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Literary Devices Used in William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies': Essay

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‘Lord of the Flies’ is an allegorical novel produced by author William Golding that has a large variety of literacy techniques that correlate towards making the reader feel intrigued about what is upcoming. The use of symbolism, themes, and allegory boosts the experience of how the reader may reflect on these instances, delivering a clear understanding of the natural order. The novel is based on an unsettled tropical island located within the Pacific Ocean, where a large group of schoolboys aged 6 to 12 are left stranded after their plane was attacked and smashed into the island. With plenty of mixed emotions being expressed throughout the situation, they are later held accountable for the consequences of what is next to come.

Within the book, Golding showcases the important conch shell that is blown by the chief, Ralph, which has a symbolic meaning of civil disclosure that justifies the democratic chaos. As seen in the early stages of the novel, all the boys come together to discuss different aspects of their potential tribe. Therefore, the representation of the conch is powerful among the boys since it gives the person freedom of speech, allowing the youngest member of the group the ability to embrace their personal opinion as it is a source of communication. But as the novel progresses, Ralph is seen flourishing frustrated with his act of jealousy, since the conch doesn’t achieve the same success as Ralph. Another example of symbolism is Piggy’s glasses, as it serves the power of science. When Jack’s hunters bombard Ralph’s camp to steal the glasses, they use the spectacles to engage light enables to establish a fire in the wood pit. Not only do symbols represent objects, but they can also show meaning to the characters, as Ralph is referred to as the athletic protagonist, Jack as the antagonist having a savage hunger for power, and Piggy as the source of innovation.

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An example of Golding’s displaying allegories is when the conch was discovered along the lagoon by Ralph and Piggy. “S’right. It’s a shell. I’ve seen one like that before. On someone’s back wall. A conch he called it. He used to blow it and then his mum would come. It’s ever so valuable” (Golding, 11). Ralph not smiling and spotting something creamy within the ferny weeds. The deeper meaning behind the conch, stated earlier, claims that it symbolically serves as democracy, which is heavily related to the novel as you reach the later stages. With everyone showing recognition of the conch, it was time for the people to realize that they needed to stay silent and introduce totalitarianism.

All of the themes demonstrated in the novel include other purposes to not only indicate what the text is but further explain the current situation. Without the use of themes, the novel won’t be able to clearly explain the conflict between both instincts, making it harder to understand, with the occurrence of savagery and civilization being mentioned numerous times; the growth of Jack and his fellow group members wanting to go out into the forest and hunt for pigs shows his temptation for violence. Instead of supporting the creation of shelters, this can help indicate that Ralph and Jack have their own individual differences in what mindset they have in accomplishing things. As the boys get used to the routine of becoming bloodthirsty hunters, they naturally lose their sense of innocence after they are officially painted to become savages, “These painted savages would go further and further” (Golding, 204), have experienced killing animals and torture. You can see the evolution happen. “Well, we haven’t got any yet. And we want shelters. Besides, the rest of your hunters came back hours ago. They’ve been swimming” (Golding, 51). It once had innocent children having some fun in the lagoon. Another theme implemented is their struggle to execute the civilization, believing that rules and maintaining a signal fire should be the main priorities, meanwhile, Jack strongly believes that fun should be focused on their safety and protection. Although at one stage everyone agrees to obey Ralph’s orders and decisions, the slow process of tasks makes the majority of the boys not want to participate in following the designated orders.

To wrap up the conclusion, the reputation of the book was no surprise as people’s expectations were met when reading Golding’s novel. The combination of allegories and the producing understandable themes and symbols really made the novel outstanding.

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Literary Devices Used in William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’: Essay. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
“Literary Devices Used in William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’: Essay.” Edubirdie, 15 Nov. 2023,
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Literary Devices Used in William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’: Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Nov 15 [cited 2024 Feb 21]. Available from:
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