First Draft

by Carver Harrison last modified 2018-06-01T12:08:03-07:00

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Carver Harrison\\
Ms. Robinson\\
English 9\\
8 June 2018\\

The Conch

\newcommand{\lotf}{\textit{The Lord of the Flies}}

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Democracy is fragile just like a conch shell. In \lotf, the conch is a symbol which represents law and order that Golding uses to illustrate that people create a higharchy naturally. Golding's \lotf\ is about boys who got stranded on a island during war and have to survive.

\label{Body 1}
The conch is a shell which the boys use to decide who gets to speak and who does not. Ralph, the leaders of the boys, decides that "[they] can't have everybody talking at once. [they'll] have to have 'Hands up' like at school" (Golding 25). By him doing this he made a mostly frivolous idem, the conch, into a item that permits speech. Ralph deciding the conch's purpose shows that he has the authority to make rules and places him at the top of the higharchy with the person holding the conch right below him. Ralph also uses the conch to call an assembly. Ralph wanted to call a meeting in the afternoon so he blew the conch and "by the time Ralph finished blowing the conch the platform was crowded" (Golding 24). By doing this Ralph enforces his place in the higharchy due to him being the one who called the assembly using the conch he decided had political value. The boys actually listening to the conch being sounded by Ralph displays that the boys belive that Ralph is their leader and that he has the authority to blow the conch shell that they believe has political value. The boys believing that the conch and Ralph have political power creates a higharchy with Ralph being at the top and the person holding the conch being right below him.

\label{Body 2}
Jack is another boy who wants, and later has, political power; he does this by underminding the conch. Jack says that "the conch doesn't count on top of the mountain" (Golding 32). Jack does this to keep Piggy from speaking and even though Ralph is there, he does not find it needed to correct Jack. Jack trying to undermind the shell is the first step to him getting power. This is not the only time that Jack underminds the conch. Jack starts talking without the conch and when Ralph tells him that he is breaking the rules and should stop, Jack responds "Who cares?" (Golding 70). Jack not listening to Ralph's instructions shows that he does not respect authority. Jack does not recognise that the conch has power causing him to break the rules that Ralph put in place. Jack trying to be above the law by ignoring the conch and making rules that he does not have the authority to make means that Jack wants political power and the way he wants to do this is by eliminating the value of the Conch.

\label{Body 3}
At the end of the story, Jack creates a new tribe where he is leader and Ralph looses all power by refusing to use the conch or recognise Ralph as having any power. Jack "[lays] the conch with great care in the grass at his feet" (Golding 98) after he asks the boys if they think that they should remove Ralph from power, which no one wants to do. Ralph being a sore loser when it comes to who gets to be in control shows that he does not like the democracy enforced by the conch. This symbolizes that he has given up on the system put in place by Ralph where the person with the conch has power. Jack goes on to create his own society which does not have a conch and where he is in control but it is mostly anarchy. When Piggy and Ralph go to retrive Piggy's glasses, which Jack stole, one of Jacks tribe members, Roger, hit  Piggy with a rock while Piggy was holding the conch and "the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist" (Golding 141). The destruction of the conch symbolizes the destruction of society and Ralph's democracy. It also symbolizes how democracy is fragile and can be broken easily like a shell. Jack and Roger not seeing the conch as something that creates a higharchy and law causes the boys to decend into chaos.

The conch is a symbol that represents law and and order that creates a higharchy. The selection of the conch as a speaking item was to make sure everyone could have their voice heard. This was destroyed by Jack and Roger resulting in the boys turning into savages. Golding thinks that higharchies are important to having a functioning society. This was shown by the boys turning into savages when the conch was underminded.

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