Lord of the Flies

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The Conch Shell Symbol Icon
The conch shell symbolizes the rule of law and civilization. It's used to call assemblies and as a kind of microphone that grants the right to speak to whomever holds it during assembly.
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The Conch Shell Symbol Timeline in Lord of the Flies

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Conch Shell appears in Lord of the Flies. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Civilization Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...they landed. Piggy says they have to do something. Just then, Ralph spots a huge conch shell. Piggy realizes they can use it as a trumpet. Piggy can't blow it himself,... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...votes for Jack, but all the other boys vote for Ralph because he blew the conch. To keep Jack happy, Ralph says that the choir will be hunters and Jack will... (full context)
Chapter 2
Human Nature Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Back at the beach, Ralph blows the conch to call another meeting. Ralph announces that they're on an uninhabited island. Jack interrupts to... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
...they'll have to take care of themselves. He makes a rule that whoever holds the conch at meetings gets to speak. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Piggy takes the conch and says no one knows they're on the island. Ralph agrees, but describes the island... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...this "beastie" as just a nightmare, but the younger boys seem scared. Jack grabs the conch and says there's no snake-thing. If there is, he adds, his hunters will find and... (full context)
Chapter 5
Civilization Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...meeting and wishing he could think as well as Piggy can. Finally, he blows the conch. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack stands and reaches for the conch so he can talk. But Ralph refuses to hand it over and Jack sits back... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...why, but he thinks they should discuss their fear to overcome it. Jack takes the conch. He calls the littleun's crybabies. He says he's been all over the island, and there's... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
Simon takes the conch. He says maybe the boys themselves are the beast. Piggy thinks this idea is crazy.... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Piggy grabs the conch and shouts that ghosts don't exist. He asks the boys if they're humans or savages?... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Piggy tells Ralph to blow the conch, but Ralph refuses. What if no one responded? Ralph considers stepping down as chief, but... (full context)
Chapter 6
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...that quickly becomes heated. Jack questions Ralph's decisions and leadership, mocks Piggy, and claims the conch no longer matters. For an instant it seems as if Jack might take over leadership... (full context)
Chapter 8
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...could kill the beast. Ralph says they're just boys with sticks. Infuriated, Jack blows the conch to call a meeting. Ralph begins to talk but Jack says he called the meeting... (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...joined him. As chief, he says he's going to get more "biguns away from the conch." He also says that when his tribe hunts they'll leave some of the kill for... (full context)
Chapter 9
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...boys who will join his tribe. Ralph says that he's still chief and has the conch, but Jack says the conch has no authority on this side of the island. (full context)
Chapter 10
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...while everyone is asleep. Ralph and Eric beat each other up, and Piggy protects the conch, while Jack steals Piggy's glasses. (full context)
Chapter 11
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...only Piggy, Ralph, and Samneric remain in their group, Piggy tells Ralph to blow the conch to call an assembly. He does. They decide to go to Castle Rock. Piggy plans... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
At Castle Rock, Ralph blows the conch. Roger throws a rock, though he purposely misses the twins and the other savages remain... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
...start to fight again, but Piggy asks to speak and Ralph relents. Piggy raises the conch and once more calls them all kids, and argues that it's better to be sensible... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...but Piggy can't see without his glasses: the boulder hits him head on, and the conch explodes. The boulder pushes Piggy over the cliff onto the rocks below. Blood leaks from... (full context)