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

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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Discussion Topic

Symbolism and themes in "Lord of the Flies."

Summary:

Lord of the Flies features prominent symbolism and themes. The conch shell represents order and civilization, while the "beast" symbolizes the innate savagery within humans. Themes include the loss of innocence, the inherent evil in humanity, and the tension between civilization and savagery. These elements collectively explore the dark aspects of human nature and societal breakdown.

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What symbols in "Lord of the Flies" relate to the plot and characters?

Yes, the "conch" is a major symbol in  Lord of the Flies that develops the plot and the characters.

Some other symbols that develop the plot and the characters are the island, the scar on the island, the fire, the beastie, the dead parachutist, the Lord of the Flies, which is the pig's head that is impaled on a pike by Jack, and the naval officer at the end of the novel.

The island symbolizes freedom or free-will; this is revealed in the division between Ralph and Jack. Ralph chooses good and order, but Jack chooses evil and chaos.

The "scar" on the island symbolizes the destructive nature or evil in man, for if you remember, it is created by the plane that is shot down during the war that is occurring at this time in the novel. This plane crash sets the whole plot into motion

The "fire" symbolizes many things. At the beginning of the plot it represents hope and order as the boys use it as a signal fire in hopes of being rescued, but it becomes a symbol of hell when they lose control of it, and it kills the boy with the mulberry birthmark on his face, and later when Jack and his tribe of hunters set the island on fire in hopes of flushing Ralph out so that they can murder him, but ironically, the fire rescues Ralph. Because of the enormity of the fire, a naval vessel sees it and comes to investigate it.

The "beastie," the imaginary beast that the littuns create, symbolizes the fear within human nature, the fear of the unknown. This fear changes many of the characters in the novel.

The "dead parachutist" or soldier not only symbolizes the beastie to the boys, but it symbolizes the adult world, uncivilized society that prides itself in the evil destructive of war. When the boys see him, they do not recognize him as a man, but instead as a beastie; this reaction by the boys reveals how disassociated they are becoming with reality and the world from whence they came.

The Pig's head on the stake or the Lord of the Flies symbolizes the devil, for flies represent dead and decay, and the Lord over that is Satan, or Beelzebub. This is the center of Golding's novel, for once Jack impales the head on the stake and Simon encounters it, the plot and characters take a turn for the worst. If you remember, Simon is murdered shortly after seeing the Lord of the Flies, (the pig's head on the stake covered in flies), as he comes crawling out of jungle at night and the boys mistake him for "the beast."

The naval officer dressed in white at the end of the novel not only symbolizes adults, but the good in humanity, for it is he who rescues Ralph from being murdered by Jack and his wild tribe of hunters.

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What are symbols of power in "Lord of the Flies"?

In Lord of the Flies, one symbol of power is the conch. From the very beginning of the story, the conch brought the boys together. Then as a symbol of authority, the person holding the conch has permission to speak. The boys continued to use the conch as a symbol of power, but toward the end, Jack began to disrespect the conch as a symbol of authority. He disregarded anyone who was holding the conch.

At the end of Piggy's life, he is still holding on to the conch. Piggy is fighting for some semblance of order. Piggy never gave up. As Roger pushes the rock over on Piggy, the conch is crushed along with Piggy. Jack takes this opportunity to become the chief. He screams at Ralph that he will get the same treatment. With the conch broken into pieces, and Piggy dead, that was the last appearance of order. Jack seizes the moment to scream orders at Ralph, claiming that he now chief:

Jack screams that that’s what Ralph will get. The conch is gone. He is chief now. He hurls his spear at Ralph, grazing his side. The others, including Roger, hurl their spears as well. Ralph turns and flees...

Piggy was crushed right along with the conch. In his death, he was trying to create a system or order. With Jack in control, the conch means nothing.

Another symbol of power would be the pig's head that Jack hung on a stick. The pig's head gives Jack and his hunters authority. Jack and his hunters have no fear for the pig's head was a sacrifice to the beast. For Simon, the pig's head represents the power of evil:

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 has the power to make him faint. When he thinks of the head as "The Lord of the Flies," the symbol becomes even more powerful, as this title is a translation of "Beelzebub," another name for the Devil.

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What are symbols of power in "Lord of the Flies"?

One way to easily identify symbols is to look at each person and object and ask yourself what it represents.  Since Lord of the Flies is allegorical, almost everything and everyone is a symbol.  I will describe some for you here.

The conch

The conch shell is introduced early on.  It is used by Ralph to call the boys together, and it immediately adorns him with leadership qualities in the eyes of the boys. 

The being that had blown that, had sat waiting for them on the platform with the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart. (ch 2)

You can hear the conch “for miles” and Piggy comments that it is valuable—which it is, as a symbol of power.  The boys pass around the conch, and the one who has it talks.

The “specs”

Jack pointed suddenly.

“His specs–use them as burning glasses!” (ch 2)

Piggy’s glasses symbolize his intelligence and his civilization.  When humans conquered fire, it was a huge step forward for our society.  The same is true for the boys when they use the specs to create fire.  However, the ability to harness fire does not necessarily mean that one can completely control its destructive potential.  The boys destroy the island because they open the Pandora’ box of fire but cannot control it.

The island

Ralph is overcome with giddiness once he realizes they are on an island, a romantic notion for sure.

He patted the palm trunk softly, and, forced at last to believe in the reality of the island laughed delightedly again and stood on his head. (ch 2)

The island itself symbolizes the boys’ isolation and regression.  With no vestiges of civilization and no adults, the boys are completely on their own. 

The beast

Although most of them do not realize it, the beast represents their inner-savagery.  The boys are afraid of the beast, but can never quite pin it down. The “beastie” is described as a “snake-thing” (ch 2).  Some of the younger kids insist that the “beastie came in the dark.”  Jack’s reaction to the idea of the beast is to hunt and kill it.

“Ralph’s right of course. There isn’t a snake-thing. But if there was a snake we’d hunt it and kill it. We’re going to hunt pigs to get meat for everybody. And we’ll look for the snake too–” (ch 2)

However, the beast does turn out to be real—it is the boys, when they kill Simon and Piggy.

Characters are also symbolic.  Ralph and Jack have contrasting leadership styles for a reason.  Ralph represents civilization, and Jack savagery.  Simon, the Christ-like figure, represents religion or culture.  Piggy, as already mentioned, represents intelligence and man-kind’s ingenuity.

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What are symbols of power in "Lord of the Flies"?

