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When some children in Lord of the Flies get stranded on a deserted island from a plane crash, the kids are left to fend for themselves with no adults, manmade resources, shelter, or sense of direction; the children soon find it very important to have rules and a sense of security so they are not scared or put in danger. Three symbols that are significant to this novel would be the conch shell, Piggy's glasses, and the "beastie." The kids have found the conch shell to be a tool for order. They have Piggy's glasses which give them a sense of security. The kids are scared of this monster like things that they call the "beastie." The three symbols; the conch, Piggy's glasses and the "beastie" represent three things that the kids have in their lives whether they want it or not; which is order, security, and fear.
The conch shell represents the desire of having order and rules. The first thing that the conch was used for was to call all the kids together for the first meeting on the island. When anybody held up the conch, the others should be quiet so nothing was chaotic:
"And another thing. We can't have everybody talking at once. We'll have to have 'hands up' like at school."
He held the conch before his face and glanced round the mouth.
"Then I'll give him the conch."
"That's what this shell's called. I'll give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he's speaking."
"And he won't be interrupted. Except by me."
Jack was on his feet.
"We'll have rules!" he cried excitedly. "Lots of rules!" (Golding 33)
This quote shows that all the kids want order, including Ralph and Jack. Ralph is the only person that is allowed to interrupt the person that is holding the conch. Order was wanted and also needed for the boys in the beginning of the story; these boys used manners in the story and even wore uniforms. Toward the end of the story, they are all half naked, unwashed boys that are colored with clay and had sharp sticks in their hands. The kids changed a lot during the story, but order and rules were changed and broken as well. Even earlier on, the kids were breaking the rules about the conch. When there is no order, it is just like the story Liberty. When Momma is being mean, Liberty and the kid go and hide in their secret place that they feel safe. Simon in Lord of the Flies also hides in his own secret place on the island. Even when there is supposed to be rules to be followed, the kids do not always want to listen to them.
"I got the conch-"
Jack turned fiercely.
"You shut up!" (Golding 42)
Jack doesn't want to follow the rules and Ralph doesn't seem to stop him even though he is the chief. Piggy thinks very logically compared to the other kids on the island. Piggy says "How can you expect to be rescued if you don't put first things first and act proper?" (Golding 45). Piggy was right about acting proper and having a list of high priorities. Not only was Piggy right about putting first things first but, he also was the smarter decision maker. Piggy wanted order but the other kids didn't really care. Piggy says "You wouldn't care to help with the shelters, I suppose?" "We want meat-" (Golding 51). Piggy is talking to Jack about building the shelters but Jack and the others just want to hunt pigs and eat meat. Piggy was thinking about the bigger picture and thinks rational about things like the shelter while the other kids were thinking about their stomachs and the here and now. Piggy has the conch, nobody usually listens to him. Piggy says "That's what I said! I said about our meetings and things and then you said shut up-" (Golding 43). Ralph and Jack steal Piggy's ideas several times throughout the story. People don't follow the rules and there is chaos. Not many of the kids seem to like Piggy either; that is why not many people listen to him. Everyone listens to Jack or Ralph because Jack was the choir leader and Ralph is the chief. There seems to always be order when they especially have the conch. At the end of the story, there is a lot of fighting between the two remaining tribes. They ended up killing Simon and Piggy and the conch shell breaks. "The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from the chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist" (Golding 181). Once the conch shell breaks, this is a symbol of how the kids lose the order that was needed. The kids are blood thirsty beasts. This does not show order in the kids at all. They have turned into savages when they go to kill a pig or a "beast" by chanting "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!"(Golding 152). They repeat this chant over a dozen times in this book. For example, when they kill the sow and leave the head of the pig as a sacrifice for the "beast," when they kill Simon or they kill just a normal pig. The kids are not the proper British boys that were in the beginning of the book. They have turned into savages and everything is chaotic. When the conch shell breaks, it is like the story The Scarlet Ibis because there are both things that are broken (or die) that cannot be used again. Two kids get killed on the island because of the kids fear in the "beastie." This was not what the rules had allowed them to do. The rules on the island and back in their homes where there were grown-ups to watch them. The rules were broken even right after the kids had established these rules. Some other rules were that they all had to fill up fresh water in coconut shells, go to the bathroom only in specific areas, and that the fire could only be on the top of the mountain. " 'Samneric. Get me a coconut. An empty one.' He knelt, holding the shell of water" (Golding 63). Jack followed the rule about the drinking water from the coconut shells. The rules were not always broken. The rule about the fire being on top of the mountain was a very important rule. The only way that the kids could start the fire was with Piggy's glasses.
