In Lord of the Flies
Symbolism played an important part in the development
of story. This narrative technique is used to give a significance to certain
people or objects, which represent some other figure. The following table
lists many of the examples of symbolism used throughout Golding's book.
There are many other aspects in the story that may
be considered symbolism, but the several above are probably the most significant.
Another good example of symbolism, brought to my attention by a site visitor,
is the shape of the island. The boat shape of the island is an ancient
symbol of civilization. The water current around the island seems to be
"flowing backwards," giving the subtle impression that civilization may
be going backwards for the island or its inhabitants. Additionally, another
reader pointed out that Jack could also represent Communism or Fascism.
Golding was influenced by events during the time period that the book was
written, which was around World War II.
|Piggy (and Glasses)
Their state represents the status of social order.
|Ralph, The Conch
||Pure Goodness, "Christ Figure"
||A microcosm representing the
||Man's destruction, destructive
||The evil residing within everyone,
the dark side of human nature.
|Lord of the Flies
||The Devil, great danger or
William Golding presented numerous themes and
basic ideas that give the reader something to think about. One of the most
basic and obvious themes is that society holds everyone together, and without
these conditions, our ideals, values, and the basics of right and wrong
are lost. Without society's rigid rules, anarchy and savagery can come
Golding is also showing that morals come directly
from our surroundings, and if there is no civilization around us, we will
lose these values.
Other secondary themes include the following:
People will abuse power when it's not earned.
When given a chance, people often single out another
to degrade to improve their own security.
You can only cover up inner savagery so long before
it breaks out, given the right situation.
It's better to examine the consequences of a decision
before you make it than to discover them afterward.
The fear of the unknown can be a powerful force,
which can turn you to either insight or hysteria.
William Golding obviously was influenced by several
other authors in his creation of Lord of the Flies. His references
to Coral Island and the use of the names Jack and Ralph are both derived
from Robert Ballantyne's Coral Island. He has also had influence
from the likes of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jules Verne. Golding, however,
held a much more negative outlook on human nature, which he expressed in
his works, beginning with Lord of the Flies.