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Nature’s Symbolism

Much symbolism is used in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. The nature on the island is used as the primary source of symbolism. There are three main uses of nature’s symbolism: a pink conch shell, a pig’s head, and fire. Nature is a symbol that parallels to the real world. It helps prove the author’s theory that Humankind is foolish and evil in any situation.

The first important part of nature’s symbolism is a pink conch shell. At the beginning of the book, it was found by Ralph (13). The conch shell represents power and authority. Ralph uses it to call for the boys to come to the meeting (15). In the meetings, whoever has the shell has the power to speak. The conch shows how people use objects to give power, like a king and his scepter and crown, or other things which show who has power. It is also evident that objects don’t give power when people choose not to obey it, like Ralph’s conch.

The pig’s head, or Lord of the Flies, is another important use of symbolism through nature. Jack and his hunters killed a pig and cut off its head (125). To Jack, the head is a sacrifice for the beast (127). This object demonstrates that people make religions and rituals to control their world, even though what they think is not true. Lord of the Flies is a symbol of the Devil, or Satan. When Simon communicated with Lord of the Flies, he found out what real evil was, which is the evil in the hearts of people. The pig’s head is a symbol of the thing we make up to be the cause for evil, when those things aren’t the real reason.

Fire is the last symbol of nature. It stands for hope and rescue. When the fire was burning bright, it was because the boys had hope and were working hard to get rescued. When the fire burnt out, it was because too many boys, like Jack, lost hope for being rescued. In the end, the fire that got the attention of naval officers was ironically not meant for rescue. It was there because Jack was trying to flush Ralph out of the forest by burning down the island (182). The fire at the end shows us that we sometimes get things from luck instead of hard work.

Lord of the Flies is filled with symbolism through nature, which makes an important comment about Humankind. The objects parallel to things in the real world like power, religion, pride, hope, and authority. They help to show us that what happened in the story happen anyway, just in different ways. They prove Golding’s belief that Humankind is foolish and evil under any circumstances.


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