The appearances and moods of the boys change the longer they are on the island. Describe how they change in appearance and conduct.

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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The change in the boys' appearances from neatly uniformed private school boys to ragged, scraggly-haired savages follows the change in the boys' behavior.  As their appearance degrades, so does their behavior.  At the start of chapter 5, Ralph, the narration tells us, "...discovered dirt and decay, understood how much he disliked perpetually flicking the tangled hair out of his eyes,...".  At the beginning of chapter 7, we are told, "He [Ralph] would like to have a pair of scissors and cut his hair....he would like to have a bath....and decided that a toothbrush would come in handy too."  Ralph constantly laments his degradation in appearance and cleanliness.  The worse his appearance becomes, the more he wishes he could be clean and well-groomed again.  The other boys are also experiencing the same lack of cleanliness and neatness.  By the end of the book, their clothes are barely hanging on their near-naked bodies because their clothes are in tatters.  Jack is described, in chapter 10, when he conducts a meeting as being "naked to the waist".  He is one of the most savage on the island and he seems to revel in his appearance, even going so far as to rub mud and ashes on his face, making himself even dirtier.  This trend away from civilized clothing and appearance mirrors the trend away from civilized behavior and attitude.  In chapter 1, Jack hesitates when he has the chance to kill a pig and loses the pig.  He hesitates because he is still civilized. The next time he sees a pig, just as he vowed in chapter 1, he does not hesitate because he has become more savage.  In chapter 4, Roger - who becomes the most savage of all of the boys on the island - throws stones at Henry, but purposely misses him. "Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life."  The "taboo" referred to is civilized behavior of not bullying.  The narration lets us know that this taboo will be broken though by use of the term "old life" meaning that a "new life" will replace it and along with it, a new society - one that is savage in nature.  By the end of the story, the boys have all become savage as they hunt Ralph who has to think and act like a wild animal so that he can survive.