Symbols in Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Essay by bayfro22 August 2013

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Symbolism is used in literature to provide detail and imagery to any plot or

character. Authors use symbols to enhance the experience of the novel. William Golding

uses many symbols in Lord of the Flies thus enhancing its meaning and overall impact

on the reader. Through the use of symbols, Golding allows readers to understand the

ideas and themes he is trying to convey.

One symbol in the novel is Piggy's eyeglasses. His glasses represent his intellect

and ability to think clearly. When it mentions in the novel that Piggy's glasses are foggy

or they are being cleaned, it symbolizes that Piggy's emotions are getting in the way of

his reasoning. "Piggy's glasses were misted again- this time with humiliation." (25)

When his eyeglasses were broken, Piggy was unable to clear his emotions. "'One side's

broken.' Piggy grabbed and put on the glasses. He looked malevolently at Jack." (71) As

a result, Piggy's decisions and actions were clouded by his emotions and desires other

than being influenced by his intellect and reasoning.

By his glasses being used as a

symbol, it helps us understand Piggy's character better.

Another object that could be interpreted and analyzed as a symbol is the conch

shell. The conch symbolizes order and rules in a society. In the novel, when the conch is

present and acknowledged, there is order. "Ralph felt the conch lifted from his lap. Then

Piggy was standing cradling the great cream shell and the shouting died down." (33)

However, when the boys forget about the conch, they seem to also forget about their

obligation to be civilized. Jack knew that if he detached himself from the conch he is

detaching himself from civilization. Therefore, he chose not to abide by it when he

created his own tribe. "You haven't got it...