Will Durant once wrote, "Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty and dies with chaos." In the novel Lord of the Flies, written by Nobel Prize winning author Sir William Golding, it tells the gripping tale of a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island during a period of war, whose attempt to govern themselves ends in disastrous results. Throughout the novel Golding portrays the idea of civilisation versus chaos as the boy's respect for the rules quickly unravel and their barbaric desires begin to rule their dysfunctional society. The author uses many different types of symbols to represent this idea as the novel continues, through the conch, comparisons to the Garden of Eden and also the signal fire.
The first symbol Golding uses to portray the idea of civilisation versus chaos is the conch. Ever since the start of the book the conch is used to represent the unity of the boys and the beginning of their society. "We can use this to call the others. Have a meeting. They'll come when they hear us-." In the first chapter of the novel Piggy says this to Ralph, who then uses the shell as a type of horn to summon all the children to the beach. From that moment onwards the conch is only used to call the boys to a democratic assembly whenever they need to resolve their issues. Throughout the novel the conch is used as a symbol of an orderly, civilised society based on reason, discussion and democratic processes, but as the story goes on the respect for the conch, by Jack and his followers, gradually fades as their respect of the rules also fade. "Conch! Conch! We don't need the conch any more." The breaking of the conch, at the end of the book, represents the point where the boys abandoned all rules. Golding used the conch in Lord of the Flies to show the reader the children's gradual slip from civilisation as their own personal desires surpassed the needs of the group.