What symbols in Lord of the Flies and The Odyssey can be compared together?I was told I could maybe compare the beast and the obstacles Odysseus encounters, as a symbolic representation of inner...

What symbols in Lord of the Flies and The Odyssey can be compared together?

I was told I could maybe compare the beast and the obstacles Odysseus encounters, as a symbolic representation of inner human fears. However, I do not see how the obstacles Odysseus encounters could represent his inner fears.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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You seem to have two questions here: What symbols can be compared/contrasted? and Do Odysseus's encounters represent inner fears?

First, some symbols that can be compared are sea conch in Lord of the Flies and the sea itself in The Odyssey. The conch symbolizes society's rule of order which also includes respect of orderly freedom of speech as opposed to anarchic freedom of speech as demonstrated by Jack at the breaking of the conch. The sea in The Odyssey symbolizes the power of nature, and therefore the gods, over mankind. [The conch also symbolizes a higher order of rule over mankind.] It also represents both the good and the bad that the gods can bestow on a person while directing their path to their ultimate fate. [The conch also determined the good and bad for the boys on their way to their ultimate fate.]

Other comparable symbols are Piggy's glasses and the dreams the gods bestow. Piggy's glasses are the means by which he sees, remembering that seeing symbolizes knowing, perceiving, wisdom. Dreams are a means by which a dreamer "sees" into problem or the future by discovering a solution or by revelation; the dreamer attains wisdom.

Both stories share a common symbol in food turned to bad purposes. In Lord of the Flies, the pig hunts start out as a means to acquire food and turn into ritual exercises in savagery. In The Odyssey, food and banqueting are symbolic of inhuman deeds, like the poison Circe puts on good food to cause it to turn humans into animals.    

Secondly, inner fears are definitely part of Lord of the Flies, which is especially clear if you think if the Beast. However, inner fears are not part of The Odyssey unless you give the story a Freudian interpretation, in which case you could label Odysseus's encounters as projections of his own subconsciousness and, therefore, manifestations of his own inner fears. Personally, I think a Freudian psychoanalytical critical approach is not applicable to The Odyssey but Freudian critics will readily disagree with me!

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