Skip Nav

Lord of the Flies

William Golding

❶Order now The boys believe that there exists a beast in the island that seeks to cause them harm.

From the SparkNotes Blog

Study Questions
Lord of the Flies Symbolism Essay
Lord of the Flies Thesis Statements and Essay Topics

He spent five years serving with the Royal Navy, emerging as a lieutenant and embarking on a teaching and writing career. He wrote novels and novellas, poetry, plays, essays, and travel articles. It is a superficially simple but densely layered tale that has been labeled, among other things, a fable, a myth, an allegory, and a parable. On the surface, it is an adventure story. A group of schoolboys await rescue on a deserted island, meanwhile exploring, hunting, and finally warring with one another.

His is a view that accepts the doctrine of original sin but without the accompanying doctrine of redemption. People in a state of nature quickly revert to evil, but even in a so-called civilized state, people simply mask their evil beneath a veneer of order.

After all, while the boys on the island are sinking into a state of anarchy and blood lust, their civilized parents and teachers are waging nuclear war in the skies overhead.

Here, Beelzebub is represented by the rotting head of the sow killed by Jack Merridew and his hunters choir members in a frenzy of bloodletting that, in the language used to describe it, has sexual overtones. Although human beings are gifted with at least a glimmer of intelligence and reason—represented in the novel by Piggy and Ralph, respectively—the power of evil is sufficient to overwhelm any opposition.

That they are British public schoolboys only adds to the irony in that perhaps the chief goal of the British public school is to instill in its charges a sense of honor and civil behavior.

Jack Merridew, later to become the most barbarous of them all, enters the novel marching his choir members along in two parallel lines. The beast, the parachutist, the fire, the killing of the sow—all assume symbolic significance in the novel, justifying the label of allegory that is often applied to this work. Lord of the Flies has attracted an immense amount of both favorable and unfavorable criticism. Most vehement among the latter critics are Kenneth Rexroth, whose essay in the Atlantic Monthly castigated the author for having written a typical "rigged" "thesis novel" whose characters "never come alive as real boys.

Baker have claimed that the popularity of the book peaked by the end of the s because of that decade's naive view of humanity and rejection of original sin. Among critics who admire Lord of the Flies , there is remarkable disagreement about the book's influences, genre, significant characters, and theme, not to mention the general philosophy of the author.

He interprets Golding's book as a powerful story, capable of many interpretations, precisely because of the author's "mythopoeic power to transcend" his own allegorical "programme. Dick, while acknowledging The Coral Island 's influence, builds on Kermode's observation that the book's strength is grounded in its mythic level by tracing the influence of the Greek dramatists, especially Euripides whose play The Bacchae Golding himself acknowledged as an important source of his thinking.

Dick notes that The Bacchae and Lord of the Flies both "portray a bipolar society in which the Apollonian Golding was forty-three years old when he wrote the novel, having served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. According to Bernard Oldsey, "The war appears to have been an important influence on him. Lord of the Flies is deliberately modeled after R. Ballantyne's novel The Coral Island. In this story, a group of English boys are shipwrecked on a tropical island.

They work hard together to save themselves. The only evil in the book is external and is personified by a tribe of cannibals that live on the island. The book offers a Victorian view of the world: By giving his characters the same names as those in Ballantyne's book and by making direct reference to The Coral Island in the text of Lord of the Flies , Golding clearly wants readers to see his book as a response to the Victorian world view.

Golding's view is a much bleaker one: At the end of the book, the adult naval officer who invokes The Coral Island almost serves as Ballantyne's voice-"I should have thought that a pack of British boys— you're all British, aren't you? Initially, critics commented less on the novel as a work of art than on its political, religious, and psychological symbolism.

For example, James Stern in a review for The New York Times Book Review wrote " Lord of the Flies is an allegory on human society today, the novel's primary implication being that what we have come to call civilization is at best no more than skin deep. Indeed, many critics have argued that Lord of the Flies is an allegory. An allegory is a story in which characters, setting, objects, and plot stand for a meaning outside of the story itself.

Frequently, the writers of allegory illustrate an abstract meaning by the use of concrete images. For example George Orwell in Animal Farm , uses animals and the barnyard as concrete representations of the Russian Revolution.

Often, characters in allegories personify some abstract quality. In the medieval drama Everyman , for instance, the concrete character Everyman stands for all of humanity. While it is possible to read Lord of the Flies as allegory, the work is so complex that it can be read as allegorizing the political state of the world in the postwar period; as a Freudian psychological understanding of human kind; or as the Christian understanding of the fall of humankind, among others.

