In Chapter 10 of Lord of the Flies, what is the significance of the title " The Shell and the Glasses"?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The title of chapter 10 is significant because both the conch shell and glasses have symbolic meaning throughout the novel and are treated with disregard by Jack's hunters at the end of the chapter. The conch shell symbolizes civilization and structure while Piggy's glasses symbolize intellect and rationality.

At the beginning of the chapter, Ralph refuses to blow the conch shell to call an assembly because he feels that it is useless. The lack of authority and obedience to the conch following Simon's death indicates that there is no hope for civility on the island. The disregard for the conch also represents Ralph's loss of authority. When Jack's hunters raid Ralph's camp, Piggy initially thinks that Jack wants to steal the conch. However, the boys discover that Jack does not want the conch as it sits untouched among the ruins of the shelter. Also, Piggy's glasses are stolen towards the end of the chapter, leaving him blind and more vulnerable. The loss of Piggy's glasses deprives Ralph of his intellectual counselor and foreshadows Piggy's impending death. The title of chapter 10 indicates that the conch has lost its authority and Piggy's stolen glasses represent Ralph's inability to think of a viable solution to solve their predicament. 

luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The conch has stood for power up to this point in the novel because whoever had it could speak.  During the night when Jack's tribe invades Ralph's group's camp, they don't steal the conch which is only symbolic of power.  They steal Piggy's glasses - the one tool they have with which to make fire and therefore, the real source of power.

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Lord of the Flies

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