The Island Major Joe Ridge View High School English 1 Mrs. Walker December 17, 2012 There are many different symbols in the book Lord of the Flies. Some of the symbols represent peace and some represent war. Some of the characters themselves represent different symbols. The item of symbolism that stood out the most was the island itself. The island itself is an excellent item of symbolism because it uses the boys themselves to convey what it stands for thus almost making itself seem alive. The island represents peace, atavism, the struggle to hang on to civilization, life, and the struggle to hang on to humanity.
The island itself stands for peace. It shows this through Simon. The special place in the jungle where Simon went shows the peaceful part of the island. There is not much of it but it is there hidden by all of the confusion other factors at work. “He came to a last place where more sunshine fell. Since they had not so far to go for light the creepers had woven a great mat that hung at the side of an open space in the jungle; for here a patch of rock came close to the surface and would not allow more than little plants and ferns to grow. The whole space was walled with dark aromatic bushes, and was a bowl of heat and light.
A great Tree, fallen across one corner, leaned against the trees that still stood and rapid climber flaunted red and yellow sprays right to the top” (Golding 56). Simon found that place peaceful and beautiful. He goes there in the middle of the night just to escape the atavistic character of the island itself which is portrayed through the forest and Jack. The island also shows atavism through the forest and through Jack. Throughout the story the boys continued referring back to creepers “I can’t hardly move with all these creeper things” (Golding 7).
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Creepers are like vines that climb up tree trunks and grow across open patches of ground. They cover up the trees and ground and make it hard for the tree or the ground to get sunlight or water. The vines take the water from the trees so that they can survive in the conditions of the island. Jack and his hunters do similarly the same thing with the pigs. The boys engulf the pig with their presence and beat it to death making it nearly impossible for them to escape the rancorous attacks and also making it nearly impossible for the pigs to breed and fill the island with wildlife and swine.
The island also portrays life. For this it uses the open space that Simon found and the fire. When Simon found his special part of the island, he noticed that the creepers did not grow there allowing the fruit trees and the flowers to grow there abundantly. The fire also symbolizes the life of not only the island but the life of the boys’ morale and hope of going home again. “The fire was dead. They saw the straightaway; saw what they had really known down on the beach when the smoke of home had beckoned. The fire was out, smokeless and dead; the watchers were gone.
A pile of unused fuel lay ready,” (Golding 67-68). The boys saw a ship passing by in the distance when they found out that the fire was dead. At that moment Ralph called an assembly. Jack and his hunters came from the forest with a pig. Ralph told Jack about the fire and the ship but the only thing the Jack was concentrated on was how he and his hunters managed to capture the pig. The Island also represents the struggle to hang on to civilization. The Island shows this through the scar that the plane left when it crashed.
The entire island is in order with creepers and trees making an attempt to grow everywhere. The beach is sandy and the lagoon is not too far from the beach everything on the island was neat and in order. The plane crashed it left a scar that left a path of burned creepers fallen trees and overturned dirt and debris. The rocks on the island also had a role in breaking the rope of civilization. When Piggy’s glasses broke they fell on a rock after Jack smacked them off of Piggy’s face. “Ralph made a step forward and Jack smacked Piggy’s head. Piggy’s glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks.
Piggy cried out in terror: ‘My specs! ’… ‘One side’s broken” (Golding 71). At that moment in the book the normal world’s idea of civilization went out of the window and Jack’s idea took over. Ralph and piggy both wanted to keep the island as civilized as possible. Piggy gave ralph the idea to blow the conch and try to call all the boys to one central location. While resting on the mountain he realized the conditions of himself and the other boys on the island: With the memory of his sometime clean self as a standard, Ralph looked them over.
They were dirty, not with the spectacular dirt of boys who have fallen into mud or been brought down hard on a rainy day. Not one of them was an obvious subject for a shower, and yet—hair much too long, tangled here and there, knotted round a dead leaf or a twig; faces cleaned fairly well by the process of eating and sweating but marked in the less accessible angles with a kind of shadow; clothes, worn away, stiff like his own with sweat, put on, not for decorum or comfort but out of custom; the skin of the body, scurfy with brine—
He discovered with a little fall of heart that these were to conditions he took as normal now and that he did not mind, (Golding 110). This realization from Ralph shows that he misses the rest of the world and that being shut off from the rest of the world gave him and even stronger need to try to restore civilization on the island. The island also symbolizes the struggle to hang on to the humanity of the island. Before the boys came to island the pigs had no real enemy that was known. The boys were the same way.
When the boys were luckily landed on the island the pig’s predator became Jack and his hunters. It was easy for Jack to find his first pig but not as easy for him to kill it. The second time he carried out his task. As the story continues Jack has to go through different procedures and tricks in order to find a pig. He painted his face, he crawled around on the ground following a pig slide and pig droppings. He ends up killing pigs almost every day for the group. The pigs adapt to Jack’s ways and try to avoid him.
When Jack killed the mother sow, the amount of humanity left on the island was in question. “Rodger found a lodgment for his point and began to push till he was leaning with his whole weight. The spear moved forward inch by inch… ‘Right up her ass! ’” (Golding 135). The island was the most important symbol in the book. Without the island and the natural features of it then one may not think that the island could stand for anything other than an uninhabited graveyard for an assortment of young boys.
In order to really see the significance of the island one needs to look closely at the events that happen and where they happen in the book. The island talked to the reader through the characters of the story. Each character represented a different trait of the island. Jack was the fear of the island, Piggy was the gentle side, Ralph was the firm part of the island, and Simon was the peace on the island. There are many other situations like this in many other stories, one just has to pay attention and open their eyes. References Golding, W. (1954). Lord of the Flies. Salisbury, England: Faber and Faber.
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