What are the implications of "the need for ritual" applied to the conch in Lord of the Flies?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although it was only a dead conch that had washed up on the beach, the shell symbolized power on the island in Lord of the Flies. It initially served as a device to call the boys together, but it soon came to represent democratic ideals and the right of free speech since it was decided that its possessor had the right to speak. Because it was one of the few objects of any importance (along with Piggy's glasses) on the island, the act of holding the conch became a ritualistic experience. Ralph and, especially Piggy, treated the shell as if it was a sacred object, and Piggy was ecstatic when one of Jack's raids failed to procure the conch. Its destruction spelled the end of any semblance of civility or democracy, and Jack's savages began to hunt down the last remnant of opposition: Ralph.

kanya101 | Student

bullgatortail....Thank you so very much for your much needed and insightful answer, it came along at just the right time. Once again, thank you so very much :)

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Lord of the Flies

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