In Lord of the Flies,Piggy’s speech in chapter 11 is the indirect result of the fear of the unknown or the “beast.” The beast also symbolizes the Devil or the evil that exists in everyone. Simon does not believe such a creature exists, and when he finds...
In Lord of the Flies, Piggy’s speech in chapter 11 is the indirect result of the fear of the unknown or the “beast.” The beast also symbolizes the Devil or the evil that exists in everyone. Simon does not believe such a creature exists, and when he finds the corpse of a dead parachutist, he attempts to enlighten the two groups of stranded boys. He wants to tell them there is no beast, but only their fears.
The two groups of boys are split in their approaches to their situation. Leader Ralph wishes to use reason and control in his efforts to survive. He favors fair and equitable measures and the adoption of civilized rules. Jack’s methodology for control is authoritarianism. He prefers to maintain control by fear and threats. He favors instilling fear by employing violence and destruction.
Jack and his hunters are obsessed with the hunt. On one occasion, they sadistically kill a pig in a violent ritual, cutting off the animal’s head, placing it on a stick for all to see, and offering it as a sacrifice to the beast:
He knelt down again and was busy with his knife. The boys crowded round him. He spoke over his shoulder to Roger. “Sharpen a stick at both ends.” Presently he stood up, holding the dripping sow’s head in his hands. “Where’s that stick?” “Here.” “Ram one end in the earth. Oh—it’s rock. Jam it in that crack. There.” Jack held up the head and jammed the soft throat down on the pointed end of the stick which pierced through into the mouth. He stood back and the head hung there, a little blood dribbling down the stick.
Jack is successful in riling up the boys into a frenzy chanting “Kill the beast!” Even Ralph and Piggy decide to join Jack’s feast. When Simon comes out of his jungle hideout to inform the others what he found, the group kills him, thinking him to be the monster they fear. Ralph and Piggy are filled with guilt over Simon’s death. Piggy thinks it was an accident. Ralph believes it was murder. That night, Jack’s group attacks Ralph’s group and most of Ralph’s supporters begin to follow Jack. The hunting group steals Piggy’s glasses, rendering him visually impaired. Piggy wishes to confront Jack’s group, and he and Ralph call an assembly by blowing into the conch shell. When Jack attempts to stab Ralph, they fight until Piggy picks up the conch shell and requests to speak.
The boys only half-listen to Piggy’s speech. They intend to ridicule him, but it never gets that far. Roger sends down a large boulder that crushes the conch shell and kills Piggy. The symbol of unity, democracy, and order is destroyed.
The boys from Jack’s group react with anger, cruelty, and savagery. They undermine Ralph’s authority, even though he had previously been democratically elected. Now, under the leadership of tyrannical Jack, they plan to function amidst fear, threats, and murder. They have reacted to Piggy’s speech not with reason, but with the short-term outlook of violence and commitment to the Devil, the Lord of the Flies.