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Lord of the Flies

Here you can find the whole text of the presentations dedicated to the novel "Lord of the Flies" and uploaded on our site. You can download the presentions from the section "Lord of the Flies. Presentations". To get them follow the link...

Lord of the Flies. Symbols (by Seagull, 8davids8, & alex_makh)

We are going to speak about the symbols of the novel "Lord of the Flies".

"Lord of the Flies” is full of symbols. The story itself symbolizes the process of development of our society. In this presentation we speak of the most important symbols of the story. The conch shell is a symbol of unification and social cohesion. In this particular book it is also a symbol of power. Ralph uses the conch at the meetings. There any boy has a right to speak only when he holds the conch. The shell is a symbol of leadership. In the novel it is opposed to the knife. These two symbols actually help to create a society and to support order. But the use of the shell is a peaceful way to the civilization. The moment when Roger crushes the conch dropping some stone on Piggy represents the end of the civilization on the deserted island and the beginning of absolute barbarism among boys. 

Piggy’s spectacles is a symbol of civilized world. It shows that the life in the wild world is easier when people use means of civilization. As we can see it’s better for Piggy to wear his spectacles in order just not fall down. The spectacles symbolizes the power of knowledge. From the very beginning of the story the boys use it to make a signal fire. The efforts of Jack’s tribe to get the glasses show that knowledge is always appreciated as a great power in any kind of society, either civilization or savagery.

Jack’s knife is a symbol of aggression. It’s the first sign of the fact that evolution is a struggle for survival. This knife is also the first step of children into the adults’ world. Being a symbol of war and brute force the knife can also support power and order in any society. The knife becomes an opposition to the conch shell in the novel. Both things are useful in the creation of the society and supporting order. But the knife is a way of war and tragedy. By the end of the story the knife becomes the only thing that supports Jack’s power on the island.

The signal fire burns on the mountain attract the attention of passing ships that can rescue the boys. As a result, the signal fire means a certain link of the boys with civilization. In the first chapters of the novel, the fact that the boys maintain the fire signifying the boys’ desire to be rescued and return to society. When the fire burns low or goes out, we realize that the boys have lost their desire to be rescued and have started degrading towards savagery. The signal fire represents the level of the civilization prevailing among the boys. Ironically, at the end of the novel, the fire finally attracts soldiers on a ship to the island, but it is not the signal fire. Instead, it is the fire of savagery – the forest fire that the boys started while trying to kill Ralph.

The boys are frightened by the beastie. But the reader doesn’t know whether the beast exists or not. The thing is that it doesn’t matter. The beast is a symbol of what is happening with the society of the boys. The more they are afraid of the beast, the more savage they become. They lose their human looks and have primeval fear for the beast. The seed of fear is already in them, and as the narration goes it takes more place in the mind of the society. How it influences the boys is also important. Though Ralph tries to convince the boys that there is no beast, Jack says the contrary not understanding that he leads the society to its end and casts fear. He follows his own goals and his implicit struggle with Ralph may result in a social collapse. Golding shows how the society rots from inside while people in it struggle for power.

Simon speaks with the pig’s head that takes the form of Beelzebub and represents pure evil. This apparently means that there is no evil except what we create and the evil is in us. It is a profound religious allusion that shows the essence of evil representations, such as devil, demons or malign forces that are nothing more but just people’s malicious desires to generate evil in the world. Simon symbolically sees the evil which lives in humans and that is the root of the social problems. The understanding that came to Simon’s head is the crucial point in the novel simply because of its title. This issue can be extended to the society in general. The world is at war while the boys are on the island, and Golding thus compare the isolated island with the whole world where the same evil overwhelms people and makes them strive for power and kill each other.

Ralph represents order, leadership, and civilization. Piggy represents the scientific and intellectual aspects of civilization. Jack represents savagery and the desire for power. Simon represents natural human goodness. Roger represents brutality and bloodlust. The relationships that develop between the older boys and the younger ones emphasize the older boys’ connection to either the civilized or the savage instinct: civilized boys like Ralph and Simon use their power to protect the younger boys and somehow develop the society; savage boys like Jack and Roger use their power to fulfill their own desires, treating the smaller boys as objects for their own amusement.

To sum up, we should say, that the boys tried to develop a society on the deserted island. But in fact, they’ve just started to struggle for power and survival. In the end it leads to their savagery and seems that the society of the boys is doomed to destruction until they are rescued by the soldiers. All in all, the symbols are very profound and constitute a very important part of the story that helps the reader to understand the motifs of the novel.

Lord of the Flies. Motifs (by MissJane)

"Lord of the Flies”

Lord of the Flies. Allusions (by Asya, Luck, & Rina)

"Lord of the Flies" is full of allusions. We are going to discuss the most interesting and important of them.

