Monday, July 4, 2011

Symbols of civilization

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I. Introduction

A. In Lord of the Flies, the author, William Golding, presents civilization vs. savagery as a main theme.

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B. He used certain objects and people to symbolize the idea of civilization.

C. Thesis In the story the three things that are left to symbolize civilization and authority are Piggy, the signal fire and the conch.

II. Piggy represented the civilized part of the boys and as a consequence of this was he acquired the reputation of an outsider. (LOF, 65)

A. “For the moment the boys were a closed circuit of sympathy and Piggy was on the outside” (LOF, 1)

1. Golding hints early on that Piggy will become a permanent outsider.

. Eventually the voice of reason is silenced.

B. He had short hair unlike the other boys.

1. Long hair was a symbol of savagery and rebellion.

. This shows that he was not becoming a savage.

C. He had glasses (specs) that represented civilization.

1. His specs separate him from the rest of the boys.

. His glasses are the source of the signal fire.

D. He wants to make a sundial.

1. He wanted to build a sundial to keep track of time, but the others discarded that idea.

. The clock symbolizes the want of order and civilization.

E. He continually refers to his auntie.

1. He appears as an “auntie’s boy” and the boys make fun of him for it.

. This shows that he wants to return to England.

F. He is obsessed with the fire

1. He really wants to get home.

. He knows that is the only opportunity to get off the island.

G. Even though piggy, due to his death, did not remain as a positive influence on the boys, his role as the voice of reason did not have a lasting effect.

H. Piggy turns out as the only human who remains civilized while they are on the island.

III. The conch initially is the central symbol of authority for the boys.

A. Piggy said, “We can use this [the conch] to call the others. Have a meeting” (LOF, 16).

1. The boys use it as a horn and as a symbol of authority.

. The meetings are used to discuss the rules of the island.

B. It gives the one who holds it the privilege to speak

1. They set this as one of the rules to attempt at having some order during the meetings.

. This shows how they want to act like they are still in England.

C. When it is destroyed all civilized authority is gone leaving Ralph to fend for himself and Piggy dead.

1. Piggy and the conch are destroyed and the reader can tell by the books tone that Ralph does not know what to do next

. Piggy dies, ending the only true voice of reason on the island.

D. The conch gives the boys something physical to represent a rule.

E. Different people need different things to symbolize authority.

IV. The fire acts as the main symbol of civilization on the island

A. It is built as the only hope of the boys being rescued

1. The smoke it supposed to attract a ship.

. Ralph and Piggy are really the only two that realize this is the boys hope of ever getting off the island

B. It is the thing keeping Ralph and Piggy “civilized”

1. The fire symbolizes life, a civilized life by giving the boys an escape route.

. Once the fire dies the two can not think clearly

C. The fire causes the conflict between Ralph and Jack.

1. It is ironic how the main source of civilization causes the fight between the two leaders.

. Once it dies there are no other signs of civilization left.

D. The signal fire functions as a measuring stick on the boys want to return to civilization

1. If the fire goes down they are satisfied with there surroundings and if it is up they have hope in being rescued

. The fire fluctuates as do the boys desires.

E. The fire remains the symbol of civilization until it finally dies out in the end.

V. Conclusion

A. These three things show civilization and they all die, break, or go out.

B. As a result of this, civilization fades away from the boys.

C. The end of the things existence signifies the end of a civilized life and the beginning of a life full of savagery.

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