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

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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Why does the spear (the weapon Jack uses to kill the pigs with) symbolize Jack?

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In William Golding's allegory, Lord of the Flies, Ralph and Piggy represent civilized man with the conch as symbol that calls the boys to meetings held with parliamentary proceedings while Piggy's glasses are symbolic of his high rationality. On the other hand, the leader of the boys' choir that originally have worn black robes and hats has descended to wearing painted masks and carrying spears.  The spear of Jack represents his savage nature that advocates beatings for the boys who do not comply with orders. In addition, the spear symbolizes the evil that man does when the controls of civilization are released. In Chapter Nine, for instance, when Simon crawls out of the forest, the hunters chant "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!" and they circle around him as "the sticks fell and the mouth of the new circle crunched and screamed."

When the hunters do kill a pig, they cut its head and impale it on a stick, leaving it, as pagans might do, as an offering to the "beast."  It is this impaled pig's head that transforms into the "lord of the flies" that has spoken to Simon.  Later, when the hunters search for Ralph, they poke their spears through the bushes, hoping to stick Ralph.  Finally, the spear represents also Jack's fixation with hunting, a fixation that leads not only to his neglecting the rescue fire, but also to the bestial anarchy and destruction of the beautiful island.

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