In Lord of the Flies by William Golding, what happens to Percival when he takes the conch to speak?
Percival is a littlun, and when Ralph opens up the evening meeting to talk about the boys' fears, he comes forward to speak. Piggy kneels by him with the conch and asks him his name. He doesn't respond because he's too nervous to speak, and the boys all break out into a chant, "What's your name? What's your name?" He starts to repeat his name, address, and telephone number, but when he can't remember his phone number, he begins to wail. That sets a number of other littluns off, and there is a deafening lament. Maurice starts to clown around to distract the boys, and then they laugh uproariously, with the biguns joining in. Finally Jack loses patience and, even though he doesn't have the conch, approaches Percival and grills him about the beast, shaking him and asking him where he thinks the beast lives. All the emotional venting, as well as the lateness of the hour, makes Percival sleepy, and he begins to yawn and stagger. He whispers his answer to Jack and then falls asleep in the long grass. Jack relates that Percival told him that "the beast comes out of the sea."
When Percival takes the conch to speak, he is unable to get any words to come out of his mouth. He finally must whisper his words to Piggy who then tells the rest of the boys what Percival is saying. This is ironic because at the beginning of the story, Percival's response to everything was to repeat his name, phone number and address. Now, he has forgotten what was obviously very important information that he parents had taught him in case of emergency. Thus, we can see the deteriorating effect of civilization on the rest of the boys through Percival's inability to speak.