What Is The Scar In Lord Of The Flies

In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, what is the significance of the scar?


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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies is quite symbolic, so anything which plays a significant role in the novel also has a significant symbolism to be examined. The answer above, given by tropicof, is excellent; I would only add several other considerations.

The first description of the jungle which Golding gives us is the image of the scar: "All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat." Despite the lush beauty of this tropical setting, it is the scar which Golding immediately highlights, setting the tone for the rest of the novel.

The three boys who explore the mountain (Ralph, Jack, and Simon) can clearly see the scar from above; throughout the novel, these three characters are the most aware that something is wrong on this island. Ralph has trouble articulating the evil he senses, but he knows it exists, like the scar. Simon, too, recognizes the evil and is able to identify it as themselves; however, no one listens to him. Jack is less obviously aware that things are not right on the island (probably because he is the primary cause of the evil), but he has just been shocked that he was not elected chief (something which was a given in his mind), so he is wounded and aggressive.

The scar is also a symbol of what happens when something beautiful is destroyed, and other examples of that can be found throughout the novel: the innocent little boy with the mulberry birthmark who died in the initial fire, the sensitive Simon who only wanted to share his revelation with everyone, the intelligent boy (Piggy) who was ignored and tormented because of physical attributes, some of which were beyond his control.

The other children will go on to live their lives but will always carry the scars of this experience.


William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The scar is essentially a simple way for the storyteller to explain why the boys are stranded on this island. The plane that was carrying all of them had to make a crash landing on the nearest bit of dry land. Since the island is heavily covered with trees and shrubbery, the plane tore a long gash through all the vegetation. However, the pilot was successful in landing safely enough so that none of the boys were killed. The pilot himself bailed out at the last moment and was killed. The "scar" takes on symbolic meaning for the marooned boys, as do many other things on the island.

luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On a literal level, the "scar" is the mark left by the conveyance that brought the boys to the island.  It crash-landed in a skid, knocking down trees and brush leaving a mark or "scar".  On a figurative level, the scar represents the evil that mankind has wrought on the world in Golding's view.  Golding wanted to say to  the readers that the evil within mankind has left an ugly, permanent mark on the world.

cookiedoe1 | Student

*one of the key symbols in lord of the flies is the scar because it is a part of the island where their plan crashed,it represents man comining onto uninhabited territory and scarring it.*

steveman108 | Student

the scar as said above represent the mark that the plane made when it crashed on the island. And the Island could be associated with The Garden of Eden, as a perfect place before madkind but then mankind comes and creates chaos.

cwilliams0104 | Student

The scar is the path left in the island by the plane crash, literally.  It represents the gash in society when all rules are taken away, and people are left to their own devices.

samneric | Student

The scar tells us that , wherever there are human beings, there is destruction. When the boys landed on the uninhabited island, the plane crash caused a mark there. from that we understand that because humans destroy the nature, nature will take its revenge too..

walaaabulkheir | Student

is a symbol of man's violence and man's destruction. The long "scar" in the jungle caused by the aeroplane which crashed is a symbol for the destructive nature of man, who has an evil side in his character. This is made clear by the fact that there is a war. The aeroplane crashed because it was shot in a battle in the sky and the plane was attacked as a result of that war.

nicole6643 | Student

A scar is a healed wound. It suggests that man's presence will always be felt long after they leave the island.

ncha | Student

The scar is the area of the island that was destroyed by the plane crash. It forshadows the destruction of the island. For the boys it is an evil reminder of the crash.

juwariya | Student

The scar is the area of land on the island on which the plane carrying the boys landed.

laliiee | Student

All the scar really is is the gash left on the island after the plane crashed.

lskbraundt | Student

it is a place in the island where the plane crashed

foreverparinda2 | Student

The scar is a mark on the island. It was made by the plane crash that caused the boys to be stranded on the island.

dreamster124 | Student

it is the place where the plane crashed, and the trees are crushed and burned from the crash

mockingjay216 | Student

It also shows how the island (which represents the garden of eden) is tainted by the boys as soon as they arrive and it continues to deteriorate as the continue to sin.

tropicof | Student

"All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat."

The scar describes the long trail the plane created in the jungle when it crash landed. Introducing violent imagery from the start, Golding foreshadows bloody events in the book including the scenes where the pigs are slaughtered, and the climax scene of the hunt and storm.

The scar represents one of the central themes - man being at odds with nature.  The plane upsets the natural order of the island, the scar indicating man's destruction and the introduction of an external evil.

Complexly, as the jungle represents nature, so the beach offers objects representing man, such as the conch which is an object of authority, power and civilization. The beauty and order of nature throughout, contrasts with the social and moral decline of the boys. They arrive on a beautiful untouched island, a 'blank page', and the evil inherent in all men and therefore society and civilization, unavoidably causes destruction.

ceylondiver | Student

The scar is the gash (actual and allegorical) that humans have left on this idyllic place.

As Reginald Heber wrote, "Though every prospect pleases, and only man is vile."

maria-vivanco | Student

The scar on a literal point of view is the mark left by the plane that brought them to the island. it crash- crashed on a skid, knocking down trees and other the things around it. on a symbolic level, the mark represents the type of mark that humankind has left the world; the evil. Humans have destroyed their environment and have left s destructive mark on the world. it's a permanent and ugly mark. in the book, the boys end up destroying the island and setting it on fire. they brought evil to the island, this leaving a " scar".

tonyz98 | Student

the plane landing place

jondcs | Student

the scar is left from the crash but it shows that humans will always be present 


piggy12 | Student

The scar is the mark the plane left when it crashed onto the island. But it is also said that the scar could be a mental scar that will probably never quite fully heal from the boys minds after being stranded on and island and having to fight to stay alive.

cleeretj | Student

The scar is from the plane when it crashes on the island.

greyhoundgrowl | Student

the scar is the area where the plane crash landed its relevance is that that is the area in which the kids gather to meet

mahmood786 | Student

It represented the first act of destruction on the island by the boys (although it wasn't intended-- the first act of willful destruction was the boys pushing the rock of the hill).

nicole8923 | Student

The "Scar" is refers to where the plane crashed.

bigbang-fan | Student

I agree with this analysis also it shows that man is at odds with nature, and that the pureness of nature is easily destroyed by mankind

nelson3421 | Student

the scar is symbolic of them being where they are now and where they used to be because the scar looks like a dividing line that seperates the two  places.

buggy23 | Student

The scar represents the beastie.

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Lord of the Flies

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