William Golding uses the imagery of the forest to communicate different aspects of the boys' experience on the island to the reader. The forest is a composite of living creatures, and Golding uses personification often to link the natural environment of the forest with humans: for example, the forest "screams" at certain points, and when the forest fire takes place, the fire is compared to a jaguar hunting vulnerable prey. Like the boys, who are vulnerable in their isolation, the forest is also vulnerable.
With these notions in mind, the forest can be argued as a symbol of the boys themselves, and the forest in darkness represents the boys in their ignorance and their eventual descent into ruinous disorder. The boys find themselves living in nature, and their actions take what Golding believes is a natural course for creatures living in the wilderness. The physical violence they inflict on each other, allegorically speaking, may represent the violent nature of all humans that is latent in all civilized folk.