How does Golding use symbols to to reveal his ideas about human nature?

Expert Answers
coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the novel 'Lord of the Flies' William Golding uses many powerful symbols to convey his ideas about human nature and its frailties and weaknesses. Different symbols mean different things to different things to different readers of course, but one of the most visually powerful symbols is Piggy's pair of spectacles. One could even say it is one of the most, if the most, important symbol of all as it is fire, or Piggy's idea for fire, that gets the boys rescued. Piggy's glasses represent clarity in terms of vision, not just of the eyes but of the mind itself. Look to see which of the boys has allowed basic drives to cloud his vision, which boy is well-meaning but cannot see clearly the way ahead and wishes for Piggy's clarity?

luminescence | Student

Glasses: Intelligence

Fire: Rescue

Conch: Order and Law

Sea: Heaven; Salvation

Island: Earth

Simon: Christ-like figure

Lord of the Flies (pig's head): Satan/the Devil


Hope this helped!

mkcapen1 | Student

Golding uses symbols throughout the book "The Lord of the Flies."  The most familiar symbol that most people will recognize is the conch.  The conch represents power and order.  The person who holds it is supposed to be the only speaker.  It stands for civilization.

The next symbol is fire.  Again we see a power.  He who has the fire can cook and feels safe.  Jack wants fire to cook but also to have the power that being able to create the fire represents.  In addition, the fire is also that which binds the boys to civilization such as being able to be rescued.

The beast represents all of the fears in mankind.  The boys feared the beast but failed to recognize that they had become the beast.  It also represents the ugliness of mankind.

Simon is used as a Christ like figure.  He meditates, contemplates the beast, and is sacrificed.  After he dies a type of glow surrounds him as he is being pulled out to sea.

The head of the beast serves as the evidence of the manifestation of evil and savage which Jack's boys have become.





Read the study guide:
Lord of the Flies

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question