Piggy's Specs: a Symbol of Vision and Civilization in "Lord of The Flies"

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 677 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 677|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraph 1
  3. Body Paragraph 2
  4. Body Paragraph 3
  5. Body Paragraph 4


William Golding's Lord of the Flies is a profound narrative that delves into the human psyche and the inherent savagery lurking beneath the veneer of civilization. One of the most compelling symbols in the novel is Piggy's glasses, or "specs." These glasses are not merely a tool for Piggy's vision; they represent the power of intellectual insight, the fragility of civilization, and the gradual descent into chaos. This essay will analyze the multifaceted symbolism of Piggy's specs, exploring how they convey critical themes within the narrative.

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Body Paragraph 1

Piggy's specs symbolize intellectual vision and insight in the novel. Piggy, despite his physical weaknesses and lack of charisma, embodies rationality and scientific thought. His glasses are a crucial instrument that enables him to see clearly, both literally and metaphorically. When the boys initially crash on the island, it is Piggy's specs that are used to ignite the signal fire, a beacon of hope and a crucial tool for survival. The ability to create fire signifies human advancement and the power of intellect to harness nature. Piggy's specs, therefore, become a symbol of the boys' connection to civilization and their reliance on intellectual tools to maintain order and hope.

Body Paragraph 2

As the story progresses, the fragility of civilization is mirrored in the treatment of Piggy's specs. The glasses are subjected to physical damage, reflecting the boys' gradual descent into savagery. The first significant incident occurs when Jack smacks Piggy, causing one lens to break. This moment is pivotal as it symbolizes the initial cracks in the boys' societal structure and the diminishing influence of rationality and order. The partial destruction of the specs foreshadows the complete breakdown of civilized behavior on the island. Piggy's impaired vision parallels the boys' increasingly blurred moral vision, as they move further away from the principles of decency and cooperation.

Body Paragraph 3

The eventual theft of Piggy's specs by Jack and his tribe marks the final erosion of civilized values and the triumph of anarchy. By stealing the glasses, Jack seizes the power to make fire, symbolizing the usurpation of intellectual and moral authority by brute force and savagery. The theft is not merely a pragmatic act of survival; it is a symbolic gesture that signifies the complete dominance of barbarism over rationality. Without his glasses, Piggy is rendered nearly helpless, emphasizing the vulnerability of intellect and reason in the face of unrestrained primal instincts. The destruction of the specs signifies the obliteration of the last vestiges of civilization on the island, culminating in Piggy's tragic death, which epitomizes the ultimate triumph of chaos over order.

Body Paragraph 4

Furthermore, the treatment of Piggy's specs highlights the theme of power and control. Throughout the novel, possession of the glasses equates to the ability to create fire, and consequently, the means to cook food and signal for rescue. This dynamic underscores the relationship between knowledge, power, and survival. Initially, the glasses are a communal resource used for the benefit of all. However, as the boys' society fractures, control over the specs becomes a contested source of power. Jack's eventual appropriation of the glasses signifies the shift from collective well-being to individual dominance and the use of power for coercion and control rather than mutual benefit. This transition reflects broader societal themes about the corrupting influence of power and the ethical implications of its use.


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In Lord of the Flies, Piggy's specs are a potent symbol of the dual aspects of human nature and society. They represent the clarity and insight afforded by intellectual and rational thought, as well as the fragility and vulnerability of these qualities in the face of primal instincts and savagery. The gradual destruction and eventual theft of the glasses parallel the boys' descent into chaos and the disintegration of civilized order. Through the symbolism of Piggy's specs, Golding underscores the precariousness of civilization and the ease with which it can be dismantled, revealing the darkness that lies beneath the surface of human nature. The specs thus serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of intellectual vision and moral integrity in maintaining the fabric of society.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Piggy’s Specs: A Symbol of Vision and Civilization in “Lord of the Flies”. (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from
“Piggy’s Specs: A Symbol of Vision and Civilization in “Lord of the Flies”.” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024,
Piggy’s Specs: A Symbol of Vision and Civilization in “Lord of the Flies”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jul. 2024].
Piggy’s Specs: A Symbol of Vision and Civilization in “Lord of the Flies” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 13 [cited 2024 Jul 17]. Available from:
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