Why does Jack say they don't need the conch anymore in the Lord of the Flies?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Jack is the epitome of mankind's inherent wickedness and is diametrically opposed to civilization, law, and order. Jack is the leader of the hunters and is jealous that Ralph is the elected chief. Jack continually disrespects the rule regarding the conch by interrupting assemblies and constantly talking over other people. In chapter six, Samneric run down from the top of the mountain and claim that they witnessed the beast. Ralph immediately calls an assembly and the boys try to decide on what course of action to take. Jack interrupts Piggy while he is speaking and Piggy defends himself by acknowledging that he is holding the conch. Jack demonstrates his adversarial attitude towards civilization by saying,

"We don’t need the conch any more. We know who ought to say things. What good did Simon do speaking, or Bill, or Walter? It’s time some people knew they’ve got to keep quiet and leave deciding things to the rest of us" (Golding, 145).

Later on, Jack quits Ralph's tribe and establishes his own tribe of savages on the other end of the island. Jack comments that the conch does not count on his side of the island and refuses to obey the conch when Piggy attempts to retrieve his glasses. Jack's insistence on disobeying the conch symbolically represents his opposition to establishing a civil society. Jack would rather behave like a bloodthirsty savage and indulge in his inherent desires than to follow rules and act civilly.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This is a good question. 

There are two groups in the Lord of the Flies. One group follows Jack, and the other follows Ralph. As the novel progresses, the tension increases and Jack gains the upper-hand. 

In chapter 11, there is a showdown that takes place. Ralph blows the conch to get the boys together. He also hopes that the boys in Jack's camp will come over. Ralph and Piggy desire order, and they still want to be found. So, the signal fire is very important to them. 

When Ralph asks Jack to give Piggy's glasses back, Jack refuses, and a fight breaks out. During this chaos, Roger shoves a rock down the mountain. Ralph dodges it, but the rock kills Piggy and the conch break. 

Here Jack screams, "I'm chief." There is no need for a conch, because Jack has won. Moreover, there is not need for a conch, because the conch symbolizes order. What reigns now is chaos and savagery. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial