Many aspects of the lives of Americans are taken for granted. Citizens have the power to decide upon which laws they want to see put into place, who is in office, and other things that control the country. With freedom and democracy, Americans have prospered. In Sir William Golding's, The Lord of the Flies, a group of boys, none of them exceeding the age of twelve, are stranded on a deserted island during a time of war. In the beginning, the protagonist, Ralph, discovers a conch and uses it to call all the boys together. The conch's power in the beginning symbolizes the order and democracy on the island. As its reign falls, the boys stoop to fighting to solve their disagreements; eventually leading to complete savagery. Golding uses the symbol of the conch to demonstrate the theme that civilization is necessary to keep the dark side of human nature within and in control.
The conch's power in the beginning of the novel represents the structure the boys hold. One example is when Ralph and Piggy first discover the conch and use it to ."..call the others" after the crash separates them (16). Calling everyone together to have a meeting is a civilized, adult-like concept. The fact that the conch has the supremacy to do this shows the respect the boys have for it. Gathering together is necessary because working in unity is the only way for success to come to them. The conch gives them the ability to acquire this harmony. Another instance that shows the conch's authority is during the meetings: ."..give the conch to the nest person to speak. He can hold it when he's speaking" (33). The shell effectively governs the boys' meetings. If everyone were talking at the same time during a meeting, everything would be chaotic and nothing would get accomplished. The conch holds the great power of being able to keep things on the island in an orderly fashion. Last, the conch's capability is shown when Piggy stands, "cradling the great cream shell and the shouting died down" (33). Throughout the novel the boys show their disgust of Piggy. It would be impressive if the conch made the shouting die down while anyone is holding it, let alone Piggy, who is greatly disrespected in the eyes of most of the boys. The conch has the ability to restrain the boy's dark side from coming out and keep everything in control. The control the conch has over the boys keeps them civilized and their evils inside, but as their instincts take over, their refined ways of life will fade.
As the story progresses, the boys slowly become more and more uncivilized and the conch's power begins to disintegrate. For instance, the boys start to fight and lose their sense of order: "Piggy lost his temper. `I got the conch! Just you listen!'" (45). The fact that Piggy must become irrational to get his point across while the conch is in his hands shows that the conch is starting to lose the power it once had. The expression in his voice demonstrates that order is beginning to slip away from them. The conch no longer holds complete authority. Because of this, the boys' evils are starting to come out and they are becoming noticeably aggressive. Also, the boys fight even more when Jack disregards the rules: ."..even though he had not got the conch," he, "spoke against the rules" (87). Jack's disrespect toward the conch generates a dispute amongst the boys. The conch's authority keeps the boys under control. Once its power is violated, the peace and harmony is disrupted. Even though it does stand out as an event that may cause a rift in their lives, a small desecration has a vast effect on the lives of all of them. Another sight that hints that the conch is losing its power is in Jack's neglect to abide by its rules: "Just giving orders that don't make any sense- `Piggy's got the conch!'" (91). Jack's failure to stick to the rules brings out the evilness within him, along with the evilness in everyone else. Once