“Lord of the Flies”: Double Entry Journals

“Immediately the [conch] sounded. A deep, harsh note boomed under the palms… A child had appeared among the palms, about a hundred yards along the beach.” (17) The conch is, at first, used to call all the boys of the plane crash together into a meeting. Thus, the conch symbolizes the most basic form of government, as it is a symbol of order as well as civilization. It is decided between the boys that he who holds the conch is given the right to speak, creating a very basic democracy. The creation of a government immediately after the meeting shows that in this early stage of development in the book, there is a want/need for a form of order; this shows that the boys are still considered ‘civilized’ and contain that instinct for proper control.
“[Jack] snatched his knife out of the sheath and slammed it into a tree trunk. Next time there would be no mercy. He looked around fiercely, daring them to contradict.” (31) Jack is Ralph’s polar opposite, and is the representative of violent side of human nature. He has a militaristic attitude about him, and is very eager to become a hunter. As shown by this excerpt, he does start off still possessing civilized qualities, such as the sense of enormity concerning killing or harming another creature (in this case a pig, still a living creature nonetheless). However, the excerpt also shows that he is restless about giving another chance to harm the pig, and deciding that next time there would ‘be no mercy’. Perhaps it is the fear of ridicule in front of his band of hunters, but it still supports the main idea that it is not that which corrupts the boys, it is the boys themselves who choose to be corrupted.
“‘Like a crowd of kids–‘ [Piggy] sighed, bent and laced up his shoes… He picked up the conch, turned toward the forest, and began to pick his way over the tumbled scar.” (39) Piggy is the voice of reason within the group, and symbolizes the intellectuals. However, oftentimes the voice of reason goes unheard, and more often than not ignored. While he is obviously much more physically inept than the other boys, he does withhold a copious amount of intelligence. He is the only one who realizes that starting the fire could hold some dire consequences, but due to having little to no support from the others they run off to start the fire anyway. Piggy does not value what the other boy’s value, and is usually the butt of the joke. The only way Piggy can contribute to the boys’ society is through Ralph, and even then Ralph doesn’t go through with it. Later in the book we see Ralph’s realization of his need for Piggy (symbolising the sudden realization for society’s need for intellectuals) but by then it’s too late.
“The flame, nearly invisible at first in that bright sunlight, enveloped a small twig, grew… The flame flapped higher and the boys broke into a cheer.” (41) While the boys are, at first glance, excited about their newfound freedom from parents and rules, they are quick to realize that they still wish to return home and be rescued. In the book the fire symbolizes hope and the boys’ longing to go home, as it is used as a signal for passing ships. It provides the belief that at one point, they will be able to return to modern civilization. This also marks the first (and one of the few) times all of the boys come together with one objective in mind. The fire is one of their only connections with the outside world, and while it is a symbol of hope, it’s also a symbol of destruction as well, quickly setting part of the forest near them ablaze.
“‘I got the conch,’ said Piggy, in a hurt voice. ‘I got a right to speak.’ They looked at him with eyes that lacked interest in what they saw… Piggy glanced nervously into hell and cradled the conch.” (44) While the conch is a symbol of order and stability, this excerpt shows how little the boys actually care about the conch. While it continuously is used to call together meetings, it slowly loses power; for when the boys do not respect the conch, it suggests that the boys have no interest in order, and the conch quickly loses the power and influence it once had. In this moment, Piggy is the only one who takes the conch seriously demanding that he has the right to speak. The others ignore this, as when the realization that listening to the conch-bearer has no benefit for them, they quickly deny the guidance the conch brings.
“Ralph surveyed the wreck with distaste… Two shelters were in position, but shaky. This one was a ruin. ‘And they keep running off. You remember the meeting? How everyone was going to work hard until the shelters were finished?'” (51) The huts symbolize stability and the memory of civilization. It is a chore that tests the discipline of the boys; while some (very few) do chose to work on the huts, many ignore the chore and continue doing their own thing. It is a test for the boys, the test between civilization and savagery. While in this chapter Ralph is obviously devoted to building the huts first to advance civilization, while Ralph and the hunters mainly focus on, well, hunting. Their is a power struggle between between the two priorities, which is evidenced in this quote. It shows that Ralph is willing to work for and with the others in order to further their chances of survival while it is obvious the others have no interest in mannered work but instead choose to do things they find more interesting and fun.
“Nevertheless no one had any difficulty in recognizing biguns at one end and littluns at the other. The undoubted littluns, those aged about six, led a quite distinct, and at the same time intense, life of their own.” (59) The littluns symbolize the common people in society that a society should try to protect, and are essentially just followers of society. Littluns also symbolize the stages on innocence and pure terror and fear; from both the evil of the littluns, and the evil of the so-called ‘beast’. While the littluns first arrive on the island being innocent and quiet, still vaguely remembering civilizations, they quickly descend into savagery and follow the bigguns lead. They generally follow those that have the most power. The littluns also provide situations for the ‘bigguns’, and bring out the real personality between the boys (such as when Roger was throwing rocks at Henry, it showed the real personality of Roger).
“[Jack] looked in the pool for his reflection, but his breathing troubled the mirror. ‘Samneric. Get me a coconut. An empty one.'” (63) Sam and Eric represents those that are civilized as well as socialized people. They have good intentions, but choose to follow those in power. They respect Ralph as a leader, but also fear Jack (shown by how they deliberately choose to neglect the tending of the fire for passing ships and instead choose to go hunting with Ralph). Their priority is to avoid punishment. The combination of their names, Samneric, shows how little the other boys care about individuality. The boys only care about the usefulness of a person. This quote shows that Jack does not care about whether Sam or Eric brings him a coconut, only whether or not he will receive one in the end. This lack of respect for individuality and for each other will eventually lead to the boys’ society’s downfall.
“The fire was dead. They saw that straight away; 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.” (67-68) As explained earlier, the fire is a symbol of hope and a symbol for the boy’s desire to go home. However, as the book goes on we can see who truly wants go home and who doesn’t. Jack and Samneric, instead of tending the fire, choose to go hunting. It is obvious that Jack is not disciplined and chooses to find things he finds more enjoyable rather than do his designated duties like everyone should be doing in a civilization. Samneric, while also to blame, are most likely following what Jack does out of fear. However, Ralph and Piggy are distraught about missing possibly their only chance at going home, and are furious at Jack and Samneric. This shows that Ralph and Piggy still desire to go home and return to civilization. When Jack’s and the other boy’s hope died out, as did the fire.
“Ralph made a step forward and Jack smacked Piggy’s head. Piggy’s glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks… ‘One side’s broken.’ Piggy grabbed and put on the glasses. he looked malevolently at Jack.”(71) The glasses represent wisdom and scientific knowledge, and is one of the few remaining connections that the boys have with civilization. The glasses also ironically represent weakness, as while the glasses better Piggy in eyesight, he is blind without them and wholly relies on his glasses. The boys refuse to acknowledge that they are dependent on their old civilized state, until they realize that none of them know how to start fire. Thus, they take Piggy’s glasses by force. It shows that without Piggy’s glasses they wouldn’t even be able to survive. When the glasses crack (as seen in the quote) it marks the first significant drop of civilization within the boys. Jack physically attacked Piggy without thinking, showing that he is quick to rely on violence.

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