Lord of the Flies Symbolism

Subject: Literature
Pages: 4
Word count: 934
Topics: Book, Lord of the Flies, Symbolism


The primary element in writing is used to express a meaningful statement. The symbol is clearly linked to the protagonists and transforms with them. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies tells the story of a bunch of boys marooned on a deserted island during World War II. The conch shell that is discovered by one of the guys has a key meaning across the narrative, symbolizing a unified feeling of peace and power. At the same time, it reveals how fast and easily these feelings can be destroyed. Throughout the book, the conch shell goes from being a symbol of peace and power to a violation of law and decency when the conch shell breaks, revealing that without regulations, people return to their unprecedented customs.

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What does the shell represent in the novel

The conch shell initially symbolizes peace and power among boys. The shell transmits a message of dominance and additionally supports the group together. Piggy and Ralph, the first two boys to encounter each other on the island, explore the seashell. Piggy tells Ralph to breathe into the shell to summon the rest of the group. Eventually, the shell comes to be recognized as a brittle symbol of strength. The boy who holds the seashell is clearly distinguished from the others and this grants him the decisive influence of being the one who leads the discussion. They think speaking is about prestige and control.

When the other boys come in, they unanimously agree that the one carrying the shell is the one who is supposed to talk at the moment. Conversations start and finish with the conch shell. Concluding the discussion after the shell is placed aside symbolizes the peace it creates in the community. The guys accept the legitimacy of the seashell, and it is essential to them because it is the sole authority they indeed possess. The cone is extremely significant for Piggy. He was considered a pariah due to his behavior. During the whole story, even as the other characters gradually reduce the importance of the seashell, Piggy maintains it by his side and ensures that the initial regulations established about the seashell are followed. Piggy’s bond with the shell was so profoundly ingrained in him. His esteem for the shell was considerably greater than the remaining boys’. He enjoyed it so much because he constantly imposed shell-related rules on others, because he was a stickler for cleanliness and politeness. Predominantly, the shell symbolizes strength and peace in the midst of chaos.

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As the story ends, it is not only the shell that breaks, but also the boys’ perception of peace and power. After all, the shell is a symbol of the absence of discipline and civilization. In the course of the plot, the shell gradually becomes less influential, particularly in the case of Jack, who was unwilling to listen to others from the distinct beginning. The symbol slowly weakens, and the boys begin to neglect the shell. When Piggy picks up the shell to reiterate how important it is, they disregard it. He tries to quiet their heckling, and although they pause for a minute and consider the shell, they directly start making harsh remarks again, heckling and demonstrating how they have indeed forfeited their understanding of peace and power.

Use of the island symbol in the story

Ultimately, the shell shatters over time, with Piggy’s passing. Piggy is recognized as the mildest guy of the bunch. He wants to bring about an organized civilization among them. The shell, which embodies the order Piggy craves, breaks when Piggy is murdered. The breaking of the shell and Piggy’s death cause a flare-up of wildness on the island and within the boys. The shift in the symbolism surrounding the seashell is noticeable in the ending scenes of the story.

The boys with no rules return to their original customs. The presence of the shell, but also its breaking, illustrates this. At first, Peggy and Ralph resolve to establish a series of policies regarding the discovered shell. The regulations, which involved only being able to speak to one person at a time and blowing the conch shell to summon all the boys, provided the boys with a framework to adhere to instead of permitting them to return to their customs during a period of lawlessness. When the shell breaks into little pieces, it signifies the demise of their civilization. Not long after, Piggy is the first to confront the disgusting thing that occurs when humanity returns to its primitive impulses when he is murdered by one of his own. Only a few of the group were successful in maintaining their morals untouched. Those who didn’t conceive a thorough idea of what the future would be like with no rules to follow are revealed in the story to have naturally followed their impulses. The regulations supported the group of boys together in a civilized and controlled manner.


A society undoubtedly requires discipline and civilization to thrive. Discipline is achieved precisely through the establishment of laws, and civility is maintained through the observance of morality. When these fundamental ideas are substituted by the opposite, humanity becomes out of touch with its feelings and returns to a primitive way of life. A group of boys in Lord of the Flies promptly outstrip their ability to maintain discipline and civility and turn into savages. They quickly resort to acts of wildness and barbarism, with some boys becoming victims of others. The seashell represents the ultimate symbol of these notions, and when it breaks, the most crucial components that sustain society break with it.

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