As in Nazi Germany, a once cheerful symbol has taken on a completely opposite meaning thanks to its destroyer.
Directly after punching the skull, Ralph reflects on what he’s done, and how the symbol has changed for him; “Then he was licking his bruised knuckles and looking at the bare stick, while the skull lay in two pieces, its grin now six feet across.
He needed something to draw in the working people and to give them hope.
The swastika was chosen, in particular, because of the Aryan’s ancient ties to German culture.
Regardless of its pleasant religious ties, after Hitler claimed the swastika as the symbol of Nazi Germany, the old meaning was destroyed.
The swastika will never regain its former peaceful glory because Adolf Hitler destroyed it in order to create his symbol of terror.Jainism, Hinduism, Odinism, Buddhism, Aryan nomads, and many other groups used and/or still use the swastika as a religious symbol.For them, the swastika represents the movement of the sun across the sky.From this we can see that no matter how strong or positive a symbol may be, once destroyed, the destroyers have the power to give it an entirely new meaning.This theme of assigning new meaning to symbols is also found in William Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies.While running away, Ralph finds this relic, and stops to think: “The skull regarded Ralph like one who knows all the answers and won’t tell. Fiercely he hit out at the filthy thing in front of him that bobbled like a toy and came back, still grinning into his face, so that he lashed and cried out in loathing,” (185).Understanding the contrast in Ralph’s relationship with the skull before and after this interaction is key to breaking apart this quote.Hitler falsely took this to mean that if the Aryan’s used it and were ancestors of the Germans, then the swastika had always been an anti-semitic symbol, making it perfect for his regime.The Nazi flag became a red background to symbolize movement, a white circle to symbolize the Nationalist ideals, and a black swastika in the center to symbolize the struggle for victory of the Aryans.The fact that others have the power to control how we perceive things means that they also have the power to destroy those views -- and one way to do this is by attacking the items we associate with those powers.People destroy symbols, both literally and figuratively, in order to assign a new meaning to those objects.