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Symbolism Essay: Lord of the Flies

  • Date Submitted: 11/30/2010 01:30 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 63.5 
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Shahana Behbahany
4-26-09     Per 3A
Mrs. Shifman   10H
Word Count: 1,004

Symbolism Essay: Lord Of The Flies
In the novel Lord Of The Flies, written by William Golding, symbolism occurs throughout much of the novel. There are many different objects, characters, and events which help represent various concepts in some of the themes. Throughout the novel, a group of boys must survive on their own after being stranded on an island. With no contact with civilization, the beast within them is unleashed and all traces of humanity have been forgotten. The conch shell, the Beast, the Lord of the Flies, and the signal fire are all objects of symbolism which reflect on the main themes of the novel: the loss of innocence and civilization versus barbarity.
In the beginning of the novel, Ralph and Piggy discover a conch shell which they use to call upon all of the boys on the island. Seen as an object of power, the shell also helps direct the boys’ meetings because whoever holds the shell has permission to speak. As a symbol of order and civilization, the conch shell keeps the boys in restraint from trying to overpower one another. As their time on the island progresses, however, the conch shell begins to lose its power and no longer has an impact on the boys. This loss symbolizes the transition of civilization to barbarity. What was once seen as power and order, now the conch shell is nothing but a mere object, just like civilization was once a guideline for the boys, but is now viewed as nothing more than a distinct way of life.
Another object of symbolism includes the signal fire. The signal fire is a fire that is on top of a mountain and its purpose is to attract passing ships or airplanes in hopes of being rescued. The fire is the boys’ only tie to civilization, but throughout the novel, the fire begins to burn dimmer, and eventually burns out. Much like the conch shell, this symbolizes the boy’s complete loss of civilization. As their lives progress on the...


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