SparkNotes: Lord of the Flies: Symbols

SparkNotes: Lord of the Flies: Symbols




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Lord of the Flies



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LitCharts

Lord of the Flies

William Golding



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Piggy’s Glasses

Symbol Analysis





Piggy
By allowing the boys to create fire, the first necessity of civilization, Piggy‘s glasses represent science and technology, mankind’s power to transform and remake their environment to best suit its needs.
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Piggy’s Glasses Symbol Timeline in Lord of the Flies

The timeline below shows where the symbol Piggy’s Glasses appears in Lord of the Flies. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.

Chapter 2

Civilization Theme Icon

Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon

The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
…on the mountain. They can’t figure out how start the fire until Jack grabs the glasses off Piggy’s face. Ralph uses the glasses to focus the sun’s rays on the wood….
(full context)

Civilization Theme Icon

Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon

Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon

The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
…starts to criticize the boys, but Jack shouts him down. Simon points out that Piggy’s glasses made the fire possible.
(full context)

Chapter 4

Human Nature Theme Icon

The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
…some of the hunters start yelling at Jack. Jack, humiliated and angry, hits Piggy. Piggy’s glasses fly off, breaking a lens. Jack mocks Piggy and everyone laughs.
(full context)

Civilization Theme Icon
Eventually Jack apologizes for letting the fire die. Ralph asks Piggy’s permission to use his glasses to light the fire. Ralph realizes he and Piggy have become allies.
(full context)

Chapter 10

Civilization Theme Icon

Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
…tomorrow and have a feast. To cook the meat, they’ll raid Ralph’s group for Piggy’s glasses. Meanwhile, Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric discover four people aren’t enough to keep the fire going….
(full context)

Chapter 11

Civilization Theme Icon

Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Ralph demands that Jack return Piggy’s glasses. He mentions again the importance of the signal fire. Jack’s tribe has only a cooking…
(full context)



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The Conch Shell
Next
Fire



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Homework Help



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Lord of the Flies


What do Piggy’s glasses symbolize in Lord of the Flies and how does this symbol progress over the course of the story?

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Quick Answer

Piggy’s glasses are a symbol of perception, and throughout the story they represent the capacity for reason and logic. In this sense, they are symbolic of a society that values knowledge (for example, the glasses give the boys fire) and order. However, the glasses also come to represent vulnerability, as the boy’s lose their sanity. Ultimately, the shattering of Piggy’s glasses signifies the complete dissolution of civility.


Expert Answers

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

Highly symbolic, Piggy’s “thick spectacles” represent perception that is aided, and the ability to reason and to think logically, as well as a certain maturity. Also, when used for the rescue fire, these glasses represent the benefits of science, but after they are stolen and used to set fires that go out of control, the glasses signify civilization out of control.

  • In Chapter One of Lord of the Flies, when Piggy presents himself to Ralph,…

Highly symbolic, Piggy ‘s “thick spectacles” represent perception that is aided, and the ability to reason and to think logically, as well as a certain maturity. Also, when used for the rescue fire, these glasses represent the benefits of science, but after they are stolen and used to set fires that go out of control, the glasses signify civilization out of control.

  • In Chapter One of Lord of the Flies , when Piggy presents himself to Ralph , he appears older because of his heaviness, thinning hair, and glasses.  When he removes his glasses to wipe them, Piggy has an expression of “pain and inward concentration” alter his appearance.  So, the glasses symbolize this internalization of thought that engages in reasoning. For instance, in Chapter Two, Piggy again wipes his glasses as the boys assemble in response to Ralph’s blowing the conch.
  • The glasses are also indicative of Piggy’s vulnerability.  Again, in Chapter Two, the boys want to start a fire and Roger suggests making a bow and spin the arrow; however, Jack points to Piggy’s glasses, “use them as burning glasses!”  Piggy is surrounded and screams, “Mind out!  Give ’em back! I can hardly see!”  Later, when Jack disparages Piggy for doing nothing, the solicitous Simon defends Piggy, “We used his specs….He helped that way.” Of course, after Piggy’s glasses are broken and finally stolen, the glasses symbolize the breakdown in civilization and the loss of rationality.
  • When Jack breaks Piggy’s glasses after smacking his head,  Piggy’s glasses “flew off and tinkled on the rocks. Piggy cried out in terror….”  This incident with the glasses foreshadows and symbolizes what will soon happen to him.    
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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

