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The Conch shell is a symbol of democracy, decency and organization. Piggy spends much of the novel cradling it because he needs it to survive. The conch gives boys who do not have a voice a chance to speak. Here in lies the essence of democracy. As the novel progresses, Jack does everything he can to undermine the Conch. Jack hates the shell because it detracts from his dominance. The Conch is a link to the old world of adults. By the end of the novel the conch, along with Piggy, is destroyed and so is any hope of surviving on the island.