The Use of Symbolism in Lord of the Flies

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Symbols are everywhere, if they are noticed or not. William Golding, the author of ‘Lord of the Flies’ uses many symbols in his novel to show the swift and fast transition from civilization to savagery. The main symbols include the white conch shell, the boys hunting, and the fire. The conch is found by Ralph and Piggy when they first arrive on the island as civilized boys. The conch is both a symbol in the boys’ heads, as well as in their hands. The conch is both a theoretical symbol meaning it is both physical and mental. In their heads, they know that the conch is to be respected. In their hands, they are aware that they have the power to speak only when they are holding the white shell, like they would have had to raise their hand in class to speak. When they gather around for the first time after Ralph summons them, he declares “We’ll have rules…lots of rules! Then when anyone breaks ‘em-.” (Golding 33). The boys are excited to have rules; they are comforted by this thought, even Jack, who is in obvious competition with Ralph to become chief from the very start. They are welcoming to the thought of punishment if rules are broken, because this is how they function in their civilized lives. When Jack finds out there are animals on the island, he wants to hunt them. Although the boys are still civilized and want rescue, “Rescue? Yes, of course! All the same, I’d like to catch a pig first-,” (Golding 53). Jack’s inner savagery begins to show almost right away. He wants to be rescued, like all the boys, yet he wants to be able to kill a pig. He wants to be able to get away with killing another living thing without punishment from elders. The fire is another comfort to the boys, and it is a means of a small, yet secure part of civilization, a hope that they could be rescued. “We can help them find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we
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