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In Lord of the Flies, Golding uses symbols to differentiate between the civilized side and the savaged side. If you have already noticed, to become civilized, you have to learn it. What I am meaning to say is that without society in tact we humans would all return to our savagery. An example of this ever happening is shown clearly in Lord of the Flies.
First, let me tell you about Lord of the Flies for those readers who don't know of this book. The book takes place during a world war. It's starts off with boys escaping from the war, they ride a plane to some far away place, but there is an accident that happens. The plane crashes into a deserted island that is filled with a bountiful of fruits, and a couple of animals, such as pigs. The plane crashes due to an atomic bomb, and the only survivors are little boys (the oldest boy is about the age of 12) with no adults.
At first the boys seek to have fun while having order in their little society they created in the island. But, as time passed, the boys reverted back into savages, and came into chaos. Will these boys ever be saved? This is a very interesting book that I recommend others to read.
Anyways, Golding had shown throughout the story of several symbols in the story that shown the differences between savagery and civilized. In the following, I shall tell you about what these symbols are, what they represent, and what do they compare and contrast to.
To start off explaining what the symbols Golding used to represent the civilized side. The first and most obvious symbol is the conch-it's a seashell that creates a loud sound if you blow at it (for your information)-they used the conch to call out meetings. The conch represents order and as the story the boys lost their civilized side and order in the island, the conch became more ignored and useless. For example in the end of the book, Golding shows the conch finally being destroyed and shattered. When this occurred, there were no more civilized actions that took place-there was no order, only more chaos. Then there is the signal fire, this represents a form of technology, also, tells how much a connection the boys still have civilization. Throughout the story, Ralph and his group-Piggy, Simon, Sam and Eric, and the Littleluns-try to keep the fire going. This also shows how persistent they still are in getting saved. Next is Piggy's Glasses, his glasses too represents a form of technology because it serves as a way of providing fire, it is the source of the fire. As the history describes it, "before fire was discovered, men were cavemen."
Then there are the characters that serve in the civilized side. There is Ralph, who is, or was the chief, he represents leadership. Next is Piggy, who likes to be civilized, he is represented as the intellectual of the group, and also a part of the civilized side. Finally there is Simon, also referred to as the "Christ figure" for his natural kindness. Simon is "special" compared to others, because if you can recall, to be civilized is a taught manner, in Simon's case it is a natural manner where he isn't forced to be civilized.
Here is some extra information. The Littleluns, they are the younger of boys who are powerless. The Littleluns represent the common people. The Biguns, they are the older kids, like Ralph, Piggy and Simon. They represent the higher class, the people who have power to do something-basically they represent the ruling classes and leaders.
Items that represented a part of savagery are the beast, the Lord of the Flies, the face paint, the uncontrollable fire, the hunt, the chant and the broken rules. The beast is a creature made within each minds of the boys of the island. The beast is actually an imaginary creature that the boys created by themselves. Once, the boys have mistaken the beast-since Jack declared that the beast can disguise itself to fool the boys-as a dead pilot strapped with a parachute, and another time, they mistaken it as Simon, and killed him. As the boys believe in the beast more, the boys become more savage since believing in something imaginary is a primary instinct that "used" to be within all of us until society taught us out of this instinct. The lord of the flies is a sow, or mother pig, that Jack's group hunted and placed on a stick as a sacrifice to the beast. It is called the "lord of the flies "because of the many flies that swarmed the head.
The face paint serves as a symbol for the savage side, because it was used during their hunts to disguise their selves, and changes their personality. It also shows their immaturity level. Next, is the uncontrollable fire shown in the beginning of the story. The uncontrollable fire shows their irresponsibility. Also, because of the becoming a wild fire, it resulted into having one littlelun (the boy with the mulberry-colored mark on his face) being killed. Next, is the hunt-led by Jack and his hunters. This proves how cruel they have become when they kill a sow nursing her child in the wild. They kill it through the most cruel and gruesome way by stabbing it with sticks, and one stick stabbing it through the butt. Another symbol representing their savagery is when they made up those gruesome chants: "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in." and "Kill the Beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!" Finally, there are the broken rules. As the boys break and ignore the rules that Ralph made in the beginning the more the boys became savages. Some rules they broke was "taking shorts" in the rocks-"taking shorts" means to go pooh. This shown how badly their diarrhea have become, that taking shorts in uncontrollably, and sudden. The boys became further away from becoming civilized-those who were civilized remained with following the rules unlike the others.
Now, let's talk about the boys who represent the savage side. First there is Jack, he is the leader of the savage side, also the leader of the hunters, and used to be the leader of a choir. He is the antagonist, while Ralph is the protagonist. Jack represents the craving for power, and a savage. In his group he leads as a dictator. Next there is Roger. He can represent pure evil, and a subordinate of Jack. He is bloodlust, and a bully to others. An examples of his "evilness" is how in the beginning of the book (page 60), "Roger and Maurice came out of the forest. They were relieved from duty at the fire and had come down for a swim. Roger led the way straight though the castles, kicking them over, burying the flowers, scattering the chosen stones."
Compare and Contrast
First let's talk about the differences between being civil and being a savage. Civil means: "Showing evidence of moral and intellectual advancement; humane, ethical, and reasonable" - TheFreeDictionary.com. To be a savage means: "the property of being untamed and ferocious"-TheFreeDictionary.com. To become civilized is a learned manner through society. To become a savage is to become what we once were.
As you can see in the story that when the boys tried to become civilized, Ralph created rules that were forced onto the littleluns, but for the good of the greater. Unlike the savage side, Jack's side, he imposes laws he created himself to fit his needs, or desires. Ralph leads a democracy, but Jack leads a dictatorship government.
Now let's compare the boys. There is Piggy, Simon, and Ralph on the civilized side, and Jack, and Roger on the savage side. Samneric (the nickname for both Sam and Eric since they are always together), and Bill are side characters, they don't really take a side.
Simon is the good, while Roger on the other hand, is the evil. Ralph, Simon, and Piggy try to improve their little society with democracy, for the greater good, but Jack, and Roger, impose forceful laws punishable with torture, and lead a government of dictatorship that appeal to their "wants".
The civilized side likes to be clean and orderly-they create laws such as where to take shorts, they try to have meeting to discuss of matters concerning the whole group-while the savage side is all about brutality and craziness-evidence shows during the hunts and in the growing bloodlust the boys.
In conclusion, the only difference between becoming a savage and becoming a civil person is through their actions. Also, without a connection to society, the people will once again revert back into savages. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding, use symbols throughout the story-such as the beast and Piggy's glasses-to get the reader a feel of what the difference is between savagery, and civilized.