1.  The Conch--  The conch is the first major symbol that Golding introduces in the novel.  The boys find the conch gleaming "creamy...among the ferny weeds" (14).  Later Ralph uses the conch to call the boys together on the island and regulate their assemblies as a visual symbol for taking turns.  The conch comes to symbolize civilization and order.

2.  The Beast-- The 'Beast' is the sum of all the boys' fears on the island.  First mentioned in the second chapter by one of the littluns who says there was a "beastie...A snake thing.  Ever so big" (35).  The 'beast' represents the boys' fear of the unknown on the island, a metaphorical 'boogey-man.'  It makes the littluns have nightmares, and even the big boys fear the jungle at night.  Later on, Simon poses the idea that the beast on the island--"maybe it's only us"--that the source of evil on the island is really the boys themselves (88).

3.  The Lord of the Flies--  The Lord of the Flies is a fly-covered, nasty sow's head on a stick left by Jack and his hunters as an offering for the Beast.  Simon encounters the head in chapter eight, "A Gift for the Darkness."  Whether in a trance or hallucination, Simon and The Lord of the Flies have a conversation in which the Lord of the Flies confesses that he is the Beast:

"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)

Named after Beezelbub from the Bible, the Lord of the Flies represents the innate evil in man and the boys' descent into savagery.

4.  Fire--  According to Ralph, fire is the most important thing on the island.  As one of his few rules, Ralph commands that a signal fire be kept on the mountain at all times, with the hope that a ship might spot the smoke and rescue them.  In this way, fire represents rescue.  Jack uses the fire as a destructive force of power and a form of control, like when he steals Piggy's glasses to make a fire for his hunters.  Ironically, it is Jack's enormous fire set in the end of the novel to flush out Ralph from the jungle that ends up catching the eye of a nearby cruiser, thus resulting in the boys' rescue.

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What are some of the minor symbols in Lord of the Flies?

The boys, Ralph, Jack, Simon and Roger are symbols in the book as well. 

Ralph symbolizes order, and leadership

Piggy symbolizes intelligence and the orderliness of society

Jack symbolizes the savagery and primal behavior that humanity is capable of exhibiting given the right circumstances

Simon represents the natural goodness of humanity

Roger represents brutality and violence to an extreme in society 

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What are some of the minor symbols in Lord of the Flies?

"Lord of the Flies" has many symbols.

One symbol is the conch shell. The boys use it to call meetings and to keep themselves in order. The shell represents the democratic process that the boys try to use to govern themselves.

Piggy's glasses are another symbol. Because Piggy is intelligent, the glasses represent science and innovation on the island.

The signal fire symbolizes how connected the boys on the island are to the rest of civilization. The fire is constantly being moved, going out, or having to be maintained.

The beast represents the savagery of humanity.

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What are symbols of power in "Lord of the Flies"?

The Conch-- The Conch shell represents order and civilization within the novel.  Ralph first uses it to call the other boys to their first assembly, and the boys show him the same respect to authority as they had the man with the megaphone at the airport.  Later, Ralph institutes the conch as a symbol of order in their assembly meetings, using it to signal when each boy has the floor and right to speak. 

The Signal Fire--Ralph is adamant about maintaining the signal fire throughout the novel.  He stresses its importance as their one chance to be rescued.  In many ways, the signal fire becomes the link between the boys and civilization.

The Beach--The beach is portrayed by Golding as being warm, golden, and inviting.  The boys set up their camps there in the protection of open light and sunshine.  The beach symbolizes safety.

The Jungle--Dark and mysterious, the jungle represents the unknown.  Depicted as having shadows and twisty creepers with shaded paths, the jungle becomes a fearful place for many of the boys who worry about what its dark corners might conceal.

The Lord of the Flies--One of the strongest symbols in the novel, the Lord of the Flies appears to Simon in the rotting visage of the sow's head.  The Lord of the Flies represents true evil and the genuine nature of the beast.

The Beast-- Symbolic of all the boys' worst fears and nightmares, the Beast takes many forms in the novel, from a 'snake thing' to a beast from the water or air.  The Beast symbolizes fear itself.

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What is a key symbol in the novel Lord of the Flies?

*Per eNotes policy, I edited down your question to focus on one key symbol in the novel.

The conch appears throughout Lord of the Flies as a symbol of power and authority.  Discovered in the first chapter, the conch's call summons the other boys for their first meeting on the island, and because Ralph is the possessor of the shell, the boys elect him for chief  over Jack.  As the novel progresses, mention of the conch appears in chapters 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 11.  Throughout all of these chapters, the conch reinforces Ralph's position as chief and instills order in the tribal meetings as the boys must take turns speaking while holding the conch.  In Chapter Eleven, Golding emphasizes the conch's symbolic power as  both it and Piggy are crushed by Roger's boulder:

"the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist" (181).

The destruction of the conch signals the end of Ralph's authority and the last vestiges of civilization on the island.

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What significant symbolism surrounds Ralph in Lord of the Flies?

One of the most significant pieces of symbolism in connection to Ralph in Lord of the Flies is the conch shell.  Found early on in the novel by Ralph and Piggy, the conch shell comes to symbolize law and order, the rules of the tribe, and ultimately civilization.  Ralph, as the original chief of the tribe institutes the conch as a symbol of order in their first tribal meeting, advising the other boys to use it as a sign of whose turn it is to speak during the meeting.  Ralph and the conch remain linked throughout the book as symbols of power and order, up until the fateful chapter when Jack takes control as chief at Castle Rock and the conch is shattered when Piggy is killed by Roger's carefully aimed boulder.

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Which symbols best enrich the themes of Lord of the Flies?

The Conch Shell: The conch shell symbolizes civility and democracy throughout the novel. Ralph initially blows the conch to call the boys together and is elected chief, partly because he is holding the conch. During assemblies, the person holding the conch gets to speak. Whenever the boys begin talking over each other or become sidetracked during the meetings, the conch is lifted, and the boys become silent. Towards the end of the novel, Piggy is killed, and the conch is broken. When the conch breaks, it symbolizes that all hope for order and humanity on the island is lost.

The Lord of the Flies: The rotting pig's head symbolizes the manifestation of evil on the island. The Lord of the Flies is the literal translation of Beelzebub, which is another name for the devil. The Lord of the Flies speaks to Simon and tells him that the evil on the island is actually "inside" each one of the boys. Golding suggests that humans are inherently evil, and the Lord of the Flies reflects this belief. Simon's meeting with the Lord of the Flies has been said to symbolize Jesus' temptation in the wilderness.

Signal Fire: The signal fire symbolizes hope and rescue. Ralph's commitment to maintaining the signal fire reflects his desire to return to civilization. Jack's decision to dismiss the signal fire reflects his desire to live as a savage.