Piggy’s glasses come to represent both weakness and power as the novel progresses.  At the beginning of the novel, Piggy’s glasses are a symbol of his physical weakness which sets him apart from the other boys; however, as the boys figure out how to use the lens to create fire, Piggy’s glasses become a symbol of power in the novel. 

Ralph’s control as chief falters as Jack leaves the tribe and makes the bold move to steal Piggy’s glasses.  Jack’s act of theft signals a power shift in the novel.  As long as he controls the glasses, he also controls the power to make fire.

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Student Answers

beautifulsunshine16 | Student

The glasses represent ordinary society with rules and intellect. Ecspecially since he was the smartest and thought of the best decisions. when the glasses break, it shows the decline of their sanity and lack of civilization. When Piggy no longer has them it shows the total downfall.

w3stlife | Student

Symbolically, the glasses are significant because they represent the intellectual and ordered side of humanity.  The breaking of the glasses represents the breaking of the last tie to humanity that the boys have or had

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Lord of the flies: the Symbolism of Piggy’s glasses

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Kassandra Caballero

on 14 November 2014

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Transcript of Lord of the flies: the Symbolism of Piggy’s glasses

HOPE
Sign of weakness
the glasses are part of piggy without them he can’t see
"Jus’ blurs, that’s all. hardly see my hand-" (chapter 2 pg 41)
intelligence and knowledge
piggy is the smartest of all the boys
Had good ideas to Ralph to help the group
What the glasses symbolize
intelligence
Mla citation
SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2014.

"Symbolism in Lord of the Flies: Overview of Some of the Main Symbols & Themes." Bright Hub Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2014.

"William Golding Symbolism in Lord of the Flies." Lord of the Flies by William Golding, the Use of Symbolism. English Literature Essay. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

"What’s the Significance of Piggy’s Glasses? – Homework Help – ENotes.com." Enotes.com. Enotes.com, n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

Lord of the flies: the Symbolism of Piggy’s glasses

civilization
sign of weakness
hope
civilization
The ability to make fire.
They used the glasses to focus the sunlight and set the wood on fire.
help rescue them from the island.
”His specs-use them as burning glasses” (chapter 2 pg.40)
”There was a ship. Out there. You said you’d keep the fire going and you let it out!” (chapter 4 pg.70)
without the glasses there is no other way to light the fire needed to get rescued.
once they are broken it breaks that bond they had
the glasses held the boys in the island together
as soon as they break everything starts going wrong
Where do you see the symbol in the story?
how does the symbol change?
how does this change effect the
plot?
How does the author use
this symbol to communicate it?
By kassandra caballero, nancy flores,
sonia barrientos and michael martinez

"The chief led them, trotting steadily, exulting in his achievement. He was a chief now in truth; and he made stabbing motions with his spear. From
his left hand dangled Piggy’s broken glasses."(10.296-302)
AS the glasses continue to break it represents the breaking of thier civilization
William golding uses metaphors to communicate the symbol
the voice of reason and logic
Piggy cried out in terror: ‘My specs! One side’s broken.’ – chapter 4
When he shows them to Ralph
"And I’ve been wearing my specs since i was three.”
"He took of his glasses and held them out to Ralph" (Chapter 9 Pg.9)
Until they are broken
"From his left hand dangled pigys broken glasses" (chapter 10 pg 168)
brought up the idea to use the conch to call all the boys

Full transcript

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