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Lord of the Flies Symbols

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The Conch Shell: The Conch was discovered on the beach at the start on the novel. It is what gathered the boys together. It becomes a powerful symbol of civilization and represents order in the novel. It governs the meetings, giving the boys the right to speak. Therefore, the shell is more than a symbol- it is an actual vessel of politic legitimacy and democratic power. As the island loses its civilized manor, the shell loses its power among them. When Ralph discusses his role in murdering Simon, he clutches onto the conch. The boys on Jack’s camp ignore him, and throw stone at him. When the bolder falls and kills Piggy, it also crushes the conch, signifying that all civilized instinct is gone on the island.

Piggy’s Glasses: Piggy is the most intelligent and rational boy on the island, and his glasses represent any intellect on the island. It is very clear when at the beginning on the novel; they use his glasses to start a fire. And, when Jack’s hunters stole Ralph’s glasses, his group was left helpless.

The Signal Fire: The signal fire burns on the mountain, and attracts the notice of passing ships that could rescue them. The fire becomes a symbol of the boys’ connection to civilization. At the beginning of the novel, while the fire is maintained they boys want to be rescued and return to society. The fire is a reminder, however when it goes out, the boys loose sight of this desire and they accept savage ways.

The Beast: The imaginary beast that frightens all the boys symbolizes the savagery that exists in the boys. The boys are afraid of the beast, but only Simon realizes that they only fear the beast because it exists inside of them. The more the boys grow savage, the more they believe in the beast.

The Lord Of The Flies: The Lord Of The Flies is the severed pig head that Jack puts on a stick to offer to the beast. This symbol becomes the most important symbol in the novel, when Simon confronts the head and it “speaks” to him, telling him that “evil lies within every human heart” and it promised to “have some fun” with him. That “fun” foreshadowed Simon’s death in the following chapter. The Lord Of The Flies became both a symbol of physical manifestation of the beast, and a symbol of evil.

Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon & Roger: Ralph represented order, leadership and civilization. Piggy represented the scientific and intellectual aspects of civilization. Jack represented the savagery and desire for power. Simon represented natural human goodness. And finally, Roger represented brutality and bloodlust.

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