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Look at the opening statements for Ralph and Piggy. What do the descriptions/statements...

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reader5646 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted July 4, 2012 at 5:43 PM via web

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Look at the opening statements for Ralph and Piggy. What do the descriptions/statements say about the characters nature and values?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 4, 2012 at 8:09 PM (Answer #1)

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Piggy

"He was shorter than the fair boy and very fat.  He came forward, searching out safe lodgments for his feet, and then looked up through thick spectacles" (7).

in the opening scene of the novel, Golding's initial characterization of Piggy reveals two salient details:  Piggy has some serious physical limitations, and he immediately looks to Ralph for support.  Golding's description of Piggy's physique and movement through the creepers reveals that he is not very athletic and extremely over-weight; his spectacles are also "very thick," suggesting that he is extremely near-sighted.  On the very first page of the novel, Piggy is already following Ralph, asking his opinion and looking to him to find answers. Piggy's actions reveal him to be a follower and generously curious in nature.

Ralph

"The boy with the fair hair lowerd himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pcik his way toward the lagoon.  Though he had taken of his school sweater and trailed it now from one hand, his grey shirt stuck to him and his hair was plastered to his forehead" (7). 

This opening description of Ralph, which happens to be the very first paragraph of the novel, does not inform the reader very much about Ralph's character or morals; rather, Golding's description provides physical details concerning Ralph's characterization and any conclusions concerning Ralph's character must be drawn by the reader based on his actions.  The description suggests a school boy with fair blonde hair and some athletic ability to be able to climb down the rocks.  Ralph's continued push through the jungle informs the reader that he is very determined and does not easily give up.  His first initial meeting and conversation with Piggy reveals that Ralph is quite happy to be free of adults, at least temporarily, because when Piggy suggests that there are no grown ups, Ralph grins and stands on his head when "the delight of realized ambition overcame him" (8).

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Kristen Lentz

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