The Sow and Conch

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Bryan Malone
Prof. Torp
Literature and Writing, Period 5
12 January 2012
Powers Of Different Sides
In the novel, "Lord of the Flies," by William Golding, a sow’s head and conch shell are two of the most important symbols in the book. These symbols reflect values that are significant in the story and start the competition for power between Ralph and Jack. Both symbols represent power, but the things they represent most lead to Jack and Ralph’s enmity. The sow’s head and the mighty conch have a certain power over the boys, but are represented in different ways.

The sow seems to manipulate the boys after it is crowned “Lord Of The Flies”. It represents fear that dwells only in the boys’ thoughts and hearts. It unnerves all of the boys, including Jack and Ralph. At first, the pig’s head is not scary, but after that the blood dries and flies attack the head, it seems to have a weird, creepy smile. When Simon comes across the sow’s head, he thinks the head starts talking to him, telling him “I am the Beast”, making him afraid. The head is not the beast though. The real beast is the savage “beast” that lives inside the boys when they are not around society. “I am part of you”, it explains to him. In this way, it symbolizes fear. Ralph tries to extinguish the fear of the evil in the boys, while Jack ignites it. Jack makes the boys savages by encouraging them to hunt and kill. He is the one who sets up the sow’s head. The sow’s head represents his power over the boys. The boys are being held back by no rules, so they do whatever they want. They do not see the criminals they are becoming. Jack’s pride blocks the fact that his group is becoming a wild wreck and continues to do so till the end.

The Conch represents a very different type of leadership. The conch is the reason Ralph is respected so much. It represents reason and discussion that keep the boys unified and under control. It is the solution to all problems. When the conch becomes unimportant,...
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