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Which three symbols best enrich the themes in Lord of the Flies?

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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What is the concept of power in "Lord of the Flies"?

William Golding's Lord of the Flies is an allegory written in response to a Victorian novel, R. M. Ballantyne's Coral Island, in which civilized  British boys on a island triumph over the indigenous savages.  On the contrary, in Golding's novel, the boys stranded on the island behave "as boys would."  For, Golding's novel depicts the overriding savagery inherent in human nature.  This savagery represented by Jack and the hunters overtakes the conditioning and reason of society, represented by Ralph and Piggy.

Power in Golding's narrative is represented by fire. When Jack and the hunters steal Ralph's fire, the theft is suggestive of the mythological story in which Prometheus steals fire from the gods and gives it to man, thus unleashing violence and chaos among the mortals. In Jack's possession, the fire no longer represents rescue and an act of responsibility in its maintenance; instead, it becomes symbolic of authority just as the conch has been. In Chapter Eight, for Jack the power of the conch no longer exists. Fire, instead, is power, and with it the boys are able to roast the pigs that they capture and kill. In addition, Jacl uses fear of the beast to terrorize the others and get them to submit to him. So, power is often composed of tyrannical actions.

While Jack conquers Ralph's group, conscripting them through the use of force issued by the sadistic Roger, Ralph does attempt to assert himself against Jack earlier in Chapter Six as he defends the importance of the conch and orders Jack to sit down. He claims that Jack only wants to hunt and has forsaken the importance of getting rescued. Reemphasizing the importance of the fire, Ralph gains support and he says,

"Don't you all want to be rescued? ...the fire is the main thing...

"Hasn't anyone got any sense?  We've got to relight that fire.  You never thought of that, Jack, did you?  Or don't any of you want to be rescued?"

Ralph maintains his role of responsibility for a time, but when Jack later steals the fire and, symbolically, the conch is broken, Ralph no longer is a leader because he lacks the power to lead. 

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Where is the theme of power evident in Lord of the Flies?

Where isn't it found? 

You'll find it in the book when Ralph is elected leader by the group.  You'll find it when Ralph puts Jack in charge of the hunters.  You'll find it when Jack moves off the beach and into the cliff dwellings.  You'll find it when they're talking about the beast and how Jack uses that fear to manipulate the boys into coming with "his" tribe for safety.  You'll find it when Piggy is brutally murdered and the conch is destroyed.  You'll find it when they are hunting Ralph by setting the island on fire in order to "stick" him like the pigs they've been hunting and have control over.

The theme of "power" is all through the book.  Look up these spots in the book and choose the quote you think will be most effective for your purpose.

Good Luck!

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What symbols, besides the pig's head and pig-hunt, represent evil in Lord of the Flies?

Throughout Golding's Lord of the Flies, there are natural forces that signify evil, especially as the boys' behavior degenerates.  This parallelism between the descent of the boys and the portentous forces of the island involve the creepers, the sea, and the pink granite that abounds throughout the island.

THE CREEPERS

One sinister element of nature is the creepers, snake-like vines, that cover the island, impeding their progress everywhere.  Symbolic of their inescapable inherent evil, the boys constantly become entangled in these vines.

FLAMES AND SMOKE 

While the fire is a signal to civilization and the hope of rescue, it also presents ominous symbols of moving from civilization in the smoke of the fire that gets out of control and burns the island: 

Acres of black and yellow [a symbol of evil] rolled steadily toward the sea....The flames, as though they were a kind of wild life, crept as a jaguar creeps on its belly toward a line of birch...Beneath the capering boys a quarter of a mile square of forest was savage with smoke and flame. (Ch.2)

 ROCK

There is a recurring and ominous mention of rock.  As the boys explore, the pink granite of the island abounds,

a great platform of pink granite thrust up uncompromisingly through forest and terrance and sand and lagoon to make a raised jetty four feet high (Ch.1). 

As the boys first explore the island, they see many rocks that are like stacks and chimney. One particularly large one moves "with a grating sound when pushed."  The boys decide to push it off the summit.  They heave the rock, and it

loitered, poised on one toe, decided not to return, moved through the air, fell, struck, turned over, leapt droning though the air and smashed a deep hole in the canopy of the forest [that] further down shook as with the passage of an enraged monster.

This scene of the rock being hurled presages the evil deed of the boys as they send the rock crashing down upon Piggy in a later chapter.  This "token of preposterous time," in a smaller form, is thrown at Henry by the sadistic Roger in Chapter Four. 

Further in the narrative,

in the darkness of early morning there were noises by a rock a little way down the side of the mountain (Ch.6)

As the boys explore the part of the island that they have not yet seen in search for the beast, they encounter rocks piled, and others that form bridges. Climbing to the top on narrow ledges of rock, they discover "the bastion they had seen from the mountain-top:

The rock of the cliff was split and the top littered with great lumps that seemed to totter.

Looking down, Ralph views another portentous sight:  a swell of the ocean seems "like the breathing of some stupendous creature:

Slowly the water sank among the rocks, revealing pink tables of granite, strange growths of coral, polyp, and weed....There was one flat rock there, spread like a tale, and the water sucking down on the four weedy sides made them seem like cliffs.  Then the sleeping leviathan breathed out, the water rose, the weed streamed, and the water boiled over the table rock with a roar.  There was no sense of the passage of waves; only this minute-long fall and rise and fall.

And, again later in this chapter, mention is made of a "thunderous plume of spray leapt half-way up the cliff" that is like the spouting of a whale.  The natural forces of the rock and the sea are extremely threatening.  For, it is the rock that destroy the conch, the symbol of civilization, and Piggy's glasses, the symbol of reason, and, finally Piggy's head is dashed against them.  It is the sea that swallows the blood and the head of Piggy.  It is the "leviathian" of the swell that washes away Simon's body; the whale, the all-consuming evil takes the intuitive Simon.

Fire, rock, and entangling vines all are destructive and sinister forces in Golding's Lord of the Flies.  Along with these, enotes states,

Throughout the narrative, the noises of the surf, the crackling fire, the boulders running down hills, and trees exploding from the fire's heat are often compared to the boom of cannons and drum rolls. In this way, Golding reminds us that the entire story is intended to repeat and symbolize the atomic war that preceded it. 

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What symbols, besides the pig's head and pig-hunt, represent evil in Lord of the Flies?

Though it isn't one that people point to as often, there are a couple that are linked to the idea of "civilization" that are also evil in a more subtle way.  The first can be the plane that is shot down, as it shows that even away from the island where things are ostensibly civilized and under control, men are practicing evil and murder and all the things that are going on on the island.  The parachutist is another object tied to this idea and symbol of evil.

