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Lord of the Flies, Essay Example

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Lord of the flies is one massive allegory and play on life and reality. Everything is a symbolism of humanity itself, “Here at last was the imagined but never fully realized place leaping into real life.”(Golding, p. 203) The book provides for a microcosm of humanity itself. Lets take the island for example it is representative of the whole earth, the boys are the human race, the two tribes are two countries, their battles and conflicts are akin to war. The only time we break out of the allegory is when the troops come to the island. The imagined meets the real and even then, them being rescued by soldiers is reinforcing the politically related symbols by asking the question, “But who will rescue the grown-ups?”(Golding, p. 203) Which is the thesis of this essay that everything on the island is a symbol of the real world political civilizations?

The conch has many symbolisms tied and intertwined in it. The conch becomes the symbol of civilization the way a flag does in peace and war. It is the all-important uniting force and a symbol of democracy. It is used when calling the boys together, when electing a leader and even allows piggy to speak when no one would listen to him, “Let him have it.”(Golding, p. 39) In this way the conch is more than a symbol it is a vessel of political legitimacy. ”No community can exist without symbols and rituals” (Golding, p. 202). In Britain it is the crown of the Queen, among the Ashanti in Africa it is the golden stool, In he United States it the constitution.

Ralph and piggy try and mimic the adult world in almost every way.  This actually shows Golding pessimistic view as well as his philosophical standing. He takes the Hobbesian view that people are fundamentally aggressive and egoistic creatures. This will be demonstrated later. Ralph is representative of the democratic leader, order and democracy. “They were glad to touch the brown backs of the fence that hemmed in the terror and made it governable.”(Golding p.152) Piggy and Jack are inseparably linked to each other. The way democracy, secularism and science are. As the boys orderly civilization crumbles the author does this by the death of piggy which is the symbolic death of reason and logic “Ralph wept for  the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy.” (Golding, p.202)

Jack and his tribe represent dictatorship and tyrannical rule. It also brings out something very interesting about society in that without an institution to hold it together and that can be feared that which is feared the most will take over. Without this thing to fear it all degenerates its superfluous with his mask, “the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness.” (Golding, p.64) Jack uses fear to control his tribe and the littluns. “I’m scared of him, and that’s why I know him. If you’re scared of someone you hate him but you can’t stop thinking about him.” (Golding, p.96) A confluence of events involving jack leads to the degeneration of the whole thing. The author may have been making a hint at the consequences of indulging tyrannical regimes such as that of Joseph Stalin.

As asserted with the few examples the authors symbolism is worthy of a doctoral thesis. That said the few examples I have picked are jam packed with a multiplicity of  symbols. In world war two the world was split between democratic countries and tyranny. This was the political situation in real life and on the island jack was this very dictator who ruled by fear while Ralph was the democrat elected by popular will. Once the conch was smashed civilization was over. A warning by the author lest we become Ralph looking up , “green and black mask before him, trying to remember what Jack looked like.”(Golding p.178)

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