How Does Golding Present The Conch Shell In Lord Of The Flies

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“Ralph had stopped smiling and was pointing into the lagoon. Something creamy lay among the ferny weeds.” This is the exact moment that the conch shell is found and everything changed for the boys on the island. The conch shell in the Lord of the Flies by William Golding has the power to symbolize power and civilization through its authority on the island. This is meaningful because it shows how people who have lost civilization will try to find anything to represent it. The boys establish a rule of only being able to speak at meetings when in possession of the conch shell, also the person holding the shell actually gets listened to. Obviously people listen to their leaders, but people listen to Piggy here, someone who is not very popular …show more content…

Then Piggy was standing cradling the great cream shell and the shouting died down. Jack, left on his feet, looked uncertainty at Ralph who smiled and patted the log. Jack sat down.” (pg. 33) Piggy is an outsider to the boys, and his opinions are less popular, but when he takes possession of the conch shell at a meeting all the boys still quiet down and give him their full attention. This shows that when it is held by anybody, order will spread throughout the crowd. In addition to that later on in the novel the shell still holds power. At a time when most of the boys have sided with Jack, Ralph and Piggy travel to speak with the opposing group. Nobody will listen to them until the shell is held up and all the people on the opposing tribe still show it some respect. “‘I got the the conch!’ He [Piggy] shouted. ‘I’ll tell you, I got the conch!’ Surprisingly, there was silence now; the tribe were curious to hear what amusing thing he might have to say.”’ (pg. 180) As previously stated, Piggy is not the most popular figure on the island, so for the two groups to be separated …show more content…

Ralph has a lot of nice qualities to him, but Golding shows that the shell is the most powerful thing he has. “But there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch. The being that had blown that, had sat waiting for them on the platform with the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart.” (pg. 22) The quote mentions Ralph’s nice size and attractive appearance, but that doesn’t set him apart from the other boys. What sets him apart is the shell sitting on his lap, the powerful tool that he used to gather all the boys in the first place. While the conch shell in this sentence uses its power to elect a leader, it is also used to call every meeting on the island. Being able to gather an entire group of people effortlessly is a difficult task that requires order and a tool. “By the time Ralph had finished blowing the conch the platform was crowded.” (pg. 32) This shows that the conch easily has the authority to get everyone’s attention. It uses its power to create order and place for everyone in the group to speak their ideas on the current events of the island. While the quote is small I think the meaning is big, it is early on into the book yet everyone is already relying on the shell as a symbol of authority.

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