4th August 2017

Lord Of The Flies- SYMBOLISM

Elements in the text that represent something greater

The Conch Shell

The novel, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding uses a conch shell as an important object to convey other symbolic meanings.  The story begins with two characters meeting on a beach after a plane crash, Ralph and Piggy. Together they find the conch shell on the beach at the beginning of the novel and from this point it begins to hold a glorious amount of symbolic power.  “We can use this to call the others. Have a meeting. They’ll come when they here us-” As it is first used to call the scattered boys around the island its a symbol of law and order. It shows the power of who’s the elected and whom shall speak, the boys refer this to the “rule of the conch”.  The absence of parents who can govern and look after the boys falls with the conch and the leader who holds it.

The governing the shell does is used at the general assemblies taken each morning and night or when necessary. Whoever holds the conch at the meeting then has the right to speak. The power that it perceives to have first shows when the children vote for ralph to be chief. ” Him with the shell! … Let him be chief with the trumpet thing!” this shows that everybody thinks that leadership, power and responsibility comes from the conch.
It doesn’t only act as a symbol of law and order but it actually obtains a political legitimacy and democratic power as a small island civilisation may begin to form, “Till the going gets gone- anon”.


Symbolism: Choose the symbols and write about them

-How is it described/introduced into the text
-How is it “used”
-Find quotes where it is mentioned
-What ideas does it convey?



  1. The conch is used as an orderly thing to call upon the boys for meetings


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