Lord of the Flies Conch Shell Symbol

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Christine Graham
Mr. Asnault
Honors English 10
August 2010

Deep within a shell
Everyone has a personality shell. For instance, one might have a soft shell (with a sensitive personality), one might have a hard shell (with a strong-willed, egomaniacal personality), or one might be somewhere in between. But that personality shell greatly symbolizes who they are. That same type of symbolism is greatly used in Lord of the Flies by William Golding with a conch shell, sharing a huge resemblance to the personality of Ralph, the main character. Authority, leadership, and government ties Ralph and the conch together, and they can be perceived as one. These aspects of society in which the conch and Ralph share makes the conch one of the most significant symbols used in the book. Ralph is the athletic, ambitious, charismatic protagonist of the story. He in himself represents civilization, order, and leadership. He makes a speech to the boys in the beginning of the novel about what needs to be done to extend their chances of being rescued, and organizes the society. "There’s another thing. We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire" (37). He constantly was emphasizing the need to keep a signal fire going, so a ship could see it. In the beginning everyone agreed with his speech, elected him leader, and were followers of him. Ralph set the conch as a symbol of authority to call the meetings, and if anyone had the conch, they had the right to speak with everyone’s undivided attention. This was an attempt to keep order and peace within everyone, and serve as the order that the boys are used to living with in the adult world. He chose his council under him, much like a government, and he made sure to keep his eye on the prize ⎯ the chance to be rescued. No matter what happened or went on, there was always hope in him that a rescue ship would come to save them. His...
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