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Lord of The Flies: Main Themes And Symbolism

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Lord of the Flies is a 1954 novel by Nobel Prize–winning British author William Golding, published 17th of September 1954 is 224 pages of a genre of Allegory. The book focuses on a group of British boys stranded on an unknown uninhabited island during a fictional worldwide war in 1950 during a disastrous attempt of a group of young men to govern themselves, Set But the real disaster comes with the uncontrolled power that eventually tears them apart, hence the main theme of power. There are various forms of power, but the ones that are most effective in Lord of the Flies are Authoritarian power, Democratic power and power in symbolism.

Here the subject of discussion is all about symbolism and how it represents Power, In Lord of the flies there are multiple, for example the conch shell, The Beast and Piggy’s Glasses.

The Conch shell is what started everything as piggy used it to summon all the boys to the beach after they got separated from the crash, from this moment till the end, the conch shell became a symbol for power as it is used as order and civilization as Ralph says Where the conch is, that’s a meeting. The same up here as down there” and “partly because Ralph blew it, and he was big enough to be a link with the adult world of authority; and partly because they enjoyed the entertainment of the assemblies”. You might be thinking, what? How? It’s just a shell but in their fictional world the shell effectively governs the boys’ meetings, for the boy who holds the shell holds the right to speak as it only works as long as the boys all believe in its power and the necessity of the idea it symbolizes.

Another demonstration of power in the form of symbolism is The Beast, as it is the imaginary beast that frightens all the boys, it is used as symbolism of power as the boys use the idea and concept of the beast for personal gain, The boys are scared and frightened of the beast, but only Simon reaches the realization that they fear the beast because it stimulates the fear that’s already in each and every one of them. And just like the conch shell The Beast only exists because of the boy’s belief in it and when they grow more savage, their belief in the beast grows stronger hence making it more powerful in their minds.

Symbolism of power in Lord of the Flies can be found in what we could go down to the $2 shop and get ourselves. Jack and his rebel band decide that the real symbol of power on the island is not the conch, but Piggy’s glasses—the only means the boys have of starting a fire. They raid Ralph’s camp, confiscate the glasses, and return to their abode on Castle Rock. Ralph, now deserted by most of his supporters, journeys to Castle Rock to confront Jack and secure the glasses. Taking the conch and accompanied only by Piggy, Sam, and Eric, Ralph finds the tribe and demands that they return the valuable object.

Power in Lord of flies can be represented in all sorts of ways including authoritarian power as certain characters throughout the novel display this, including none the less Jack. Authoritarian power is when power is given to an individual or small group.

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Jack displays his authoritarian power, by defying the existing power of democracy on the island. For example in page 98 when Ralph had control over the conch, Jack confronted ralph about his leadership saying “and shut up! Who are you, anyway? Sitting there telling people what to do. You can’t hunt, you can’t sing”. William Golding portrayed this through heavy use of repetition, not just in this quote but throughout the novel. Golding illustrates jacks authoritarian power through rhetorical questions that is used to emphasize the point that Jack is defying the democratic power already in play. Authorities power often use fear and threats to control the public, Although Jack doesn’t do this often throughout the novel, there has been sightings of it, and for example, “The boys of jack’s tribe are afraid of jack, making them follow him”. As Golding asserts jack as one of the more dominant leaders, he declares that one of Jacks dominant qualities is pathos and Golding emphasizes this through fear and terror. Golding Portrays power in many different ways in lord of the flies including authoritarian power.

William Golding asserts the theme of power very heavily in lord of the flies, so much so that there are too many forms of power throughout the novel to count but the form of power Jack defied was democratic power, democratic power can defined as a form of government in which the people have the authority to choose their governing legislature, on the island this is demonstrated through Ralph as he is put through an election and wins to obtains this power with the title of chief. And what Ralph does with this power is he creates a system of government that is organized and based on laws. An example of this is, “We need an assembly. Not for fun. Not for laughing and falling of the log”. Golding portrays this through Logos as when Ralph makes rules, he thinks logically about safety, security and staying connected with each other. Democratic power is also strongly represented through the conch as it drives everyone power hungry for it as the boys see Ralph with the conch they say:

“Him with the shell”

“Ralph! Ralph!”

“Let him be chief with the trumpet thing”.

The tone illustrated by Golding is hunger and lingering horror, the hunger for the democratic power of the conch and the horror from what the hunger brings later on in the novel. William Golding uses hyperbole to convey how much influence and power the conch actually has, by over exaggerating the conch’s power, it sends the boys down a savage path and that’s when hyperbole comes into play again with savagery and the theme of horror. Golding asserts democratic power heavily into Lord of the flies that is demonstrated through the conch and Ralph.

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Lord of The Flies: Main Themes And Symbolism. (2022, March 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/lord-of-the-flies-main-themes-and-symbolism/
“Lord of The Flies: Main Themes And Symbolism.” Edubirdie, 17 Mar. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/lord-of-the-flies-main-themes-and-symbolism/
Lord of The Flies: Main Themes And Symbolism. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/lord-of-the-flies-main-themes-and-symbolism/> [Accessed 9 Dec. 2022].
Lord of The Flies: Main Themes And Symbolism [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 17 [cited 2022 Dec 9]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/lord-of-the-flies-main-themes-and-symbolism/
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