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LOTFLaw and order
Imagine that you are in charge of setting up a civilization. What would be the first thing that you did? Many people might choose to set up a system of rules and regulations to better control the way the civilization acted and regulated it. After all, a civilization cannot grow and prosper without rules. The civilization would die because no food would be gathered and no one would work for anything. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding had the boys do exactly this. To symbolize the rules and regulations in the boys’ new society Golding picked a symbol of the conch. By doing this he assigned the conch the responsibility of representing the rules and order in the boys island life. The conch symbolized the rise and fall of order and rules in a civilization. When the United States of America were created, one of the first things that the founding fathers did was to write the Constitution. Every citizen of the USA, then and now, respects the rules and regulations outlined by this document. This is one of the main reasons why our country is so successful, because no one disrespects and questions the basis of our society, the Constitution (rules and order). In Iraq, however, there is a totally different situation. There, they have a leader (Saddam Hussein) who misuses the rules. He disrespects the rules and order of Iraq and uses them for his own propaganda. When people of a country, especially the leader of a country, disrespect and misuse the rules, it can have an adverse effect on the well being of that country. The worst thing that can happen for law and order in a society is when people completely disrespect them. This is similar to when Pinochet overthrew the Chilean government. He banned any opposing views and also restricted the freedom of the press. A period of anarchy ensued and common person in Chile was very badly hurt. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses the conch as an allegory to law and order in a society. Once people stopped respecting the power of the conch, the boys’ civilization was destroyed. Law and order in a society depend on the citizens of that society’s respect for the rules.
When the boys reached the island, the conch helped to form the rules of a society and the assemblies helped to get the civilization started the right way. The conch gave Ralph the power to call an assembly. Whenever he felt a need to address the rules of the society or to scorn the boys for the lack of work ethic he called an assembly to bring all of the boys together. At the assembly, only the one holding the conch is allowed to speak. “That’s what the shell’s called. I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he’s speaking.” (33) This is an enormous privilege because it allows the holder of the conch to share his ideas to the rest of the group. This is the avenue that Ralph takes to share his ideas of the rescue fire, and also gives Jack the responsibility to lead the hunters; giving him satisfaction is his power and also keeping him happy. This is the only way a person can gain power and the boys know and respect that fact. When Ralph is elected, it is because not only did he call the assembly, but he was also holding the conch at the time of the election. “Yet most powerfully was the conch.”(22) The boys respect the conch. Just the thought of the aura of the conch demanded a massive amount of respect, just like the rules in a society. “Ralph smiled and held up the conch for silence.”(23) Everything is going wonderfully for the boys at this point in the story. They have a strong leader, food, fire and strong set of rules that everyone respects. When all the citizens stay in line the society of which those citizens belong can grow and prosper.
When Jack does not listen to the conch, he is disrespecting the rules and regulations of the society. By doing so, he is trying to show that the “Ralph way”
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English-language films, Strombidae, Conch, Symbols, Lord of the Flies
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