While discussing the metaphorical aspects of the novel, one should keep the background history in mind, in order to better understand the significance of this work. Golding, who was very sensitive to the prevailing circumstances around him, took part in World War II and was part of the British navy during this period. Having fought this war, Golding was able to understand with considerable certainty the nature of humans and it was this observation of his that contributed to the emergence of this novel. Golding use of characters to represent the various facets of humanity is interesting due to the fact that he has used human characters as representatives of the different qualities of humans. In addition to this notion, Golding also uses various objects that reflect different aspects of human societies.
An important object that is encountered early in the story is the conch shell; this is portrayed as a tool that produces a whistling sound which is used by the characters in the story to gather a crowd. Initially, this is used as a tool to call all those who are lost. But later on in the story, it takes an alternate role; the role of bringing peace among the conflicting parties. Golding’s use of this object may be equated to the concept of justice or peace which when implemented contributes to the development of satisfaction in a society. Moreover, it causes the conflicting boys to forget their differences and attend to the call of justice; which is a reflection of the importance of justice and peace in human society.
Golding’s mention of an unseen beast is interesting in the sense that the group of boys search for it outside, but fail to find it. After this failure, they start to associate strange ideas to this unseen beast. This metaphor is a reflection of human’s inner darkness which is often manifested by greed. The temptation to acquire more material benefits for ourselves is the real beast, that mankind tries to look-for outside, but is in fact within their embodiment.
Different characters of the story also hold allegorical significance. Ralph is chosen by Golding to reflect the inner desire of humans to form societies and colonies; civilization being the aim. The portrayal of ‘Jack’ in the novel, points towards the group of people in human societies, that exerts control over basic necessities of humans; e.g. food. It is this group of people who exert extreme control over the resources and for this reason their greed to acquire more and more power continues to grow.
The character of ‘Simon’ is depicted to portray the inherent goodness that is existent in all humans by nature. Characters like ‘Roger’ are portrayed to reflect the negative aspects of humanity. These are the people who work for people like ‘Jack’ to gain total control over humanity. It can be concluded from the above discussion that Golding has very wisely used a variety of objects and people to signify the various aspects of human life. The story provides a deep insight into the most primitive behaviors that are manifested by humans in matters of day to day life.