Lord Of The Flies Allegory

What is the allegory of Lord of the Flies?

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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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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.   But because of their own imperfections and inability to control their savagery, they lose their paradise.  They do not listen to Christ-figure Simon, who tries to warn them about their destructiveness.  Instead, they murder Simon and later set fire to their paradise and come very close to destroying not only the island but themselves as well.

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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.   But because of their own imperfections and inability to control their savagery, they lose their paradise.  They do not listen to Christ-figure Simon, who tries to warn them about their destructiveness.  Instead, they murder Simon and later set fire to their paradise and come very close to destroying not only the island but themselves as well.

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The name “Beelzebub” can be traced back to the Old Testament. In
II Kings 1:2-16 (King James Version), the god of the Philistine city of
Ekron is given the name “Baal-zebub,” meaning “Lord of Flies” in Hebrew.
In post-Biblical Hebrew, the name became transformed to
“Beelzebul,” which can be construed as “Lord of Dung” (Gaster 374).
This connotation, along with the name’s etymological association with
flies, probably accounts for the fact that in certain Jewish religious texts
the fly is considered an impure creature symbolic of corruption and evil.
The Berakhot of the Talmud, for example, states, “The evil spirit lies
like a fly at the door of the human heart.”

This somewhat lengthy quote is taken from a commentary on "In the Lake of the Woods" (Tim O'Brien).  It provides a good link between the two books.  In Lake, the flies are evil/Satan, always there during the Mai Lai experience in Vietnam; they are the presence of Satan.  In "The Lord of the Flies" we see Satan himself at work in the hearts of what we might have thought to be the "innocents."  Much like snakes, flies always seem to have some kind of "uncomfortable" if not outwardly evil about them; perhaps the fly's attraction to garbage, and it's unwillingness to leave us alone despite our best efforts makes it a great reminder of our tendency toward evil.

You might want to read the entire article referenced below.

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The island itself is an allegory for society. The author shows that, like children stranded on a deserted island, society can break down due to bad leadership, mob mentality, and a lack of true civilization.

James Stern of the New York Times said that the Lord of the Flies is:

an allegory on human society today, the novel’s primary implication being that what we have come to call civilization is, at best, not more than skin-deep

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