Explain the meaning of Piggy's quote "Life...is scientific.."William Golding's Lord of the Flies

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter Four, Roger and Jack begin to test the boundaries of what they can do, little Percival spends two days crying from fear and discontent, Piggy finds his usefulness waning, the boys let the fire go out, and Ralph realizes that his leadership is wavering.  So, he resolves to call a meeting.  Before doing so, Ralph walks along the beach, realizing that, although he is a "specialist in thought," he cannot think as Piggy can, for Piggy looks through a scientific lens, seeing cause and effect.

After Ralph calls the meeting and speaks, then Jack takes the conch, and finally, Piggy holds out his hand.  Like an adult, he tries to reason with the boys,"

"We know what goes on and if there's something wrong, there's someone to put it right."

As he continues Piggy seeks to rationally explain cause and effect by giving an example, but he is cut off. Persisting, Piggy logically explains,

"You have doectors for everything, even the inside of your mind.  You don't really mean that we got to be frightened all the time of noting?  Life...is scientific,, that's what it is.  In a year or two when the war's over they'll be traveling to mars and back.  I know there isn't no beast--not with claws and all that, I mean--but i know there isn't no fear, either."

Piggy realizes that the fear of the boys is beginning to extend to being what he calls "frightened of people," an irrational fear. So, he appeals as much as he can to the boys' ability to reason and be calm about their fears.

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Lord of the Flies

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