An allusion is a reference to a famous person, a historical or religious figure, a historical event, or another literary work. Allusions allow an author to inject deep meaning with few words.

The first example of an allusion is the title of the novel itself.

Lord of the Flies – the title is a literal translation from Hebrew for Beelzebub, the devil's right hand demon in hell. This allusion emphasizes the evil that reigns over the island and within humankind.

Biblical Allusions in Lord of the Flies.

In the story, Lord of the Flies, there are many biblical allusions; Simon represents Jesus, the pig’s head represents Satan or rather their satanic sides, Jack represents Judas, and the island represents the Garden of Eden. Throughout this novel these allusions play large parts in the story and ideals place in the story.

Simon, one of the major characters in the story, is set as the allusion of Jesus. Christ always had an affinity with children; in Ch. 4, he shows his way with the ‘littluns’ by picking fruit for them. This shows his goodness by nature. Also, like Christ, he saw the atavistic problem of the hunters and tried to bring them back to good. Like in the bible, Simon, like Christ, dies as a martyr for his cause; coming back with the news that the beast is a corpse, he is slain by the savage hunters. "Simon, sitting between the twins and Piggy, wiped his mouth and shoved his piece of meat over the rocks to Piggy, who grabbed it. The twins giggled and Simon lowered his face in shame.” This quote shows that Simon is kind and sincere like Christ throughout his lifetimes. Simon goes often to the forest to meditate, just as Christ went for 40 days and nights to meditate in the desert.

The first chapters of the novel, the island itself resembles the Garden of Eden from Genesis, with its picturesque scenery, abundant fruit, and idyllic weather. Accordingly, the boys are symbolically linked to Adam and Eve before the fall. Ralph’s first act after the plane crash is to remove his clothes and bathe in the water, a gesture that recalls the nudity of the innocent Adam and Eve and the act of baptism, a Christian rite which, by some accounts, renews in the sinner a state of grace. Naming also becomes important in Genesis, reflected in the novel as the boys give their names.

The "snake-thing" recalls the presence of Satan in the Garden of Eden. But unlike Adam and Eve, the boys are mistaken about the creature, which is not an external force (like Satan) but a projection of the evil impulses that are innate within themselves and the human psyche. Still, it is the boys' failure to recognize the danger of the evil within themselves.

They continue to externalize it as a beast (again "Lord of the Flies" and "the Beast" are used in religion to refer to Satan), but they become more and more irrational in their perception of it, and they end up developing alternative religious ideas about the Beast and what it wants and does. Although Satan in the Genesis account also has been read as a reflection of evil within human nature, readers usually consider Satan an external force. Original sin enters human nature because of Satan. Without a real Satan in the novel, however, Golding stresses the ways that this Eden is already fallen; for these boys, evil already is within them waiting to be discovered.

Only Simon seems to be a positive character (like many biblical prophets and like Jesus). Critics also have noted that Simon's confrontation with the Lord of the Flies resembles Christ's conversation with the devil during his forty days in the wilderness as described in the New Testament gospels, and critics have noted parallels between Simon's murder and Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

Comparing Lord of the Flies to Hitler's Regime and the Holocaust

William Golding, the award winning author of Lord of the Flies, said in an interview that "Lord of the Flies was simply what it seemed sensible for me to write after the war, when everybody was thanking God they weren’t Nazis. And I’d seen enough and thought enough to realize that every single one of us could be Nazis…” (Shaffer 54). Golding’s novel strongly relates to the Nazi regime and the horrors of the Holocaust. Similarities can be seen between the leaders on the island and the Nazi leaders, as well as in the treatment of perceived lower class people in both situations. It also can be compared through the time and circumstances that both took place in.

Similarities Between Jack and Hitler:

Lord of the Flies has many similarities to the Nazi regime. One of these is how characters in the novel can be compared to Nazi leaders. For instance, in the novel Jack plays the role of Hitler. Like Hitler, Jack was a great orator, and used his charm to persuade the other boys to his point of view (Adolf Hitler Biography). This can be seen near the very beginning of the novel when Jack declares during one of the meetings: "I’m not going to be part of Ralph’s lot…I’m going off by myself. He can catch his own pigs. Anyone who wants to hunt when I do can come too” (Golding 140). They both waited for just the right moment when people were vulnerable and in need and looking for someone to step in and offer them some hope.

Hitler came to power at a time when Germany was at an all-time low. He won the public’s support with his promises of restoring Germans’ pride by helping them out of the recession and returning their country to its former glory (Adolf Hitler Biography). Jack did much the same thing, waiting until the boys were bored and restless under Ralph’s command, and then coming forward (Golding 146). Both men had a charismatic talent that they used for evil to accomplish something beneficial to them.

