In Lord of the Flies, the seemingly common object that becomes pivotal to the plot is the conch shell. The conch shell is found in the first chapter and is kept throughout the story. Without the conch shell, the leaders in the story would have been different. The conch is vital because it is shown and perceived as some sort of sign of leadership, power, and democracy. Without the shell, chaos ensues even faster.
If not for the conch shell, Ralph may not have been leader. He had the conch in his hand and the boys were assembled and talking about who should be the leader. â€œBut there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch,â€ (Golding 22). This ...view middle of the document...
Progress would not have been made and the boys would go crazy even faster.
Later on in the story, Ralph blows the conch again and the kids once again come to Ralph. â€œThey obeyed the summons of the conch, partly because Ralph blew it, and he was big enough to be a link with the adult world of authorityâ€¦â€ (Golding 50). The main reason why they came was because the conch was sounded and it is linked with power and leadership. Countless times in Lord of the Flies, the conch is seen as an all-powerful figure. It also gives power to the individual who is holding it. When holding the conch shell, you are the only one allowed to speak during a meeting.
Even with the shell in existence and being enforced, chaos and frenzy is still happening. "The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist," (Golding 164). At this point, what little order and democracy have now been shattered, just like the conch and Piggy. The conch was now the only thing keeping any last bit of saneness on this terrible, savage island. As the conch explodes, the symbolism that it had disappears. "Ralph launched himself like a cat; stabbed, snarling, with the spear, and the savage doubled up," (Golding 177). After the conch and Piggy are gone, Ralph starts to become a frenzied savage. He has nothing to steer him in the right direction anymore. His leadership and power have disappeared and he is defenseless. The conch was like a sort of shield for him.
Such a common object would never seem like it could cause so much to happen in a story. As it turns out, when in need of guidance, leadership, and power, people will turn to anything for help. As stated before, if the conch shell was never present in Lord of the Flies, many of the pivotal plot points would have not happened.