Lord of the Flies: Jack Vs. Piggy, Savagery Vs. Civilization

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Imagine being eleven and stranded on a island for a month with no adults. Most children’s personalities would change, right? They would need to establish rules and pick a leader. Morals would be questioned, and people would disagree. They would be forced to take on responsibility in the face of survival, which at age eleven, is way too much for any child to handle. Jack and Piggy’s changes show it enough for any child to crack, in the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Jack and Piggy represent the change from civilization to savagery as they go through changes in physical appearance, personality, and morals and ethics while they are stranded on an island. Physically, Piggy’s and Jack’s appearances are very distinct and different. In the beginning of the book, Piggy is described as overweight, short, and asthmatic. He wears thick glasses and a greasy windbreaker. He is often made fun of for his weight and poor eyesight, hence the nickname “Piggy”. Later on in chapter four, when all the boys’ hair grows longer and becomes dirty, it is said that Piggy’s hair does not grow: “He was the only boy on the island whose hair never seemed to grow. The rest were shockheaded, but Piggy’s hair still lay in wisps over his head as though baldness were his natural state and this imperfect covering would soon go, like the velvet on a young stag’s antlers” (64) Piggy’s hair not growing is thought to represent rules not changing, staying short and not growing as if he were still in civilization and his hair had to be neat. Jack’s physical appearance seems harder and more mean looking than Piggy’s round, helpless appearance. Jack is described as “... thin and bony; and his hair was... ... middle of paper ... ...s. Their traits are both very obvious in the book, but the changes in physical appearance, personalities, and morals and ethics in Piggy and Jack may not be. Jack, throughout the book becomes more rugged and savage, changing from proper to improper. Piggy stays mainly the same, always the annoying one, an outcast, but still offering ideas to the good of a group. Golding meant for the island to represent the earth, and the boys all of humanity. Jack represents the savagery in all of us, and Piggy represents old ways, old rules staying the same. Neither of them get very far in real society, of course, which is why Ralph was leader, and not either of them. Because Ralph’s a perfect medium. He’ll evolve but won’t go too far, but he’ll change from the old ways but keep some rules, unlike Piggy and Jack, who both want only one thing and wouldn’t be willing to negotiate.

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