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.
The Conch Shell Quotes in Lord of the Flies
The Lord of the Flies quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Conch Shell. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of Lord of the Flies published in 2003.
"We can use this to call the others. Have a meeting. They'll come when they hear us—" He beamed at Ralph. "That was what you meant, didn't you? That's why you got the conch out of the water."
Related Characters:Piggy (speaker), Ralph
Related Symbols:The Conch Shell
Page Number and Citation:
Explanation and Analysis:
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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.
...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,...
...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...
Back at the beach, Ralph blows the conch to call another meeting. Ralph announces that they're on an uninhabited island. Jack interrupts to...
...they'll have to take care of themselves. He makes a rule that whoever holds the conch at meetings gets to speak.
Piggy takes the conch and says no one knows they're on the island. Ralph agrees, but describes the island...
...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...
...meeting and wishing he could think as well as Piggy can. Finally, he blows the conch.
Jack stands and reaches for the conch so he can talk. But Ralph refuses to hand it over and Jack sits back...
...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...
Simon takes the conch. He says maybe the boys themselves are the beast. Piggy thinks this idea is crazy....
Piggy grabs the conch and shouts that ghosts don't exist. He asks the boys if they're humans or savages?...
Piggy tells Ralph to blow the conch, but Ralph refuses. What if no one responded? Ralph considers stepping down as chief, but...
...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...
...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...
...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...
...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.
...while everyone is asleep. Ralph and Eric beat each other up, and Piggy protects the conch, while Jack steals Piggy's glasses.
...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...
At Castle Rock, Ralph blows the conch. Roger throws a rock, though he purposely misses the twins and the other savages remain...
...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...
...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...
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Florman, Ben. "Lord of the Flies Symbols: The Conch Shell." LitCharts. LitCharts LLC, 22 Jul 2013. Web. 21 Nov 2017.
Florman, Ben. "Lord of the Flies Symbols: The Conch Shell." LitCharts LLC, July 22, 2013. Retrieved November 21, 2017. http://www.litcharts.com/lit/lord-of-the-flies/symbols/the-conch-shell.