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Symbolism in Lord of the Flies

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Title: Symbolism in Lord of the Flies


1
Symbolism in Lord of the Flies
  • English 12

2
Goldings Use of Symbolism
  • Symbolism is the frequent use of words, places,
    characters, or objects that mean something beyond
    what they are on a literal level (Wheeler).
  • William Golding uses so much symbolism in Lord of
    the Flies that many critics agree that it is an
    allegory- a writing that has a double meaning
    (Wheeler).

3
Title- Lord of the Flies
  • Before even opening the novel, the readers of
    Goldings work are face to face with a symbolthe
    title.
  • Lord of the Flies is a name applied to the
    Biblical demon Beelzebub thus symbolizing evil
    (Rosenfield, p.174).

4
Lord of the Flies
  • In the novel, the Lord of the Flies is the name
    is given to the pigs head that the hunters put on
    a stick sharpened at both ends. This head is
    for the beast. Its a gift (Golding, 140).

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5
The Conch Shell???
6
Conch Shell
  • The conch shell, which is used to call the
    children to assemblies, serves as a symbol of
    order and authority (Cox, 170).
  • For the children in the story, the conch shell is
    an important object. Rosenfield points out that
    the conch must be held by a child before that
    child can speak at councils (173).

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7
Conch Shell (cont.)
  • C.B. Cox points out that the conch is more than
    just a symbol of order (170). From the
    beginning of the novel, Golding describes the
    conch with much precision and detail. When the
    conch is broken, the reader feels that sadness
    which comes when any object of exquisite beauty
    is broken. The symbolic meaning, that this is
    the end of the beauty of justice and order on
    the island (Cox 170-71).

8
Signal Fire???
  • At their second council meeting, Ralph tells the
    rest of the boys, We can help them to find usWe
    must make a fire (Golding, 37). The boys agree
    because they want to be rescued.

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9
Signal Fire (cont.)
  • Paulette Michel-Michot states The fire which
    must be kept burning is the symbol of their hope
    for rescue, of their attachment to civilization,
    for it will reveal their presence on the island
    to the outside world (Michel-Michot, pg. 176).

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10
The dead parachutist??
11
Parachutist
  • Cox describes the dead parachutist as a symbol
    of adult evil (171). When the boys kill Simon
    as he attempts to tell them the truth about the
    beast, they show the adult evil as part of
    themselves (Cox, 171).
  • Frank Kermode calls the dead parachutist an ugly
    emblem of war and decay that broods over the
    paradise and provide the only objective
    equivalent for the beasts the boys imagine.
    (Kermode, 226).

12
Characters
  • Golding also uses symbolism in the various
    characters of the story. According to
    Michel-Michot, he makes them work out archetypal
    pattern of human society or of different
    conflicting tendencies within the individual
    (176).
  • We can find symbolic meaning in the four main
    characters of Lord of the Flies Ralph, Jack,
    Piggy, and Simon.

13
Ralph???
14
Ralph
  • Represents civility, order, logic
  • A symbol of Good
  • Ralph and Jack are two polarizing figures in
    the novel (Michel-Michot).
  • Ralph is a symbol of democracy because he sought
    ways to maintain parliamentary procedures, to
    respect freedom of speech, to rule through
    persuasion, with the consent of the governed
    (Spitz, 173).

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15
Jack???
16
Jack
  • Represents our savage instincts played out
  • A symbol of Evil, violence
  • Spitz calls Jack authorian man and compares him
    to the dictators Hitler and Mussolini (173).
  • Spitz also discusses Jacks appearance calling
    him a Satanic figure with his red hair and black
    cape (173).

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17
Piggy???
  • Ralphs Ally
  • True and wise friend
  • Victim
  • Piggys physique and intelligence make him an
    outcast.

18
Piggy
  • Represents the adult world
  • A symbol of intelligence
  • David Spitz compares Piggy to Socrates, the
    voice of reason (173). One example of his sense
    of reason is shown when the boys first fire gets
    out of control. Piggy tells the others, The
    first thing we ought to have made was shelters on
    the beach How can you expect to be rescued if
    you dont put first things first and act proper
    (Golding, 44).
  • When Piggy is killed, with his death all sense,
    all reason is gone the ultimate madness sets in
    (Spitz, 173).

19
Simon???
  • Different
  • Tends to faint
  • Quiet, shy
  • Introverted

20
Simon
  • Represents intuitive insight and self-awareness
  • Symbolizes the beginning of the end
  • A symbol of morality
  • In Lord of the Flies, Simon signifies the
    Christ-figure, the voice of revelation (Spitz,
    172).
  • In an interview with James Keating, William
    Golding states Simon is a saint (Keating,
    219).

21
Examples of Simon as Christ-like
  • There are several events involving Simon that
    portray him as a Christ-like or Biblical figure
  • The first event occurs when Simon feeds the
    littluns described in the following passage
  • Then, amid the roar of bees in the afternoon
    sunlight,
  • Simon found for them the fruit they could not
    reach,
  • pulled off the choicest from up in the foliage,
    passed them
  • back down to endless outstretched hands
    (Golding, 55).

22
Simon (cont.)
  • This passage unmistakably evokes the Biblical
    accounts of Christ amid the bread-hungry masses
    (Spangler, 233). Like Jesus, Simon provides his
    followers, in his case the littluns, with plenty
    of food to satisfy their hunger.

