Lord of the Flies

what is significant about the conch's destruction?

What is significant about the conch when it is estructed in chapter 11

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The conch always held great significance. It was a symbol of civilization; it meant democracy, order and decency. This was all the more vital to Piggy who continually cradles it amidst the destruction and chaos on the island. Boy's like Piggy need some semblance of order to exist. As the conch's symbolic meaning for "democracy" erodes, so does any chance of survival or redemption for the boys. It is apt that Golding destroys the conch at the same time as Piggy. The item that recalled civilization for the boys is destroyed along with the smart and gentle Piggy.

At the beginning no single soul is found on the island. The whole area is uninhabited. The children have been brought to the island as a consequence of a nuclear war and the crashing of the plane which was taking them to safety. Ralph appeared first, followed by Piggy and other boys later. As the Piggy and Ralph sstayed near a lagoon, Ralph saw a shell that is swept by the waves. Piggy disclosed the function of the conch to Ralph. From Piggy's point of view, the conch is therefore a good and a reliable means of information to the boys. When Ralph blows the conch as instructed by Piggy, the boys who were scattered in the island begin to surface towards the direction of the sound. The conch served as a symbol of law and order, and also the sanctiön of democratic authority. It represents constitutional right. Backed by the conch the Ralph-Piggy partnership is a formidable one. It represents responsible, enlightened backed by constitutional democratic right. The importance of the conch however began to collapse when Jack who thinks he ought to be the leader because force is on his side, increasingly disregards constitutional forms: he disregards both the conch and the rules. Chaos inevitably breaks out. With the imminent collapse of law and order, Ralph's authority becomes questionable because he knows that with defection of the conch he has no means to enforce authority. Like most intellectuals who dare to oppose authoritarian military regimes, Piggy is destroyed. And when he is killed the conch is shattered and anarchy takes control.


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