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Lord of the Flies Essay

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The novel Lord of the flies, written by William Golding, was written just after World War II had ended when Golding had witnessed man fighting man and 'humanity fighting itself'. He tried to make sense of this savagery through his story of how young innocent boys stranded on a deserted uninhabited island quickly descend into savagery. Golding uses symbols such as the conch which represents democracy, the hunts which represent the savage beast within each of the boys and the signal fire which is a symbol of hope to develop the significant idea of how humans have a propensity for violence, how rules and laws are needed to keep society civilised to make sure it doesn't quickly descend into savagery. To demonstrate this Golding showed how young boys could change paradise onto hell through their evil nature, much as he believed, World War II did to the world.

Throughout Lord of the flies, the conch is used by Golding as a symbol of democracy. It represents the importance of democracy and that just and enforceable laws are needed to regulate society. The conch is discovered by Piggy and automatically he recognises its usefulness "you can call a meeting" showing that moderate people appreciate democracy but sometimes the most intelligent people are the quietest and least popular. As Ralph and Piggy use it to call a meeting they display yet another feature of democracy, Ralph states "We can't have everybody talking at once. I'll give the conch to the next person and he won't be interrupted", by using the conch in this way Golding is implying that in a world of democracy even the weakest and most vulnerable are given a voice and freedom of speech. However as followers of Ralph (democracy) begin to instead follow Jack (dictatorship), Piggy begins to fiercely guard the conch, "I got the conch. I got the right to speak", Golding is implying that the conch is a way for Piggy to express his intelligent ideas and oppose Jack and keep him and the other hunters (bullies) in control, Piggy is holding onto the last shred of hope that democracy will remain and dictatorship will not begin. However as the final members of Ralph's tribe are forced into Jacks savage world, democracy comes crashing down. Piggy along with the conch are crushed, destroying democracy on the island for ever, symbolising how although democracy is beautiful and peaceful it is fragile. Golding contrasts this with the demise of the civilized instinct among almost all the boys on the island. Symbolising that in order for democracy to work it needs the support and vigilance of the majority of the society in order to ensure that laws are enforced and peace remains. Otherwise if the intelligent and the peacemakers in society are overrun, the society becomes a corrupt place with violent people in charge.

Another symbol that Golding uses is the signal fire. Golding uses the signal fire as a symbol of hope and destruction. At the beginning it is a symbol of hope and rescue, "We can light a fire." life became a race with the fire.....to keep a clean flag of flame flying on e mountain was the immediate end and no one looked further. At the sight of the flames and the irresistible course of the fire, the boys broke into shrill excited cheering." This is stilled when Piggy points out: That little 'un had a mark on his face-where-is-he now: the boys looked at each other fearfully, unbelieving." Golding uses this to present the boys as innocent over-excited children having fun until the shocking revelation that someone got hurt. The inexperience of the boys at looking after themselves and being able to light a fire foreshadows what will happen to the society. When Jack and his hunters let the fire

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