Symbolism in Lord of the Flies by William Golding

1159 Words Sep 18th, 2012 5 Pages
Gonzalo Barril Merino
3EMC

Lord of the Flies Essay

Describe the use of symbolism in Lord of the Flies

By understanding symbols, you get a better picture of the novel “Lord of the Flies” and the hidden messages and references to human nature and a criticism of society.
The author, William Golding, uses a huge amount of symbolism to reflect society of the outer world with the island. Symbols of fire, the conch and water are described all throughout the novel. Fire represents hope, strength and knowledge, but it also represents disorder and destruction, switching from good and useful to evil and uncontrollable.
The conch, a precious shining pink shell, found by Piggy, rescued by Ralph, and later given to Piggy to hold, represents
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The fire goes out in chapter eight, the same chapter when Jack leaves the group to form his own tribe. By loosing fire, they lost hope and unity, because Jack leaves and many kids go with him. The fire is stolen from Ralph’s group by Jack.
The use of fire is forgotten in chapter ten, “The Shell and the Glasses”. With Simon dead, Ralph and Samneric can’t remember the use of fire anymore, and they doubt its effectiveness. Piggy reminds them that the smoke produces hope, hope to be rescued soon.
In the end of the novel, fire turns to a weapon that burns and destroys anything it touches. Jack sets the whole island on fire to kill Ralph. Fire, starting as a symbol of hope, knowledge and civilization, changes to a tribal weapon for destruction, uncontrollable; and switches once again to hope, when the sailor rescues the kids.

The conch, found by Piggy, retrieved by Ralph, and hold by Piggy, is a symbol of democracy, civilization and reunion. Ralph blows it at the beginning of the book, and all the kids that survived the accident ran towards the sound and were reunited.
The conch represents democracy, since chapter two till chapter eleven, when it is destroyed with Piggy.
Wherever Piggy goes, he takes the conch with him, “…the talisman, the fragile, shining beauty of the shell.” (Chapter 11). The conch will be given to anyone that wishes to speak during an assembly. The conch is an object to get silence.
The conch has power, and reminds
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