23
Simon (cont.)
  • When he discovers that the beast is the dead
    parachutist, like Moses, then, he comes down
    from the mountain bearing the truth (Spitz,
    172). Also, like Moses, he is not listened to.
  • Secondly, his death symbolizes the Crucifixion of
    Jesus. Like Jesus, Simon was trying to tell the
    others the truth. For this, he was slain.

24
Roger
  • Roger Silent and sadistic
  • Targets the littluns
  • The only one to premeditate murder
  • Kills without conscience
  • Represents Pure evil

25
Sam Eric
  • Roger Silent and sadistic
  • Targets the littluns
  • The only one to premeditate murder
  • Kills without conscience
  • Pure evil
  • Described as barely having enough skin to cover
    both, bullet-headed, and they finish each others
    sentences
  • The last to remain loyal to Ralph
  • Represent the tug-of-war within us to remain good

26
The Littluns
  • Represent the common folk, who easily follow the
    lead of others into savagery when there is no
    enforced structure in society

27
Symbolism Search Activity 1
  • The conch Piggys glasses
  • Have 5-7 GOOD Explanations Each!!
  • In pairs, search through Chapters 1 for sentences
    which mention these objects.
  • Record the page number, the sentence, and a
    statement about how it is being used symbolically

28
The Conch
  • Mystery, power, authority, worth

29
Piggys Glasses
  • Security, comfort, utility, Piggys helplessness,
    ownership, civilization

30
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31
Ralph
  • Ralph is introduced to us first as the
    fair-haired boy (Golding, 5).
  • As the story progresses, Ralph emerges as a
    leader. It is he who find that conch and
    arranges that when there is a meeting he who hold
    the conch shall speak (Forester, 228).

32
Piggy
  • Piggy is introduced to the reader as being short,
    fat, and wearing thick spectacles (Golding, 5).
  • Piggys glasses play an important role in the
    novel- they are used to start the fire.
  • As the novel progresses, we learn that Piggy is
    the brains of the party (Forester, 228). When
    Piggy and Ralph found the conch, it was Piggy
    that said, We can use this to call the others.
    Have a meeting (Golding, 15). This way of
    thinking exemplifies Piggys intelligence.

33
Jack
  • Jack is introduced as being tall, thin, and
    bony (Golding 17). He has red hair, and is
    wearing a black hat and cloak. His face was
    crumpled and freckled, and ugly without
    silliness (Golding, 17).
  • When all the boys gather to have a meeting and
    are discussing the idea of a chief, Jack states
    with arrogance, I ought to be chiefbecause Im
    chapter chorister and head boy (Golding, 20).

34
Simon
  • Simon is introduced to the reader as the choir
    boy who had fainted (Golding, 20). Then,
    Golding describes him as a skinny, vivid little
    boy, withstraight hair that hung down, black and
    coarse (Golding, 22).
  • In the novel, Simon plays the role of the
    Christ-like figure. In an interview, Golding
    himself calls Simon a saint (Kermode, 219).

35
Works Cited
  • Cox, C.B. A review of Lord of the Flies.
    Critical Quarterly 2.2 (Summer 1960) 112-17.
    Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Roger Matuz.
    Vol. 58. Detroit Gale, 1990. 170-72.
  • Flickr. Yahoo! Inc. 16 July 2008.
    http//www.flickr.com/
  • Forester, E. M. Introduction. Lord of the
    Flies Casebook Edition. Ed. James R. Baker
    Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr. New York Penguin Group,
    1988.
  • Golding, William. Lord of the Flies Casebook
    Edition. New York Penguin Group, 1988.
  • Kermode, Frank. The Meaning of It All. Lord of
    the Flies Casebook Edition. Ed. James R. Baker
    Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr. New York Penguin Group,
    1988.
  • Lambert, Bruce. Obituary. New York Times (June
    20, 1993) p.38. Contemporary Literary Criticism.
    Ed. James P. Draper. Vol. 81. Detroit Gale,
    1994. 316-17. .

36
Works Cited (cont.)
  • Michel-Michot, Paulette. The Myth of Innocence.
    Revue des langues vivantes 28.4 (1962) 510-20.
    Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Roger Matuz.
    Vol. 58. Detroit Gale, 1990. 175-77
  • Rosenfield, Claire. Men of Smaller Growth A
    Psychological Analysis of William Goldings Lord
    of the Flies. Literature and Psychology 11.4
    (Fall 1961) 93-101. Contemporary Literary
    Criticism. Ed. Roger Matuz. Vol. 58. Detroit
    Gale, 1990. 172-75.
  • Spangler, Donald R. Simon. Lord of the Flies
    Casebook Edition. Ed. James R. Baker Arthur P.
    Ziegler, Jr. New York Penguin Group, 1988.
  • Spitz, David. Power And Authority An
    Interpretation of Goldings Lord of the Flies.
    The Antioch Review 30.1 (Spring 1970) 21-33.
    Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon R.
    Gunton. Vol. 17. Detroit Gale, 1981. 172-73.
  • Wheeler, Dr. Kip. "Literary Vocabulary." Dr.
    Wheeler's Hompage . 06 June 2008. Carson-Newman
    College. 12 July 2008 lthttp//web.cn.edu/kwheeler/
    lit_terms.htmlgt.
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