Significance Of The Conch In Lord Of The Flies
“A conch he called it. He used to blow it and his mum would come. It’s ever so important”– Piggy, Lord of the Flies. The conch is a sea creature, its shell is revered in numerous cultures such as Hinduism and Buddhism for its beauty and the sound it makes. The conch is likewise that shell in Lord of the Flies which is blown into to gather the kids. The author, William Golding, uses the conch to show that democracy will succumb to rule by force in the face of severe trouble or need. In the book, it is a symbol of democratic power but it is not without its opponents who eventually overrule it.
The conch is a sign of democratic power at the start of the story. Initially, it is utilized to collect the young boys. Ralph blows the conch to assemble them (Golding 12). Collecting individuals so that they can share their views, dispute and vote is important to a functioning democracy. As a result, the conch is satisfying this prerequisite. In addition, it used to approve speaking privileges at meetings. Ralph explains this at the first meeting “I’ll provide the conch to the next person to speak. […] And he will not be interrupted.”( 31 )
Therefore the conch attains another prerequisite of democracy which is to offer everyone the opportunity to voice their opinions and issues. However what is democracy without the power to back it? The conch is a symbol of power for the elected leader, Ralph. When the young boys elect the leader, one of them votes by saying “Him with the shell”( 19 ). Therefore, it is the conch which symbolises power to the kids; they choose it and its holder. In short, by gathering individuals, giving them the right to speak and symbolising power; the conch represents democracy. However, it does have opponents.
Jack, his people and his tools, such as rocks, are symbols of guideline by force. First off, Jack opposes the power of the conch and therefore democracy. This is best shown when Ralph says “I’ll blow the conch […] and call an assembly”, Jack responds “We shan’t hear it.”( 167) As a result, we can see that Jack is an opponent of democracy, as any authoritarian ruler would be. Furthermore, Jack uses abuse to make people do his bidding. We see this when he tortures Sam with a spear, “‘What do you indicate by not joining my tribe?’ The prodding ended up being rhythmic. Sam shouted.”( 202) We can for that reason see that Jack utilizes pain and worry to rule, another quality of totalitarians such as Sadaam Hussein.
Finally, rocks of all shapes and sizes are utilized by Jack and his tribe for aggressiveness, another tool of rule by force. One example of this is the use of a stone to smash anybody who approaches Castle Rock, this is displayed in chapter 10 “Robert leaned lightly of the lever and the rock groaned. A complete effort would send the rock thundering down to the neck of land. Roger appreciated.”( 176) Therefore, rocks are tools of Jack’s dictatorship and symbols of guideline by force. Since Jack opposes democracy, tortures to rule and uses tools such as rocks for aggression; he, his people and rocks are signs of rule by force.
The conch loses its power to Jack and all that symbolises guideline by force. As discussed previously, Jack honestly neglects the conch and the power it gives. Since of this occasion, we can see that the conch is starting to lose its power. In addition, Jack does not care for the conch even if he can have it. We see this when Jack raids Ralph’s camp for fire; afterwards Piggy says “I thought they desired the conch.” Ralph responds “They didn’t take [it]”( 186 ). As a result, we can see that the conch no longer has meaning or worth to Jack. In the end, the conch is destroyed by Roger, a member of Jack’s people, and a rock.
“The conch blew up into a thousand white fragments and disappeared” when it was struck by a stone released by Roger (200 ). Thus, the conch, a symbol of democracy, is destroyed by a rock, a symbol of guideline by force. To summarize, the conch slowly looses its power to Jack and his people who first oppose it, then disregard it and lastly damage it; and any hope of democracy on the island is shattered by authoritarian rule.
It is clear through the symbolism shown in the book that the conch represents democratic rule. On the other hand, Jack’s people and their tool, rocks, represent guideline by force. By slowly getting rid of power from the conch and eventually destroying it, we can see that democracy on the island does not have an opportunity against guideline by force. In our world, an example of this would be Hitler who took advantage of the German people’s poverty and need during the terrific depression to fall the democratic government and install authoritarian rule. Golding reveals us this exact same thing through Lord of the Flies; democracy will loose to fascism if there is serious difficulty or terrific need.