One last one tied to the same concept can be the officer from the ship, the sailor with the machine gun behind him, symbols of authority and power from the civilized world that expect a "better show" from the boys than what they see.  All of these can be linked to the idea that civilization is no better at governing the evil within men than the island is at governing it within boys.

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What symbols, besides the pig's head and pig-hunt, represent evil in Lord of the Flies?

The "hunt" for Piggy's glasses would be a good one.  The boys in Jack's camp knew that Piggy wouldn't just give them his glasses, so they play upon his fear.  After they leave the beach camp with Piggy's glasses (which they want to be able to make fire...a purely selfish and evil motive), they leave Piggy literally blind.  It is during this blindness that Piggy is truly able to "see" the evil that lurks in men's hearts...in Jack's heart and the other big boys who readily follow him for the adventure, not just out of safety and peer pressure as the younger ones do.

Of course, the fact that the boys push a huge boulder over on Piggy and smash him flat would be a sign of evil, wouldn't you think?  The only good thing that comes from this is that poor Piggy didn't "see" it coming.

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What are the key religious symbols in Lord of the Flies?

The most important religious symbol is undoubtedly Simon, who is a Christ-figure in the novel.  Simon is seen gently caring for the "littl'uns," particularly when he reaches high in the trees for the fruit they can not reach.  "Fruit" in the Biblical sense is the product of one's actions, whether it be good or bad--decent actions bear good "fruit," and vice versa.  Simon is tempted by the "Devil" while in his secret place in the forest. The boar's head is dubbed the "Lord of the Flies," which in Latin means "Beelzebub" (who in the Bible is Satan's chief demon; Christ was also tempted by Satan while in the wilderness.  Most importantly, though, Simon was murdered senselessly for merely trying to proclaim "the good news," that the beast on the mountain was actually the parachute man.  Simon's body is washed away by the sea, which is yet another symbol for redemption or purification.

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What symbols in Lord of the Flies represent "civilization"?

I have three things that I think symbolize civilization.

The first one is kind of obvious -- it's the conch.  The conch symbolizes civilization because it is the thing that is associated with rules.  It shows who is allowed to talk and it calls people to meetings.

The second one is Piggy's glasses.  I think this symbolizes scientific knowledge.  That is a major part of civilization.

Finally, I would say that the signal fire is a symbol.  It symbolizes how civilized people think ahead and plan ways to keep themselves safe.  The hunters do not maintain the signal fire and, as time goes by, neither does anyone else.

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How does Lord of the Flies depict the power of symbols to control a group?

William Golding uses Lord of The Flies to send a stark message about the potential for evil which, he suggests, exists in everyone. The first symbol, other than the title, which will only be revealed later, is the conch shell. Piggy is, significantly, the first person to recognize its value and how it can be used to call others. Piggy does not, however, want to blow the conch himself and is happy to explain the technique to Ralph. There is no mistaking its power as the air is "full of bird-clamor and echoes ringing" after Ralph manages to blow it successfully. The sound of the conch brings other boys out from the forest, including Jack and the choir boys "hidden by black cloaks."

In their discussions, Ralph recognizes the need for a "chief to decide things," and a vote soon nominates Ralph, "with the trumpet-thing," as chief. The unsaid influence of the conch, "most obscurely, yet most powerfully," cannot be denied. The conch, therefore, ensures a sense of order and allows the boys to maintain some sense of the civilization they intend to emulate. it is the conch which allows the boys to speak in turn and it is the conch which, when smashed to pieces as Piggy falls to his death, symbolizes the end of any form of civilization on the island. The conch begins to lose its power as Jack shows no respect for it and, once the conch is gone, Ralph has no hope of regaining a position of power. 

Piggy's glasses are also a symbol as they are used to start the fire which will hopefully bring rescuers to their aid. At first Piggy willingly uses his glasses but, later, Jack cruelly seizes what's left of the glasses and shows his power over the group as he is able to reduce Ralph's effectiveness and reveal Piggy's weaknesses. Jack's position is strengthened when he is in possession of the glasses.    

Fire is a symbol of hope but, when out of control, it brings destruction. At first the fire is a way for Ralph to show his domination and the importance of rescue. It is important to note that he says, in chapter five, "smoke is more important than the pig." However, this will change when Jack, having killed a pig, feels powerful and intends to "raid them and take fire." He is able to lure the boys with the promise of real food, not just fruit, to the point that even Piggy and Ralph go along. 

Jack has already used his power by hiding behind face paint and he knows that he can manipulate the boys which is especially important to him after Ralph is voted as chief and not him. He also knows how scared the boys are of the so-called Beast or Beastie. He likes to dismiss the boys' fears but at the same time intensify them and, in chapter eight, he makes a significant move in sharpening a stick and defining his power in the form of a "gift" by placing the head of the pig he has slaughtered onto a stick. The flies it will attract are the inspiration behind the title; Jack brings out the worst in himself and Roger, and even Maurice, as they "furtively" admire the "skewered" carcass. The pig's head is the start of the frenzy which takes over the boys after Simon, also affected by the pig's head, realizes the evil in everyone but is, ironically, mistaken for the beast in the chaos that follows. 

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What symbols does William Golding use to represent themes in Lord of the Flies?

The major idea behind William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies is that evil resides in everyone. The author demonstrates that evil is not an attack from outside forces, but something inside all people that is part of human nature. The only defense to these internal forces is civilization. Governmental societies, political systems, and legislation cannot prevent the intrusion of evil into human life. It is up to each individual to adopt a sense of morality and to bring that moral nature into collective societies.

Golding does not believe that societies are corrupt and in turn corrupt people. Nor does he accept that humans are naturally good and rational beings. Instead, the author suggests that the destructive evil impulses inside people can only be saved by moral civilizations. The romantic ideal of natural human goodness is only an illusion to Golding. He demonstrates throughout the novel that even young children are instinctively driven by aggression and desire for power when forced to survive in nature.

To validate his position, the author creates several powerful symbols to drive home his theory. One important symbol is the conch shell the boys discover at the beginning of the novel:

the shell was no longer a thing seen but not to be touched ... Between the point, worn away into a little hole, and the pink lips of the mouth, lay eighteen inches of shell with a slight spiral twist and covered with a delicate, embossed pattern. Ralph shook sand out of the deep tube. “—mooed like a cow,” he said ... “We can use this to call the others. Have a meeting. They’ll come when they hear us—”

By blowing into the conch shell, Ralph is able to make a sound that can be used to assemble the boys for meetings to discuss issues with respect to their situation on the island. Golding offers the shell to symbolize order in a democratic and moral society. The shell unifies the boys under Ralph’s elected authority. Before anyone is permitted to speak at an assembly, the speaker must hold the shell. As the novel progresses and Ralph’s authority dwindles, the shell and the order it symbolizes also diminishes. When the conch is ultimately broken, so is the orderly civilized society broken with it.

