Lord Of The Flies: Chapter 4-7 Notes Essay, Research Paper
1. When the fire goes out it symbolizes
the loss of all remaining civility and the beginning of absolute savagery.
The fire was the boys’ only link to the past, as it was the one true technology
they had. Fire symbolizes man’s domination and manipulation of nature.
As the fire goes out the boys are no longer people, but animals. It is
also important to note that the fire was voluntarily allowed to die. This
tells us that the boys voluntarily became savages, so this represents not
only the loss of a civilized society, but also the betrayal of it. When
the fire goes out, it also signifies the loss of hope. If the boys believed
that they would be rescued, then they would not allow the fire to go out.
Again, because of the fire being let out voluntarily it also represents
the betrayal of hope. When the fire goes out, the boys no longer want to
be a part of civilization or be rescued by it.
2. The beast from the air is a dead man,
who is attached to a parachute, falling from the sky. The beast from water
is a figment of their imagination. Once again the loss of civilization
and the old ways are represented. The dead man in the parachute, falling
slowly, from the old world and civilization, represents the steady decline
of the old ways which have been implemented in the new society and therefore
the distinction of being civilized itself and the death of it. The beast
represents mankind’s fear of an outside threat as well as the evil and
wrong doing that mankind brings upon itself. Fear of an outside threat
has been a characteristic that mankind has had ever since we walked on
two legs. Ancient peoples saw demons, and now many people claim to see
UFO’s and aliens; it is quite plausible that a very primitive society would
see a beast. As evil and fear are created from man, so is the beast. The
beast, being a fictitious creation of man and one that appears in every
society, becomes no longer a physical entity, but a fear rooted deep in
the human psyche; perhaps a fear of ourselves.
3. The parachute symbolizes the forces
of human behavior that attempt to hold the fabric of society intact. The
parachute, however, fails to hold society afloat indefinitely. The parachute
slowly loses to nature (in this case gravity, but symbolically mankind’s
animal instincts and desires). This conclusion can be drawn because the
parachute is carrying a dead man, who of course represents the old way
and civility. Perhaps it could be also concluded that the parachute symbolizes
the last efforts to maintain a civilization that has already died and cannot
be saved. Because the parachute symbolizes efforts to save civilization
on the island, it can be related to Ralph, Piggy, and Simon. The parachute,
however, does not represent these characters, but rather what they themselves
in turn represent; leadership, knowledge and kindness.
4. When Simon says, “You’ll get back alright?”,
he means to say that the beast is a figment of the imagination and cannot
harm anyone; therefore, they will get back without a beast preventing their
return. Golding puts Simon’s words in such a manner so that they have a
connotation of sarcasm and annoyance. I believe that this was done to give
the reader a hint of Simon’s unspoken knowledge. Simon knows that the beast
is fictitious, in fact Simon knows what the beast represents. He is annoyed
by the general ignorance of the boys on the island and knows that when
they return, they themselves will bring the beast back; only it won’t be
the beast that they think they know.
5. Jack was unable to kill the pig because
he still had traces of civility left in him. The savage part of him drew
him to kill the pig, but did not fully dominate and he was unable to kill
the pig. Society teaches us from a young age that it is not only wrong
to kill, but disgusting. He was not ready to stain his hands with the blood
of another living creature and to abandon his morals. He took a large step
towards savagery by deciding and nearly bringing himself to kill the pig,
but was not ready to complete the journey; not yet.
6. Piggy’s glasses are significant as a
symbol of knowledge. Piggy also represents knowledge, and he is blind,
basically useless without them. Piggy and his glasses are strong while
society is strong. When society crumbles and no longer listens to its intellectuals
(which will happen later in the story) they become weak and abused like
Piggy does. After society crumbles Piggy’s glasses are stolen and broken,
he becomes useless, and is later murdered. Because society broke down,
knowledge is stolen and destroyed in the hands of savages. Piggy’s glasses
are broken in one lens by Jack, and later the other by him and his followers.
This shows that knowledge was not killed in one day, but rather over the
duration of the boys’ stay on the island. Because glasses symbolize knowledge,
they must be the tool used to obtain technology and the domination and
manipulation of nature. This is achieved by using Piggy’s glasses to light
the fire that represents these things. It also shows that when knowledge
falls into irresponsible hands it can be used to do great destruction that
is symbolized by the forest fire. The fire also represents hope, so it
is knowledge that gives us hope. Without Piggy’s glasses Jack and his boys
do not have fire to roast pigs. Jack hates Piggy, and treats him poorly,
but needs the glasses to obtain fire. This is very similar to evil leaders
of society who abuse their thinkers and use the knowledge that they yield
for personal gain and wrong – doing. Without Piggy’s glasses the boys would
not distinguish themselves from the rest of nature and perhaps become subordinate
to it. The same would be true for all of human society without knowledge.
7. The boys did not inspect the parachutist
more carefully because they had forgotten about the Old World and no longer
cared. They did not care that a man died or that someone from the Old World
arrived. They did not care to examine the body for useful items. This tells
us that the boys were preoccupied with events on the island. They were
no longer children of the Old World, nor did they care for it, they were
now children of the island. The dead man was no longer one of them, but
an outsider who did not matter.