Many people in this world are enslaved to their daily routines, being ignorant to break away from the spell and look beyond what is seen. That is why when something out of the ordinary occurs, a chance is given to gain sight and realize that much of what exists in this sphere of life can be greater defined by the impact it has on its surroundings. Symbolism may be difficult to decipher at times, but the challenge rewards with insight of the significance behind people and objects. William Golding desires for the readers of Lord of the Flies to truly think and ponder his carefully chosen scenarios and everything incorporated in them, hoping that the reader can capture the meaningful messages he is trying to communicate. Golding is liberating his pain of the gruesome horrors of war and sharing his own view of this world through literature, therefore permitting readers to extract deeper meaning behind what is happening to this group of British boys. When the boys’ world suddenly crashes among palm trees and sand, their first instinct is to stay close to their past.
Golding paints the image of the scar high above the canopy as Jack points to what he sees “[b]eyond falls and cliffs there was a gash visible in the trees; there were the splintered trunks and then the drag, leaving only a fringe of palm between the scar and the sea. There, too, jutting into the lagoon was the platform, with insect-like figures moving near it” (27). As a member of the Royal Navy, Golding is scarred with his own past of constant action against battleships, submarines, and aircrafts, as well as the blood baths in the Walcheren and D-Day operations (186). Just as the scar in Lord of the Flies, Golding is trying to diminish his previous experiences with his writing, yet he cannot ignore the reality of war. The scar is always present not only to guide the boys in and out of the forest, but also to remind them of where they come from, a reminder that is very relatable to anyone who has had challenges, such as Golding himself.
Scars are a symbol of strength, a permanent aspect of someone’s life whether the scar is physical or emotional, noticeable or barely there. They encourage growth, but it is someone’s decision to develop with experience or dwell in the past. The boys do not pay much attention to the scar they see every day, but the farther they go from it, the more conflicts tend to happen. Jack tends to lead the boys away from the scar, and as time passes, they make Castle Rock their home at the peak of their insanity. It is during their time at Castle Rock that Jack claims dominant control over the island and every lost boy in it, and plans out the hunt for Ralph. This observation does not state that exploring other possibilities will lead to failure, but it reveals the importance in guarding one’s morals no matter the distance traveled.
The attack from the Lord of the Flies might be the most dangerous of them all, for it is sudden and deceiving. The terrifying part is that the Lord of the Flies does not burry his victims in the grave, but he drives his victims to burry themselves. Simon is the only member of the group of troubled boys to have direct contact with the Lord of the Flies, an accidental discovery as “in front of Simon, the Lord of the Flies hung on his stick and grinned” (Golding 125). Simon is staring at the pig head that is left behind by the savages for the beast, the same pig that causes the group to go against each other. Now, underneath the pig head disguise the Lord of the Flies is hiding behind, he is better known as “a devil whose name suggests that he is devoted to decay, destruction, hysteria, and panic” (Golding 187). What is Golding trying to imply with this disguise of evil? The placement of the Lord of the Flies can be anywhere, yet the scarred author chooses the remains of death, for death is inescapable, especially in combat.
These characteristics are clearly stated in Simon’s hallucination scene. Simon is encouraged by the devil to go and see who the Beast really is, which then leads to Simon’s mission to tell the others of the lifeless body on the mountain, and as a result is violently killed by the wild boys who do not analyze who the creature behind the blue parachute really is. Poor Simon is not the only victim, however, as the Lord of the Flies declares to Simon “You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are the way they are?”(Golding 130). Reality is, the Lord of the Flies is a part of everyone, and he becomes more noticeable the more this story evolves, and the more the boys strand their morals and recognize their capability of evil (Golding 189). The real damage occurs when people fall into his deceiving lies, whether they are aware of his control or not. Hope is essential when facing crisis, whether it is barely a spark or a bright burning flame.
One could only imagine the chaos of being surrounded by the bodies of young men and the boisterous sounds of gunshots, closer than they should be. The possibility of victoriously surviving the terrors of battle is none other than maintaining hope in one’s eyes, something Golding surely knows of with his experiences. The signal fire is just this, as it unites the boys and provides comfort, life, and freedom in the midst of chaos. Ralph’s leadership mask motivates the boys to work hard on a fire signal on top of the mountain as he says, “[w]e must make a fire” (Golding 35). This command is not just ordering teamwork from the aggregation of boys, but also emphasizing the delicate matter of life and death. If the young boys are not rescued soon, death will take a big toll in their lives. Encouragement to keep the hope alive soon dies down, however, as the boys do not take their shifts seriously. To make matters worse, the fear of the Beast ends all doubts of burning the fire on the mountain, so it is then moved by the shore, with less resources and only a handful of helpers.
This change of location symbolizes the hardships and struggles to keep the fire burning even when they are expected to give up. The fire fails to last once again, however, because “[a]s the fire died down so did the excitement” (Golding 119). The flames of hope signify labor; a quality many of the boys don’t want to be a part of, therefore doing what is wise in their eyes. The purpose for this fire is for rescue, but many dismiss a fire’s power and destruction. It is a life-saver as well as a threat with clear consequences: The flames, as though they were a kind of wild life, crept as a jaguar creeps on its belly toward a line of birch-like saplings that fledged an outcrop of the pink rock…Beneath the capering boys a quarter of a mile square of forest was savage with smoke and flame…Startled, Ralph realized that the boys were falling still and silent, feeling the beginnings of awe at the power set free below them. (Golding 41) What is ironic is that in the end of the story, the fire ablaze by the savages is both a rescue signal as well as a deadly threat creeping for its prey.
Ralph is shocked as his predators “smoked him out and set the island on fire” (Golding 179). The smoke is a sign of destruction in the point of view of the island, while it is a sign of rescue to the naval officers who appear just before harm could be done to Ralph. This last, final storm of heat and smoke symbolizes the end to the suffering, but not the end of evil. Symbols are best acquainted when they represent feelings and situations that ample people are familiar with. Although battle is not associated with most people, the elements that promote it are seen all throughout the lives of individuals. Could one emblem exist without the other in life-changing situations? It is hard to know, but awareness of these symbols in one’s life will help keep a balance of the effects they have on someone. The boys in Lord of the Flies are distinctively changed depending on what symbol they choose to be represented by, placing a line between the sane and the insane. Many solutions are hiding behind the symbolism of life; the next step is to look.