Explain the significance of some of the symbols that can be seen in chapter four of Lord of the Flies.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Chapter Four, entitled "Painted Faces and Long Hair," introduces the concept of masks to the story.  The masks become a major symbol that builds in significance throughout the course of the novel.  In this particular chapter, Jack toys with the idea of camouflage, like "dazzle paint" (63).  Upon creating a mask, Jack felt as though he were looking at an "awesome stranger" (63).  The mask becomes a symbol of savagery; wearing one enables Jack to act bolder, fiercer and "liberated from shame and self-conciousness" (64).  Jack originally concocts the idea of the masks and paint as a way to conceal himself from the eyes of the pigs, but quickly the masks become much more than camouflage; they liberate the boys from the confines of civilized rules and expectations.