Good vs. Evil in Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies is a story about the conflicts of power. They use symbols to control these powers, but what symbols, and why?

In William Golding’s “The Lord of the Flies”, symbols draw much path of the novel. The most important symbols that guide the story along are the conch and the head of the sow. Obviously seen, the conch and the sow’s head have a different aura to them. The conch taking a majestic role, while the head is an evil display. A considerable amount of the story is spent on Ralph’s and Jack’s struggle for power, and to keep the struggle strong, both Ralph and Jack use these symbols. Arguably, without symbols, “The Lord of the Flies” would be a different story.

The conch and the sow’s head are the symbols that draw the most attention; they reflect the most power. Difference of these symbols can be seen from the beginning of their appearance in the story. The conch is found in the lagoon. It is an inspiring piece of art that exists there naturally. On the other hand, the head is made from brutality and violence; there is nothing natural about it. Just the event of the sow being killed is done in a demented fashion and it shows another symbol. Sows being the female are the one capable of reproducing. When the hunt works its way for the kill, instead of going for the baby pigs, they go for the sow. It shows an end coming to life, and maybe hopes.

Ralph and Jack take power somewhat similarly to the two symbols. Ralph takes up the conch voluntarily and there is no fight with Piggy to obtain it. So, it doesn’t surprise to see that Ralph got position of the chief without trying; the votes are purely voluntary of the kids. Jack from the very beginning of the novel tries to force his will into others. The deaths of the sow, symbolizing forced sex portray Jack expressing his will into something else. He eventually uses this technique to get almost all of the people on the island to join his side. From the point of the evil side, they aren’t evil. Jack thinks that he is doing something good for the group, but in reality, he is only speeding up chaos all over the island.

One of the powerful symbols used by Jack to gain power is meat. The temptation of meat was too much for even Ralph and Piggy. The meat of the pig leads to the worst events on the island, such as: Simon’s death, the group splitting up, and Jack and his followers turning into savages. The out of control dance, which killed Simon, certainly had connections with meat. Meat symbolizes as the fruit in the Garden of Eden while the snake is somewhat played by Jack. Jack is the main hunter without whom there wouldn’t be such a need for meat. Meat alone is not something that was a problem, but the knowledge of more meat was. Temptation to have more meat is still with them. Golding shows here that even after so long, we still might be the same.

While the conch and the sow’s head are very important symbols, there still remain others. Piggy’s glasses and Jack’s knife are the most outstanding of minor symbols. Piggy’s glasses mean clarity and wisdom. It is also used to make fire, one of the principles, but dangerous technologies of human. Jack’s knife shows violence and danger. While at the same time, a knife can be used for useful actions. Over the course of the story, Piggy’s glasses are broken, and then taken by Jack. The glasses are then blind, and it defines Jack’s actions. In the end, Piggy’s glasses, Jack’s knife and the sow’s head are on the evil side. The conch that stands for order cannot belong in the evil side, thus destroyed. Golding is trying to tell us that evil is stronger than good and even the most good of things have evil in them. The whole novel is about the struggle of good and evil which take the roles of symbols and Ralph and Jack.

Symbols in the novel “Lord of the Flies” take an important role in the plot. The conch being good and the sow’s head being evil conflict each other. Something had to give, so the conch is broken into countless pieces. Golding tries to tell us that evil is stronger than good and even the most good people have a dark, evil side to them when not necessarily vice-versa. The conch’s power draws on admiration and beauty while the head does the opposite. The head rules the people with terror and fear. As those symbols dictate the balance of good and evil, Jack brings in his trump card, meat. It really doesn’t take much for people to switch sides into evil and it worked like a charm for Jack. The technologies brought in from their former world are turned to the evil side, giving evil another triumph. All in all, the person who can control such a symbol wields the power to change things around.

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  1. darth vador
    Posted November 14, 2008 at 10:10 am

    join the darkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk sideeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  2. lucas airwalker
    Posted November 30, 2008 at 8:13 am

    don’t join darth vader.

