What is the cause of the conflict between Piggy and Jack? Why is it significant that Piggy, for the first time, helps to gather firewood only after Jack has broken from the group? Why does Piggy feel liberated?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Piggy and Jack are complete opposites, and their arguments early on in the novel set precedence for their conflicting relationship throughout the story. Piggy is overweight, sensitive, and physically weak. Therefore, he is a staunch proponent of civility because without a structured, organized system of laws, he would not be...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Piggy and Jack are complete opposites, and their arguments early on in the novel set precedence for their conflicting relationship throughout the story. Piggy is overweight, sensitive, and physically weak. Therefore, he is a staunch proponent of civility because without a structured, organized system of laws, he would not be able to survive. In contrast, Jack is an aggressive, authoritative, physically intimidating boy, who finds it easy to harass Piggy. Jack favors anarchy and develops into a complete savage as the story progresses.

When Jack is present, Piggy feels oppressed and is afraid for his life. After Jack leaves the group, Piggy feels liberated and is comfortable sharing his opinions without the fear of being threatened. When Jack leaves the group and establishes his own tribe at the opposite end of the island, Piggy feels liberated and suggests that they start a new signal fire on the platform. The other boys listen to Piggy's suggestion and they begin gathering firewood. Piggy is so delighted that his advice is taken that he also participates in gathering firewood. Piggy's rare participation gathering firewood indicates that without the threatening, intimidating presence of Jack, he will excel and put forth the effort needed to help the group establish a civil society.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The island William Golding depicts in Lord of the Flies represents the world. Jack and Piggy are personality types. The cause of the conflict is ideological.

Piggy is cerebral. He has many ideas, but they are ignored as he does not fight for physical power. He maintains order in the group. His usefulness is unseen because of his physical laziness, so his mental capacity presents unnoticed value to the group.

Jack is the opposite. He focuses on physical power and seen leadership. He is a leader-personality who wants to be seen as just that: a chief. He is useful to the group in presenting new ideas, changing the path from what he considers boring. In turn, this lust for power and change becomes evil.

Piggy is liberated when Jack is gone because Jack is an oppressive force, particularly to Piggy's artisan personality. It is the lust of power versus the lack of power. The lust always beats down the lack, therefore Piggy is understandably intimidated by Jack. He helps gather firewood because it is better to work out of genuine interest versus oppression.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team