Throughout the novel, the conch shell symbolizes authority and civilization.The conch’s symbolization of order and authority is shown through its use in calling meetings and as a talking stick, where only the boy holding the conch can be speaking. The symbolization of authority is first shown when the group is deciding who should be chief. The littluns, who are the youngest boys on the island, all scream out “him with the shell. Ralph! Ralph! Let him be chief with the trumpet-thing “(Golding.22). The littluns recognize the conch as a symbol of power, just as the reader realizes the conch is being used as a symbol of power. As the novel progresses, the conch’s physical appearance changes and shows the boy’s losing authority and civilization in their social structure they created on the island. When the boys find the conch shell at first, the appearance is described as “deep cream, touched here and there with fading pink”(Golding.16). The conch keeps its natural appearance, just as the boys still have their civil and order. Towards the ending, the boys fall deeper into savagery and find themselves falling apart from order and authority, especially as Jack begins to create conflict with Ralph and pull away from the group. This is marked as the conch beginning to fade in color and become almost transparent. The powerful conch is beginning to lose its power. At the end of the novel, the conch becomes more fragile and there is little to no order and authority left among the boys anymore. As the death of Piggy comes he holds the shell trying to protect it and then Roger sends down a boulder to him causing him to die and the beloved shell to explode “into a thousand of white fragments”(Golding.181). All order is lost and the boys become complete savages. The shell that symbolized authority and order is destroyed,as well as the social order the boys had left. Power and control, in the form of the conch, are gone and the boys have reached the final stage in their decline toward savagery.
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