The instinctive savagery in the boys begins to take control once their makeshift society crumbles. The author creates the symbol of the “beast” to represent the aptitude for evil in everyone. The boys do not recognize the internal power of the beast. They repeatedly battle what they perceive to be external monsters as the story proceeds. Jungle vines appear to be snakes. The dead parachutist on the mountain appears to be a giant apelike creature. Simon is killed because he is mistaken for the beast. These defenses against evil are all external. The boys do not understand, as the author suggests, that evil lurks inside human beings by nature.

When the boys hunt and kill the pig, they place its head upon sharpened sticks. The fly-covered head is offered to the beast. What the boys do not comprehend is this “Lord of the Flies” represents human evil, decay, and death:

Here, struck down by the heat, the sow fell and the hunters hurled themselves at her. This dreadful eruption from an unknown world made her frantic; she squealed and bucked and the air was full of sweat and noise and blood and terror. Roger ran round the heap, prodding with his spear whenever pigflesh appeared. Jack was on top of the sow, stabbing downward with his knife. Roger found a lodgment for his point and began to push till he was leaning with his whole weight. The spear moved forward inch by inch and the terrified squealing became a high pitched scream. Then Jack found the throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands. The sow collapsed under them and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her. The butterflies still danced, preoccupied in the center of the clearing.

The boys have resorted to savagery and barbarism as their internal monster takes over. In the end, Ralph has experienced a loss of innocence and moves closer to maturity. He is better prepared to enter a more moral adult civilization, which is Golding’s answer to combatting the evil residing in everyone.

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What does the "Lord of the Flies" symbolize?

The Lord of the Flies that provides William Golding's book with its title is a boar's head mounted on a spear, or, as Simon says when he is trying to break the hypnotic hold the object has over him, a "Pig's head on a stick." The phrase "Lord of the Flies" is a mistranslation of the name Beelzebub, Lord of the Flyers, a Philistine god and another name for Satan.

At the most basic level, the head of a boar mounted on a spear is a symbol of success in the hunt. It is Jack who leads the hunt and throws himself into the activity with most vigor, and it is he who later paints his face with boar's blood and encourages his followers to do the same. The Lord of the Flies, therefore, also symbolizes violence and chaos—and the way in which Jack's leadership causes order to break down.

The Lord of the Flies is important enough to furnish the title of the book because it symbolizes what happens to all the boys on the island, but Jack in particular. Jack always wants to be leader, but initially, he grounds his claims in the arguments of civilized authority. He ought to be chief, he says, because of his accomplishments at school and in the choir. In his battle for supremacy with Ralph, he finds that these achievements count for nothing. He must rely on violence and ruthlessness to secure his position. It is these characteristics that the Lord of the Flies ultimately represents.

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What does the "Lord of the Flies" symbolize?

The Lord of the Flies is the head of the pig that Jack and his followers kill. They mount it on a stake as an offering to the "beast" they believe lives on the island. As it decomposes, flies swarm around it. Simon sees the head, identifies it as the "Lord of the Flies," and has a hallucinatory conversation with it. During this conversation, the Lord of the Flies tells Simon that it symbolizes the evil residing inside the boys.

The term "Lord of the Flies" may be a reference to Beelzebub, who, in Christian tradition, was a demon serving Satan. In Milton's Paradise Lost, Beelzebub is Satan's right-hand man when the two devils awaken after being thrown by God into the sea of fire and brimstone. Milton envisions the other demons swarming around Satan and Beelzebub like flies.

The dead pig's head symbolizes how quickly humans can fall into barbarism once the veneer of civilization is ripped away, swarming around the rot of evil like flies. It does not, for example, take long for Jack to lure most of the boys away from the civilized norms represented by Ralph, Piggy, and the fire. Ralph and Piggy symbolize decency and deferred gratification, neither of which lasts long against the allure of indulging one's most violent and impulsive desires. The pig head identifies Jack's cruel and irrational rule with evil.

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What exactly is the beast in the novel Lord of the Flies? What does it symbolize? Explain.

The Beast is built up to be a physical personification of evil. It is treated as a God-like monster who is given sacrifices and offerings, and it is feared by the boys. What we ultimately come to realize, however, is that there is no beast. At least, the beast does not exist in a literal, physical, living and breathing sense of the word. Instead, the beast represents the potential for evil that exists within all of us. As the boys become more and more savage, as they give in to what Golding presents as natural, basic instincts that have been tamed by civilization, the role of the beast becomes More evident. Essentially, what Golding is telling us is that the more savage we become, the stronger the beast within us becomes because it is a self-created and self-perpetuating evil.

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What exactly is the beast in the novel Lord of the Flies? What does it symbolize? Explain.

There is, of course, not really any beast.  The beast is something that is within the boys.

In my opinion, the beast symbolizes the evil that is inside of each one of us.  Only Simon realizes that the beast is within them, though.

If you look at the story, you can kind of see how this is. The beast only comes to exist because the boys believe in it.  The more they believe in it, the more savage they become.  By the end of the book, they have made the beast into something of a god and are leaving sacrifices to it.  This shows us how strong evil and savagery have become (the hunters win, Piggy is dead, etc).

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What is the symbolism behind the Beastie in Lord of the Flies?

The Beastie represents the boys’ fears of the unknown. 

When the little boys first discuss the Beastie, no one wants to take it seriously.  It is just a joke, something that the small boys are afraid of.  It comes up at an assembly meeting. 

“He wants to know what you’re going to do about the snake-thing.”

Ralph laughed, and the other boys laughed with him. The small boy twisted further into himself.

“Tell us about the snake-thing.”

“Now he says it was a beastie.” (Ch. 2)

Ralph tries to explain to the boys that a snake thing could not exist on an island of that size.  The older boys try to dismiss the littleuns’ fears as a bad dream or the fears of young children away from home.  They do not want to admit any fears themselves.

Jack uses this as yet another opportunity to undermine Ralph.  As Ralph tries to assure the little boys that there is no Beastie, Jack takes the conch and tells them that if there is one he would take care of it for them.

Jack seized the conch.

