Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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What are 5 symbols showing personality or flaws for each character: Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, and Sam/Erik in The Lord of the Flies?

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Golding's Lord of the Flies is rich in symbolism.  Each character is represented by a symbol that signifies his personality.  Ralph is most associated with fire.  He is the one who suggests that the boys build the fire as a signal fire; it is he who desperately wants to keep the fire going; and it is the fire that smokes him out of his hiding place at the end of the story that enables the boys to be rescued.  For Ralph, the fire represents rescue from the world of savagery to that of civilization. Piggy is the one who is closest to the conch.  He finds the conch, shows Ralph how to use it, guards it carefully when Jack's tribe attacks, and dies holding the conch in his hand. For Piggy, the conch represents order and fairness. Jack is associated with painted faces.  The warpaint he uses to kill his first pig and to rule over his tribe signifies his descent into savagery.  Simon is symbolized to some extent by his bower.  The bower, or Simon's hiding place, represents Simon's closeness to nature, his innate goodness and meditative spirit.  Sam and Eric are more difficult.  To some extent, the combination of their names in the latter part of the book symbolizes their unity as well as their loss of identity.  The other boys cease to try to tell them apart, and they are known as Samneric.

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