What are symbols in chapter 10 of Lord of the Flies by William Golding besides Piggy's broken glasses?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of chapter 10, Piggy suggests to Ralph that he blow the conch and hold an assembly. Ralph responds by laughing at Piggy because he feels that blowing the conch is useless at this point. The conch symbolically represents civility, structure, and order throughout the novel. The fact that the conch has lost its power is significant and indicates the lack of civility on the island. As the chapter progresses, Jack warns his tribe that the beast might attempt to sneak into their fortress at Castle Rock. The beast symbolically represents the inherent wickedness of each boy on the island. Back at Ralph's camp, the boys do not feel like collecting more firewood as the sun goes down and they let the fire go out completely. The fire symbolizes the hope of rescue, security, and is a measure of the boys' civility on the island. The fact that the boys let the fire go out reveals their lack of hope and the unfulfilled promise of being rescued. It also indicates that they are less secure and more vulnerable during the night. As expected, Jack and his hunters raid Ralph's camp and steal Piggy's glasses. Piggy's glasses symbolize rational thought, intelligence, and the power of science. The loss of Piggy's glasses leaves Piggy blind and deprives Ralph of his intellectual counselor. 

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question. As you know, Piggy's glasses are an important symbol that points to science and technology, as the boys figure out how to make fire with his glasses.

The other symbol of this chapter is the conch shell. Right from the beginning of the book, the conch was a symbol for civilization and order. The conch brought the boys together, which created for some sort of civilization and the conch also allowed people to speak in terms. From this perspective the conch also represents democracy. This conch was the hope that the boys had.

In chapter 10, Ralph holds on the conch with desperation and he hits his low point. This is very symbolic, because what we are seeing is the death of society and order. Keep in mind that this all takes place right after the death (murder) of Simon. Moreover, Jack is now in control of the island.

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Lord of the Flies

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