Piggy's pair of glasses is another important symbol in Lord of the Flies. The spectacles symbolize security; they symbolize the security of the kids and the security that Piggy has by wearing his spectacles. When there is a sense of security, there is order and nobody is scared. When the kids get scared, there is total chaos and the kids always get hurt in some way or another. The hope of being rescued was important to the kids because without that feeling of being safe, they don't ever have a positive feeling about themselves and without that feeling, they don't ever think that there is a chance to get off the island and be rescued. The only way that they could even possibly get rescued, during the day or the night, was if they had a fire. People on ships nearby might see the smoke and might come to see if there is a problem. "We want to be rescued; and of course we shall be rescued" (Golding 37). The kids wanted to be rescued. "There's another thing. We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make a fire" (Golding 38). The fire was the only way that they believed they could be rescued. Piggy's glasses helped start the fire. "His specs- use them as burning glasses!" (Golding 40). Piggy's glasses were very important. Piggy's glasses break when Jack smacks his face and knocks them off. The glasses could still be used for the fire, but Piggy was half blind from that point on. When the kids split into two groups, one group takes the glasses and then piggy is completely blind because he doesn't have them. When his glasses were broken or gone, he had lost a major piece of security. The glasses were the one thing that was needed to light the fire and for Piggy's sight. The glasses were essential for the kids and Piggy. Without the fire, the kids get scared and start seeing things. The kids often believe that there is a "beastie" that will come and attack them.
The "beastie" was another important symbol in the book. The "beastie" represented the fear that the kids had. The fear that they had was for something that was unreal. The kids did not know this which is probably the reason why the kids kept believing in the "beastie." This story goes with Liberty because they were scared that they would never be able to have their freedom (or get saved). The littluns thought that the "beastie" looked like a snake thing at first. "He says he saw the beastie, the snake-thing, and will it come back tonight?" (Golding 36). A lot of the littluns believed that there was a snake-thing called the "beastie." Another kid thought that he saw things moving in the trees. "I was asleep when the twisty things were fighting and when they went away I was awake, and I saw something big and horrid moving in the trees" (Golding 85). There was another littlun that thought he saw a big squid thing in the water but it was a normal squid that he saw in the water. Another time, some kids saw this shadow, it moved, swayed and made noises. They all thought it was very scary. Simon later found out that it was a dead parachutist caught in the trees. Simon never got a chance to tell any of the other kids because they killed him before he could. None of the kids have any idea where the beast could even live because the kids have all explored the while island. "Well then- I've been all over this island. By myself. If there was a beast I'd have seen it. Be frightened because you're like that- but there is no beast in the forest" (Golding 83). Not only were the kids often scared about something that was not real, but they believed that it was real even though they knew it couldn't be real.
"And what about the beast?"
Something strange was happening to Percival. He yawned and staggered, so that Jack seized and shook him.
"Where does the beast live?"
Percival sagged in Jack's grip.
"That's a clever beast," said Piggy jeering, "if it can hide on this island." (Golding 87)
Piggy was right. There was no place that a beast could hide on the island. The beast is only in their imagination. Piggy tells the kids that there is no real beast and there isn't anything to be afraid of but, the kids do not listen to him. They just want something to fear because most kids have something that they are afraid of. The beast is the kid's fear that they have for something that is not real.
Overall, the three main aspects that were present in the kids' lives were order, security and fear; their aspects presented a symbol in a unique way for the kids in Lord of the Flies. The order that is presented in the kids' lives is so there isn't chaos or fighting amongst them. The security that the kids need is important to them so that they can have the hope of them ever getting rescued. Fear is an emotion that is in every kid's life; especially in the kids' lives in Lord of the Flies. This fear actually destroyed lives.