Why does Jack say that they don’t need the conch any longer in Chapter 6 of Lord of the Flies?

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luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At an assembly, the boys talk about the supposed beast that Sam and Eric saw.  They try to decide what they should do about it.  Piggy asks what they should do if, while Ralph, Jack, and some of the other older boys are off hunting the beast, it should attack Piggy and the younger boys.  At that point, Jack bursts in with a negative comment toward Piggy and Jack is reminded he does not have the conch.  Then he says they don't need the conch any longer because everyone knows who should and who shouldn't talk, "...It's time some people knew they've got to keep quiet and leave deciding things to the rest of us."  Jack represents the dictatorial type of government that Golding implies is the result of letting man's inner evil come out because of a lack of society's restrictions.  Golding tries to point out, in this book, that man has a basic inner beast that, if the conventions of a civilized society are removed, will emerge and take over.  His book is a caution to people to recognize this beast and stop it before it takes over.  Jack does become the dictator of the boys, leading them with cruelty and prejudice.  It is typical of a dictatorial government to presume that it knows what is better for people than the people themselves know.  Jack says the conch is no longer necessary because "they" know who to listen to and who to allow to speak because he is worth listening to.  He insinuates that only a chosen few (himself and a few of his henchmen) are the only ones worth listening to because only his ideas are right.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 6, a dead paratrooper falls from the sky and Samneric mistake the corpse for the beast. After they run back down the mountain and describe what they saw, Ralph holds an emergency assembly. During the assembly, the boys begin to argue about what they should do regarding the beast. While Piggy is holding the conch, Jack interrupts him, and Piggy immediately says, "I got the conch--" (Golding, 78). Jack proceeds to mock Piggy and mentions that the boys don't need the conch anymore because they know "who ought to say things." Jack then brings up the fact that Simon, Bill, and Walter did not have any significant contributions to the group when they held the conch to address the group earlier. Jack then says,

"It's time some people knew they've got to keep quiet and leave deciding things to the rest of us" (Golding, 78).

Ralph then challenges Jack by telling him to sit down because he hasn't got the conch. Overall, Jack's reasoning as to why there is no need for a conch reflects his authoritarian personality. Jack wants to be in complete control and dismisses everyone's opinions. 

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Lord of the Flies

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