The beast is first described as a "snake-thing." What do you think is the significance of this? Where else do images of snakes appear in the novel?

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jane-jacobson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The motif of snakes in Lord of the Flies refers to evil, the serpent in the Garden of Eden. The author, William Golding, imagined this novel as an allegory, a story in which characters, events, and objects stand as symbols for an idea or theme. The allegory of Lord of the Flies may represent the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden. The snakes in the jungle then would symbolize the serpent in the apple tree who tempts Eve to commit sin. According to religious belief, the Devil sent the snake to defy the wishes of God. In the same way the Beast, a representative of the Devil, is identified with the snakes.

The image of the snakes appears another time in Chapter Two when the boys light a large signal fire on the mountain.  As the fire grows more and more out of control the littleuns scream "Snakes! Snakes! Look at the snakes!"(page 46). Their vision makes sense in terms of the allegory as the appearance of the devil in the flames of hell.

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Lord of the Flies

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