Symbolism in William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies' Essay

1931 Words May 18th, 2010 8 Pages
Symbolism in William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’

Definition: A symbol is something that is itself as well as something else. In literature it means literal or objective sense coupled with abstract meaning. Symbolism refers to serious and extensive use of symbols in a work of literature.

Symbolism in Lord of the Flies: The novel is rich in symbolism. A host of different interpretations of the novel’s symbolism – political, psychological and religious – exists. We will look at some of the prominent symbols employed by Golding and try harmonizing the different interpretations. Since symbolism is an evocative device to communicate the theme of a literary piece, we must first agree on the theme of Lord of the Flies.

Theme: Evil
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He has apparently evacuated himself from a warplane that has been hit. The man crashes to his death at the top of the hill on the island. He, with his parachute, is taken to be a mysterious supernatural beast by the boys among whom the talk of a snake-like beast of the jungle is already rampant. The dead parachutist is not, however, just an extension of the ghost metaphor. He also represents the historical past intruding on the scene and influencing it in a profound manner. For the boys the historical past is the war they left behind. For humanity it would be the past of man as an insidious influence in his present.
5. The Beast – Lord of the Flies: The title of the novel is itself symbolic. The phrase is a literal translation of the Hebrew ‘Beelzebub’, one of the demons named after a philistine god. Later the term was often used in Christianity as a name for the Devil. The metaphor is one of regression (in its original sense of paganism) and evil (in its later meaning of the Devil). In the novel one of the younger boys, who is referred to as ‘the boy with the birthmark on his face’, tells the others about having seen a snake-like beast on the trees. Though Ralph tries to allay their fears as unfounded, the belief in the beast persists. It is strengthened by the unexplained disappearance of the boy with the birthmark. It is reinforced by the ‘beast from air’ mentioned above, so mush

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