William Golding wrote Lord of the Flies, he intended for the characters and certain entities to symbolize a larger idea. That "larger idea" is the world and the war going on around the boys. Authority, intelligence, goodness and savagery are all a part of every day life, on the island and the rest of the world. Here is a brief description of some of the most important symbols.
The island itself is meant to represent untouched nature. Before the boys arrived, it was isolated. Once the boys arrived and made their selves comfortable, it began to symbolize the corrupt nature of humans.
The Scar is the permanent mark made by the plane which crashed on the island. It represents the permanence of the crash and the force of human destruction.
"The undergrowth of the island was shaken." - page 7.
From the beginning, it is easy to see that Ralph is the figure of authority. Golding made him to represent order, leadership and civilization. Throughout the book, Ralph tries to maintain the group in a civilized manner by calling meetings, building huts, establishing the signal fire and so on.
"I expect we'll want to know their names." This is the first quote that leads you to believe Piggy may be the brains of the bunch. His smart and quirky comments continue all throughout the book, even though he is mainly ignored. Piggy represents the intellectual aspect of civilization and order. However, because he is ignored, civilization doesn't stick around for long.
When things get foggy or out of hand, Piggy wipes his glasses: "He went very pink, bowed his head, and cleaned his glasses again." Since Piggy represents intelligence among the group, it is logical that his glasses represent rationality and civil thought. As the boys continue to ignore him, they also begin to lose rational thought. Also, they represent the vision for society, which is why he would clean his glasses whenever there was a problem.
From the beginning, Jack longs for power of the group because he is leader of the choir group and the oldest of them all. As the book progresses, Jack becomes more and more savage and power-thirsty. Jack is meant to represent savagery and the desire for power. He often uses his fearless attitude to gain control and self gratification.
This small, quiet choir boy, is the nicest of the group. Simon represents pure, human goodness. He is always there to help and never hurts anyone.
When Ralph and Piggy find the conch, Piggy proclaims they should use it to call a meeting. This is the first sign that the conch represents order. At a later meeting, Ralph says, "Whoever has the conch, has the right to speak." This statement shows that the conch also represents authority. Once the boys begin to disrespect the conch's power, civilization further deteriorates.
The Signal Fire
The fire on top of the mountain is like a bit of hope for the group, mainly Ralph. It mainly represents hope and salvation for the boys. Considering it is lit in case a ship passes by, it also represents the instinct to survive.
When the littluns suspect there is a beast-like creature lurking on the island, fear breaks out amongst the group. This fear of the unknown eventually leads to savagery. This idea of a "beastie" was one of the first signs of a crumbling civilization. As the story progresses, the "beastie" is the symbol for the fear of the unknown.
The sow's head, better known as "Lord of the Flies," represents the evil, or savagery, in all of the boys. Jack's statement, "This head is for the beast- it's a gift," supported its representation of the savage nature in humans. A very important thing to notice, is how it ends up in Simon's sanctuary.
"There isn't anyone to help you. Only me. And i'm the Beast! Fancy thinking the beast was something you could hunt and kill."
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