The Dehumanization of Piggy and the Jews:

Another similarity between Lord of the Flies and the Nazi system is the treatment of people who were perceived as being ‘lesser’ than the norm. During the Nazi’s reign in Germany, Jews were very ill-treated. In his book Mein Kampf, Hitler referred to them as "filthy Jews” (Jews in Nazi Germany). In Lord of the Flies, Piggy was an outcast among the boys, much like the Jews were outcasts in German society. He was verbally abused on numerous occasions, mainly by Jack. For instance, he was called Piggy against his will, as well as fatty.

By not calling him by his real name Jack and the other boys were dehumanizing Piggy, making him seem like less of a person and more of an object to be ridiculed. Hitler took the same approach with the Jews, dehumanizing them by categorizing them as "sub-humans” and spreading the lies that they were an inferior race (Jews in Nazi Germany). Hitler’s process of dehumanizing the Jews ultimately culminated in the horrors of the Holocaust because by making the Jews seem less than human, he removed the reproach in killing them. This is paralleled in Lord of the Flies when the dehumanization of Piggy ultimately results in his death at the hands of Roger (Golding 200).

Lord of the Flies and the Holocaust:

Lord of the Flies can be compared to the Holocaust through the time and circumstances they occurred in. Both took place during the devastation of World War II (Shaffer 54). In addition to this, both were set in remote areas. The Holocaust took place in Germany where unthinkable things went on for many years in secret. Most of the world was oblivious to the horror unfolding in Germany until after the war was over and they went in and saw all of the terror and devastation that resulted from Hitler and his Nazis. In Lord of the Flies the boys were stranded on a remote island. There was no proper leadership, no one in authority to step in and tell them that what they were doing was wrong. As a result of their lack of leadership, and because there were no adults to censor their behaviour, the boys went from being well mannered and behaved school boys, to bloodthirsty savages.

Near the beginning of the novel when Jack tried to kill a pig, he found that he couldn’t bring himself to do it "because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood” (Golding 29). This shows that Jack was still civilized; he had not yet begun to lose his humanity. Near the end of the novel when the boys were all hunting for Ralph, he approached Samneric who told him that "Roger sharpened a stick at both ends” (Golding 211). This is significant because earlier when the boys were hunting, Jack made them sharpen a stick at both ends. Then, after they had killed a pig, they stuck the stick in the ground and mounted the pig’s head on the other end of it. This shows that the boys had fully transformed into savages because they were willing to slaughter Ralph as if he were just a pig. As with the Holocaust, the events in Lord of the Flies took place in secret, with the outside human world having no idea of the horrors that were going on.

In conclusion, the novel Lord of the Flies has many similarities to the Nazi regime. This can be seen in parallels between characters in the novel such as Jack, and members of the Nazi party such as Hitler. There is also a common theme in both of dehumanization, leading to violence and ultimately death. The novel was set during World War II, at the same time that the devastation of the Holocaust unfolded and, like the Holocaust, the events in the novel took place in an isolated area which prevented any interference from the outside world. William Golding was deeply affected by the war and the horrors unleashed on the world by the Nazis. This can be seen in the way that Lord of the Flies seems to mirror certain events or circumstances similar to those of the Nazi regime, in an effort by the author to understand human nature and how it is possible to sink to such depravity.

Allusions to the Cold War.

Published in 1954 early in the Cold War, Lord of the Flies is firmly rooted in the sociopolitical concerns of its era.

Composed during the Cold War, the novel's action unfolds from a hypothetical atomic war between England and "the Reds," which was a clear word for communists.

Therefore the novel alludes to the Cold War conflict between liberal democratic U.S. and the totalitarian communistic USSR. Both Ralph and Jack symbolize different types of government. Ralph stands for democracy. The boys elect Ralph as leader, "elect" being the operative word here. Ralph shares responsibilities with the other boys. He is a boy who leads by example. Ralph has a vision, as much as a boy can have, of a functioning society. Ralph even gives Jack control of a sort of army/hunting wing of government. Ralph evolves by utilizing the strengths of other boys, like Simon and Piggy, to help develop a better society and perhaps get rescued.

Ralph, an embodiment of democracy, clashes tragically with Jack, a character who represents a style of military dictatorship similar to the West's perception of communist leader Joseph Stalin. Jack takes control and becomes the autocratic dictator who leads by fear instead of consultation and example. By the end of the novel Jack sets himself up as sort of a God/King, that can also be seen as an allusion to or even a parody of Stalin's personality cult. "Jack, now a leader sits on a great log, painted and garlanded as an idol.” The civilized democracy of Ralph has long been forgotten.

Allusions to communist regime.