As a political allegory, each character in Lord of the Flies represents some abstract idea of government. Ralph, for example, stands for the good-hearted but not entirely effective leader of a democratic state, a ruler who wants to rule by law derived from the common consent.

Piggy is his adviser, someone who is unable to rule because of his own social and physical shortcomings, but who is able to offer sound advice to the democratic leader. Jack, on the other hand, represents a totalitarian dictator, a ruler who appeals to the emotional responses of his followers.

He rules by charisma and hysteria. Roger, the boy who takes the most joy in the slaughter of the pigs and who hurls the rock that kills Piggy, represents the henchman necessary for such a totalitarian ruler to stay in power.

Such a reading takes into account the state of the world at the end of the World War II. Roosevelt led democratic countries against totalitarian demigods such as Germany's.

Lord of the Flies is William Golding's parable of life in the latter half of the twentieth century, the nuclear age, when society seems to have reached technological maturity while human morality is still prepubescent. Whether or not one agrees with the pessimistic philosophy, the idiocentric psychology or the fundamentalist theology espoused by Golding in the novel, if one is to use literature as a "window on the world," this work is one of the panes through which one should look.

The setting for Lord of the Flies is in the literary tradition of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Johann Wyss's The Swiss Family Robinson , and like these earlier works provides the necessary ingredients for an idyllic utopian interlude. A plane loaded with English school boys, aged five through twelve, is being evacuated to a safe haven in, perhaps, Australia to escape the "Reds," with whom the English are engaged in an atomic war.

Somewhere in the tropics the plane is forced to crash land during a violent storm. All the adults on board are lost when the forward section of the plane is carried out to sea by tidal waves. The passenger compartment, fortuitously, skids to a halt on the island, and the young passengers escape uninjured.

The boys find themselves in a tropical paradise: The sea proffers crabs and occasional fish in tidal pools, all for the taking. The climate is benign. Thus, the stage is set for an idyllic interlude during which British fortitude will enable the boys to master any possible adversity. In fact, Golding relates that just such a nineteenth century novel, R. Ballantyne's Coral Island , was the inspiration for Lord of the Flies.

In that utopian story the boy castaways overcame every obstacle they encountered with the ready explanation, "We are British, you know! Golding's tropical sojourners, however, do not "live happily ever after. As their "society" fails to build shelters or to keep the signal fire going, fears emanating from within—for their environment is totally non-threatening—take on a larger than life reality. Vines hanging from trees become "snake things" in the imaginings of the "little'uns.

Their fears become more real than existence on the tropical paradise itself when the twins, Sam 'n Eric, report their enervating experience with the wind-tossed body of the dead parachutist. Despite Simon's declaration that "there is no beast, it's only us," and Piggy's disavowal of "ghosts and things," the fear of the unknown overcomes their British reserve and under Jack's all-too-willing chieftainship the boys' retreat from civilization begins.

In the initial encounter with a pig, Jack is unable to overcome his trained aversion to violence to even stake a blow at the animal. Soon, however, he and his choirboys-turned-hunters make their first kill. They rationalize that they must kill the animals for meat.

The next step back from civilization occurs and the meat pretext is dropped; the real objective is to work their will on other living things. Then, killing begins to take on an even more sinister aspect. The first fire the boys build to attract rescuers roars out of control and one of the younger boys is accidentally burned to death.

The next death, that of Simon, is not an accident. He is beaten to death when he rushes into the midst of the ritual dance of the young savages. Ironically, he has come to tell the boys that he has discovered that the beast they fear is not real. Then Piggy, the last intellectual link with civilization, is killed on impulse by the sadistic Roger.

Last, all semblance of civilized restraint is cast-off as the now-savage tribe of boys organizes itself to hunt down and kill their erstwhile leader, Ralph, who had tried desperately to prepare them to carry on in the fashion expected of upper middle-class British youth.

As one reads the books, three themes can be identified. Lord of the Flies essay symbolism, reveals aspects that we can relate to in today's society. The individual conflict that exists between embracing our savage and civil nature; how one can easily lose their innocence and finally how it is easy to get confused between leading and controlling people.

Symbolism is described as the use of people and things in a literature piece such as a novel and poem to express ideas. Lord of the Flies symbolism essay reveals how the other has exploited the use of people and things to communicate aspects that reflect our society.

