A Full Circle Towards Devolution

Topics: Civilization, William Golding, Culture Pages: 2 (873 words) Published: June 30, 2005
In Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses fire, a conch, a pair of glasses, and several other items to symbolize the journal from civility to savagery. Through the symbol of the conch, the importance of stability, order, and civilization are established. When the boys first arrived on the island the conch was used to summon and unite the boys in order to form a civilization. The conch also serves as a regulator of democracy, " We'll have to have hands up, like at school… then I'll give them the conch [to speak]" (Golding 31) said Ralph. This universal understanding that everyone would follow and respect the rules of the conch allowed every individual to speak his mind and to be a functioning member of society. However, as time progressed the mutual respect for authority and the power of the conch began to diminish. The assembly began to disrespect the whoever held the conch. As a result, the rules of their society began to become unstable. "As Piggy stood on the platform, the white conch gripped in his hands…" (141), the conch that was once vibrant in color and importance, was now faded and irrelevant. As the walls of civilized society crumbled, the boys gave into their animal desires and disregarded the only element of order apparent on the island. The symbol of order and civilization continued to lose its value as Jack mocked its importance. "The sound of the inexpertly blown conch interrupted them. As though he were serenading the rising sun, Jack went on blowing till the shelters were astir," (125). This furthermore shows the lack of respect for rules and civilization. Finally, when "the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist," (193) it symbolized the end of moral civilization and authority. All of the strict rules, values, and morals of their previous lives were lost along with the destruction of the conch; thus, giving birth to a society of total anarchy and immorality. A substantially important symbol is Piggy's...
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