In the last chapter how is Percival's name, an "incantation" indicative of the boys' resulting loss of identity?William Golding's Lord of the Flies

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After the arrival of the naval officer who rescues the boys from the island, Percival Wemys Madison "sought in his head for an incantation that had faded clean away."  Like his namesake, who was a knight of King Arthur's court who sought the Holy Grail, the boy searches for the recitation of his identity--now as unattainable as the grail--which he repeated in the beginning chapters. Percival has lost this identity since his address no longer has any meaning.  Like the others, with all traces of civilization gone from them, Percival is simply a member of one of the tribes, Ralph's or Jack's.  He merely follows the leadership of one of the boys, having no individual identity of his own, reduced to merely a savage who eats and sleeps.  The beautiful island, a metaphor for society, burns behind them erasing all identity.


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Lord of the Flies

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