Yesterday Sierra and I were communicating through Facebook. She mentioned that she had done very well with her essay on the book “Lord of the Flies”. I commented by saying that I really hated that book, and here’s why – it was assigned reading when I was a Senior in high school, and I never could figure out the symbolism, especially that of the pig head on a stick. Those of you who read the book will know what I’m talking about. Those who haven’t will think “What?!” It’s probably too much to explain here, just know that a bunch of boys were stranded on an island, all pandemonium broke out, and one of the kids cut the head off of a wild boar and stuck it on a pike. The pig head was supposed to have great meaning. During my Senior English class there was much discussion on what the pig head symbolized and I kept waiting for my teacher to say, “Ok, here is the right answer…”, but that never happened. In fact, I remember her saying that there wasn’t a real definitive answer, which made me think that the whole exercise was a huge waste, and then I just got mad. I’ve been mad ever since. So frustrating, and I’ve hated that book to this day for that reason.
And then Sierra came along, like a sunny ray of light, and explained it all to me. After I told her my story, she wrote this, “The pig was the lord of the flies. And it basically represents the evil that had taken over the island.” That’s so simple. She went one step further, and looked up the answer on Sparknotes, and got this:
“Sparknotes. For all your symbol defining needs!
'The Lord of the Flies is the bloody, severed sow's head that Jack impales on a stake in the forest glade as an offering to the beast. This complicated symbol becomes the most important image in the novel when Simon confronts the sow's head in the glade and it seems to speak to him, telling him that evil lies within every human heart and promising to have some “fun” with him. (This “fun” foreshadows Simon's death in the following chapter.) In this way, the Lord of the Flies becomes both a physical manifestation of the beast, a symbol of the power of evil, and a kind of Satan figure who evokes the beast within each human being. Looking at the novel in the context of biblical parallels, the Lord of the Flies recalls the devil, just as Simon recalls Jesus. In fact, the name “Lord of the Flies” is a literal translation of the name of the biblical name Beelzebub, a powerful demon in hell sometimes thought to be the devil himself."
There it is. If you, like me, have for twenty years been thinking “What the heck?” there’s your answer. One more reason to be grateful for Sierra. The book actually sounds interesting now. I might want to read it again.
Speaking of books, I was at the store last night, and will give you a summary of our evening. I walked around for 20 minutes holding a stupid BYU t-shirt wondering why we have it and where to put it. The thing has for months now been moved from one register area to another because no one knows where it belongs. It’s the only t-shirt in the store, and does not have a place. Melanie kept asking me why I was so outraged over a t-shirt, and I explained patiently but with gritted teeth the reasons listed above. After awhile, she finally admitted that she’s the reason that we have the offending shirt - she brought it back as a return. Nice.
Later, I was upstairs doing an imprint, and Mel was there with me fooling around with the shrink wrap machine. While I was concentrating on putting the imprint letters away, she took a piece of shrink wrap, got really close to my head, and tried to blow it up like a balloon thinking that it would hit me in the head and wouldn’t that be funny. I didn’t see what she was doing until a piece of plastic flipped up in front of my face and hit me in the eye. I jumped and had something like a small seizure while grabbing my eye and shouting, “Ah, you hit me in the eye!” and then we laughed our guts out. Melanie and I used to be good friends, but now that she’s ruined my life with that BYU t-shirt and blinded me in one eye, the friendship is pretty much over.
Later Melanie, Amber and I were exchanging stories, and Mel told us that a few nights earlier she and Tom were cleaning the men’s bathroom. She was back in the stall mopping, and Tom was out by the sink, when a man came in asked Tom if he could go ahead, and then went ahead. Being in the stall, the guy couldn’t see Melanie, and so there she was behind a thin metal wall while a man was peeing maybe one foot away from her. AAAAAAH! And then Tom walked out and left her alone in there. No way. After it was all over, Tom came back into the bathroom and explained that he would have looked a bit weird just standing there while the man was doing his business. I suppose he would have, but still. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.
Melanie – I hope you don’t mind me telling your story. I couldn’t help myself.
And that’s another evening at DB. You can see why I still work there.