In "Lord of the Flies," what is the difference in allegorical significance between the conch and Piggy's glasses?

Expert Answers
lcassidy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Remember that an allegory is a story told in symbols, which reveal a hidden meaning.  In this case, Golding’s The Lord of the Flies is a religious allegory based on the biblical story of original sin (Adam and Eve).  In the beginning of the narrative, the conch represents order and democracy.  The children set up a rule that the one who holds the conch gets to speak.  This of course demonstrates the fact that the children are still civilized and find comfort in order.  The symbol of the conch; however, changes throughout the novel.  When the conch rule is no longer respected, we see that order and democracy no longer exist.  It is the beginning of the children’s decent into chaos and anarchy.

The symbol of Piggy’s glasses represents clear sightedness.  Glasses typically represent clarity because that is their function; to help someone see more clearly.  Thus, Piggy represents the voice of reason in the novel.  He is the adult figure trying to make sure that everyone does what they are supposed to do.  In chapter 4, Jack breaks Piggy’s glasses when Piggy complains about the fire.  This represents the lack of clear sightedness and forethought.  The boys would be much better off working together, but they do not.  This leads to their demise. 

Read the study guide:
Lord of the Flies

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question