1. “Describe at least one important object in the written text.Explain why that object was important.

Quotes:

“rule of the conch” –

“laid the conch with great care in the grass at his feet” – Jack showing respect for this object after he was not elected

“If I blow the conch and they don’t come back; then we’ve had it. We shan’t keep the fire going. We’ll be like animals. We’ll never be rescued” – Ralph refusing to blow the conch because he knows if he does the object will lose its power

The conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist – symbolises the complete breakdown of civilisation and order on the island

Which is better – to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill – piggy says to savages

Notes:

  • It’s not what the object is but what power we lay in it, the same as a crown
  • the object is meaningless but it’s what meaning people give it that matters
  • the conch resembles their state, it is a delicate object but then shatters showing that they have all broken and will never be the same again, it represents
  • explain why the object is important
  • Piggy is the one that recognizes its power the most, Piggy and the conch die at the same time
  • the destruction of the conch symbolises what civilisation they have left

“I’ve got the conch!”, a well worn saying from Piggy, scattered throughout the book ‘Lord of the Flies’ written by William Golding. This quote revolves around an important object to the piece of written text, a conch shell, found on the deserted island a group of English school boys have unexpectedly been forced to invaded after their plane crashes. The conch is not just a shell used to call “assemblys” but it is important because it represents the boy’s sense of civilisation, mental state and power. Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” follows these boys journey of survival and leadership as they learn what it takes to stay alive and be rescued on this island of destruction they will be forced to call home for the time being. We read along as friendships and made and broken and begin to find a deeper meaning in what our own society is truly like.

The conch is first found upon by main character “the boy with fair hair”, Ralph, with his sidekick, Piggy, tangled in weeds. Ralph then proceeds to blow into the conch to call in the others. A vote is made at the gathering that Ralph will be the school boys leader. Even Jack, the most disappointed at this outcome and soon to be Ralphs biggest challenger, “laid the conch with great care in the grass at his feet”. Showing that he even respected the power and authority of the shell. The English boys have now found something they can relate back to their old lives. Just like the Queen of England’s crown, the shell is a meaningless object but it is what meaning the boys have given it that matters making it an object of importance to the boys and Golding’s book. After Ralph has given off jobs to everyone and a rule has become in assemblies you can only speak if you are in possession of the conch, some boys runoff, but Ralph is smarter to know not to when Piggy makes the suggestion of using the conch to call them back. “If I blow the conch and they don’t come back; then we’ve had it. We shan’t keep the fire going. We’ll be like animals. We’ll never be rescued”. He knows to keep the importance of the shell, he must not overuse its power. He knows not to blow it as it will be ignored and then the shell becomes of no importance, and its power has been lost.

“I’ve got the conch!” then becomes one of Piggy’s most well-used phrases. After getting stepped of during assemblies, Piggy reminds all of who can speak. Only when given the conch may you open your mouth. Jack’s controlling, closed minded personality can no longer put up with being under Ralphs leadership and fights to make his own tribe of savages splitting off from the main tribe. He does not take the conch with him. Jacks tribe becomes hunters and savages dressed in face paint with no order other than Jack, their leader. Ralphs tribe, the tribe in possession of the conch, shows law and order and a chance for getting off the island. The conch shows importance once again in Ralphs tribe as something they can stoor hope in and is on object to keep them sane in this moment of madness.

Ralph decides something needs to be done and agrees to join Jack and the savages for meat one night. The conch will journey to this meeting with them to remind the savages of what once was and what could be. Showing hope to all the boys and a chance to be rescued off the island. Things escalate fast and a fight erupts. “Which is better – to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill” PIggy explains showing that the shell holds order and peace when everything is falling apart. Rodger halls a massive rock out and down over the hill side. Ralph mannages to dodge and miss but PIggy and the conch are not so fortunate. “The conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist”, this symbolises the complete breakdown of civilitation and order on the island. In the days to follow, the savages take over the island and whith out the conch, even Ralph loses all hope. The remanding English boys are rescued but there states of mind will never be the same.

The conch is a meaning less object but then becomes of importance as soon as the boys lay their trust in it. It acts like a crown from our world, the object is meaning less but it’s what meaning people give it that matters and makes people respect it, just like the school boys from William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” making the object of importance. “I’ve got the conch!”.

 

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. This essay has a wide range of well-observed points about the symbolic significance of the conch shell. What is now needed is for you to develop a sense that you’ve come to a personal conclusion about the ideas of the text (do you agree with the authorial intention, the underlying message attached to the conch?) and then expand from this to resonances between the events in the text and the world we live in.

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