• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Significance Of The Conch

Extracts from this document...


The Significance Of The Conch In the novel the 'Lord Of The Flies,' the conch is seen as a beautiful object, a part of the natural world, which, until the boys had landed, was untouched and unspoilt by humans. Right up until, about the last hour on the island, it had represented a symbol of authority, common sense, security and democratic discipline. Its destruction at the end symbolises the wilful destruction of order and rational behaviour. In Greek mythology, the god of the sea used it to calm or raise the oceans. This shows how powerful the conch is portrayed in fiction. As you read on in the book however, it's plain to see, which boys respect the conch, like Ralph, how some just obey it, like some of the littleuns, and how others, like Jack simply disobey it. It's the latter people who eventually challenge and disregard its authority. As the conch's popularity drops, and its colour is slowly lost, you see how the boys lose their innocence. The conch's 'epic' journey starts when Piggy bursts into a 'decorous excitement.' (p21). Ralph had spotted a creamy shell in amongst the weeds. This find is the start of the civilization on the island. Piggy has already acquired the knowledge of the conch, and many other valuable things in his life. He recognises the conch's value immediately when he says 'It's a shell! I seen one like that before. On someone's back wall. A conch he called it. It's ever so valuable....... ...read more.


He talks of how all the boys are all just cry babies and sissies. Instead of easing their worries, he tries to bring them out. Ralph is astonished. Jack then turns his focus to the beast, and realises he has gone too far. At this stage, he still respects the conch. We know this because he cradles it constantly. All Jack doesn't do is respect the conch. This is evidently clear when Piggy is trying to speak, and the hunters are joking about him. All in all, the conch works well in the assembly. But just when you think it's over, a small boy called Phil put his hands out for the conch. The boy is described as confident in the book, so we now have proof, that, the conch gave the boys on the island confidence to speak. Not only does this chapter bring out Jacks true colours over the beast and ghosts, it also shows his true feelings for the conch. He is prepared to fight with Piggy for it on p112. This shows us, the readers, that the conch, at present, is, still respected be everyone, even the hunters, like Jack. And still, when Ralph lifts it, we can see that all the boys see it as authority. This authority seems to have lasted the whole assembly, until, at the bottom of p113; Jack starts to disobey the conch on a major scale for the first time. Piggy is trying to speak about his view on ghosts, and he is holding the conch, until abruptly, Jack butts in and shouts 'You shut up, you fat slug!' ...read more.


p222 is the last we see of the conch. The conch's last description is 'the fragile, shining beauty of the shell.'(p222). This sums up what the conch was very well, and without further ague, Roger leans on the rock release lever. The rock hits Piggy on the chin, and he falls, taking the conch with him, and both smash up, and get washed out to sea. The destruction of the conch symbolises how easily democracy can be overthrown. This is the end of humane civilization on the island, as from now on, all the boys are trying to kill Ralph. Jack even admits it himself, saying 'the conch is gone ??, you have no tribe anymore.'(p224). This speech tells us that Jack really thought that the conch was all that Ralph's tribe was good for, and that his leadership depended on it. Now it's gone, Jack declares himself the proper chief, and Ralph runs. It's kind of ironic how Piggy dies with the conch, as he is the only one who stood by it, and respected it 100%. He was the one who looked after it, and, really found it. The conch was under close scrutiny on the island, and it was always Piggy that looked out for its welfare. With the conch gone, there is no real symbol on the island, and on p228, Jack does something about it. He replaces it with a skull. This is something completely different to what the conch symbolised. This symbolises evil and destruction and really now, the memories of the conch have gone, and now, all hell has broken loose. It really just goes to show how much the island really depended on the conch. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE William Golding section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE William Golding essays

  1. All is not forgotten

    He turned to Ralph. "Son, if you are the leader you say you are, you will find your missing companions." Companions? Ralph thought to himself. These were the same boys that had been trying to kill him just a few hours ago.

  2. The Missing Chapter

    Swiftly their attention was distracted by the amount of officers and men looking down on their arrival. Men in uniform staring at them. This gave the boys a sense of protection. As the rope ladder was thrown down, unexpectedly the ship started rolling on its side.

  1. Character: Piggy Theme: Need for social order Symbols: Conch Shell ...

    Jack takes out his knife, ready to kill the pig, but he stops. He is clearly a cultured boy who cannot put up with blood letting. The pig takes benefit of the moment and runs away. * Jack covers for himself by saying that he was choosing the right place

  2. The Respective leader ship qualities of Ralph, Piggy, Jack and Simon.

    He didn't realise that it could be used to round up all the people on the island. When piggy and himself gather everyone on the island together, the topic of being rescued becomes even more important. Ralph became much more concerned and less fun loving.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work