Symbols: progression of regression
Uploaded by frollypoo on Mar 02, 2002
To fully understand an author’s central theme, one must appreciate the symbols he uses and what the symbols represent. The symbols used by Nobel Prize winning author William Golding, in his novel Lord of the Flies, illustrates this need for comprehension. The characters in this novel, a group of school aged British boys, are stranded on a tropical utopia. Ralph, who is the chosen chief, tries to keep a sense of civilization alive with rules and responsibility; Piggy aids Ralph by being the voice of reason and knowledge. A split between the boys leads to Jack taking control and creating his immoral and reckless tribe. The boys’ regression from a civilized society to savagery is symbolized by the use of Piggy’s glasses, the fire and the importance of the conch.
Firstly, the glasses, worn by Piggy represent intelligence and technology. The boys use “his specs-…as burning glasses” (Golding 41). They use their intuitiveness and teamwork to make the fire that would later aid in their rescue and are very concerned with starting the fire and keeping it going. But, in no time the state of the glasses begin to deteriorate because of a clash between Jack and Piggy when “Jack smacked Piggy’s head…and Piggy’s glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks” (Golding 75). One side of Piggy’s glasses are broken; this shows the boys lack of compassion because they do not care if Piggy can see. Furthermore, when Jack and his tribe take control one night “they came, stealing…at night, in darkness, and stole…” (Golding 188). The boys have finally crossed the line, like thieves they stole Piggy’s glasses not caring that they blinded him. The glasses, depreciate in value throughout the novel. They go from being intact and representing good judgment, to being half-intact to their total devastation when they are stolen by Jack and his out of control tribe.
Subsequently, the fire, in particular, the rescue, fire was of great importance to the boys in the beginning but towards the end it lost all value and was no longer kept as a main priority. In the beginning, the fire was only meant to be used as a rescue signal; the reason for this fire was to “help them to find us (the boys). If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain” (Golding 37)....