“Ralph’s right of course. There isn’t a snake-thing. But if there was a snake we’d hunt it and kill it. We’re going to hunt pigs to get meat for everybody. And we’ll look for the snake too–” (Ch. 2) 

Ralph is annoyed because Jack contradicted him and also implied that he could take care of something that Ralph could not.  It is another example of the difference between the two of them and the constant struggle for leadership.  Their styles are different, and Jack is always trying to be theatrical while Ralph is always trying to be practical. 

The Beastie comes to represent the fear of the unknown, not just for the littleuns, but for all of the boys.  Jack meets the unknown head-on, while Ralph makes plans.  The Beastie never goes away.  It is always in the back of everyone's minds.

“They talk and scream. The littluns. Even some of the others. As if—”

“As if it wasn’t a good island.”

Astonished at the interruption, they looked up at Simon’s serious face.

“As if,” said Simon, “the beastie, the beastie or the snake-thing, was real. Remember?”

The two older boys flinched when they heard the shameful syllable. Snakes were not mentioned now, were not mentionable. (Ch. 3)

When the children attack the Beastie, it turns out not to be the beast after all.  It is Simon, coming to warn them about the parachutist he saw that frightened him.  Beasts are everywhere, but they are all manifestations of the boys' fear.  

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In Lord of the Flies, what does the beast signify? What is it symbolic of?

The beast signifies different things to different people: both characters in the book and readers. At its most basic level, the beast is associated with the dead airman who parachutes over the island in the Chapter Beast from the Air. Sam and Eric make this association. Symboloically, therefore, the war that wages outside the island, which ahd also caused the boys to be stranded initially, can be viewed as the beast.

The beast also symbolises the boys' fear and fear of the unknown. In Beast from the Water, the multiplying theories about the beast indicate the mass panic and terror taking the group. The various descriptions of the beast also connect it to the jungle which may symbolise its connection with the boys' increasing savagery and barbarism.

Simon may come closest to describing the beast as "us": an inherent and internal 'evil' or savagery which all humanity carries around and which becomes explicit in characters like Jack and Roger. It is highly ironic and appropriate that Simon identifies the 'true' nature of the beast and is killed as the beast.

To a religious reader, the concept of the beast is readily associated with both Satan and the concept of original sin. In this interpretation, the island becomes a second garden of eden, the boys' descent into savagery a second Fall.

To characters like Jack, the beast becomes a method of control through fear and intimidation. In many ways, Jack is the embodiment of the beast.

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Describe the symbolic significance of the Beast in the novel Lord of the Flies.

The Beast in The Lord of the Flies represents the boy's fear.

The adult-less island is unknown and the boys fear the unknown.  Coming from England, they have no experiences with what they find on the island.  In the fire light and in the dark, ordinary things take on new and mysterious forms.

As children, we fear the dark because it hides, in our childlike minds, all the monsters that disappear in the light of day.

Whether he recognises this or not, Jack gets the upper hand.  He appeals to the boy's fears and uses this to control them.

Ralph and Piggy understand that the beast exists in their minds but are unable to get the others to understand.

The boys give into these fears, offering sacrifices to the "Beast".  They believe that if they give the Beast sacrifices, that the Beast will not harm them.  At first they sacrifice the head of the wild boar but eventually Simon and Piggy are sacrificed.  Ralph would also be the next victim if Jack and his tribe have their way.

For each boy the Beast is different.  It is whatever they fear the most.

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What items could symbolize Jack in Lord of the Flies?

A sharpened stick at both ends would be an appropriate item to represent Jack, which can be interpreted to represent his violent, manipulative tactics as the leader of his tribe. In chapter eight, Jack and his savages brutally murder a pregnant sow, and Jack instructs his followers to sharpen a stick at both ends. He then places the severed pig's head on top of the stake as a sacrifice to the beast. Later on, Jack orders his savages to hunt and kill Ralph. Samneric then warn Ralph that Jack has ordered a stick to be sharpened at both ends: they are implying that Jack plans on decapitating Ralph and placing his head on the stake. The sharpened stick symbolically represents Jack's brutal nature and his ability to manipulate his followers.

Colored clay and charcoal would also be appropriate items to symbolically represent Jack. One of Jack's primary features is his face paint, which makes him resemble a bloodthirsty savage. Jack uses the white and red clay along with a stick of charcoal to create his mask. Behind his mask, Jack feels liberated to act like a complete savage and engage in violent behaviors. The clay and charcoal symbolically represent Jack's violent nature and initially strikes fear into the other boys.

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What items could symbolize Jack in Lord of the Flies?

The first suggestion might be something representative of Jack as a bully. Iron knuckles or some other type of weapon/implement that could be used to intimidate others and force them into submission would certainly reflect Jack's relationship with Ralph, Piggy and some of the other older boys.

Another possibility might be a compass. Jack obviously did have some valid leadership abilities. He was recognized by the others as being able to give them directions that they were willing to follow; he led them in searching for the beast and for the pigs that allowed them to have meat to eat.

Blinders, like those used on horses, could be interpreted as indicating that Jack was not open to differing opinions. He knew what he thought was important, developed his ideas about how things should be done, and wasn't willing to give much weight to any suggestions of other approaches or concerns.

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What symbol of authority do the boys have in their society in Lord of the Flies?

It is important to consider whether it is the conch itself that holds the authority to speak - or whether the right requires something more (personal integrity, a natural sense of leadership/authority of one's own?)

After all, remember it is actually Piggy who first finds the conch, yet it does not do him any good in terms of creating influence or charisma - although he is an ideas man. It is Ralph who gets a sound out of the conch by blowing it like a trumpet - and Ralph who has all the others listen to him,albeit with Jack hard on his heels.

It seems that the conch didnt confer power on just anyone who held it-it didnt have any magical properties - the authority it 'gives' is something we have put onto it as a symbol.The conch comes in, and goes out, with Piggy.

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What symbol of authority do the boys have in their society in Lord of the Flies?

The symbol of authority in Lord of the Flies is the conch. The conch represents order in an uncivilized world. Whoever holds the conch holds the power and is the one that is able to speak. It is able to summon and bring the boys together when it is blown. The conch slowly loses its power as the boys descend deeper and deeper into the pit of savage rule. Once the conch is destroyed with the death of Piggy, so is all order on the island. They are now given over to their savage ways and they cannot go back.

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What symbol of authority do the boys have in their society in Lord of the Flies?