In terms of symbolism Jack represents Stalin's leadership and therefore the author overtly alludes to the communist regime. Dressed in a black cape and cap, with flaming red hair, Jack also visually evokes the "Reds" in the fictional world of the novel and the historical U.S.S.R., whose signature colors were red and black.

At the time of writing a very western view was that the Communist east in Russia was spreading out - trying to spread communism across the world - in doing so it forced its influence over much of Easter Europe which became the Eastern Bloc. Therefore the deaths of Simon and Piggy can symbolically represent  Eastern European countries' fall to communism.

Allusions to the arms race.

Another part of the Cold War was the threat of nuclear destruction of the world.  It is also notable that Golding sets the novel in what appears to be a future human reality, one that is in crisis after atomic war. Golding's novel capitalizes on public paranoia surrounding the atom bomb which, due to the arms race of the Cold War, was at a high.

Piggy shook his head, put on his flashing glasses and looked down at Ralph.

 "Not them. Didn’t you hear what the pilot said? About the atom bomb? They’re all dead.”

Fire may also be referred to the Schnissel atomic bomb being the very thing that they pin their hopes of survival on, but turning out to be the thing that ultimately destroys the island at the end of the novel. Jack's desire to take control over Piggy's glasses as the means to create fire can also be interpreted as a symbolical representationof the arms race.

Golding's attitude towards the Cold War.

Golding's negative depiction of Jack, who represents an anti-democratic political system, and his suggestion of the reality of atomic war, present the novel as a gesture of support for the Western position in the Cold War. The arrival of the naval officer at the conclusion of the narrative underscores these allegorical points. The officer embodies war and militaristic thinking, and as such, he is symbolically linked to the brutal Jack. The officer is also English and thus linked to the democratic side of the Cold War, which the novel vehemently defends. The implications of the officer's presence are provocative: Golding suggests that even a war waged in the name of civilization can reduce humanity to a state of barbarism. The ultimate scene of the novel, in which the boys weep with grief for the loss of their innocence, implicates contemporary readers in the boys' tragedy. The boys are representatives, however immature and untutored, of the wartime impulses of the period.

Lord of the Flies. Main Characters (by Ayayulia)

"Lord of the Flies”

Lord of the Flies. Main Charasters of the Novel (by Megastarosta & Tanya)

In this presentation we are going to speak about the main characters of the novel "Lord of the Flies”.

Ralph is the most charismatic of the group. He is initially chosen as the leader due to his positive qualities. He maintains a conflict with Jack throughout the entire novel, attempting to keep order whereas Jack isn't concerned with it. Ralph and Piggy together represent the struggle for order and democracy.

He is the central point for the jokes, but he is very clever and he has a cool head. Piggy personifies calmness and experience.

Piggy is slightly younger than Ralph and is the most weakling in the group being overweight and suffering from asthma. He is weak, smart, and friendly. The death of Piggy showed us the end of the stability and peace on the island. In Roger’s eyes, Piggy just looked like a "bag of fat.” A few chapters ahead we found that the pigs were referred to as "bags of fat” as well. The Piggy’s name is PIGGY, and the boys went gradually from killing PIGS to killing PIGGY. It seems to the reader that the boys see in Piggy the animal, that is why they killed him.Piggy is a short and overweight boy who wears glasses and represents order and democracy.

Jack is about Ralph's age, with a skinnier build and red hair. From the very beginning, he seems to harbor emotions of anger and savagery. At first, he is the leader of his choir group, who become hunters as the book progresses. He eventually overtakes Ralph as chief/leader.

Simon is a shy, sensitive boy in the group. Simon, in some ways the only naturally "good” character on the island, behaves kindly toward the younger boys and is willing to work for the good of their community. Moreover, because his motivation is rooted in his deep feeling of connectedness to nature, Simon is the only character whose sense of morality does not seem to have been imposed by society. Simon represents a kind of natural goodness, as opposed to the unbridled evil of Jack and the imposed morality of civilization represented by Ralph and Piggy

A small boy with dirty and shaggy black hair, Roger represents pure evil and wrongness, more so even than Jack. He has no mercy, and is the first one to intentionally kill another boy on the island when he smashed Piggy with a boulder. He gets sadistic pleasure from torturing a pig and other boys on the island. Roger is one of Jack's most loyal helpers, and gladly carries out his orders.

Sam and Eric are two young twins who always travel and do everything together. Without each other, they are incapable of very much. They represent reliance and unity, and because of this become like one person referred to as Samneric. While seemingly loyal to Ralph, they eventually give in to Jack's threats and join his tribe. While Ralph hoped otherwise, the twins in the end disclose Ralph's hiding spot to Jack. The loss of civilization led them to lose any real sense of loyalty to others.

If you want to read some information about William Golding, follow this link...

If you want to see the presentations dedicated to the topics, follow this link...

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