What is the significance of the number '3' in the novel the Lord of the Flies?I'm aware that in the beginning of the book, the three main characters (Ralph, Simon and Jack) were chosen to explore...

What is the significance of the number '3' in the novel the Lord of the Flies?

I'm aware that in the beginning of the book, the three main characters (Ralph, Simon and Jack) were chosen to explore the island. Is there anything else in the book that relates to the significance of the number '3'?

:) Thank you.

Expert Answers
coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Trinity is a huge symbol of the Christian values and beliefs that the boys on the island would have been familiar with in their boarding schools back home in England. In the novel 'Lord of the Flies' by William Golding, we see these references to the themes of good and evil, christianity and the fall of man or progress and descent all the time. Another example of this representation is the boys appearing in their church choirboy robes. The Christian symbol of the three-in-one God represents God the father, God the son (Christ) and the God the Holy Spirit. Simon has been said by some to represent the Christ-like qualities of sacrifice as his body floats away out to sea in mystical fashion. Piggy, with his inspirational wisdoms is like the spirit and Ralph has the leadership of a directing God.

susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are quite a few parallel scenes in the novel that come in threes.  Specifically, there are three instances of rock rolling--one in the first expedition; another in the second; and the last one causing Piggy's death.  Likewise, there are three instances of the pig hunt re-enactments--one with Maurice as the pig; the next as Robert as the pig; and finally the one with Simon as the beastie.  And, there are three scenes that describe an actual hunt:  one with a boar, another with a sow, and the last a manhunt for Ralph.  Do you see the pattern here? In each case, the last one of the series involves the killing or the attempted killing of another.

I'm not sure there is any symbolic signicance in the number three, but Golding did use patterns of threes to structure his novel.

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Lord of the Flies

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