In the beginning of the book we can see that boys needed order and maintained the features of the civilized world they had by using conch. It kept them allied together and gave particular rules and laws for their group (society). The supreme law was that whoever holds the conch has the right to speak his mind and will without any interjection or disrespect. The case is a resemblance of having a policeman’s badge or, if thinking on a larger scale, even the mace in our parliament. Thus, boys had an organized system of living, based on reason, knowledge and insight given by the experience of living by adult rules.
However, the Lord of Flies had an even greater power that excelled the one of conch – fear. That’s what Jack used to gain power over the rest of the castaway boys. His promises to kill the beast decreased boys’ fear and that’s what made him eventually win over the group.
In the beginning the mini-society created by the boys was peaceful. They reasonably stated that the prime thing to do in their case is to set a signal fire and live eating fruit until help comes. But then the major conflict arises when it becomes evident that the fire maintenance and hunting could not be adequately committed to at the same time. Therefore, due to the fire being a 24 hour duty and hunting affair requiring the whole group, boys started to part. On one hand was Ralph’s fire which was a logical things to provide in order to be rescued, on the other hand was hunting that could raise the living standard for the group, in addition it would bring an experience of luxury and recreation. In the fight about the priority sets the hunting side eventually wins.
It should be stated that the whole novel is a symbolic representation of human and society natures in general. The island is given as an evolving society being metaphorical to a human society as a whole and the hunt which occurs at the end of the novel conveys a symbol of war.
Another symbol that the author uses throughout the novel is the conch. It is a representation of the law and order of the left adult, of the authority which the boys are so used to obeying. With the elimination of the conch, anarchy evolves for any presence of central leadership is rejected.
Another significant object is Peggy’s glasses, which is a representation of the voice of reason and knowledge of the group. Piggy (superego of society’s collective personality) protects the glasses even more than the conch, the assist in finding solutions in boys’ problems. The glasses created the fire, which gave boys a chance to be rescued. After the glasses are broken, they lose the insight.
The war paint also has a symbolic meaning – the rejection of society. The act of putting on the mask of war paint means the inverse act of taking of the mask of society, which therefore reveals their true inner savageness.
The beast, the Lord of the Flies, which is given as a real object, is actually a symbolic beast dwelling in minds and soul of the boys. This internal beast leads them to the chaos of a society lacking the adult reasoning.
List of reference: Scott, Mary Lynn. Universal Pessimist, Cosmic Optimist: William Golding. Aurora Online. 2001. http://aurora.icaap.org/archive/golding.html
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