With whats happened up to chapter 8, what are some examples of the lord of the flies being interpreted as a literary symbol?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Lord of the Flies makes his appearance in chapter eight and becomes a poweful literary symbol; Golding uses the scene with Simon and the sow's head in the jungle to establish one of his dominant themes of the novel: man's innate capacity for evil, his "gift for the darkness."  When Simon encounters the head in the jungle, Golding steeps the scene in symbolic language.  Simon peers at the sow's head, and "the half-shut eyes were dim with the inifinte cynicism of adult life.  They assured Simon that everything was a bad business" (187).  Golding's depiction of the pig's head emphasizes the rotting flesh, decay, and flies.  The imagery of the head symbolically captures man's essential condition that Golding focuses on throughout the novel--decay and corruption. 

Later, the Lord of the Flies taunts Simon:

"You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close, close!  I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are what they are?" (143). 

This exchange is one of the most significant of the entire novel.  Golding's 'Lord of the Flies' teases Simon with the age-old truth of man's capacity for evil, essentially becoming a physical manifestation of the author's theme.  

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Lord of the Flies

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