Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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“The shell was interesting and pretty and a worthy plaything.”

This quote is from chapter 1 in Lord of the Flies.

Though the conch evolves into an object of reverence and a symbol of democratic society, it begins as nothing more than a “worthy plaything” for Ralph. Despite Piggy’s attempts to convey the value and function of the shell, Ralph has no grander intentions than to satisfy his immediate curiosity. The initial blowing of the conch is done with the same irreverence, with several minutes spent using it to make “farting noises.” The conch begins as a game for Ralph, and he is so wrapped up in “the violent pleasure of making this stupendous noise” that he does not care when Piggy tells him the names of the arriving boys.

Though Ralph is credited with natural leadership qualities throughout the novel, his actual ascension to leadership is to a large extent due to his initial possession of the conch. The conch elevates him from ordinary child into leader, and “his ordinary voice sounded like a whisper after the harsh note of the conch.” Ralph’s “ordinary” self, which exalts in the simple pleasures of being a child free of adult supervision for the first time, becomes a “whisper” in the face of the responsibility thrust upon him by the conch. 

“The boy who controlled them was dressed in the same way though his cap badge was golden.”

This quote is from chapter 1 in Lord of the Flies.

The introduction of Jack portrays him as “the boy who controlled [the choir],” foregrounding his desire for power and ability to lead. His “golden” badge singles him out as a leader and emphasizes his taste for hierarchy. Jack immediately asks where “the man with the trumpet” is, only to be told that there is no ship and that Ralph was the one who made the noise.

Aside from Piggy, Jack is the first person to question Ralph’s...

(The entire section is 1,744 words.)