Ralph and Piggy find a conch shell at the beginning of the novel, and the shell quickly becomes a symbol of authority on the island. Ralph blows into the shell and the sound brings all the other boys—who were scattered after surviving a plane wreck—to the sound of its blasts. At that first assembly, a call arises to elect a chief. Ralph wins, mostly because of the conch:

But there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out . . . and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch. The being that had blown that, had sat waiting for them on the platform with the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart.

Throughout the rest of the novel, the conch grants its holder the right to speak at assemblies. It is blown to summon the boys to group meetings and to silence the boys when they speak out of turn. Even the youngest children come when the conch was blown, "partly because Ralph blew it, and he was big enough to be a link with the adult world of authority."

Towards the end of the story, when the conch is shattered, Jack shouts at Ralph, "There isn't a tribe for you any more! The conch is gone." The destruction of the shell symbolizes the end of Ralph's leadership. His followers have deserted him, and now the instrument of his power is gone too.

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What symbol of authority do the boys have in their society in Lord of the Flies?

The conch shell symbolically represents civilization, order, and structure throughout the novel. It is also considered a symbol of authority because everyone must assemble when it is blown, and any person holding the conch shell during the assemblies has the right to speak without being interrupted.

At the beginning of the novel, Ralph and Piggy discover a conch shell in the lagoon and immediately retrieve it. Ralph then blows into the conch, which summons the boys to assemble on the platform. The boys are mesmerized by the beauty of the conch, which symbolically represents their initial affinity for civilization. Ralph is also elected leader of the group simply because he possesses the conch while the boys are voting. Rules are then established, and it is decided that whoever is holding the conch has the right to speak without being interrupted. Also, every time the conch is blown, the boys must assemble for a meeting. Being that the conch summons the boys to assemble and gives any boy the right to address the group, it is considered a symbol of authority throughout the novel.

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How is absolute power portrayed in Lord of the Flies?

The novel Lord of the Flies does a brilliant job of showcasing issues of power that often occur on a global scale in the hyper-focused instance of young boys left without any governing authority figure. The general statement that the novel makes about absolute power is that, with very few exceptions, it will almost always corrupt the one who holds it.

Ralph is reluctant to take power in the first place. He has a kind of wisdom that is extremely uncommon for his age. He even works to create a system of balances for himself even though the boys have elected him to be their leader. Most notably, he creates the system of allowing equal voice through the conch, having realized that intelligent but diminutive boys, like Piggy, while necessary to survival, will always be preyed upon by stronger and more base boys.

Jack, on the other hand, is far less concerned with a sense of order on the island and in fact seems to forget the prospect of being rescued. The idea of being free of societal constraints corrupts him completely, along with other boys who show psychopathic tendencies. They begin to follow the code of leadership by strength, and after Jack and the choir boys separate from the rest, the strongest lead, and any dissent is punished gravely. This corrupt rule leads to the gruesome deaths of Simon and Piggy, and may have been the end of Ralph had it not been for the intervention of a rescue team.

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How is absolute power portrayed in Lord of the Flies?

As the old saying goes: absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that's precisely what happens in Lord of the Flies. The quest for absolute power, like the desire for massive wealth, ultimately makes people do things they wouldn't normally want to do. In this way, absolute power creates its own terrifying dynamic from which it becomes impossible to escape, destroying anyone and everything in its path.

Jack may like to think that he's in control on the island, but he's actually being controlled by the internal dynamics of absolute power that has him firmly in its iron grip. This dynamic progresses to the point that, even if Jack wanted to, he couldn't just declare an end to his dictatorship and re-establish some kind of democracy. So much barbarism has been unleashed on the island that it's impossible to go back to the way things were. Once absolute power has been unleashed, no one is capable of calling it back, be it Jack, Roger, or any of the other savages.

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How is absolute power portrayed in Lord of the Flies?

Throughout the novel, Golding suggests that absolute power is corrupting and dangerous by depicting Jack's tyrannical leadership over his group of savages. After Jack usurps power from Ralph, he immediately begins to use fear as a means of controlling his tribe. He perpetuates the belief in the "beast" by sacrificing the severed pig's head and mentions that the "beast" has the ability to shape shift. The more Jack's power increases, the more ruthless he becomes. Jack begins to punish boys who disagree with him or do not follow his orders, and encourages violence. Once Jack realizes that he is in complete control over his tribe, he orders his savages to capture Samneric and commands them to hunt Ralph. Golding suggests that absolute power is dangerous and the individuals who are under the control of a tyrant are subjected to violence and oppression.

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How is absolute power portrayed in Lord of the Flies?

William Golding portrays absolute power as being corrupt, dangerous, and harmful. Throughout Jack's tyrannical rule, he uses violence, intimidation, and psychological manipulation to control his tribe of savages. He not only encourages violence but perpetuates the belief in a "beast" which consumes the members of his tribe with fear. He uses their fear to enhance his position as chief, allowing him to give commands without having to explain his decisions. His directives only serve to benefit himself, and he refuses to take into consideration how his choices affect the members of his tribe. Unlike Ralph's democratic group where each individual is given an opportunity to voice their opinion, Jack is the only person whose thoughts and ideas matter. His authoritarian rule results in the deaths of Simon and Piggy, and he even orders his band of savages to hunt Ralph like a pig.

The members of Jack's tribe cannot disobey him because they will be severely punished. In Chapter 10, Jack orders Wilfred to be tied up and beaten. When Robert asks Roger why Wilfred is being punished, Robert says, "I don’t know. He didn’t say" (Golding 159). In addition to physically abusing his subjects, Jack's priorities are backward. He doesn't care about shelter or being rescued, and focuses all of his attention on hunting and controlling his tribe. Jack's terrible decision making, lack of empathy, and unanswerable authority are accurate depictions of William Golding's views on absolute power. Absolute sovereignty only benefits the individual in charge, and this unfair balance in power negatively affects the people subjected to the rule of one person.

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In Lord of The Flies, what does the Lord of the Flies symbolize?

William Golding uses the book's title- Lord of the Flies- symbolically and gives the reader an immediate unpleasant sensation at the thought of flies. Initially it seems a strange title for a novel about a group of schoolboys who are stranded on an island without any adult supervision and adds that sense of apprehension as the story proceeds. There are various symbols including the "pig's head on a stick" (ch 8) as Simon recognizes it to be and the symbols collectively allow the boys to represent a microcosm of society as they struggle with their realization that they do need to do the right and the best thing, but as children they also have a childish need to have fun and act impulsively. 

The conch shell represents the closest thing to democracy and is used to call the boys to order, have meetings, make decisions and hear anyone who needs to speak. It gives Ralph confidence as leader and as its power diminishes so too does Ralph's confidence in himself as leader. Piggy's glasses add to the boys' perception of good decision making as they are used to start the fire and, when they are misused by Jack, not only Piggy but the whole group is affected. The signal fire is the boys' hope for rescue and a reason to keep trying to survive because as Jack ironically states in chapter 2, "we're not savages." 

