Allegory Of Lord Of The Flies Essay

Social Allegories In Lord Of The Flies

The Lord of the Flies if taken at face value can be taken as a short book about the struggle to stay alive on a deserted island and its physical and psychological influences on its residents. However, when the reader looks deeper, they see a story that is an allegory filled with rich and detailed imagery in almost all facets of the novel. An allegory is defined as a type of writing that presents abstract ideas or moral principals in the form of symbolic characters, events, or objects. "The theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature" (204). Ralph and Jack represent opposing views on control, Piggy symbolizes technology, and Simon represents the humanity within us all. The novel begins as Ralph wanders along the beach.

Ralph characterizes the civilization of the island. He uses his influence for the benefit of the people, especially to look after the "littluns." The littluns symbolize the people regulated by a government. In their case, the "bigguns," take advantage of the little ones and soon overlook them entirely. Ralph is the charismatic, athletic central character of Lord of the Flies. Voted the chief of the boys at the start of the novel, Ralph is the prime representative of order, society, and productive leadership in the novel. Whereas most of the other boys at first are concerned with having fun, avoiding work, and playing, Ralph sets about constructing shelter and thinking of ways to boost their chances of getting off the island. For this reason, Ralph's control and authority over the other boys are safe at the beginning of the novel. However, as the group steadily yields to savage nature over the course of the book, Ralph's position declines sharply while Jack's rises. Eventually, most of the boys except Piggy leave Ralph's group for Jack's, leaving Ralph without help to be hunted by Jack's tribe. Ralph's commitment to civilization and morality is deep-seated, and his main wish is to be rescued and come back to the world of adults. At the end of the novel, this perseverance gives Ralph a moral victory, when he casts the Lord of the Flies to the ground and takes up the stake it is placed on to protect himself against Jack's hunters.

Jack Merridew represents a need for power along with savagery comparable to primitive nature. Jack uses his influence for pleasure only, slowly evolving into a complete ruler by the time the tribe splits. "There isn't a tribe for you anymore! [...] I'm chief" (181). The egomaniacal, strong-willed...

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The Lord of the Flies could be read as one big allegorical story. An allegory is a story with a symbolic level of meaning, where the characters and setting represent, well, other things, like political systems, religious figures, or philosophical viewpoints. Let's try a sample:

  • The island represents the whole world.
  • Ralph's conch-led Parliament represents democratic government.
  • Jack's tribalism represents autocratic government.
  • Piggy represents the forces of rationalism, science, and intellect—which get ignored at society's peril.
  • Simon represents a kind of natural morality.

See how it's done? Of course, you could argue with this breakdown. Maybe Simon represents the religious side of humanity; maybe Jack represents cruelty, or maybe Roger does. But the point is that they're not fully developed and rounded characters so much as they are symbols.

The only time we pull out of the allegory is at the very end of the novel, when the other "real" world breaks through the imaginary barrier around the island. Yet this is also the moment when the real question of the allegory hits home: who will rescue the grownups?

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