What Is Piggy's Glasses Symbolize In Lord Of The Flies

902 Words 4 Pages
The book Lord of the Flies by William Golding shares in a rich literary tradition. Stories of abandonment on deserted islands are prominent elements of such classic works as Robison Crusoe, Treasure Island, and The Odyssey. Golding's story of a group of boys stranded on a desert island shares several of the hallmarks of these works, but with one distinct difference: Lord of the Flies practically abounds with symbols. Throughout the book, numerous people, objects, and events share a more complex, abstract meaning. Piggy’s spectacles are one of the most significant of these symbols. Piggy’s glasses are relevant symbols in Lord of the Flies primarily because they represent human intelligence, civilization, and the boys’s slow descent into savagery. …show more content…
As before, the glasses gain some symbolic qualities from Piggy himself, who is the epitome of a sensible British boy. He often remarks condescendingly that the other boys are “acting like a crowd of kids” as if he was not one himself (Golding 38). He resolutely supports the authority of the conch, and takes comfort in assemblies long after they become useless (Golding 101, 170). Piggy is also the only person on the island whose hair never grows (Golding 64). While the other boys become scruffy and wild-looking, Piggy retains his sparse wispy hair “as though baldness was his natural state” (Golding 64). The glasses also serve as a symbol of civilization through their necessity to creating the all-important fire. The fire is the boys’s only chance of escape as well as providing shelter and comfort (Golding 80-81). These The fire is the boys’s last links to civilization, and all the advantages of the fire would not be possible without Piggy’s glasses. Jack becomes conscious this when his tribe needs a way to cook their food, forcing them to raid the huts and steal Piggy’s glasses (Golding 167-168). However strong they may be, without the influence of civilization imbued in the glasses, they cannot make fire. Piggy’s glasses are both literally and symbolically one of the few remnants of civilization left on the island, and though they are necessary, the refinement they represent directly opposes the primordial …show more content…
As the boys become increasingly wild and uncivilized, the glasses become progressively cracked. This first happens just after Jack deserts the signal fire to go kill a pig, and causing the first major conflict between Ralph and Jack (Golding 71). As Jack and his boys become more wild and unruly, they desert an opportunity for rescue and choose to have wild savagery over return to civilization. As a result Piggy becomes half-blind, which shows that reason and order also become half-blinded. This trend continues when Jack and his tribe, now completely feral, attack the huts to steal Piggy’s glasses for fire making (Golding 167-168). With this blow, Jack’s savages cripple civilized intelligence while neglecting their only hope of returning to civilization. By the time the Navy arrives to rescue the boys, there is nothing left but the “remains of a pair of spectacles” (Golding 201). As the boys on the island become more and more wild, the remnants of civilization contained in Piggy’s glasses become more and more dilapidated. Overall, Piggy’s glasses are possibly the most important symbol in Lord of the Flies. In a book primarily concerned with the concept that humans are ruled by primordial instincts, a symbol of the more developed points of humankind has especial significance. Lord of the Flies primarily shows this significance through

Related Documents