Lord of the Flies: Symbolism of Characters

In our close reading discussion of chapter 1, we looked at how details of language gave Jack and his choir a connotation of a military unit. When we fit that discussion into our sense of context from outside the story, we connected a military leader to the USSR, which may mean that the “fair” boy is supposed to be the leader of a fairer place.

In a smaller discussion of Piggy, soon to become more public to the rest of the class, we talked about the way that Golding repeatedly mentions Piggy;s glasses and his ass-mar. Here at the end of chapter 3, it is still difficult to pin Piggy down to a particular meaning, but we can use a few quote connections to see a pattern that reveals his purpose in the story.

The fourth character of note was pretty much a secondary character until the end of chapter 3, when he walked away and the boys followed him. Take a look at this story and this story and let’s talk about whether or not we can draw any conclusions about Simon’s purpose in the story.

And a little more context…
Let me tell you some things you couldn’t possibly know. First, Golding didn’t imagine this story in his own mind. He borrowed it from a book called The Coral Island, which was written by a guy named Ballantyne and published in the 1860s. In that novel, boys named  Ralph, Jack and Peterkin are stuck on a tropical island with no adults around to help. Being British, of course, at the beginnings of Empire, these boys solve every problem they face on their way to their happy ending.

Golding uses The Coral Island as a frame of reference (he mentions it twice in the novel) to emphasize the purpose of his novel by contrasting those characters’ strength with his characters’ weakness. His Jack and Ralph begin disagreeing almost as soon as they meet. And while you might think his Peterkin is Piggy, because of the P, there is a good chance that he uses Simon as Peterkin (if you know your New Testament stories, you may see a connection here).

We’ll get a little more character allegory in chapter 5. Later.

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