Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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Which 3 symbols in the novel Lord of the Flies are best used to enrich the themes of the book?

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Conch: The conch symbolizes democracy, order, and civility throughout the novel. During the assemblies, the person holding the conch has the right to speak. This represents the democratic process of granting equal voice to any individual on the island, even a littlun. When someone is holding the conch, they are the only person allowed to talk. If any of the boys attempts to interrupt the person speaking, the conch is held in the air, and everyone becomes silent. As Ralph says, it's the same as "Hands Up" in school. Whenever an assembly is called, the conch is blown. The conch signals the boys to come to the assembly. Piggy and Ralph value the conch which represents their affinity for civilization while Jack dismisses the significance of the conch.

Ralph's Hair: His hair symbolizes savagery and barbarism on the island. The longer Ralph's hair gets, the further he grows apart from civilization. Ralph's hair is a daily reminder that he is on an abandoned island surrounded by boys who are slowly descending into savagery. Ralph is continually pushing his hair back out of his face, which represents his growing angst with the immorality on the island and his departure from civilization.

The Beast: The boys fear the unknown beast throughout the novel. Towards the beginning of the novel, the littlun with a mulberry birthmark comments that he saw a snake like "beastie." The image of a snake alludes to the serpent in the Garden of Eden. As the novel progresses, the boys debate on the existence of the beast and discuss its actual identity. The beast symbolizes the inherent evil individuals possess on the island. Only Simon realizes the true nature of the beast. Golding suggests that humans are inherently evil and without restrictions and regulations, primitive savage nature reigns.

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