Lord Of The Flies: Jack Vs. Piggy, Savagery Vs. Civilization

1613 words - 6 pages

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 red beneath the black cap. His face was crumpled and freckled, and ugly without silliness. Out of this face stared two light blue eyes, frustrated now, and turning, or ready to turn, to anger” (20). Later in the book, Jack’s hair gets unruly and long and he paints his face for hunting. This is to characterize his descent into savagery, just as Piggy’s hair not growing represents how he stays close to civilization and rules. His hair grows long and dirty from neglect and not washing, and face painting is not a tolerated thing in usual society. His face mask represents him hiding his old civilized self, and becoming a savage, a monster, and breaking away from the molds that society and civilization had created.
Jack’s and Piggy’s appearances correspond to their personalities in a way that Piggy is overlooked, and Jack is mean but still idolized. Jack is very demanding, which is clear in the beginning of the book. Jack states to the group when demanding to be chief "’I ought to be chief, because I'm chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp”(22). Jealousy also plays a part in Jack’s personality. When Ralph is elected as chief, despite Jack’s demands, it later shows that Jack is haughty and doesn’t want to...

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