Homework Help

What are symbols in chapter 6 of Lord of the Flies by William Golding?Lord of the Flies

user profile pic

lilachorses | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 29, 2011 at 2:59 AM via web

dislike 2 like

What are symbols in chapter 6 of Lord of the Flies by William Golding?

Lord of the Flies

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

user profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 29, 2011 at 4:04 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 3 like

In a parody of the momentous Biblical story of the Magi, a passage of Chapter Six of Lord of the Flies reads,

...a sign came down from the world of grown-ups, though at the time there was no child awake to read it.  There was a sudden bright explosion and corkscrew trail across the sky; then darkness again and stars.

1. A symbol, the dead parachutist looms threateningly, "a figure hung with dangling limbs."  Representative of "a civilization that was in ruins" the British pilot has been shot down by the enemy, and the cadaver symbolizes the evils of war, the inherent evil in man that would kill his own kind.

2. The signal fire is now a "darker smudge," suggesting that the boys now have no connection to civilization and have become themselves "darker," more savage, in their desires and actions.

3.  "Just there was the big rock, and the three stones there, that split rock..."  The rocks and stones are symbolic of the primitive nature of savagery that lasts throughout time.  In Chapter Four, the stone is referred to as "that token of preposterous time."

4. The conch is mentioned in this chapter and is the symbol of order.

5. Piggy's damaged glasses are symbolic of the lack or rationality left as the hunters degenerate to savagery and the others resort to superstitious assumptions about the "beast" in the sky. 

6. Another symbol and Biblical allusion is "the leviathian," the image of a whale breathing dangerously beneath the surface of water, waiting to swallow its victims. The water that is drawn down on the weedy sides of the large flat rock on the other side of the lagoon seems

like the breathing of some stupendous creature.

Golding symbolizes this dangerous fall of the water and its swirling as

the sleeping leviathan [that]breathed out [and] the waters rose, the weed streamed, and the water boiled over the table rock with a roar.

With such symbols as part of the text of the chapter, it is then portentously that it ends with Jack leading the way down the rock and across the bridge built of rocks as the chapter ends.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes