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What is the meaning of the title in Lord of the Flies?

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pooh16- | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 17, 2012 at 9:00 PM via web

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What is the meaning of the title in Lord of the Flies?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 17, 2012 at 9:13 PM (Answer #1)

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The title in Lord of the Flies actually refers to the boar’s head idol that Simon envisions, which is surrounded by flies.  It also metaphorically refers to the rot and decay of society represented by the break-down of the boys’ civilization.

The flies themselves are described in a very specific way, as a “black blob” that “buzzed like a saw” (p. 198).

Simon, the Christlike thinking child, becomes enchanted with the flies.

They tickled under his nostrils and played leapfrog on his thighs. They were black and iridescent green and without number; and in front of Simon, the Lord of the Flies hung on his stick and grinned. (ch 8, p. 198)

Since the boys spend so much time hunting or thinking they are hunting, the fact that the Lord of the Flies is the boar’s head is particularly symbolic.  The boys’ society has retrogressed completely to a more heathen state.

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