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Topic for discussion: Lord of the Flies

I love this book. It can be read on so many levels, from a captivating and compelling adventure, to a psychological study of human nature, to an allegory of all the elements of civilization.

I like to think of the fire as a symbol for education, creative pursuits, even--if you want to go that route--spirituality. In the case of education, it's an activity that you engage in for the long-term benefits of it. You don't always see the payoff immediately, but it has value.

I can also see it as representing the arts in civilization, in that arts funding is typically the first thing to be sacrificed to budgetary cutbacks. Art or creativity may not put food on the table or money in people's pockets--which would be Jack's argument (i.e. that hunting is more necessary for survival than keeping the fire lit)--but what would life be without it? Creative pursuits set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, and how can civilization be salvaged without them? In the same way, humans are unique in building fires, and without the smoke, there is no hope for the rescue of the boys in the book.

Finally, if you want to look at it from a religious (specifically Christian) perspective, keeping the fire lit at the expense of hunting could be a metaphor for rejecting worldly or carnal activities to lead a holy life, which will pay off in being "saved" at the end of your earthly experience. Think about it: sending up smoke to signal ships that may or may not be there could be compared with prayer. The irony is that Jack is the one who was a choirboy, but he is the one who views keeping the fire lit as a waste of time.

What do you think? How did you view some of the symbols in the book?

Comments

The Conch Shell was a symbol that i noticed right away. It symbolizes power and civilization in a way because it is what keeps the order at their meetings. It it through the conch shell that Ralph is elected leader in the beginning. When the conch shell is destroyed it represents that their civilization is finished and they have descended into savagery.

After our discussion on Friday, I believe that the pig symbolizes much more than nourishment and survival. The boys attack on the pig definitely replicated a rape scene. I think the pig symbolizes innocence and purity. These boys break all morals by killing this mother pig who had little piglets. It shows that these boys will go against society's morals and expectations in order to survive.

I think the fire can be a symbol for many different things. What I see it being for the boys is a sense of hope. By keeping it lit, they keep their hope alive that they won't have to feed the fire forever; that someone will answer their call. Even though hunting is necessary for survival, if they had to stay on the island indefinitely, they would come to realize that keeping the fire going is just as important.

Hunting. In order for the kid to surive in the island they need to hunt. When hunting, it make the kids work together to make the hunt a successful. Fire can be what keeps life moving on. It they would hav the fire lit and stay, they could have been rescue.