignantly. I hit him with my spear, I wounded him (Golding 125). The kids go as far as practicing hunting on Robert, evidently showing Ralph’s inner beast as he has the desire to hurt Robert, Ralph too was fighting to get near, to get a handful of that brown, vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering (Golding 125). The beast reveals one’s deepest desire by taking control. The beast is without a doubt evidently why the kids fall into savagery and chaos, forgetting about civilization.Finally, it may be concluded that Golding effectively uses symbolism over the course of the novel to display the main theme of how the loss of civilization can easily result in chaos and savagery. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding repeats symbols such as conch shell, Piggy’s glasses and beast to portray the overall theme. Readers follow the gory journey of the kids starting from civilization to complete utter chaos and savagery.
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In every novel symbolism is used in countless ways to show what. (2019, Aug 20). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/in-every-novel-symbolism-is-used-in-countless-ways-to-show-what-essay
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