Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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In Lord of the Flies, why does Piggy suggest they create a clock?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Piggy suggests making a clock—or, more specifically, a sundial:

“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “about a clock. We could make a sundial."

When the others scoff at the idea, Piggy says that it would be a low-tech item that would be easy to construct. He argues that it would be useful because if the boys kept track of the time, they could get more done toward being rescued.

Perhaps because he wears glasses, has asthma, and is dependent on civilization to meet his needs, Piggy wants the boys to stay as organized and civilized as possible. He fears a descent into chaos and savagery. Being conscious of time is one of the hallmarks of the society he has left, and he perceives the value in maintaining those orderly ways. He believes the boys need to act in coordinated ways if they hope to attract attention and get off the island.

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booksnake eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The character Piggy in Lord of the Flies is dedicated to maintaining a sense of order and routine. It was Piggy who first suggested that they use the conch as a talking stick so that no one's voice would get lost in the crowd and they could make decisions as a group. It's also Piggy who suggests that the boys should create shelters for themselves, and he is a major player in keeping the signal fire alive so that they can maintain some hope of rescue. All of these actions are motivated by similar aspects of Piggy's character as his idea to build sundials: Piggy believes that life can go back to how it was before, and he wants to keep what life he currently has from degrading so far from that idea as to be unrecognizable.

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Pauline Sheehan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Lord of the Flies, a group of boys stranded on a desert island try to make sense of their surroundings and to find a suitable way to survive until they are rescued. However, the boys have very different ideals and plans for their time on the island and therefore there is a power struggle as Ralph and all that he signifies attempts to bring order and discipline in the absence of any "grown-ups' whereas Jack is preoccupied with hunting and his version of "fun." Ralph can only be a successful leader with Piggy's help as Piggy is insightful, resourceful and makes rational choices, based on what his "Auntie would do." Jack has Roger who supports everything he does but he is "furtive" and "forbidding" and he is the opposite of what Jack needs in preventing his impulsive and malicious behavior.

Chapter 4 is entitled "Painted Faces and Long Hair" and it is becoming apparent that Jack is attempting to set himself apart, seeing himself as "an awesome stranger" who is "liberated from shame and self-consciousness." Piggy, on the other hand, hasn't really changed and it doesn't even appear as if his hair has grown. He is always thinking of ways in which the boys can mimic the civilization he has been used to and manage themselves according to a routine because it is difficult for the boys to adjust to their new, informal "rhythm." Ralph makes fun of Piggy's suggestion but Piggy remains adamant that they can make sundials for everyone and then not only will they know what time it is but they can get "things done. So as we could be rescued." Piggy remains focused on the idea of rescue and is aware that not everyone is making a contribution to ensuring rescue. As seen later in the same chapter, Jack has allowed the fire to go out so that the ship on the horizon has no idea that the boys are even on the island. 

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podunc eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Chapter 4, Piggy suggests that the boys can make a primitive clock by putting a stick in the sand and making a sundial. This is an appropriate suggestion for Piggy to make since a clock is a symbol of order, reason, rules, and discipline. These are values that Piggy champions throughout the novel. On the island, however, time has lost its meaning and importance to most of the boys. Many of them, such as Jack, no longer value order, but rather power. 

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