Answer to Question: What is the significance of the boys’ hair in Lord of the Flies?

Throughout Lord of the Flies, I noticed a recurring mention of the boys’ hair growing. There are numerous quotes explaining how everybody’s hair grows to become tangled and matted. Yet, Piggy’s hair remains short and clean, which is the way it was when they were first stranded on the island. He is the only one whose hair did not change from the beginning, connoting an importance of the boys’ hair. I believe the significance is to demonstrate how a civilization and its civilians develop, but more importantly, to display how Piggy sticks to his morals while the others become savages. An example of how the other boys’ hair grow wildly and recklessly is when the author says, “Not one of them was an obvious subject for a shower, and yet-hair, much too long, tangled here and there, knotted round a dead leaf or a twig…scurfy with brine” (Golding 110). This quote shows the reader how their appearance, particularly their hair is a way to look at their development into savages. Because of the lack of strict laws that should be enforced (the “adult world”), the boys become chaotic and wild to the point that risks someone’s life.The author’s use of hair is a symbol to represent the ways the schoolchildren turn into savages, and as the book progresses, so does their hair growth or the developing savagery. Ralph is in the middle of all of this chaos and development into savages. In the chapter called “Painted Faces and Long Hair,” Golding writes, “Ralph stood, one hand holding back his hair, the other clenched” (Golding 66). This quote has great meaning that can be stretched. Ralph’s long hair shows that he is becoming savage-like, however, he is trying to withstand and prevent the development by holding back his growing hair, pulling it away from his eyes. He knows the only civilized one on the island is Piggy, and tries to pick up on his concepts, but he too is affected by the lack of rules. In this book, Piggy stays civilized in the entirety, and is displayed in one quote. Golding writes, “He [Piggy] was the only boy on the island whose hair never seemed to grow. The rest were shockheaded, but Piggy’s hair still lay in wisps over his head as though baldness were his natural state and this imperfect covering would soon go, like the velvet on a young stag’s antlers” (Golding 64). Piggy’s hair, as said in this quote, seems to remain the same length, and therefore remains civilized and sticks to his morals, unlike the others. Before Piggy’s death, he had a great deal on his mind, which was to keep all society and values balanced and orderly. He did all he could and slowly felt stronger in the process, yet the stupidity and carelessness of Jack’s tribe killed him. Finally, the significance of the boys’ hair in Lord of the Flies is to show how it is a symbol for the developing savagery, and how its growth parallels with the growth of the boys’ hair.


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