Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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Lord Of The Flies Allegory

What is the allegory of Lord of the Flies?

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paul-sheppard eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Taking "allegory" in the sense of "an act of interpretation," herewith a few possibles readings:

Ralph: the individual in society; this is suggested by the point of view which tends toward limited omniscient through Ralph's perspective. In this reading, Ralph represents each one of us attempting to lead our lives as each of the forces described below exert its influence 

Jack: the animalistic, or (if you're an animal lover), the pre-rational (for our purposes the non-rational) impulse in human beings to satisy our physical, material desires without regard to the consequences; unchecked, this inevitably leads to violence and cruelty

Piggy: the intellectual or rational faculty in human beings, which, if not tempered by the other forces within us, becomes selfish and vulnerable to the non-rational force

Simon: the emotional capacity in human beings which is moved to serve others; while extremely potent, when it comes into conflict with the physical or non-rational it succumbs, at least on the physical level. Whether its power is ever really extinguished (and here the parallels between Simon and Christ pertain) might provoke some interesting debate.

The Dead Pilot/The Naval Officer: the harmonizing of the three disparate forces within us; while it might be tempting to label this force "civilization," the fact that the novel's action unfolds in the aftermath of a war presumably waged at the behest of "civilization," such a label would need to be qualified.

It would be possible to interpret most of the other characters and objects in the story through this lens (e.g. the conch embodies the best qualities of representative government and therefore aligns with the harmonizing force; Piggy's glasses represent the intellect's potential to harness the elements and either enlighten or repress). 

Obviously, this is just one interpretation of a novel that lends itself to many valid readings.




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Lord of the Flies can also be viewed as a political allegory.  At the end of World War II, one could say there was the "free world" and the Soviet Union.  These two groups can be demonstrated by the two leaders, Ralph and Jack.  The two boys also represent different kinds of leaders and could represent varying political parties. The behavior of the boys on the island could prove as a warning to world leaders what could happen after an atomic bomb is dropped.  Lastly, the "cliques" on the island could represent various social classes (i.e.  Littluns = common folk/everyday people; older boys = ruling class).

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Denis Lubowitz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Lord of the Flies is also a biblical allegory.  The boys are literally handed a paradise--warm weather, a beautiful lagoon, no nagging adults, plenty of fruit and berries, and wild game for hunting--a Garden of Eden, if you will.  ...

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laurto | Student

Allegory means a symbol. There are many symbols in Lord of the Flies. I believe that the island is an allegory for society. We like to believe that we are civilized but the book shows us what could happen if we were left without rules and what we have created as humans. 

zumba96 | Student

As a political allegory we need only to look at the state of the world at the end of World War II. The world was divided into two camps the free world and the Soviet Union much like the camps of Ralph and Jack. In addition the postwar Cold War Era suffered from fears of atomic destruction. Lord of the Flies shows the world at the brink of atomic destruction. The novel serves as a warning to the leaders of the world. 

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maria-vivanco | Student

I feel like the allegory of the book is the true natural of ourselves. Without surveillance on our actions and rules to restrict our behavior, we do whatever we want (which tends to not be good.) Being away from civilization and parents and teachers, the boys in LOTF let themselves go and start acting like savages. I feel like this book shows us what our lives and behavior would be without any rules and authority. It shows our true nature. WE are taught to be good and taught our morals but without being taught or being reminded of them, we start to become evil. 

no1uno | Student

I have no idea :)

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ajprincess | Student

Before we get down to the details, we should address the fact that Lord of the Flies is one big allegory. Symbols aside, the boys as a whole can represent humanity as a whole. You can see where the pieces fall from there; the island is then the entire world, the boys’ rules become the world’s varying governments, two tribes are two countries, and so on. The boys’ fighting is then equivalent to a war. The only time we pull out of the allegory is at the very end of the novel, when the other “real” world breaks through the imaginary barrier around the island. Yet this is also the moment when the real message of the allegory hits home, when we can ask ourselves that chilling question, “But who will rescue the grown-ups?

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shellock3 | Student
What is the allegory of "Lord of the Flies"?

What is the allegory of Lord of the Flies?

the hog's head on a post that attracted flies is the obvious Lord OF the Flies. It attracted the boys to the cave where their fear was. The fear was of the unknown. It was actually the pilot of the plane who was sick with a fever but scared the boys.

