A Seperate Peace V.S. Lord Of The Flies: Symbolism

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade October 2001

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

Downloaded 3785 times

A Separate Peace and Lord of the Flies have many similarities. Both books have very apparent examples of symbolism. Symbolism in literature is using characters or objects in the story to represent an idea or a religious or historical figure.

A prime example of symbolism in Lord of the Flies is the representations of Jack and Simon. Jack is the leader of the island's hunters. His leadership technique is to intimidate, frighten, or even threaten those that he leads. From a historical standpoint, Jack's governing style could be compared to Stalinist totalitarianism or even Nazi fascism. If Lord of the Flies were a religious allegory, Jack would, undoubtedly, represent Satan. This is evident by the way he encourages others to be bad. Jack has very few useful qualities, among these is bravery. However, his bad traits and his lust for blood obscure his bravery. Ralph's efforts to get Jack to follow the rules are useless.

Jack frequently has tantrums and acts savagely. "Bollocks to the rules! We're strong-we hunt! If there's a beast, we'll hunt it down! We'll close it and beat and beat and beat and beat"¦!" Simon is the exact opposite of Jack. Simon represents goodness and pureness. Simon is a "Christ Figure" in Lord of the Flies. He goes off into the jungle frequently for solitude and meditation. Jesus did the same thing when he wandered the desert for forty days. Simon shows no fear like the other boys. Simon seems above the other boys; he is mystical and spiritual. Just like Jesus delivered the lord's message, Simon tries to deliver the Lord of the Flies'message from the "beast" to the boys of the island. This is symbolic of how Jesus delivers God's message to mankind. Also just like Christ, Simon is killed by his fellow man before he can deliver the Lord of the Flies' message. In this passage Simon is followed by the "littluns" much like Christ was followed. Instead of feeding bread and fish, Simon gives fruit. ""¦Simon found for them the fruit they could not reach, pulled off the choicest from up in the foliage, passed them down to the endless outstretched hands." In A Separate Peace, Phineas represents a person who turns away from codes and rules. Devon School is a place made up of rules, and Finny makes light of all of this. He even makes light of some very serious life rules, such as suicide, by forming a suicide club. The narrator, Gene, on the other hand is not rebellious, and as an academic, he follows the rules. Gene represents reality and how it can be perceived and then recalled. Gene sees Finny's character differently in his maturity. ""This was the tree, and it seemed to me standing there to resemble those men, the giants of your childhood, whom you encounter years later and find that they are not merely smaller in relation to your growth, but that they are absolutely smaller, shrunken by age." The shrinking of the trees of Gene's memory also shrinks Finny's greatness.

There is symbolism in the objects used in the books. In Lord of the Flies, for instance, Piggy's glasses represent his intellect, his ability to think logically, and not to let his emotions get the best of him. His glasses are also important because they make fire; because of this the glasses represent power to the group. Fire is also a symbolic object it represents any hope that the boys have for getting off the island. Fire is their freedom, and it keeps the boys from being completely powerless in being marooned. "There's another thing. We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire." In A Separate Peace, Phineas's tie, worn around his waist, and his pink shirt are symbolic of his nonconformity and rebelliousness. In order to wear these, he must have a great deal of confidence in himself. It shows how little he cares about his being different from others. Gene tells Finny that the pink shirt makes him look like a fairy. In response Finny says, "Well, in case suitors begin clamoring at the door, you can tell them I'm wearing this as an emblem." The event of finding the conch shell in Lord of the Flies is symbolic of finding order. The conch called the boys to assemble. "We can use this thing to call the others. Have a meeting. They'll come when they hear us-" In A Separate Peace, the playing of Blitzball is like the war going on at the same time. Like the war, Blitzball is chaotic and has no rules. In Blitzball Gene describes Finny as being capable of "acts of sheer mass hypnotism." This phrase can describe battles as well. Finny even says, "There aren't any teams in Blitzball, we're all enemies. Knock him down!" In both novels there is a striking similarity in one thing, the island and Devon School both are like miniature versions of the real world. There are politics, war, and even deaths just like in the real world.