What would be some good ideas for supporting a thesis that revolves around the conch? My thesis revolves around the idea of authority = unification
Here is my thesis: Just like the voice of a parent or bell, the conch is a reminder of civilized order that gives each individual the right to speak when they need to, giving them a sense of authority to keep the group unified.
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I like your idea of the conch being a unifying symbol in the novel "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding - maybe you would like to add some other concepts. The boys initially gather around the shell not out of respect for the conch (it hasn't commanded any yet) but out of curiosity. They are dispersed all over the island, finding their way around, looking for their stuff and their friends after the crash, playing around in their new-found paradise. In a sense Golding shows us how they are a captive audience - actually waiting for something like the conch to happen. They don't know what has happened to them, or where anyone else is. They are probably looking around waiting for the adult authority they are used to come up with something and call them together like at school. The the conch resonates across the valley - and they all move towards that one place. The conch is given authority by the way the leaders at that time (Ralph/Piggy) hold it and blow it.
When Ralph blew into the conch the first time, the boys gathered. There was no order to gather; they just did it seemingly automatically. The conch, like the overriding voice of a teacher or a parent, had a commanding presence that the boys responded to. They were accustomed to such authority. Once the boys gather for the first time, it isn't long before Ralph is elected to be the leader primarily because he is the one holding the shell and the one who blew into it causing the boys to gather. Even as Ralph suggests that they ought to have a leader, he raises the shell that is still in his hands. The shell gave Ralph the same commanding presence that the shell itself had. In the second chapter, at their next gathering, Ralph again is holding the conch shell. He says that the boys need rules and one of the rules will be that whoever is holding the conch shell may speak. Thus the shell is given the power to determine who speaks at the gatherings. As the story progresses and the society of the boys falls apart bit by bit, the shell becomes less and less of a symbol of authority and power and civilization. By the time Piggy is killed in chapter 11, the shell has lost all its power and the civilization is gone from the island as well.
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