The novel, “Lord of the Flies”, deals immensely with characterization and symbolism. William Golding packed his story with a great deal of literary color, making it alive and vivid to the reader. Golding’s use of symbolism is obvious throughout the entire novel.
The character that stood out the most in the novel was Ralph, who was excellently developed by Golding as a leader. Golding made Ralph in to a round character by using heavy descriptions of him that almost made the reader think as if he or she actually knew Ralph by the end of the story. Golding’s very first introduction of Ralph into the novel the reader could already see his sense of observation even in the first sentence that he says: “This is an island; at least I think it’s an island. That’s a reef out in the sea. Perhaps there aren’t any grownups anywhere.” Although this quote may not be a direct characterization of Ralph it shows the audience how observant and wise he is.
Throughout the rest of the novel Golding characterizes Ralph in a deeper sense giving the audience a real feel of what kind of kid he is. For example later in the novel when the rules are being broken and the boys are turning into salvages Ralph tries to keep order. He says “So remember rocks for a lavatory. Keep fire going and smoke showing as a signal. Don’t take fire from the mountain. Take your food up there.” Golding including this passage of demonstrating how Ralph is trying to enforce rules to keep an organized civilization shows Ralph as being a true leader, and keeping his morals. This truly shows Golding’s deep descriptions of Ralph in order to form Ralph into a round character.
In Golding’s description of Ralph throughout the whole book I would categorize Ralph as a dynamic character. Although Ralph’s change in the novel wasn’t as evident as the other’s, he does change. The main change I noticed in Ralph throughout the novel was the way he acts towards Piggy. In the beginning Ralph insulted him and treated him awfully. In Piggy and Ralph’s first conversation Piggy requested him to not tell anyone his name was Piggy. In the first meeting Jack calls him “Fatty” but Ralph interrupts with a shout: “His real name’s Piggy!” All the boys unite in laughter while Piggy cleans his glasses in embarrassment and shame.
Ralph disobeys Piggy’s first request in a happy manner embarrassing him in front of everyone. This is one example of Ralph not treating Piggy in a positive way and being mean to him. Not until Piggy dies Ralph realizes how much he needed Piggy not only because he was smart and had morals but because he was the only one Ralph could trust. The purpose of Golding including Ralph in the novel is to symbolize order and democracy against evil and dictatorship, which was Jack.
The whole story Ralph and Jack were butting heads. Jack envied Ralph because he was democratically elected as the leader. Many decisions about the boys’ life on the island were made as a result of democratic discussions during meetings, in which every boy had a right to speak. When Ralph told the boys off about not sticking to the rules he reminded them “you elected me chief!” William Golding does an amazing job characterizes Ralph and giving the readers an image of how Ralph is not only a character, but a real boy.
A big part of the book “Lord of the Flies” is symbolism. Golding uses Piggy’s glasses as a symbol of intelligence, rationality and common sense, all qualities possessed by a civilized human being who functions in a society bound by rules and laws. The glasses are one of two man-made objects on the island, which demonstrates a symbol of intelligence through the technology needed to create such an object. Golding shows the symbol of new technology when the boys say “His specs use them as burning glasses!”
This shows the glasses are symbolic of the technological advances that can be made by man. Piggy’s glasses started the fire which is first used to make a signal fire, and later to catch the attention of the ships that could be passing by the island.
Throughout the novel, the specs become soiled with dirt, or the sins of the boys. When he speaks in front of the assembly, Piggy often finds himself “taking off his glasses and wiping.” them in attempt to remove the blur of sins from the falling society. Also Jack slaps Piggy, the glasses “fly off and tinkle on the rocks one sides broken” the lens is demolished. As Piggy`s vision begins to diminish and he becomes literally blind, the boys are metaphorically blinded to reason, common sense, and rationality.
Therefore, the specs are used throughout the novel to foreshadow events and as a symbol of intelligence, rationality and common sense. The entire purpose of the specs is destroyed by savages, proving Golding`s belief that “savagery is more powerful then evil.” Throughout Lord of the Flies, William Golding exhibits his belief that “human nature corrupts all society.” The glasses are used as a symbol of intelligence. However, as they slowly deteriorate, so does the social structure of a civilized society with a movement from structure to savagery.
In the novel “Lord of the Flies” William Golding’s way of writing brings the characters and the symbols alive.
Piggy's Glasses, Irony, Power, and Doomed Heroes in Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Length: 1405 words (4 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
•Piggy’s glasses and his limited vision are important in the novel. How are they significant, and what themes do they represent?
Piggy’s glasses play an important role in showing Piggy’s personality. The stereotype of a person with glasses is that they are smart and intelligent. These Glasses are very important in showing Piggy’s characteristics, as these glasses symbolize his wisdom. In the novel, Ralph even admits that he cannot think like Piggy. Piggy’s glasses also symbolize that he is weaker and more nurturing than the other boys who just want to go hunting.
William Golding has been very clever in pointing out this by means of what he looks like. Once the glasses were broken this was also showing the state of social order on the island (since Jack punched Piggy and broke his glasses the social order dropped). As the condition of the glasses got worse so did the level of social order of the boys.
