Conch Shell In Lord Of The Flies Symbolism Essay

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“If you have to ask what it symbolizes, it didn't.” -Roger Ebert
Symbolism is a valuable and heavily used tool in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Throughout this book a conch shell becomes a vital part of the culture of a group of shipwrecked boys. Like religion it brings the boys together, gives them order, and when it is forgotten ultimately causes savagery. This is a fascinating symbol and throughout the book it becomes obvious that this conch shell is an object that represents religion. From the beginning of the novel the conch serves as an object to bring together the boys who were shipwrecked. This is shown in chapter one when Ralph first blows the conch shell to call the boys to a meeting. When all the boys come to the meeting
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This confidence gives many weaker characters the courage to speak. This is shown many times, but is especially well represented when Piggy, one of the weaker characters, tries to speak at meetings. When the other boys try to speak over him he usually shouts “I got the conch” (Golding 42), or something to that effect. Religion too provides weaker people with confidence. An example of this is in the well-known Christian story of David and Goliath in which a weak character defeats a much stronger opponent with the help from god.
Similarly, the shell provides rules and a base for order. This is shown when at the first meeting Ralph says “Then I’ll give him the conch” (Golding 33). At this point one of the boy’s most important rules was established. One of the boys, Jack, even says “We’ll have rules!” “Lots of rules” (Golding 33). After this point, to speak at a meeting the boys would have to have the shell to speak. This practice, much like religion, provided structure, rules, and most importantly, order to the
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For Muslims, this is shown with the quote “And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.” (Sahih International Qur’an sūrat l-ḥashr 59:19) For Christians, this is shown in with the verse “Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: lest ye fall into desolation.” (The King James Bible Deut. 8:11). Both those quotes perfectly demonstrate the belief that if religion is forgotten then he or she who forgets it will be punished by god. Therefore these quotes demonstrate the belief that religion cannot be forgotten or society will fail, just as the boys forgot the conch shell and turned into savages. Throughout William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, a conch shell comes to symbolize religion. As the book progresses, that symbol becomes more clear. This clarity is achieved through how it brought the boys together, gives them order, and when it is forgotten ultimately causes savagery. Of the all the symbols used in Lord of the Flies, the conch shell becomes not only one of the most obvious, but also one of the most important. The importance of it is that it serves as an important reminder to the world of the need for order and
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