Lord of the Flies

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The Island Symbol Icon
The tropical island, with its bountiful food and untouched beauty, symbolizes paradise. It is like a Garden of Eden in which the boys can try to create the perfect society from scratch.

The Island Quotes in Lord of the Flies

The Lord of the Flies quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Island. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Human Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of Lord of the Flies published in 2003.
Chapter 12 Quotes
His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.
Related Characters: Ralph, Piggy
Related Symbols: The Island, Fire, Adults
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:

In the final chapter of Lord of the Flies, the boys are faced with a surprising rescue. Confronted with a grown-up for the first time in weeks, the boys suddenly realize how far they've fallen. In no time at all, the boys have become bloodthirsty murderers, savoring murder and violence of all kinds. The evidence of their barbarism is visible everywhere--their island itself is in ruins, burning to ashes by fire.

Confronted with the misery of his situation, Ralph has no choice but to cry. He can see very clearly what has gone wrong: Piggy has been killed; his peers have tried to murder him, etc. But Ralph goes further, weeping for the general savagery of humankind. The quotation is important, then, because Golding uses it to make explicit what he'd previously implied: the children's experiences on the island are a metaphor for humanity itself. If innocent, "pure" children, left to their own devices, are capable of murdering each other, then humanity as a whole is hopelessly destructive, too. The fact that children are capable of such destruction suggests that there is always innate evil in the human soul--the only thing that can save the human race from its own "heart of darkness" is civilization, grounded in reason, law, and respect.

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The Island Symbol Timeline in Lord of the Flies

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Island appears in Lord of the Flies. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Human Nature Theme Icon
...fairly sure the plane they were in was shot down and crash landed on an island, and that all the adults on the plane were killed. They wonder if any of... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The boys climb to the highest peak on the island, which they call the mountain, from where they can see that they're on an uninhabited... (full context)
Chapter 2
Human Nature Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...Ralph blows the conch to call another meeting. Ralph announces that they're on an uninhabited island. Jack interrupts to say that they still need an army in order to hunt pigs. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Piggy takes the conch and says no one knows they're on the island. Ralph agrees, but describes the island as a good place where they'll have fun even... (full context)
Chapter 4
Human Nature Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
The boys adjust to life on the island. The younger boys are now called 'littleuns." The older boys are "biguns." The littleuns generally... (full context)
Chapter 5
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...the signal fire going. He says the fire is the most important thing on the island. (full context)
Chapter 6
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Ralph and the biguns agree to search the island. Piggy stays behind to look after the littleuns. At the far tip of the island,... (full context)