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florine | Student

   I'd just like to say that an allegory is a specific literary term. An allegory affords the reader with an understanding of a text that functions on a literal level but also on a figurative one. Analogy is the keystone to apprehend the relation between an island or I-land (a cliché) and human societies at large including Western societies. The depiction of life on the island makes it possible for the author to explore the unfathomable depths of the self. And "no man is an island unto himself".

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valie77 | Student

i don't have an anser !! :( sorry

but is it just me or is the book animal farm JUST like the lord of the flies ?

oh and 1 more question , why is it called lord of the FLIES !!

YUCK !!!

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chip123 | Student

The true nature of allegory in Lord of the Flies isn't revealed until the very end, in a scene that seems to go over most reader's heads because only one paragraph is devoted to the most stunning point in the book.

The boys are rescued by a naval commander come ashore in his boat, looking down at these little boys playing savages. The irony is, that after he brings the boys home, the naval commander will go back out to sea and engage in a far larger game of (albeit, organized) violence called war.

Golding thus makes the point that as much as the island is a microcosmic example of how violence and savagery take over in the absence of "civilization," even in the existence of civilization, there is violence. We do not call it barbaric, merely because it is dressed in the trappings of decorum, uniform, and order.

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kazmig | Student

The island is allegory for the world.The ship crash is allegory for  entry of human beings in the world.Conje shell is symbol of dicipline.Huts are symboles of way of life. Mock hunt is symbole of ills of pleasures and barbarism.Top mountain fire is symbol of action and rescue.Ralph presents virtue and Jack presents evil.

Novel says that evil is an internal ingredient of human nature and comes out under conducive environment.

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jrosenberg | Student

The allegory of the book rests in the common nature of man. If you think about the one element that is missing, it is organized religion. One of the fundamental jobs of religion is to remind us of the better ways to behave as a member of a (world?) community of people. Without religion, we revert to the natural nature of man as a savage or untamed, uncivilized, uncultured, survival-based thing without regard for tomorrow.

This story follows the nature of a Shakespearean tragedy.'

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cwilliams0104 | Student
What is the allegory of "Lord of the Flies"?

What is the allegory of Lord of the Flies?

Allegorically, the island and its inhabitants stand for a lack of civilization.  The book is an account of what would/could happen if people had no rules to follow and had to make their own type of society.  Of course, the boys on the island make a mess of things, but never realize it until someone dies.  Each of the characters have an allegorical representation also.  Piggy is the voice of reason; Ralph the leader; the beastie?  maybe society lurking within reach.  Notice there are no girls on the island.  The lack of girls on the island allows the focus to remain on the males jockeying for leadership roles and others running about the island with total abandon.  The presence of girls would have inhibited that.

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soled1 | Student

whoa number 4 what are you talking about

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ada001 | Student

The Lord of the Flies is a psychological allegory. Ralph stands for the overall being. Piggy, Jack, and Simon represent aspects, no matter how large or small, in everybody.

  1. Jack represents the impulsiveness, and cruelty in everybody
  2. Piggy represents the intellect / civilness in all
  3. Simon represents the artistic and or religious side of everybody

Think of the three minor characters as a ring around Ralph

Also note that the three "ring" characters share qualities that connect them

  1. Piggy and Jack share the fact that they both have desire to lead (though they attempt to achieve this leadership in totally different manors) also notice that at the other end, Simon has no desire to lead
  2. Piggy and Simon represent morals. again notice how the opposite (Jack) has none
  3. Jack and Simon share passion. Though Jack's passion rests in hunting, where as Simon's rests in nature/life. While piggy shows some passion, he is mainly plain

I have also seen L.O.T.F. taught as a political allegory where Jack is Germany (red, white, black face paint), Piggy is England (intellectual, civilized), and Ralph is America (Average Joe/ leader). Though i don't believe this is the case because i don't think that Golding (who is english) would view England the way that piggy appears.

Hopefully this helps


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theschoolemo | Student

The main allegory for Lord of the Flies is that without civilization, savegery takes over.  The Lord of the Flies and the Beast are not realy physicall characters.  It is the evil that is in every human being.  Without civilization the boys unleashed this evil.  Piggy stood for intellect which every civilization needs, when he died it showed that savegery had completly taken over.  Also Simon stood for morality, but not because civilization told him to be moral, but because he knew that morality was natural.  But this book shows the allegory that savegery is stronger and more natural than civilization, this it took over. 

The death of Simon indicates how morality and goodness cannot survive within savagery.

Notice that this savegery stops when the navel man appears.  he also stands for civilization and it has come back, so savegery is put away. 

srry if my grammer is bad...=)

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