How Does Golding Present The Conch Shell In Lord Of The Flies

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Lord of The Flies, a novel by William Golding, depicts human nature as inherently evil through the comparison of the conch shell and the sow’s head. The conch shell is a symbol of civilization that only Piggy and Ralph hold onto and respect throughout their lives on the island. The sow’s head represents lawlessness and disorganization that everyone but Ralph respects by the end of the novel. Both objects are used by the boys as a way to control their groups, but ultimately the sow’s head wields more power over the boys; the boys are entranced and infatuated by the power of the sow’s head. The power of the conch, a symbol of order that most of the boys only briefly and half-heartedly respect, cannot compare to the sow’s head, a symbol of evil, …show more content…
After Jack’s group leaves Ralph’s, Simon stumbles upon a gruesome sow’s head mounted on a wooden stick swarming with flies in a clearing that he once experienced great beauty in. Dehydration and delirium result in a vivid hallucination where the sow comes to life and speaks to Simon. The sow’s head is clearly depicted as an evil entity while “speaking” Simon and telling him that he is unwanted on the island. The sow’s head is not only a symbol that replaces the conch for the hunters, but a symbol that ends any hope for the conch to retain any power or return to power. By the end of the novel Ralph accepts that the conch had no power over any of the boys, not even himself, “Samneric were savages like the rest; Piggy was dead, and the conch smashed to powder”(Golding 186). The conch is literally obliterated and reduced to dust, symbolic of the insignificance of order and control. The sow’s head is an object that the members of Jack’s clan worship and glorify. This tribe, through conquering virtually everyone on the island excluding Ralph, demonstrates a power and recklessness that is perpetuated by anarchy. Not only are the boys enticed by the security of Jack’s tribe, they see freedom in a society with no order, one that is the complete reserve of the life they lived before the island. This tribe of boys, led by Jack, succumb to the temptation of anarchy and disarray provided by the sow’s

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