The glasses that Piggy wears are also very important to the boy’s survival and getting off the island, as the glasses create fire. Along with fire comes warmth and smoke. The smoke is a very vital part as the ongoing ships can see the smoke and then the ship can rescue the boys.
Piggy’s glasses are also a symbol of science because they create fire. This symbolism of science has been occurring since they first landed on the island and made a fire though the lenses.
As the glasses represent science, I believe that Piggy can as well because the boys find what science produced was useful, but they did not care about the science involved.
Ralph and the rest of the boys did not like Piggy as much as they would like the next man. The boys did not treat him as fair as each other and thought that he was useless. Soon Ralph came around to realize just how much he depends on Piggy and his wisdom.
• Provide a definition of irony and select three places where it is used in the novel.
The Australian English dictionary defines irony as, “mildly sarcastic use of words to imply the opposite of what is said”.
The first use of irony would be when Jack wants to kill a pig when he first landed on the island.
How to Cite this Page
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He hesitates in doing so and this is a complete change from the savage chief Jack soon becomes. When Jack was hunting he could not handle driving a knife into another living things throat, due to all the blood. Ironically, the society that Jack is no longer on does not condone killing stops him despite the fact that he is no longer in that society. After a while Jack ends up finding another pig and this time he kills it, but Jack got so caught up in being the savage hunter that it later drives him to kill other people.
Another use of irony in Lord of the Flies would be when they decided to make a fire so ongoing ships could see the smoke. This attempt to get rescued which is suppose to save their lives ends up backfiring and burns out of control and then this results in a death of a littlun.
Despite their efforts to keep the fire going (which was the hunter’s job) the hunters were too busy trying to get some meat and a ship passed by and the hunters missed due to the fire going out.
For a third example of irony I have chosen when Ralph and Piggy say that Simon is acting “batty”. Simon was not acting weird, it was just his intelligence separating him from the other boys. Since Ralph and piggy are so high in this society they got everyone on Simon and they beat him to death. In the beginning of this novel it was never suspected that Ralph and Piggy were capable of murder.
The irony is that Ralph was supposed to be protecting them as the chief but instead they act in a way that can only be described as insanity. This is all the result fear and how far it can drive even the most sensible of us.
William Golding has written this in a very clever way and adding lots of irony, with telling the reader what even the most sensible of us can do at times of fear.
• Compare Ralph’s use of power with Jacks use of power.
The two boys Ralph and Jack are very different, one is a savage boy who wants to be the boss and be in charge and go hunting all the time, where another boy wants a civilization that’s not corrupt, where there is shelter and lots of food and water.
This essay will be exploring this allot deeper explaining how they use their power in their civilization.
The first day that the boys spent on the island they had a vote for a chief, someone who would make all the big decisions for them. Jack wanted to be chief so that they could live on the island like warriors and hunt for their meat. Ralph had more sensible ideas, he was going to build shelters, have a civilization going that was not corrupted in any way.
Ralph was elected chief but Jack insisted that he took the choir and renamed them the hunters. Jack used the hunters to hunt pigs with him and they also had a job to keep the fire going so ships could see smoke.
Ralph used his power to keep a democracy running and to keep order on the island. Ralph was purely trying to get the boys off the island safely.
Ralph had very sensible ideas and he relied very much on Piggy after he realized that Piggy is not as useless as Ralph made him seem.
Jacks ideas were a little bit more savage of what Ralph wanted to do, but Jack only wanted to hunt so he got control of the hunters.
William Golding has done a very good job in this novel, he has put two different people who want power for their different reasons and this creates conflict which entices people to read.
• Compare Piggy and Simon as doomed heroes.
Piggy and Simon are very much alike, in the sense of that they are misfits and that their physical appearances separate them from the other.
Piggy is very different from the other boys on the island. As he has glasses which make him look more intelligent and or weaker than others. Piggy also has “ass-mar” which contributes to him not being popular with the other boys. Piggy also has a very obvious weight problem, this is how he got the name “Piggy”.
Simon is not a very strong boy, but at the same time he’s not a very weak boy. Simon is not as fat as Piggy but he is known to faint. As an average with a personality and a physical state that is different to other he is bound not to fit in.
Simon and Piggy’s view of the world is different to the other boys on the island. As Simon and Piggy think about something then they will think it is real unlike the other boys who just think about the task at hand and what’s in front of them.
Simon and Piggy can be very different sometimes, like when they are having assemblies, Piggy will demand the conch and he can be very arguementive from time to time and he will speak his mind. Unlike Piggy Simon will just sit back and he will not share his ideas because he does not have many friends to back him up. Simon does not have many friends as he has no one in his age group so he is stuck in the middle of the littluns and the older boys.
I did not think that Piggy and Simon were going to last since they landed on the island. From the moment I read how they act and look it was obvious that they are not suited for this kind of environment.
William Golding has taken a bit of what happens in the animal kingdom and put it in a group of boys. This happens in the animal kingdom, the animals have to keep together in packs in order to stay alive and if you leave this pack you have less chances of surviving.