Lord of the Flies was written by William Golding, a well-known English writer, who in 1983 received a Nobel Prize for Literature. It took some time before the novel became famous and gained success, but around 1960s it gained a wide readership and launched his remarkable career.
The story is set on an island, where a couple of British boys ended up being stranded on the island after their plane mysteriously crashed. They are left to take care of themselves with no adults around. The boys are from 6 to 12 years old, and one of the older guys, Ralph becomes their “chief”. The rest of the novel tells about their adventures on the island. Although it seems fun, they also go through various hardships and troubles.
Talking about symbolism of the novel, it is important to mention allegory. Lord of the Flies is believed to be one big allegory, where the island is our planet; the ruling boys are the government systems; the fights between them resemble war. Only towards the end of the story, when the real world penetrates into an imaginary one, do we let go of the allegory.
One of the most significant symbols in the story is the conch. It signifies a right to speak. Only those boys who had it, had the right to express and share their opinion. It is also used to call the boys to order. To dig deeper into it, it represents all the rules, speech and politics that the society had imposed upon all people. When suddenly the conch is broken into myriads of pieces, the symbol of power vanishes, and it became available to others.
Another essential symbol that should be mentioned is fire. The author brings up fire a couple of times in the novel. First of all, the boys want to have a signal fire going in case a ship would pass their island. Unfortunately, it does not work as planned. The fire starts to burn out uncontrollably, and some boys even get hurt. Thus, we see that a fire is a positive and a negative symbol. Although it brings salvation at the end of the poem, it also brings harm and destruction as they boys are rescued because Jack lights up on fire when he is trying to kill Ralph. This leads back to the allegory of the novel. The boys are rescued and have to go back to the real world. The world was at war at the time this novel was written, so it is hard to say if they are really saved or maybe they would be better off on this remote and imaginary island.