A conch is a type of mollusk with a pink and white shell in the shape of a spiral. Once the animal inside dies, the shell can be used as a trumpet by blowing into one end. In Lord of the Flies, the boys use a conch to call meetings and also to designate who is speaking. In this way, the conch symbolizes democracy and free speech – anyone who is holding the conch can speak his mind, and everyone else must listen and wait their turns for the conch. However, the fact that the conch is easily broken, signalling the end of civil communication, symbolizes the fragility of democracy, which needs protection by all participants in order to survive.