Lord of the Flies Analysis

  • Lord of the Flies has often been interpreted as an allegory of the modern world, where the island represents the world, Ralph's parliament represents democratic government, and Jack's savage tribe represents autocratic government. Jack's victory over Ralph suggests that human nature eventually devolves into savagery.
  • Ralph's conch is a symbol of democracy, power, and fairness. The schoolboys collectively give the conch great significance when they impose the "rule of the conch," which states that no one can speak in meetings unless he's holding the conch.
  • William Golding drew the title of Lord of the Flies from Simon's name for the severed pig head, which is surrounded by flies. This title emphasizes the violence and the savagery into which the boys descend in the course of the novel.


Point of View
All novels use at least one perspective, or point of view, from which to tell the story. This may consist of a point of view of no single character (the omniscient, or "all-knowing" point of view), a single character, multiple characters in turn, and combinations or variations on these. Golding uses the omniscient point of view, which enables him to stand outside and above the story itself, making no reference to the inner life of any of the individual characters. From this lofty point he comments on the action from the point of view of a removed, but observant, bystander. Golding has commented in interviews that the strongest emotion he personally feels about the story is grief. Nevertheless, as the narrator he makes a conscious decision, like the British captain at the end of the story, to "turn away" from the shaking and sobbing boys and remain detached. The narrator lets the actions, as translated through the artist's techniques of symbolism, structure, and so on, speak for themselves. Even so dramatic and emotional an event as Piggy's death is described almost clinically. "Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across that square red rock in the sea. His head opened and stuff came out and turned red."

A symbol can be defined as a person, place, or thing that represents something more than its literal meaning. The conch shell, to take an obvious example in the story, stands for a society of laws in which, for example, people take their turn in speaking. The pig's head is a more complex example of a symbol. To Simon, and to many readers, it can have more than one meaning. On a rational level, Simon knows the pig's head is just that: a "pig's head on a stick." But on a more emotional level, Simon realizes that the pig's head represents an evil so strong that it...

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