What is the symbolism of the conch in Lord of the Flies?

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Good question!

Holding the conch gives individuals the right to speak in public gatherings, and therefore, the conch symbolizes a commitment to civilized society, and to a kind of democratic inclusivity in the decision making process.

It matters, therefore, when people start ignoring the conch, that they stumble across the conch essentially by accident--and that it breaks. When it breaks, that's a sign that society is breaking down.

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