Lord of the Flies: Chapter 4-7 Notes
1. When the fire goes out it symbolizes the loss of all remaining civility and the beginning of absolute savagery. The fire was the boys' only link to the past, as it was the one true technology they had. Fire symbolizes man's domination and manipulation of nature. As the fire goes out the boys are no longer people, but animals. It is also important to note that the fire was voluntarily allowed to die. This tells us that the boys voluntarily became savages, so this represents not only the loss of a civilized society, but also the betrayal of it. When the fire goes out, it also signifies the loss of hope. If the boys believed that they would be rescued, then they would not allow the fire to go out. Again, because of the fire being let out voluntarily it also represents the betrayal of hope. When the fire goes out, the boys no longer want to be a part of civilization or be rescued by it.
2. The beast from the air is a dead man, who is attached to a parachute, falling from the sky. The beast from water is a figment of their imagination. Once again the loss of civilization and the old ways are represented. The dead man in the parachute, falling slowly, from the old world and civilization, represents the steady decline of the old ways which have been implemented in the new society and therefore the distinction of being civilized itself and the death of it. The beast represents mankind's fear of an outside threat as well as the evil and wrong doing that mankind brings upon itself. Fear of an outside threat has been a characteristic that mankind has had ever since we walked on two legs. Ancient peoples saw demons, and now many people claim to see UFO's and aliens; it is quite plausible that a very primitive society would see a beast. As evil and fear are created from man, so is the beast. The beast, being a fictitious creation of man and one that appears in every society, becomes no longer a physical entity, but a fear rooted deep in the human psyche; perhaps a fear of ourselves.
3. The parachute symbolizes the forces of human behavior that attempt to hold the fabric of society intact. The parachute, however, fails to hold society afloat indefinitely. The parachute slowly loses to nature (in this case gravity, but symbolically mankind's animal instincts and desires). This conclusion can be drawn because the parachute is carrying a dead man, who of course represents the old way and civility. Perhaps it could be also concluded that the parachute symbolizes the last efforts to maintain a civilization that has already died and cannot be saved. Because the parachute symbolizes efforts to save civilization on the island, it can be related to Ralph, Piggy, and Simon. The parachute, however, does not represent these characters, but rather what they themselves in turn represent; leadership, knowledge and kindness.
4. When Simon says, "You'll get back alright?", he means to say that the beast is a figment of the imagination and cannot harm anyone; therefore, they will get back without a beast preventing their return. Golding puts Simon's words in such a manner so that they have a connotation of sarcasm and annoyance. I believe that this was done to give the reader a hint of Simon's unspoken knowledge. Simon knows that the beast is fictitious, in fact Simon knows what the beast represents. He is annoyed by the general ignorance of the boys on the island and knows that when they return, they themselves will bring the beast back; only it won't be the beast that they think they know.
5. Jack was unable to kill the pig because he still had traces of civility left in him. The savage part of him drew him to kill the pig, but did not fully dominate and he was unable to kill the pig. Society teaches us from a young age that it is not only wrong to kill, but disgusting. He was not ready to stain his hands with the blood of another living creature and to