In Chapter 4 of the novel Lord of the Flies, Golding writes, "Piggy stood behind him, islanded in a sea of meaningless color, while Ralph knelt and focused the glossy spot." What does the "meaningless color" refer to? 

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The words "meaningless color" are meant to describe what the world looks like to Piggy without his glasses. He must have very bad vision. He sees all the colors of things but not the shapes, so the colors are "meaningless" without the shapes to identify them. He is "islanded" because he is cut off visually from all the other boys. They too are only meaningless colors. What Piggy sees might be compared to an abstract expressionist painting. Jack not only broke one of the lenses of Piggy's glasses, but Piggy doesn't even have the glasses at this point. Ralph has borrowed his glasses and is trying to start a fire with the familiar technique of using the good lens to focus the sun's rays into one small spot, the "glossy spot," which will create enough intense heat to start the kindling smoking. Piggy is probably standing behind Ralph for security, since he can't really see anything until he gets his glasses back.

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In Chapter 4, Jack slaps Piggy's glasses off of his face and ends up breaking one of the lenses. Ralph calls out Jack by saying, "That was a dirty trick" (Golding 102). After the boys collect wood to begin rebuilding another signal fire, Ralph goes over to Piggy and takes his glasses. As Ralph attempts to light the fire, Golding writes, "Piggy stood behind him, islanded in a sea of meaningless color, while Ralph knelt and focused the glossy spot" (Golding 103). Throughout the novel, the ocean symbolizes the barrier between the boys on the island and the civilized world. The ocean alludes to how civility gradually gives way to primitive savagery on the abandoned island. Much like how the waves crash against the shore and erode the landscape, the vast ocean represents the passage of time which decays the boys' moral characters on the island. However, Piggy's character represents civilization and morality. When Golding writes that Piggy stood "islanded in a sea of meaningless color," he was representing how Piggy's civility contrasts with the boys' immorality on the island. The sea's "meaningless color" alludes to the symbolic nature of the vast ocean, which separates the boys from civilization. On the island, society's rules and regulations are lost, making them essentially "meaningless." 

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