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What metaphors and similes does William Golding, use in the book, Lord of the Flies, to...

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kisss77 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 26, 2011 at 12:19 PM via web

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What metaphors and similes does William Golding, use in the book, Lord of the Flies, to describe man's inherent evil?

i am writing this paper on how golding's argument in the book lord of the flies. he argues that evil is an inborn trait that mankind has.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 23, 2012 at 6:34 AM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter Eight, "Gift for the Darkness," Golding introduces the Lord of the Flies as a twisted, extended metaphor for man's natural capacity for evil.  Everything about the Lord of the Flies represents ruin.  From the rank stench of decaying flesh to the swarms of flies, Simon, with his gift for insight, recognizes the sow's head as a metaphor for the human condition: "his gaze was held by that ancient, inescapable recognition" (138). 

Later in the chapter, Golding uses Simon's conversation with the Lord of the Flies to confirm one of his dominant themes in the novel, the boys themselves are the 'beast,' the true source of evil on the island:

"Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! [...] You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close, close! I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are what they are?" (143)

Golding creatively employs the Lord of the Flies as a dark extended metaphor to reveal his views about man's natural inclination toward sin and destruction.  The fly-ridden pig's head disgustingly embodies his themes of decay and destruction.


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ichabod | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:55 AM (Answer #2)

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Perhaps it would be best to think in terms of symbols rather than similes and metaphors.  When researching your paper you will find an abundance of information about the symbolism used in The Lord of the Flies (LOTF). Many of these symbols go right to the heart of your question. They are used by Golding to communicate a central theme of LOTF, a theme which relates to the dark and savage places in the heart of every man.

The society of boys in the LOTF is a major symbol used by Golding. The boys are a metaphor for “the real world” so to speak, and it is important to note that this group of seemingly innocent youngsters end their time on the island in full scale war. Golding seems to be telling his reading audience that even in the hearts of children there exists a dark presence, one that leads them to hunt and kill each other. These boys haven’t been taught to kill, they just do it naturally.

Another glaringly large symbol of the dark heart of man is “the beast”. The beast does not exist.  The beast only lives in the darkest fears of these children. It exists only in the dark hearts and minds of these very average, wholesome and healthy young boys. By making these children the authors of such a horrific idea, Golding presents us with the arresting notion that fear, dark imagination and the capacity for evil are an inextricable part of mankind’s existence.

Other symbols you may also want to consider include the title character, “the lord of the flies”, and “the scar” in the jungle.


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