Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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What are metaphors in Lord of the Flies that revolve around the idea of the conch being their order?

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In Lord of the Flies by William Golding, the conch itself is a metaphor for law and order.

The entire novel is a kind of allegory , showing the flaws of civilization through the story of a group of schoolboys stranded on a deserted island. Shortly after the boys crash on the island, they find a surprisingly intact and beautiful conch shell. The boys decide that whoever holds the conch will be the sole...

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In Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, the British boys stranded on the island find not only hope from the conch shell, but power and order. After the crash, when Ralph and Piggy find the shell, they blow into it, summoning the other survivors. After the other boys arrive, they elect Ralph to be their leader. Aside from Ralph being attractive and well spoken, he is the one holding the shell and thus is the best choice for chief. Golding writes, "The being that had blown that, had sat waiting for them on the platform with the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart" (22). This quote implies the mystical power of the conch shell. Even though the boys have just met Ralph, because of the shell, they think he is worthy to lead them.

Throughout the novel, the boys develop the "rule of the conch." It serves as a talking stick at meetings and is respected amongst the boys, even the ones who disapprove of Ralph being leader. Jack, the lead boy, believes he should've been chief. Although Jack hates Ralph, he respects the conch and its power, gently laying it down when he is finished talking. This begins to change, however, when Jack and his followers don't get their way. Jack suggests, "We don't need the conch anymore." While Jack states they don't need the conch shell, he is implying they don't need what it represents: order and democracy.

In the end of the novel, Piggy, holds the shell toward Castle Rock as a last attempt to bring order to the boys. Roger, in an act of anger and aggression, tosses a rock off the cliff, killing Piggy and shattering the conch. This moment is the beginning of the end for the boys, as they are now acting savagely. Without the shell, the boys act without order until the naval officer discovers them at the conclusion.

Overall the shell is a symbol of the order the boys create for themselves in a orderless environment. With the shell, the boys take turns sharing ideas and discussing the tribe's well being. Without the shell, the boys turn into the beast they feared and inevitable savagery Golding believes of humanity.