In Lord of the Flies, Golding extensively uses of analogy and symbolism like the dead parachutist in Beast from Air to convey the theme of intrinsic human evil through the decay of the character’s innocence and the island itself. In this essay, I will view and explain Golding’s use of specific symbolism to explain the novel’s main themes.
In Beast From Air, the boys have the false idea of the beast being the dead parachutist that falls on the island: the fear the boys have of the beast leads to the death of Simon in chapter 9, A View to a Death. A factual interpretation of the beast would be that it represents danger and a direct threat to the boys; it can be a symbol of chaos and death within the island. An extended interpretation of the beast is that it represents the innate evil in humans, the primal, bestial feelings within us all: one of the novel’s main themes. Although the beast is metaphorical, the boys' behavior is what brings the beast into existence, so the more savagely the boys act, the more real the beast seems to become. This is realized by Simon and is proposed in Beast From Water after a littlun suggests the possibility of the beast on the island: “What I mean is . . . maybe it’s only us”. Simon explains that perhaps the beast is only the boys themselves. The boys ignore Simon’s realization, yet Simon’s words are central to Golding’s point that inborn human evil exists. Simon is the first character in the novel to see the beast not as an outer force, but as a constituent element of human nature.
Also, the quotation spoken by “the lord of the flies” in Gift for the Darkness to Simon during his vision contributes to Simon’s speculation in Beast From Water that the beast is themselves. This quotation deepens the theme of mankind’s evil nature which is crucial to the decadence of the boys’ innocence throughout the novel.: “There isn’t anyone to help you. Only me. And I’m the Beast… Fancy thinking the beast was something you could hunt and kill!... You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are the way they are?”
Because it is suggested that the parachutist and the conch symbolize the authority of adulthood, all signs of democracy and control die with the parachutist himself, and are shattered along with the conch. The reader can interpret this as the origin of the boys’ true declination into savagery and primitivism leading to the deaths of Piggy and Simon. This passage from Painted Faces and Long Hair shows an important step from the boys’ degeneration into savagery and foreshadows further violence in the novel: “Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law.” At this point in the novel, some cracks in the boys’...