The Lord of the Flies itself then is a sharp contrast to all the boys' best efforts and defies everything childlike, innocent and good. Literally, it is the head of the pig which Jack killed so that they can have a feast and invite everyone to it.  Symbolically for Jack, it proves his ability to embrace his compulsive side and gain some measure of control. It effectively gives him permission to behave erratically, irresponsibly and brutally. On Jack's instructions the boys sharpen a stick and he impales the head on the stick and leaves the head as a gift for the personified beast which the boys are convinced that they have seen.

For Simon, the Lord of the Flies is the image which he encounters and discredits. Simon is not easily fooled and the pig's head is threatened by Simon's attempts to warn the others about the beast. It reminds Simon that the island is for fun and that he cannot stop the fun. It is clear that the Lord of the Flies version of "fun" is not at all childlike and is violent, vindictive and merciless. 

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What is the symbolic significance of Lord of the Flies?

There are differing viewpoints expressed as to why William Golding wrote Lord of the Flies. Many believed it explores the most fundamental religious issues  of the nature of good and evil and the Christian teachings of Original Sin.

Evil is everywhere and the title 'Lord of the Flies' has been interpreted to be a reference to the Devil, himself. The eNotes study guide provides insight into the different symbolic meanings. Navigate to the Overview to get a better understanding. The title of the book and therefore the central symbol  - the pig's head that is mounted on a stick

 is a translation of the Hebrew Ba’alzevuv (Beelzebub in Greek).... whose name suggests that he (the devil) is devoted to decay, destruction, demoralization

Simon is the symbolic 'sacrifice' as he represents spirituality. He has been called a prophet. Simon (by name)was one of the disciples from the Bible. Simon is aware throughout the novel of the potential for evil within everyone  - even himself. Unfortunately, he is unable to 'save' the others although his capacity for not giving up does contribute to the ending of the novel and the rescue of the boys  whose innocence is lost. Adam and Eve were sent from the Garden of Eden  - with their lost innocence - to face the perils and challenges and temptations of the world.

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What symbol of authority do the boys have in their society in Lord of the Flies?

(eNotes editors may only answer one question per reply. If you still need help, please resubmit your other question separately. Thank you.)

The conch shell becomes the symbol of authority for the boys in the early days on the island. It is an easy way to attract attention if the boys are scattered in different areas of the island.

We can use this to call the others. Have a meeting. They’ll come when they hear us—...They obeyed the summons of the conch, partly because Ralph blew it, and he was big enough to be a link with the adult world of authority….

The conch shell is a tangible item that can be passed from speaker to speaker, enforcing the rules that only one person is to talk at a time and the others are to listen.

'Whoever holds the conch gets to speak'...Ralph waved the conch. 'Shut up! Wait! Listen!' He went on in the silence, borne on in his triumph.

The shell is breakable but beautiful, thereby demanding that it be handled carefully and respectfully. When the conch shattered, the final connection to civilization and order and authority beyond mob rule was also broken.

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What is the symbolic significance of Lord of the Flies?

This is a good question. There are many symbols in the book, Lord of the Flies. In light of this, let me give you a few of them. 

First, the most obvious symbol in the book is the conch. When the conch is found and more importantly blown, it brings the boys together. It is a symbol of civilization. This is why it is also significant when the conch in broken. When the conch is broken (as Piggy dies), it is a sign that civility is now gone as well. 

Second, the glasses of Piggy are also a symbol of technology and science. It would be good to remember that the boys use the glasses to make fire. It is also no wonder that Jack seeks to steal it. 

Third, on a more abstract level, Simon is also a symbol. I would say that he is the Christ symbol as he dies, as a sacrifice. He is also the most religious boy in the group. 

These symbols should get you started. 

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In Lord of The Flies, what does the Lord of the Flies symbolize?

The Lord of the Flies was actually a bloody boar's head that attracted carrion flies.  It is significant because at first the boys had to learn to hunt in order to survive.  It came to hold a mystical meaning for the boys as they descended deeper and deeper into anarchy.

The Lord of the Flies began to symbolize the blood-lust and heathenism of the total deterioration of society.  As the title indicates, the boys began to practically worship violence.  They lost touch with reality, and eventually this downfall led to Ralph’s murder.

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What is the symbolic significance of Lord of the Flies?

When thinking about the overall significance of this amazing story you will want to think of how quotes reveal what Golding is trying to say about humanity. Of course Golding is writing about opposition. The central opposition in the novel is that between the forces of civilisation and savagery, or order and chaos. Golding explores the competing instincts that dwell within us all: to live by rules, obey morals and act for the greater good of society, and then the opposite side, which is the desire to dominate, enforce one's will and act immediately to gratify desires.

This conflict is explored throughout the novel through examining the boys' gradual slide into lawlessness as they adapt to life in a barbaric jungle away from the normal controls on their behaviour (law, parents, school etc). These two forces are represented by the two characters Ralph (civilisation) and Jack (savagery).

Golding's conclusion is that the instinct for savagery wins out in the end. It is far more primal and fundamental to us than the instinct of civilisation, which he sees as a result of social conditioning rather than any moral goodness within humanity. We can see this through the example of the boys: when left to their own devices without any external forces of control, the instincts for savagery win out, even in the defender of civilisation, Ralph. The concept of the innate evil within all of us is central to understanding this novel, and is symbolised by the beast and the sow's head on the stake. This is the realisation that causes Ralph and the other boys to weep at the end of the novel, ironically when they should have been most happy: "Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of teh true, wise friend called Piggy." So the "darkness of man's heart" is therefore the central moral of this story.

Another key quote comes from Simon when the boys are discussing The Beast and if it is real or not: "There isn't anyone to help you. Only me. And I'm the Beast . . . Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! . . . 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 the way they are?” Simon is the first boy to realise that the evil summed up in the beast isn't actually external - but internal, based in themselves. This is something that he further realises when he confronts the Lord of the Flies later on in the novel.

Lastly, when Jack has killed his first pig, Golding writes: "His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink." This quote clearly establishes that Jack is attracted to the killing of pigs not because of the need to feed the boys but because of the joy of letting his primal instincts loose and the desire to impose his will and strength upon another creature.

So, there you have it - according to Golding, we are savage, evil creatures, only barely kept in check by civilisation. When those restraining influences are removed - well, you have read the book, so you know what can happen!

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