A Study of Symbolism in Ld of the Flies毕业论文
- Introduction 1
- Demonstration 2
- A brief introduction to symbolism 2
- The symbolic meanings of natural objects 2
- Conch 2
- Fire 3
- The symbolic meanings of characters 5
- Ralph 5
- Piggy 6
- Jack 7
- Simon 9
- Conclusion 10
Works Cited 12
A Study of Symbolism in Lord of the Flies
William Golding (1911-1994) is an English novelist who was born in Cornwall, England. His father was a teacher who was indulged in searching for knowledge. In 1930, Golding obeyed his father and entered Oxford to study natural sciences, then he specialized in literature. After graduating from the university, he worked as extra actor, director and scriptwriter. When World War II broke out, Golding drafted into the navy and became the commander of the warships. He experienced a lot of famous battles. After the war, Golding returned and taught English literature in a religious school. Later on, he published the novel Lord of the Flies, and won a pretty formidable reputation. In 1961, Golding received a master’s degree from Oxford, and then he quit his job and started to specialize in writing.
Golding is a prolific writer. After publishing the novel Lord of the Flies, he published other novels, such as The Hot Gates (1965), Darkness Visible (1979), A Moving Target (1982), To the Ends of the Earth (1982), Rites of Passage (1980), Close Quarters (1987), Fire Down Below (1989) and so on. However, of his many publications, Lord of the Flies was undoubtedly the most representative novel.
Lord of the Flies wrote about the story of a group of children. In the future nuclear war, due to a plane crash, a group of British kids were trapped on a deserted island. In the absence of adult guardianship, they soon tried to kill each other. When the children were firstly caught on the island, they could take care of themselves and they hoped that people can take them out of the island. However, far away from the civilized society, they were finally overcome by fear. The children on the island split into two parties. One party was led by Ralph, who insisted on defending the culture and believed that they could be saved from the deserted island. He also thought that fire and signal could lead them to make accurate judgment. The other party was led by Jack, who enjoyed the unrestrained life on the island. They were addicted to hunting, and totally disregarded the rational things. The novel broadly focused on the conflicts between these two parties. At the end of the story, the island was swallowed in the fire.
As one of “his novels which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world today”
(毛信德、蒋跃、韦胜杭 142), Lord of the Flies won the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1983. This novel occupies an important position in the history of modern English literature. However, the great success of Lord of the Flies is attributed to the symbolism applied in the novel. This thesis will focus on the study of symbolic meanings of various images in terms of natural objects and characters in the novel Lord of the Flies, and thus further demonstrate the human poles of the good and the evil.
- A brief introduction to symbolism
Symbolism is originated in the middle of the 19th century in France, and spread to Europe and the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. It usually uses one object or action to represent something else. Generally speaking, symbolism may refer to the practice of investing things with a symbolic meaning. In literature, the style originated with the publication of Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal in 1857. Afterwards, French poets Paul Verlaine and Stephane Mallarme used various images in their works. Then symbolism was fully developed. Up to now, symbolism has held principal part in literature. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses so many symbols, and made them an indispensable part of the novel.
- The symbolic meanings of natural objects
- The symbolic meanings of natural objects
Conch is the first natural object the readers will find in Lord of the Flies. At the very beginning of the story, Ralph and Piggy picked up the conch by the sea. Following Piggy’s advice, Ralph blew the conch, “A deep, harsh note boomed under the palms, spread through the intricacies of the forest, and echoed back from the pink granite of the mountain” (Golding 17). When the kids heard the sound on the island, they got together invariably. Ralph, the owner of the conch, was elected as their leader undoubtedly. So the conch showed its function and glamour for the first time. In the
eyes of the kids, the conch was mysterious, and nobody could touch it. As Ralph said, it was “another thing. We can’t have everybody talking at once. We will have to have ‘Hands up’ like at school. Then I will give him the conch” (Golding 33). From this we can see that the conch represents the order. It symbolizes not only power, but also democracy. From then on, they decided to mark the conch as the sign of the speaking through meetings. Only the children who held the conch could have the right to take a floor. Kids passed the conch from hand to hand, which was aimed at demonstrating the existence of democracy.
However, the power of conch gradually changed from strong to weak. In the first place, the speaker had no strength. Although the speaker held the conch, his speech would be interrupted. Like Piggy, when he said that “I got the conch!” (Golding 52), he thought others should let him speak. However, his requirement was refused. What’s more, children began to doubt whether the conch could be a sign of solidarity. Originally,
they obeyed the summons of the conch, partly because Ralph blew it, and he was big enough to be a link with the adult world of authority; and partly because they enjoyed the entertainment of the assemblies. But otherwise they seldom bothered with the biguns and their passionately emotional and corporate life was their own (Golding 59).