The fly, first and foremost, is a symbol of the young men who went to war not knowing
what horrors awaited them. We are given a glimpse into the fly’s point of view, the fly, first and foremost, is a symbol of the young men who went to war not knowing what horrors awaited them which actually resembles the author’s brother who died 6 years ago in World War 1. As the fly is the boss’s plaything, able to live or die based on the boss’s decision, the soldiers were little more than pawns in a game waged by old men who knew nothing of what the war was truly like on the frontline. The boss is thus also symbolic of the inept military leaders who never saw the war
firsthand but planned the battles from well behind the front and who did not care as much about the fate of the young soldiers who fought their battles as much as winning the war. Thus , the fly which represents the author’s brother is being sacrificed due to ‘Boss’ which represents the military forces of her country.
This short story is an excellent example of biographical criticism through symbolism and
allegory. Furthermore, it holds a lesson within it which is as important today as it was when it
was originally published in 1923: War is not a game. The last line of this short story which reads,
“For the life of him he could not remember” ,must be taken as a warning to all to remember
the hard-won lessons of war “lest we forget” and find ourselves in a war which is much worse.
Sadly, the war-torn history of the world in the eighty-five years and more since the end of the so called “War to End All Wars” has proven that mankind has yet to learn the ultimate folly of war. In fact, it can be demonstrated that the use of symbolism and allegory is carefully employed in “The Fly” in order to criticize the British military leaders and the elder generation of the early twentieth century who supported the first World War out of unthinking patriotism and a childish desire to win at all costs, themselves...