Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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How does Piggy enhance the themes of savagery and civilization?

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Two of the most important themes throughout the novel deal with civilization and savagery. William Golding juxtaposes the character of Piggy against Jack and his hunters in order to enhance the competing themes of savagery and civilization. Piggy's character represents civilization, structure, and democracy throughout the novel and he is continually battling against Jack, who is the epitome of tyranny and savagery. Piggy and Jack are in constant opposition. Piggy argues with Jack about respecting the rules of the conch, listening to Ralph, and acting civil while they are on the island. Many of Piggy's comments support the idea that a democratic, civil society with rules and procedures are necessary. Piggy is physically inferior but is by far the most intelligent boy on the island. Individuals like Piggy who lack physical prowess can only survive in a society where citizens are protected by laws and regulations. As the boys descend deeper into savagery, Piggy becomes more vulnerable. Eventually, Piggy is killed and the conch breaks which signifies the end of all civility on the island. Golding uses Piggy's well-being as a gauge to measure the struggle between savagery and civilization throughout the novel which also enhances both of the competing themes.

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