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Blah Blah Essay

1786 words - 8 pages

One of the main themes in William Golding's Lord of the Flies is the struggle between Society and Savagery. The boys' first intention on the island is to create a society based on the one they had in the adult world: one with rules, limitations and order. But at the same time, they want to have fun. As time progresses, they start ignoring the rules that they had originally set. Instead of using the designated lavatory stones for bathroom purposes, they start using the bathroom wherever they want, even near their special meeting place. The shelters that they all intended on helping to build end up being built by only a few of the boys and therefore, are not as sturdy as they could have been. ...view middle of the document...

But there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch. The being that had blown that, had sat waiting for them on the platform with the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart" (Golding 19-20).
This quote exemplifies the authority that the boys attach to the conch. If it wasn't for the conch, the boys would have been scattered about the jungle in a chaotic array, and some of the boys, especially the "littluns", may have never found the group. Because of this, it is easy to see why the conch also becomes a symbol of order. Not only does the conch bring order to the initial chaos of the plane crash; it also brings order to the meetings that the boys regularly have. During their second meeting, Ralph makes it a rule that in order to speak, one must hold the conch, and whoever holds the conch cannot be interrupted by anyone except him. Although the rule isn't a hundred percent fool proof, it still keeps the meetings somewhat productive. Whenever the crowd starts to get loud and unruly, Ralph just holds up the conch, and they quiet down.
Another major societal symbol is Piggy's glasses. The most important purpose that Piggy's glasses serve is to make fire. Fire is probably the most important thing the boys have on the island. It serves many purposes: it gives warmth, it provides light at night, it cooks meat, and most importantly, it serves as a signal for rescue. By being able to create fire, the glasses symbolize power, because whoever has the glasses can control the fire. And because the glasses serve as a means for rescue, they symbolize rationality as well. For example, when Jack and his hunters let the fire go out while they are hunting, they miss the chance to be rescued by a ship that passes by. Yet, while Ralph is furious and distraught about not being rescued, Jack only cares about how they are finally able to have meat. At this point of the novel we can see that Jack no longer cares about being rescued. He has lost his rationality.
Piggy's glasses also serve a more obvious purpose: they help him see, not only literally, but figuratively as well. According to David Spitz, when Piggy, who is the "voice of reason" on the island, is "deprived of those spectacles, he loses his rationality…" (Spitz). After Jack and his tribe steal Piggy's glasses, he blindly decides to go up to Jack and tell him to give them back because it is the "right thing to do". But the readers know that there is absolutely no way that Jack would ever give Piggy his glasses back. By doing this, Piggy is trying to rationalize with someone who has already lost his rationality, which is obviously a very irrational thing for Piggy to do, and because he does this, he is killed. According to Claire Rosenfield, "As the new community becomes more and more irrational, its irrationality is marked by Piggy's progressive blindness" (Rosenfield).
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