What does the conch symbolize? (Answered)

What does the conch symbolize

What does the conch symbolize? In William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, the conch is vital in the story’s progression. The conch is not just a shell; it represents a set of values essential for maintaining order and civilization. It is used to call meetings, establish order, and uphold democracy. Ralph, the protagonist, is the first to recognize the conch’s potential as a social tool, and it becomes a symbol of his legitimacy as a leader. This article will explore the conch’s symbolism and significance in the novel’s events.

What does the conch symbolize in Lord of the Flies? (Answer)

William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies is a classic tale of a group of young boys stranded on a deserted island, forced to survive independently. Throughout the story, the conch shell is a powerful symbol that represents order, civilization, and democracy.

In the beginning, Ralph, one of the boys stranded on the island, discovers the conch. He quickly realizes that the conch can be used to call meetings and establish order among the group. As the boys gather around the conch, they are reminded of the rules and regulations of civilized society. The conch reminds them that they are not alone and must work together to survive.

The conch is also a symbol of democracy. When the boys hold meetings, they use the conch to determine who has the right to speak. The person holding the conch is the only one allowed to speak, and everyone else must listen. This ensures that everyone can be heard and decisions are made fairly.

As the story progresses, the conch becomes more than just a symbol of order and democracy. It also becomes a symbol of Ralph’s legitimacy as a leader. When Ralph first finds the conch, he is the only one who knows how to use it. As he calls meetings and establishes order, the other boys see him as a natural leader. The conch is a physical representation of Ralph’s authority and his ability to lead the group.

However, as the boys become more savage and less civilized, the conch loses its power. It is eventually destroyed by Jack and his followers, symbolizing the loss of order and democracy on the island. Without the conch, the boys are left to fend for themselves and make decisions based on their own desires rather than the group’s needs.

Why is the conch important in Lord of the Flies?

The conch shell is important in Lord of the Flies because it symbolizes order, democracy, and civilization. When Ralph discovers the conch on the beach, he realizes its potential to bring the boys together and establish a system of authority. The conch becomes a powerful symbol of governance and communication, as only the person holding it has the right to speak during meetings. It effectively organizes their society and ensures everyone has a voice, fostering a sense of unity among the boys. However, as chaos and savagery take hold on the island, the influence of the conch diminishes, highlighting how fragile civilization can be when confronted with human nature’s darker impulses.

The conch exemplifies the struggle between order and anarchy throughout Lord of the Flies. Its significance lies in its ability to maintain structure within a group of young boys stranded on an uninhabited island while also serving as a reminder of their gradual descent into savagery.

How has the significance of the conch changed?

At the beginning of Lord of the Flies, the conch shell represents order and civilization. It is used as a symbol of authority and democracy, granting the person holding it the right to speak during their meetings. The boys view the conch as a tool that can help maintain order and establish rules on the island. However, as time goes on and chaos ensues, the significance of the conch starts to diminish.

Towards the end of the novel, when Jack’s tribe has gained power and control over most of the boys, they no longer respect or abide by the rules associated with the conch. They become more savage and dismissive of any semblance of civilization. This shift in attitude towards the conch reflects how far they have deviated from their initial desire for order and demonstrates how power can corrupt even those who were once driven by ideals of democracy and cooperation. Ultimately, this change in the significance of the conch highlights how fragile societal structures are in the face of human nature’s darker impulses.

Who found the conch in Lord of the Flies?

In Lord of the Flies, it is Ralph who initially finds the conch. While exploring the beach after the boys’ plane crash-lands on an uninhabited island, Ralph stumbles upon the conch shell half-buried in the sand. Fascinated by its beauty and potential usefulness, he picks it up and blows into it, producing a loud sound that gathers the attention of other stranded boys scattered across the island. Thus, Ralph becomes the one who discovers and introduces the conch as a symbol of authority and order among the group.

It is worth noting that although Ralph initially finds the conch, it is Piggy who recognizes its significance as a means to establish rules and maintain civilization on the island. Piggy advises Ralph on how to use it effectively by suggesting they use it to call assemblies and ensure everyone has an opportunity to speak. Therefore, while Ralph may have physically discovered the conch, Piggy’s understanding of its symbolic power greatly contributes to its importance throughout the story.


In conclusion, the conch symbolizes more than just a simple shell in Lord of the Flies. It represents order, civilization, and democracy, as well as Ralph’s legitimacy as a leader. Its destruction marks the end of civilization and the beginning of savagery on the island. The conch is a powerful symbol that reminds us of the importance of order and democracy in society.

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