Symbols

The Conch

  • Represents order.
  • Colour changes to show a loss of innocence in the boys.
  • Loses its importance as the novel progresses as Jack and his ‘Tribe’ take over.
  • Smashed into a thousand pieces at the end to show loss of order and civilisation.

The Beast

  • The beast is different for different boys
  • It is represented as the dead parachutist, snakes, the pig’s head and noises heard in the night.
  • The real beast is our deep, dark primeval urges.
  • The boys invent the beast as a fear for them to focus on rather than the darkness in themselves.

Glasses

  • Piggy’s glasses represent intelligence and clear thinking.
  • They are useful for the boys to get the fire started both to attract rescuers and for cooking the meat.
  • When one lense is smashed it represents the lack of clear thinking of the others.
  • The glasses are completely destroyed when Piggy dies and this is Golding’s way of representing the further fall of the boys into chaos and darkness.

Fire

  • The fire has good and bad uses.
  • It is useful for attracting rescue, gives warmth and can be used for cooking, but it can be very destructive as we see at the end of the novel.
  • Fire is used in ritual and is the backdrop to Simon’s frantic death.

Light / Dark

  • Light represents freedom and innocence.
  • Darkness shows fear and uncertainty.
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