How does William Golding convey ideas of power in Lord of the Flies?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many symbols of power in Lord of the Flies. The threat of nuclear war is the single event that sets into motion the boys' flight from England to the supposed safety of Australia. The airplane is another symbol of power; and although their own plane crash is what isolates them on the island, the boys know that another one may eventually spot them from above and lead to their rescue. Likewise, Navy ships are seen as the most likely source of finding them. Perhaps the single most distinctive symbol of power is the presence (or absence) of adults. The boys at first seem lost without an adult to supervise them; in the absence of adults, the two oldest boys fight for control. While on the island, the conch shell becomes an unexpected symbol of power, and fire serves as a possible means of rescue as well as sustenance when cooking the wild pigs. Piggy's glasses also become valuable because of their ability to start a fire (and to a lesser degree by helping Piggy better view the world around him); they also symbolically represent intelligence. Certainly the "beast from above" is another example, installing fear in the boys. Blood also becomes a symbol of power, at least for Jack and his boys.

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Lord of the Flies

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