The significance of chapter 10’s title, “The Shell and the Glasses,” might lie in its lack of significance. The title arguably carries an ironic meaning. William Golding has made the conch and Piggy’s glasses a part of the title only to show how little power they now have. Although they occupy an important place—they’re in the title of the chapter, after all—they do not have much consequence on the island anymore.
In the previous chapter, one gets the impression that Ralph and Piggy’s way of doing things is officially over. The feast, the celebration, and the murder strongly indicate that most of the boys prefer Jack’s bellicose, dictatorial regime to the reasonable, democratic order symbolized by Ralph, Piggy, Piggy’s glasses, and the conch.
At the start of chapter 10, Ralph asks Piggy, “Piggy? Are you the only one left?” Piggy responds that some of the little children are still on their side. Ralph replies that they don’t count. Thus, Ralph and Piggy find themselves in the minority.
Later, as Piggy and Ralph brainstorm how to deal with their marginalized and precarious situation, Piggy suggests that Ralph use the conch to “call an assembly.” Piggy’s idea causes Ralph to laugh. The laugh reinforces the conch’s transformation into a trivial object. It doesn’t have the force that it once did; it’s a joke.
While the conch has been neutralized, Piggy’s glasses, for most of the chapter, retain their use. Ralph and Piggy still have hope that they can start a fire and get themselves out of this chaos. Alas, that hope vanishes when Jack’s subordinates attack Ralph and Piggy’s shelter and take Piggy’s glasses. By the end of chapter 10, they have no glasses either. As with the conch, the significance of the glasses has been squashed.