“The Call to the Wild”
In The Lord of the Flies, the reluctance of the boys to blow the conch as well as the emergence of Jack’s mask shows their inevitable return to a savage and primal state. On the island, the conch is the most important object the boys have because it is “a link with the adult world of authority”. (59) The conch unifies the boys under a common hope of rescue; however, when the boys no longer respond to the conch, they are acknowledging that they do not expect to be rescued. While the boys cast the conch into the shadows, the reader watches as Jack’s mask comes into prominence. Similar to how the boys were drawn to the conch originally, the appearance of Jack’s “mask compel[s] them.” (64) As the boys descend into the darkness of the jungle, they are unified no longer by a reminder of the adult and stable world, but rather by something they can relate to- a primal mask. While the conch encouraged the boys to “have rules… lots of [them]” and also to respect each other’s opinions, the mask “liberate[d] [them] from shame and self-consciousness.” (33), (79) The mask releases the boys from the constraints and lessons taught in the civilized world, and instead instills in them a sense of primitive blood-lust. By doing this, the boys can do whatever they want without having a conscience, similar to the unconscious actions of an animal. Jack and Piggy are thrust into a conundrum because if they blow the conch and the boys do not come, they have been lost, but with their unwillingness they enable the boys to continue their evolution into animals.

Ch 5: "Beast from Water" & Ch 6: "Beast from Air" small group mini-essay paragraph writing challenge (in lieu of the typical in-class essay):

Link: original quotations and assignment

Links to the specific student responses