What are symbols from chapter 9 in Lord of the Flies by William Golding?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter Nine of Lord of the Flies opens with an emerging turbulence of nature and a malevolent ominousness as the flies blacken the pig's head which has caused little Simon to lose consciousness. As he grabs creepers with which to pull himself up, certain symbols emerge.

1.  The Lord of the Flies, Beelzebub, symbolizes the devil and evil. 

2.  Like him is the body of the dead parchutist, also covered with flies amd blackened.  The rotting presence of this dead body covered with flies represents the corruption of man as he engages in massive destruction in World War II.

3.  The feast with the roasting pig and the excited boys and the "threat of violence" with Jack sitting before them as an icon is much like those of the Romans orgiastic feasts, symbolizing the boys' descent into savagery.  A chant and a primitive dance ensue as Roger pretends to be the pig.  But as the chanting continues, Roger ceases to be the beast and becomes a hunter, instead, while poor Simon becomes the beast that is bludgeoned to death, a death that ends the spirituality of the boys as it has been represented by Simon alone.

4. Simon's death becomes symbolic of the death of any spirituality in the boys.  Like Saint John the Baptist, his message is not received by the boys. As his body is washed to sea, there is a silvery layer to the water and a brightness to his coarse hair, indicating a holiness to his person that is surrounded by "a fringe of inquisitive bright creatures."

5. The conch loses its meaning in this chapter--"And the conch doesn't count at this end of the island"--Jack says.  He tells Ralph if he blows the conch, "We shan't hear it." This defiance of rule makes the conch no longer significant.

6.  The shrill screaming that rises from Simon as he is bludgeoned, the "battle cry" of the savage boys to "kill the beast," the "wave of restlessness," the "flickering light...and the blows of the thunder" all stand as symbols of the sights and sounds of war.

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Lord of the Flies

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