Symbolism is in three different formats: It can be universal, archetype or contextual. The characters and items such as fire have been used to represent ideas the author wants to communicate. Lord of the Flies symbolism essay thesis revolves around different issues of society such as power, control, unity, technology and value of science as portrayed by Piggy and how divisive leadership can be toxic.

After the plane crash had separated the boys, Ralph and Piggy come across the conch shell lying on the beach and use it to call the group together. In the novel, the conch shell turns into a very prevailing symbol of civilization and order. Afterwards, the conch shell is used in meetings as a control tool for the one who is to speak, whereby, whoever holding it has the command to speak.

In this instance, the conch shell graduates from being a symbol to being an instrument of democratic power and political legitimacy. The conch shell seizes being an influential and powerful symbol and instrument among the boys when the sense of civilization fades away and they resort to savagery. When Ralph is talking about his role in killing Simon, he desperately holds onto the conch shell. Later, when he tries to blow the shell in Jack's camp, the other boys don't pay attention to him and instead throw at stones at him.

The remaining sense of civilization amongst the majority of the boys is shredded as Roger rolls a huge rock onto Piggy crushing the shell alongside. The most rational and intelligent boy in the group is Piggy and a symbol of intellectual endeavor and science in the society is drawn to his glasses.

At the beginning of the book, the symbolism of his glasses is highlighted when they use the lenses from his glasses was used to start a fire by focusing the rays of the sun. Ralph's group is rendered helpless when the glasses are lost in the aftermath of a raid from Jack's hunters. The boys light signal fires at two different locations, first in the mountain and later on at the beach, in attempts to signal any passing ship to rescue them. In this event, the signal fire becomes a guide for their connection to civilization in Lord of the Flies fire symbolism essay.

When the boys keep the signal fire from burning out, it's a sign that they really want to be rescued and returned to the society. As the fire reduces in intensity, the boys keep on getting comfortable with their savagery on the island and losing the desire to be rescued. On this accord, the signal fire becomes a scale for signifying the amount of remaining civilized instinct. Paradoxically, towards the conclusion, a ship is signaled by a fire to the island but the fire was not any of the two signal fires.

The fire that signaled the ship was a savagery fire which was lit by Jack's gang in the quest for Ralph's blood. An imaginary beast representing the primal savagery instinct existing in all human beings frightens the boys. It's only Simon who realizes that they fear the beast because it exists in each one of them.

As the savagery of the boys grows, so does their belief in the beast. Towards the conclusion, they are regarding it as a totemic god and leaving sacrifices for it. As evidenced in Lord of the Flies symbolism essay, their behavior tends to exhibit the image of the beast for the more savage they become the more real beast becomes as well.

The Lord of the Flies is symbolized by the bloody head of the sow that Jacks plants on a spike in the forest glade. In this Lord of the Flies symbolism essay, it is a complex symbol that turns into the most important image when a confrontation emerges with Simon.

In their conversation, the head tells Simon that in every human heart lies evil. The head further promises to have fun with him as a prediction imagery of his death in the following chapter when he is attacked by Ralph and Piggy. Through the lord of the flies, the best physically manifests as a symbol of power and the devil that brings out the "beast" in every human being.

Lord of the Flies symbolism essay thesis parallel contextualizes in a biblical perspective the Lord of the Flies with the devil and Simon with Jesus. On the other hand, the author infers the notion "Lord of the Flies" from the biblical inference of Beelzebub, a very powerful demon, the prince hell. Lord of the Flies is a metaphorical story in which the characters represent an important theme or idea in the following manner as discussed in the essay about symbolism in lord of the flies:.

Sample Essay Outlines

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Aug 23,  · Suggested Essay Topics. gega-f9asygqp.ml all the characters, it is Piggy who most often has useful ideas and sees the correct way for the boys to organize themselves.

Privacy FAQs

Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel in that it contains characters and objects that directly represent the novel’s themes and ideas. Golding’s central point in the novel is that a conflict between the impulse toward civilization and the impulse toward savagery rages within each human individual.

About Our Ads

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: Society-Building in Lord of the Flies. When the boys find themselves stranded on a remote island, they quickly begin the project of building a rough approximation of society and attempt to create a utopia in Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Lord of the Flies study guide contains a biography of William Golding, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

Cookie Info

Essays and criticism on William Golding's Lord of the Flies - Suggested Essay Topics. Lord of the Flies is a symbolic novel of his experience and this quote was his way of showing that all men were evil; it was as natural for Adolf Hitler Government Law Lord Of the Flies Mood.