“ What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages? What’s grown ups going to think? ” (Golding 91). In Lord of the Flies, William Golding writes about a group of young schoolboys who are evacuating from the United Kingdom at the rise of the next World War. The boys have grown up in an organized society their entire lives with order and discipline. As the time they spend on the island grows larger, conflict between them also grows larger and the organized society becomes something of the past.
Ralph, one of the oldest boys, is elected leader of the boys and sets the group’s rescue from the island as their main goal. Throughout the book the boys’ anxiety grows as their patience runs out, which causes conflicts to erupt between Ralph and his followers and a group, led by Jack Merridew. Jacks’ group of “ savages” share the common interest in hunting, while Ralphs’ group understands the reality of the situation and persists to keep a signal fire running for the slim chance of rescue.
Golding uses the characters within the book and how they change to show how society on the island disappears and the characters change from civilized to savage. Golding fills the book with these dynamic characters but also, uses a character named Piggy, a physically and mentally different character than all the others to explicate they’re change from civility to savageness. The longer the boys stay on the island the less clothes they have covering their bodies, they let their hair grow long and their bodies become dark and covered with dirt, however; Piggy remains clothed and does not undress as the others do.
As each day passes and each boy becomes more naked, Piggy does not. Piggy is different then the others not only that he kept his clothes on but he is also physically different than the others because he was overweight. At the beginning of the story Ralph and Piggy are found alone on the beach together, both curious to if anyone else is on the island with them. In search for others they make a call with a conch they had found; seconds later small figures appear from the trees and from inside the island’s foliage.
Far into the distance a group of boys appear from the forest: “ The creature was a party of boys, marching approximately in step in two parallel lines and dressed in strangely eccentric clothing” (Golding 19). When the group first gathers on the island the boys are dressed in full clothing, some beginning to take it off others persisting to keep it on. Only 13 pages later it is observed that the boys begin to undress: “ The choir, noticeably less of a group, had discarded their cloaks” (Golding 33). As the heat affects the kids more they adapt themselves to it by taking their clothes off and beginning to live as savages.
However piggy remains clothed and does not incline into the savage actions of the other boys. Furthermore the boys adapted a savage lifestyle of hunting, and painting themselves to blend into the their surroundings; while Ralph and Piggy remain civil and decline Jack’s invitation to hunt and paint their bodies. While jack is on his first hunting escapade he encounters a pig and attempts to kill the pig but “ there came a pause, a hiatus, the pig continued to scream and the creepers to jerk, and the blade continued to flash at the end of a bony arm” (Golding 31).
Jack hesitates at the first opportunity he has to kill a pig because he does not have the will to kill it. Killing was not apart of his old life. However, later in the book he is more able to over come this hesitation and in result has success at killing a pig: “ Jack, his face smeared with clays, reached the top first and hailed Ralph excitedly with lifted spear. ‘ Look! We’ve killed a pig’” (Golding 69). Jack has began to forget the rules he was taught and followed as a civilized person and has found killing to be easy and civilized in his mind.
Moreover, Jack and the boys that like to hunt paint themselves to look like the surroundings so they can sneak up and kill the pigs. While on the beach Jack’s group of boys were gathered up waiting for Maurice and Roger to return from hunting. When Roger returns from the forest he approaches Jack as he is smearing clay on his face and “[Jack] turned a half-concealed face up to Roger and answered the incomphrension of his gaze. ‘ For hunting. Like in the war. You know-dazzle paint. Like things trying to look like something else’” (Golding 63).
Jack consistently becomes more and more savage as he tries to become a better hunter and kill a pig. He has become an “ awesome stranger” to himself. However Ralph and Piggy remain unpainted and refrain from hunting. While the hunters are hidden away on the island, Piggy and Ralph prepare to go search for them. The other boys accompanying Ralph and Piggy state that the hunters will be painted and Ralph replies, “ Well we won’t be painted’, said Ralph, ‘ because we aren’t savages. ” (Golding 172). Ralph and Piggy remain to keep to the civilized life they had lived previously and do not fall into the savagery by painting heir bodies and hunting.
This explicates the hunter’s transformation into savagery while it compares it to the normality of a civil person. Additionally Piggy is not only physically different from the others but he has a medical disorder that makes him different, which inhibits him from transforming into a savage being such as the others become. While the others abandon their morals they have from their civilized life and become hunters, whom practice killing and dress up as animals; Piggy remains civilized and refrains from the savage life they have attained.
In the beginning of the book Piggy and Ralph are found on the beach alone together, both very concerned to where the other’s, whom were aboard the plane, were. Piggy discovered a shell on the beach in which he could blow into to make a noise. Piggy and Ralph attempt to blow the shell to make it sound: “‘ He kind of spat,’ said Piggy. ‘ My auntie wouldn’t let me blow on account of my asthma. ’” (Golding 16). His asthma distinguished among the others and also did not allow him to do the things the other kids partook in.
Piggy’s asthma also didn’t allow him to hunt; which was the main factor for all the other boys turning into savages. Throughout the book Golding uses characterization to show how society changes within a group of students that get stranded on and island when trying to evacuate from their country. Many dynamic characters throughout the book change in different ways and conflicts amongst these characters arise. Piggy plays the role of the static character, or in other words the character that does not change. Piggy is an over weight young boy, with glasses, asthma, and no hair.
As the other boys undress their clothing day by day Piggy remains to keep his on. He is not only different in appearance to the other characters; he also shares different intellectual opinions than the other boys and has a civilized view on subjects while the other share a more savage view. Piggy acts as a foil to the other characters as he remains the civil, or in other words; normal kid. While the other take part in hunting and painting themselves to look like their environment, Piggy remains clothed and keeps the civilized life he had lived prior to the story.
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