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The discovery of the conch in the Lord of the Flies

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The discovery of the conch represents the birth of democracy on the island, which is destroyed by the conflict of leadership. Explore the role of Jack and Ralph in the Lord of the Flies The conch is very important to the boys on the island as it represents democracy. It allowed Ralph to keep control on the island as the boys always came when he blew it. Ralph and Jack have different roles on the island, they were both natural leaders and competed for leadership on the island, they have different ideas on how they think the island should be run, with Ralph encouraging democracy and Jack encouraging savagery. It was Ralph and Piggy that discovered the conch in the first place, which Piggy suggested, "we can use this to call the others. Have a meeting". This allowed them to establish how many people are on the island, and if there were any adults and if it was likely that they would soon be rescued. They then act like members of a democracy when Roger ironically suggests, "lets have a vote" which results in Ralph becoming leader. Even at that point Jack is acting like a dictator by saying, "I ought to be chief because I'm chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp" he then tries to pronounce himself chief until Roger suggests they have a vote. They all respect the conch apart from Jack who tries to make excuses for not following the rules of the conch, such as "the conch doesn't count on top of the mountain". Ralph is aware that the conch is the only thing that keeps control on the island and knows that "if I blow the conch and they don't come back; then we've had it. We shan't keep the fire going. We'll be like animals. We'll never be rescued" and then goes on to say "I ought to give up being chief" which shows that he is aware that if they have not got the conch they have not got anything. ...read more.


Jack does not handle these responsibilities very well; as he becomes more bloodthirsty he spends more time hunting because in his opinion getting meat is the most important thing and did not worry about the fire or the consequences this could cause, this resulted in there being no signal when a ship went past, this resulted in Ralph saying "you let the bloody fire out" and them arguing. He does not shop respect to anyone apart from himself, he does not show respect to Ralph as he feels that he should be leader. He does not show respect for Piggy and bullies him about his appearance, "you're talking too much, shut up fatty" and he steals his glasses first to light the fire and then breaks them and after most of the boys had joined Jacks tribe he ransacked Ralph's camp and stole Piggys glasses leaving him with no way to see. He also shows no respect for the littluns and uses their naivety and innocence to his advantage by telling them that he can hunt the beast and the only way they would be safe from the beast was to join his tribe, "we're strong-we hunt! If there's a beast, we'll hunt it down! We'll close in and beat and beat and beat-". He also makes fun of them, "serve you right if something did get you, you useless lot of cry-babies". He uses the beast to improve his role on the island form just being in charge of hunting to being chief. Ralph has a very important role on the island as he, and Piggy, are the people are that first discovery the conch which enables all the boys to have an assembly, even though it is actually Piggy that found the conch and knew how to use it he could not have done so as Piggys "auntie wouldn't let [him] on account of [his] asthma". ...read more.


Although he did his best to keep control on the island it was difficult to do so, as after all he was only a twelve-year-old boy, who was missing his normal life and was trying to control many people who many were of a similar age to him while trying to avoid the temptation of hunting and acting like a savage. Jack and Ralph had very different roles on the island, Jacks purpose was to create his own tribe with his priority to hunt, because they needed food other than fruit but also because he was very bloodthirsty. Ralph on the other hand had the opposite ideas in that he just want to act as a democracy and to make things as civilised as possible, and to get rescued and to have fun while they waited for this. Although they did have similar opinions about many things especially when they were first on the island, they both believed that there should be rules, that there should be a leader even though they both thought that they should be leaders, at first they both did not believe in the beast and then they both believed in the beast. They had the same basic principles but wanted to go different ways about them. Probably the most important difference was the difference of opinion about the conch, if Jack had just followed the rules that Ralph has made it is likely that Simon and Piggy would not have been killed. Although it could be said that although Simon and Piggy had died if things had not gone out of control and the island had not been on fire they may not have been rescued, as ironically they were only rescued when there was no longer a democracy and things had gone out of control. As twelve-year-old boys they were not really thinking about the consequences of their actions, if they had known what was going to happen it is likely they would have done things differently. ...read more.

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