In chapter 11 of Lord of the Flies, how do the boys react to Piggy's speech?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In this chapter we see Piggy's attempt to reason with the boys go disastrously awry as he actually ends up provoking them into ever-greater acts of savagery, resulting in his own death. Seeing how things are deteriorating between Jack and Ralph, Piggy, claiming the right to speak because of his possession of the conch, then speaks a certain number of truths to the assembled boys, drawing a comparison to the leadership of Ralph and Jack. Note the three questions he asks the boys:

"Which is better--to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is?"

"Which is better--to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?"

"Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?"

Note the way that Piggy introduces two opposites through these questions. Jack's leadership and rule are associated with savagery, hunting, and killing, whereas Ralph's leadership is associated with being sensible, agreement, law and rescue. However, these words turn Jack and his tribe into a "solid mass of menage that bristled with spears." The words of Piggy, hoping to reason with the boys, actually only serves to antagonise them still further, unleashing the act of violence that kills him.

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