Lord Of The Flies Lord of the Flies Cruelty and savagery are all parts of human life. When the reigns of civilization are lifted, cruelty and savagery are left alone to roam freely. William Golding expresses the need for civilized order to maintain the cruel savage beast in us all. In Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the theme of discovering one’s true self is displayed through object symbolism, analytical symbols of the cruel tribe and beast, and analysis of key character symbols. The use of object symbolism develops the structure and meaning of the novel.
The symbolic meaning of certain items in the novel provide a degree of certainty of what the theme pertains to. An example of object symbolism is noted in the large conch shell. The shell symbolizes order and civilization due to its power to create order through organizing meetings. The conch also symbolizes destruction of order once Roger crushes it beneath a boulder. The act of destroying the shell provides an illustration of how uncivilized the island has become. Another example of object symbolism is depicted in the signal fires that Ralph sternly suggests should exist.
These fires symbolize a hope for rescue and a return to order and civilization. Once Jack, who is in charge of the fire, shuns the importance of a signal fire, it then symbolizes lost hope. Once Piggy suggests reigniting the fire it then symbolizes a restoration of hope. Another portrayal of Golding’s object symbolism exists in Piggy’s spectacles. The spectacles symbolize comfort and dependability due to their fire creating capabilities.
Soon power to create fire is prevalent due to the lack of fire making ability of Jack’s tribe. Once Jack’s tribe takes the glasses the glasses then symbolize a shift in power. A further depiction of object symbolism is noted in the appearance of the naval officer toward the end of the novel. The officer symbolizes home, but the symbol is ironic in the fact that the officer is taking the boys from a war torn island to a war torn country. The appearance of object symbolism establishes the theme of looking inside one’s true soul and describes the biblical battle between good and irrational evil.
The establishment of Jack’s tribe and the systematic accounts of the beast provide further evidence of a theme of the introduction to one’s true self. Jack’s tribe and fear of the beast contribute to the overwhelming belief that savagery, not order, and is needed to survive on the island. A description of this is noted in the behavior of Jack’s tribe. The tribe symbolizes total disarray and cruelty, which is exhibited in their treatment of fellow man. The boy’s derive pleasure from their bloody slaughter of the pigs. The boys paint their faces and join in savage war dances to satisfy the bloodlust they desire.
The tribe continually terrifies the little boys on the beach and takes what Jack commands. Another portrayal of the savagery of the tribe is exhibited in Roger. Roger pretends to be a pig while the others attack almost killing him due to their being overcome by frenzied blood lust. Another section of the novel that creates symbolism is found in the hunted pigs and beast. The dead pig, for example, creates an overflow of wild emotion in the tribe. For instance, the boys chant a warlike song and carry the carcass of a pig. Another example is noted once the pig’s sharp tusks wound Jack.
This action causes a change in Jack and promotes more brutality. The brutality by Jack and the allegiance of his followers cause Jack to become god-like. An example of this is symbolically noted in the pig’s head on a stake. The symbolic pig’s head is Jack’s beastlike nature while the flies around it are his followers who swarm about his appealing actions. All of Jack’s power resides in the fear of a beast on the island. An example of this fear is noted in the tribe’s beating and killing of Simon.
The tribe’s irrational fear causes them to act in a manner that supports Jack’s position of warlike protection. Another example of Jack’s control by fear is depicted in his denouncing Ralph’s leadership and demanding he be the leader to fight the beast. The existence of a beast supports Jack’s claim to leadership and tribal status. The tribe forms in the face of fear, but the real beast in the novel is Jack and his tribe. A further supporter of the theme is seen in the characters of Piggy and Simon.
The two characters represent two major states of human existence. Piggy for example represents knowledge and rational thinking. An illustration of this is noted in Piggy’s disgust in the immaturity of the other boys. Due to Piggy’s knowledgeable account of the others, the reader may expect the other boys to foolishly follow Jack. An example of Piggy’s rational thinking is portrayed within his suggestions for the situation. It was Piggy who decides to build huts and it is Piggy who decides to relight the signal fire after Jack abandons it. Because of Jack’s disregard for Piggy’s advice one can gather that Jack’s character disregards knowledge.
Another character that provides insight into the theme is Simon. Simon represents insight and wisdom. An example of Simon’s insight is illustrated in his assurance to Ralph of their rescue. Simon’s confidence keeps Ralph’s hope alive and delivers a rebirth of civility. Another example of Simon’s insight is noted in his knowledge of the identity of the beast.
Simon discovers the beast to be a dead parachuter. Upon discovering the beast, Jack unexpectedly kills Simon and together with his death dies the insight of the beast. Jack destroys knowledge and insight and in the process takes on the persona of the beast. The theme in Lord of the Flies of insight into one’s soul is developed through object symbolism, symbolism of the tribe and beast, and symbolism depicted in characters. The cruelty that humans are capable of is seen in everyday life. The cruelty that humans are capable of in the absence of order is petrifying to the fact that everyone can display their beast without consequences.