Three Symbols in Lord of the Flies

Andrew Heartquist, Daniel Martinez, Gavin Kennard

The Conch

The conch was a big symbol throughout the novel, the conch represented order, peace and civility. In Lord of the Flies Ralph and Piggy use it to summon the boys after they are separated by the crash. The shell is used throughout the story to keep order, how it is used during the boys meetings to keep peace. The boulder that Roger rolls onto Piggy also destroys the conch, symbolizing the demise of any civil instinct the boys had left.

The Beast

The beast was a constant symbol throughout the Lord of the Flies. It represented fear, chaos, and the primal instinct of human nature. Simon was the only one of the boys to realize that the beast was not an animal, but inside each and every one of them. That is why the more savagely the boys act, the more real the beast becomes. By the end of the novel the boys make sacrifices to the beast and basically treat it as a god.

The Lord of the Flies

The Lord of the Flies represents the core of evil on the island. The pig represents the evil that the boys are doing and the fact that there is no evil on the island except for themselves. Also in biblical terms the head of the pig represents the Devil while Simon represents Jesus. Also Beelzebub a powerful demon believed to be the devil himself, the name is translated into the lord of the flies.


1. The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist."

-This when Roger rolls a boulder onto Piggy, not only does it kill Piggy, it shatters the conch. This represents the demise of any civilized instinct the boys had left and the start of everything falling into utter chaos.

2. What I mean is . . . maybe it’s only us

-This is a quote from Simon in chapter 5 during a meeting when the boys debate the existence of the beast. Simon suggests that the beast is not something that can be hunted and killed, but is part of the boys themselves. The other boys laugh off this suggestion, but this was a key quote that helped emphasize that innate human evil does exist.

3. "The fire is the most important thing on the island. How can we ever be rescued except by luck, if we don't keep a fire going? Is a fire too much for us to make? Look at us! How many are we? And yet we can't keep a fire going to make smoke. Don't you understand? Can't you see we ought to-- ought to die before we let the fire out?"

-This is Ralph's speech to attempt to emphasize the importance of the signal fire to the other boys. The signal fire was not only one of their last chances of getting off the island, it also represented the remaining civility of the boys, when the fire was gone, so was the order.

4. The head is for the beast. It's a gift (137).

-This is talking about when they kill the pigs and sacrificing the heads to the beast. What happens later is this pig head impaled on a stake becomes known as the Lord of the Flies. The Lord of the Flies represents evil and how there is nothing evil on the island but the boys themselves. Also, Lord of the Flies is a literal translation from a biblical reference, Beelzebub, a powerful demon in hell who is also considered to be the Devil.

5. I'm warning you. I'm going to get angry. D'you see? You're not wanted. Understand? We are going to have fun on this island! So don't try it on, my poor misguided boy, or else-- (143)

-This is when Simon is having a conversation with the pigs head and it is telling him about how they will have fun and not to test him. This The Lord of the Flies becomes a symbol of the power of evil, and a kind of Satan figure who evokes the beast within each human. It is also representing temptation because The Beast is tempting them to have fun instead of being good and civilized. Also this brings out the symbolism of Jesus within Simon because he tells them that the real evil resides in them, not the Beast.
There were many symbols throughout Lord of the Flies and all three played large parts throughout the novel. They all represented key factors in an average society including fear, order, and hope. Without these three symbols much of the insight this novel has into human nature would be lost.


1. Are there any symbols used today similar to the conch?

2. How does fear play a major role in Lord of the Flies?

3. How does Jack use the beast to control the other boys?

4. Why do you think Simon is the only one to suspect the true state of the beast?

5. How did the significance of the conch deteriorate as the novel progressed?