What is a conch?

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parkerlee's profile pic

parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Its scientific name is the 'Strombus gigas'.

It is very common in the Caribbean Sea, but is found in other parts of the world as well. 

The conch in this story is important because it was its call which rallied the boys together. On a symbolic level, it represents civilization and order whereas the pig's head (with flies buzzing all around it) represents the primal instinct. (Freud would call it the super-ego versus the id.)

engtchr5's profile pic

engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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The type of conch shell described in Lord of the Flies is one of the larger, pinkish-tan varieties. Once a small hole is created at the closed tip of the shell, it is possible to use the structure as a musical instrument like a brass or woodwind.

The conch in the story is the symbol of authority and power, as its use denotes whose turn it is to speak. When the conch is sounded, the possessor then is granted the right to verbally express themselves according to the order or structure established by Golding's characters.

mthibodeau's profile pic

mthibodeau | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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A conch is one of several species of edible marine snail, similar to a whelk.  It lives in a whorled shell, and the shell can be used as a musical instrument.  In Golding's book, the boys use the conch shell to indicate whose turn it is to speak.

thewanderlust878's profile pic

thewanderlust878 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 3) Salutatorian

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In the example of the novel Lord of The Flies, a conch is a type of shell. More specifically it is a tropical marine mollusk with a spiral shell that may bear long projections and have a flared lip (according to Google). In Lord of The Flies, the boys use the conch shell frequently, and almost worship it. It has great symbolism and is one of the most important items in the book. 

Hope this helps!

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Wiggin42's profile pic

Wiggin42 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Valedictorian

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A conch is a common name that is applied to a number of different medium to large-sized sea snails or their shells. The term generally applies to large sea snails whose shell has a high spire and a noticeable siphonal canal (in other words, the shell comes to a point at both ends).

In Lord of the Flies, the boys use the conch as a musical instrument to call each other. It was also used as a way for the boys to take turns speaking.

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