Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What do Piggy's glasses symbolize in Lord of the Flies and how does this symbol progress over the course of the story?

Quick Answer

Piggy's glasses are a symbol of perception, and throughout the story they represent the capacity for reason and logic. In this sense, they are symbolic of a society that values knowledge (for example, the glasses give the boys fire) and order. However, the glasses also come to represent vulnerability, as the boy's lose their sanity. Ultimately, the shattering of Piggy's glasses signifies the complete dissolution of civility.


Expert Answers info

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Highly symbolic, Piggy's "thick spectacles" represent perception that is aided, and the ability to reason and to think logically, as well as a certain maturity. Also, when used for the rescue fire, these glasses represent the benefits of science, but after they are stolen and used to set fires that go out of control, the glasses signify civilization out of control.

  • In Chapter One of Lord of the Flies, when Piggy presents himself to Ralph , he appears older because of his heaviness, thinning hair, and glasses.  When he removes his glasses to wipe them, Piggy has an expression of "pain and inward...

    (The entire section contains 2 answers and 378 words.)

    Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write2,471 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


beautifulsunshine16 | Student

The glasses represent ordinary society with rules and intellect. Ecspecially since he was the smartest and thought of the best decisions. when the glasses break, it shows the decline of their sanity and lack of civilization. When Piggy no longer has them it shows the total downfall.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
w3stlife | Student

Symbolically, the glasses are significant because they represent the intellectual and ordered side of humanity.  The breaking of the glasses represents the breaking of the last tie to humanity that the boys have or had

check Approved by eNotes Editorial