What are some symbols of power in Lord of the Flies?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Lord of the Flies, one symbol of power is the conch. From the very beginning of the story, the conch brought the boys together. Then as a symbol of authority, the person holding the conch has permission to speak. The boys continued to use the conch as a symbol of power, but toward the end, Jack began to disrespect the conch as a symbol of authority. He disregarded anyone who was holding the conch.

At the end of Piggy's life, he is still holding on to the conch. Piggy is fighting for some semblance of order. Piggy never gave up. As Roger pushes the rock over on Piggy, the conch is crushed along with Piggy. Jack takes this opportunity to become the chief. He screams at Ralph that he will get the same treatment. With the conch broken into pieces, and Piggy dead, that was the last appearance of order. Jack seizes the moment to scream orders at Ralph, claiming that he now chief:

Jack screams that that’s what Ralph will get. The conch is gone. He is chief now. He hurls his spear at Ralph, grazing his side. The others, including Roger, hurl their spears as well. Ralph turns and flees...

Piggy was crushed right along with the conch. In his death, he was trying to create a system or order. With Jack in control, the conch means nothing.

Another symbol of power would be the pig's head that Jack hung on a stick. The pig's head gives Jack and his hunters authority. Jack and his hunters have no fear for the pig's head was a sacrifice to the beast. For Simon, the pig's head represents the power of evil:

On a rational level, Simon knows the pig's head is just that: a "pig's head on a stick." But on a more emotional level, Simon realizes that the pig's head represents an evil so strong that it has the power to make him faint. When he thinks of the head as "The Lord of the Flies," the symbol becomes even more powerful, as this title is a translation of "Beelzebub," another name for the Devil.

Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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Lord of the Flies

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