  3. Rox
    Posted December 16, 2008 at 12:08 am

    So does that mean that the sow’s head also represents the beast?

  4. Apprentice
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Im a loner

  5. Sith
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 5:26 pm


  6. Yoda
    Posted February 11, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    no young padawon

  7. asshole
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 10:47 am

    he wants you to join the dark side because he is gay he wants it in the butt

  8. asshole
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 9:20 am

    you guys love it in the ass

  9. cookie monster
    Posted April 6, 2009 at 12:14 am

    join the dark side. we have cookies.

  10. cookie monster
    Posted April 6, 2009 at 12:14 am


  11. cookie monster
    Posted April 6, 2009 at 12:15 am

    and lotsss of cookies

  12. wtf
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 10:10 am

    i hate this book! i’m just now starting it, and its due trmw… fml.

  13. berr
    Posted May 12, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    heyy :]

  14. Ashley
    Posted August 7, 2009 at 4:49 am

    well it is a really good book and you are all lame if you just toke time out of being a loser then you would like it

  15. Disgruntled Student
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I for one, have read the book, and I don’t like it at all. There’s a few moral things I don’t agree with at all, which decreases the book’s attractiveness to me

  16. cat
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 8:45 am


  17. Sandra Bullock
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    This book was terrible. I can’t describe how much I hate this book. Everyone dies. And this “Cat” asshole decides, “Oh, I’ll be a clever bastard.” Well, sir, I hope you burn deep within the bowels of hell.

  18. Owen Wilson
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 9:21 pm


  19. ToasterDildo.
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Sandra Bullock.
    Eat cock.

    What do you have against cats.

  20. ToasterDildo.
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Sandra Bullock.
    Eat cock.

    What do you have against cats.?

  21. Cat
    Posted December 3, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Meow Meow Meow *licks privates*

  22. Posted May 2, 2010 at 1:00 pm


  23. TheWeed'n'PotGuy
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 5:38 am

    wtf are all of you smoking?

  24. Kaz
    Posted October 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    It is a book meant to Portray the nature of man. Golding does this by placing symbols through out the story that fit into their own themes (and into society). The story is simply showing that man can easily become corrupted depending on the situation. For instance, the boys get stuck on the island; before they go to island they are all sophisticated boys, but upon circumstances most become savages.

  25. Armz
    Posted October 11, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    have to read this book in school i sooo hate it

  26. Haidyn
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 5:05 am

    For those wondering if the Sow’s Head is the beast. It isn’t The Sows Head is the Lord of the Flies. The beast is the evil inside everyone and everythings soul. It is a fear for the unknown. The Lord of the Flies says it himself “Funny, Thinking that the beast was something you could hunt and kill.”

  27. betterThanU
    Posted November 10, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    f yalls lives

  28. Summer
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    umm i hand to read this book for honors english and i mean its ok kinda unrelistic cuz i mean where are the girls? and just because he saw some bad things in WWII dosnt mean he has to make all boys seem evil the way he does in his book and to tell the truth i didnt even read this book i kinda jsut did spark notes and eventuall y i did read it for paper purpoese but i just dont see a draw to it and why teachers/ schools make their english classes read this book it stupid.

  29. BUCK
    Posted January 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    yeah they had an interview with the author and he said there were no girls because then sex would complicate things. He didn\\\’t want this to be about sex but rather, a story of evil vs. good and all that…

  30. Posted January 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    yeah they had an interview with the author and he said there were no girls because then sex would complicate things. He didn\\\\\\\’t want this to be about sex but rather, a story of evil vs. good and all that…

  31. Posted January 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    how exactly is the sow’s head a symbol of evil???????

  32. Posted January 17, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    YEEEAAAHHHH fatty d thats a good question. maybe u can find it in one of ma bitches

  33. cici
    Posted December 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    This is a great explanation thank you ! ( and join the good side people ! Do you really want to become a roger ? Didnt think so bitches ) :P

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