Allegory in Lord of the Flies

By: Adrienne Allen, Deianna Madlambayan, And Meryl Xiong

Engagement Activity: Memory


Allegory- a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.

Allegory constructed a substantial part of Lord of the Flies especially concerning characters. Each boy, representing another characteristic, brought components of themselves to their society. Whether it was intelligence, civilization, or even brutality, the society was based off of the balance of these ideals even when their society completely changed.

Quote #1

"'Nobody knows where we are,' said Piggy. He was paler than before and breathless, 'Perhaps they knew where we was going to; and perhaps not. But they don't know where we are 'cos we never got there.'(page 46, Golding)"


Piggy's reasonable thoughts clearly represented all intelligence on the island. Understanding the probability of rescue, piggy was able to bring his intellectual perspective into the assembly over the island. While explaining, he shed light on their situation, therefore starting the quest for a signal fire. While Ralph was convinced his father knew where the boys were located, Piggy created a logical argument on the topic. His actions, guided by previous knowledge of civilization and acceptable adult behavior, helped the boys grasp the reality of their situation until his eventual demise.

Quote #2

"We have lots of assemblies. Everybody enjoys speaking and being together. We decide things. But they don't get done. We were going to have water brought from the stream and left in those coconut shells under fresh leaves. So it was, for a few days. Now there's no water. The shells are dry. People drink from the river...Then there's huts. Shelters...There's another thing. We chose those rocks right along beyond the bathing pool as a lavatory...Now people seem to use anywhere. Even near the shelters and the platform...And then: about the fire...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?" (Golding, pg.79-80)


In Lord of the Flies, Ralph represents law and order. Ralph holds an assembly to hopefully reestablish the society they once upheld. He addresses issues of sanitation, shelters, and sustenance, as well as the need for a signal fire, which is an integral component to their rescue. Ralph's actions are all concentrated towards building a basis for human civilization. His desperation for a working community is highlighted by his frustration at the group's inability to be one. Ralph is the embodiment of their past culture and society, and his strive for the boys to do the same exemplifies the law and order he personifies.

Quote #3

"'I cut the pig’s throat,' said Jack, proudly, and yet twitched as he said it...The boys chattered and danced. The twins continued to grin.'There was lashings of blood,' said Jack, laughing and shuddering, 'you should have seen it!' Ralph spoke again, hoarsely. He had not moved.'You let the fire go out.' This repetition made Jack uneasy. He looked at the twins and then back at Ralph...He flushed, conscious of a fault (Golding, page 98)


Jack's fascination with the sheer violence and the thrill of the hunt truly characterizes him as the savage aspect of human nature. Unlike Ralph, who was too timid to take a knife to a living creature, Jack found excitement in draining the pig of life. He was not happy that he had provided his society with a source of meat, but ecstatic purely because he had slain an animal. This savagery and thirst for bloodshed eventually led to the completely unwarranted deaths of two people from their society, and further emphasizes the inherent barbarity that human beings possess.


Each of the characters in Golding's Lord of the Flies represent a different aspect of human nature. Jack, Ralph, and Piggy epitomize these abstract ideas and allow the reader to better grasp the main ideas of the novel by putting them in concrete forms. As the story progressed, the ideals that these allegories represented became more apparent, and the significance of each allegory to the story clarified itself further.

Discussion Questions

1. Which is the most prominent or important allegory in lord of the flies?

2. What are some other allegories in lord of the flies?

3. What is a similar example of allegory in another book or movie?

4. How would the story/ society have changed without at least one of these characters?

5. Why are these allegorical characters important to the story?

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