What sounds are especially important in developing this piece and where do images foreshadow later events?I am trying to figure out ifI am understanding the correct meaning and if the answerI have...

What sounds are especially important in developing this piece and where do images foreshadow later events?

I am trying to figure out ifI am understanding the correct meaning and if the answerI have is an alright answer thanks

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auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Hmmm.  I assume you are for sure referring to Lord of the Flies, since that's the group you tagged your question with; however, after teaching this novel for years, I've never seen much recurring sound imagery in the novel other than one thing--the blowing of the conch.  So, I guess that's what I'll spend a little time on for you.

This is a symbolic novel, and the conch is clearly a symbol of order and organization and even civilization on the island.  It is found and used on their first day on the island, and Ralph blows it only when Piggy suggests such a thing can be done.  The first time he blows on it, "the shell remained silent."  Piggy coaches him a bit, and finally he blows the conch with some power.

The effect is immediate.  Out of the brush and trees, across the sand, boys come and gather around Ralph.  Jack, head of the choirboys, approaches Ralph and asks,

"'Where is the man with the trumpet?'" 

The sound of the conch calls the boys to gather, and the sound is clearly the only rallying cry on the island.

Soon, though, things fall apart.  The conch has lost its strength as others choose to disregard order and civility.  In chapter 5, one of their meetings has disintigrated. Piggy tells Ralph to blow it again, but Ralph is hesitant. 

"'If I blow the conch and they don't come back; then we've had it.'" 

Piggy answers,

"'If you don't blow, we'll soon be animals anyway.'"

Jack, in chapter 8, tries to call a meeting, but it is an "inexpertly blown conch" and this meeting marks the end of any organization on the island.  When the conch shatters, it's over.  So, what happens to the conch happens to order on the island--it starts strong but fades to translucency, just like the shell.  There is only silence.

There are a few other sound imageries throughout the novel, though they aren't as symbolic as the conch: the sound of fire, the soft "plop plop" of the parachutist Simon releases, the ululations of the boys at the end of the novel as they hunt Ralph. 

Hope this helps!



lynnebh's profile pic

lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

The biggest use of sound in this novel is the conch shell, which is used as a symbol of society. Whoever has the conch shell gets to speak. Whoever has the shell is in charge. It is a symbol of government. The more savage the boys become, the less power the conch shell has until finally it is crushed when Piggy is killed.

Another instance of sound that I can remember is when the parachutist falls from the sky. When the boys hear the noise it makes flapping in the wind, they imagine that it is the beast. So this noise is used as a symbol of fear. It is ironic that the boys hear the chute flapping in the wind because earlier, they did not hear the explosions of the planes fighting overhead. They were too busy playing hunter/gatherers.

In chapter 2, the signal fire is out of control. This foreshadows what happens in chapter 12 when the entire island is burning. In chapter 3, Jack is talking about hunting Ralph and he says, "So long as you hunters remember the fire---. We get the idea that this is not going to happen. Then, in the following chapter, the hunters allow the fire to go out and the boys miss the chance of being rescued. Roger throws stones at Henry and this foreshadows what he does later when he pushes a boulder off the cliff and kills Piggy.

When the boulders are rolled off of the Castle Rock in Chapter 6, this also foreshadows Piggy’s death later by a boulder. The talking sow head that Simon imagines to be The Lord of the Flies promises to have some “fun” with Simon and this foreshadows Simon’s later death.

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