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Copy of Lord Of The Flies Symbolism Project: Piggy's Glasses

Defining what Piggy's glasses represent and tracing their presence through the novel
by

clara matti

on 17 December 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Lord Of The Flies Symbolism Project: Piggy's Glasses

Lord Of The Flies
Symbolism Project: Piggy's Glasses

Introduction
Beginning
(Chapter 1-4)
End
(Chapter 9-12)
Middle
(Chapter 5-8)
Conclusion
Beginning
(Chapter 1-4)
End
(Chapter 9-12)
Piggy's glasses (specs) are a symbol of technology and innovation. They are used to light the fire, and help Piggy, who is highly intellectual himself, interact with the world. As the glasses are damaged and eventually stolen, the technological status of the boys on the island becomes less and less advanced. They also symbolize vision, which is why William Golding makes Piggy short sighted with glasses, because they give him his ability to see clearly both symbolically throughout the theme of maintaining civilized order and literally. When one of the lenses of the glasses is smashed, it symbolizes the vision of being rescued fading away.
They are also used as a tool because it is the only necessity with which to start a fire. This also causes them to represent scientific knowledge. They can either be used to aid humanity or to destroy it. The fact that the glasses can be used to light a fire is a positive view on their alternative use, however, that same fire may turn into a destructive force when misused as at the end of the book, in the same way technology and science is misused in the fictional World War 3 outside the island.
Introduction
In the first few chapters of "Lord Of The Flies", Piggy’s glasses are the one symbol we find that represent the clinging to society for Piggy as well as his way of coping with being so far from his comfort zone back at his aunts house as we see him constantly cleaning them:

Pg. 12 “He took off his glasses and looked vainly for something with which to clean them”

During those moments they also represent Piggy’s actions and emotions after every dialogue or encounter he has, as well as the way Piggy uses the glasses to distract himself and avoid how uncomfortable and out of place he feels:

Pg. 19: “He was intimidated by this uniformed superiority … and busied himself with his glasses”

Pg. 23: “Piggy’s glasses were misted again - this time with humiliation”
More throughout chapter 2, we see how the glasses begin to become the tool used for igniting the fire, which represents the only hope for being discovered and rescued. The first piece of foreshadowing of the capability of the glasses would be on:

Pg. 39: “… labouring cautiously out of the forest with the evening sunlight gleaming from his glasses”

And then comes into full effect, with a slight hint of irony as it is Jack who realizes their potential use for the good of the boys:

Pg. 40: “His specs-use them as burning glasses”

We also see how weak Piggy is without the glasses:

Pg.40 “Jus’ blurs, that’s all. Hardly see my hand-“

The breaking of Piggy’s glasses shows us how he slowly becomes slightly vulnurable and represents the decay of civilized manner as one of the lenses brakes, showing us the first glimpse of Jacks’ sheer violence:

Pg. 71: “…and Jack smacked Piggy’s head. Piggy’s glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks”
From chapter 5 through 8, Piggy’s glasses do not appear so much, as such they don’t expand on their symbolic meaning, however in many paragraphs of the chapters, the glasses reoccur from time to time to remind us of the remaining civilized behavior that we find in some of the characters, as Piggy often points out the glasses in moments when civilized thinking is needed:

Pg. 134 “Piggy sat down carefully on the sand and began to polish his glass”

Pg. 143 “Piggy rubbed his glasses and thought”
http://jobbingwriter.blogspot.com/2011_04_01_archive.html
In the final chapters of the book, we slowly start to see the glasses becoming a more and more desired item as the two clans separate, as well the fact that the glasses along with the conch shell, become the last trace of civilization and order. The broken lens of the glasses seem to have a full influence on Piggy at the moment of Simons killing, as it could be partially blamed on Piggy’s incapability to see clearly now with only one lens, both symbolically and literally. At the moment of the stealing of Piggy’s glasses, we see Piggy looses some sense of his higher intelligence as he chooses to confront Jack head on, without considering the possible consequences:

Pg. 175: “Give me my glasses, I’m going to say - you got to!”
The glasses also become the final metaphor for civilized manner and the hope of their inner superego as opposed to “the game” being their inner savagery in:

Pg 182: “First you’ve got to give Piggy’s specs… You aren’t playing the game-“

In the last chapter of the book, Piggy’s glasses become misused, by forming a wildfire to smoke out Ralph, all by Jack:

Pg. 203: “The fire was a big one and the drum-roll that he had thought was left so far behind was nearer”

This demonstrates that mans technology created in order to help the world, can be just as easily misused for evil and savage reasons, much like the war that rages on in the outskirts of the island
The symbol of Piggy’s glasses relate to the theme of civilization vs. savagery, as Piggy’s glasses represent the power of science and intellectual endeavor in society. Within “Lord Of The Flies”, William Golding portrays the idea of what would occur if society was left to live in solitude, and how the community would begin to fall apart and break away from any moral guidelines. Through the use of Piggy’s glasses, Golding communicates the idea that as knowledge and intellectuality are made to carry a community alone, it would eventually all fail and even have the people turn on each other. This change of state is found in three key moments of the plot, when the fire is lit, when Piggy’s glasses are broken, and when they are stolen. Two of these moments involve Piggy’s glasses because in many ways they represent and convey Goldings message. The fact that the glasses are worn by Piggy also demonstrates how sometimes the greatest minds and wisdom (civilization) are not always accepted by the community unlike fear (savagery), which we see in the fact that Piggy does know what’s best for the group, but does not have the necessary leadership and authority skills to be taken seriously by the boys, much like the system of law that exists today, as it presents punishment to crime when dealt with acts of violence as to maintain order.
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