Which of the boys is the first to denounce the power of the conch in Lord of the Flies?  its from the book

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jack is the first boy to denounce the power of the conch and it takes place very early in the novel. After the boys' first attempt to make a signal fire on top of the mountain, Piggy takes the conch and attempts to explain the importance of creating smoke instead of flames. However, Jack interrupts and begins ridiculing the majority of the boys for not helping. When Piggy chastises Jack for speaking without the conch, Jack denounces the conch's power by saying,

The conch doesn't count on top of the mountain...so you shut up." (Golding, 32)

Jack's comment about the conch not counting on the top of the mountain is significant and foreshadows his disregard for civilization.

Jack once again denounces the power of the conch towards the end of chapter 5. After Ralph gives a speech concerning the fact that none of the boys are completing the agreed upon tasks, Jack interrupts Piggy, who is holding the conch and speaking. When Ralph reminds Jack that he is breaking the rules and not respecting the person holding the conch, Jack denounces the power of the conch once again by saying,

Bollocks to the rules! We're strong--we hunt! If there's a beast, we'll hunt it down! We'll close in and beat and beat and beat--!" (Golding, 70)

Jack then leaves the assembly and the hunters follow him.

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the chapter, "Beast from the Air," Jack interrupts Piggy, and when the larger boy insists it is his turn to talk because he has the conch, Merridew counters:

"Conch! Conch! [...] We don't need the conch anymore.  We know who ought to say things.  [...] It's time some people knew they've got to keep quiet and leave deciding things to the rest of us" (102).

Ralph immediately responds to Jack's challenge of the conch's authority, and through it, his own.  He orders Jack to sit down and be quiet, but Jack's challenge resonates with the other boys who "watched intently" to see how Ralph responds to Jack's mutinous suggestion (102).  Jack's earlier respect for rules and authority has begun to dwindle to non-existence, and his dismissal of the conch's value is another tell-tale sign of his descent into savagery.

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Lord of the Flies

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