Civilization in Lord of the Flies

In William Golding’s, Lord of the Flies, there is a major conflict between innate traits that we all have inside of us: one being the tendency to act in a peaceful way, having a good sense of what’s right and wrong, and to put personal needs aside for the good of the group. The other innate traits are acting violently to gain power and looking out only for oneself. Golding expresses this conflict through two opposing forces: civilization and savagery. This theme of civilization vs. savagery is used with many elements that symbolize ideas or concepts. Through the use of symbols like the conch shell, Piggy’s glasses, fire, and the pigs; Golding demonstrates that humans, when given a break from societal rules, at first cling on to what we have learned, but as time goes on we allow our innate capacity for evil to dominate our existence.

In the first chapter of the novel, Ralph and Piggy are walking aimlessly through the woods, and stumble upon a conch shell. Piggy points out this conch shell “can be [used] to call the others, to have a meeting, and they’ll come when they hear us. [Piggy said] you blew down here. You try, Ralph. You’ll call the others” (16). Piggy’s idea to use the conch shell as an instrument was exact and led to the gathering and unification of the group. In order to show the importance of the conch to the rest of the group, “Ralph felt the conch lifted from his lap. Then Piggy was standing cradling the great cream shell and the shouting died down” (33). Ralph and the rest of the boys now see that the conch shell serves as an important object because it signifies power. The object gives one of the boys the power to talk while the others listen. The finding of the conch shell represents the idea that order still inhabits the island

As time passes on the island, Ralph realizes that in order to get rescued from the island they needed to build a fire to serve as a signal to those who pass by. Ralph, being…