Despite the immense difficulty and time it takes to transform your thoughts into words, William Golding has turned his thoughts into the thrilling yet thought-provoking novel, Lord of the Flies in 1954. Due to the immense success of the novel, in 1963 Harry Hook, decided to transform Golding’s masterpiece into an enthralling film not remaining faithful to the novel, but trying to develop action and suspense.
Piggy is one of the major characters in the story, because his death brings about the climax in the novel. With his death, rational thinking and science is all lost. He is a fat, asthmatic boy who has the rare ability to think situations over and use actions to decide upon important matters. He has poor eyesight and is proud of being the only one to wear glasses ‘I’ve been wearing specs since I was 3’ (Golding, 9). He symbolizes the rational side of civilization. I believe that it is much more difficult to express action through words than through vision, hence detail and amount of stylistic techniques provided by Golding to make the images feel alive, is outstanding.
Firstly, when Piggy is making his last speech, he uses many powerful similies such as ‘Which is better – to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is?’ (Golding, 180) Also there are uses of onomatopoeia like ‘Zup!’ and ‘Hiss!’ which make the feeling of the chapter even more alive. On page 180, the detail and imagery used to describe Piggy’s limp body is great. Golding says things like ‘His head opened and stuff came out and turned red,’ and ‘Piggy’s arms and legs twitched a bit like a pig after it had been killed.’ This is also a good example of a strong and descriptive simile. The atmosphere and mood created is very forbidding and intimidating, which make this part of the novel one of the best and one of the most exciting.
I believe that Hook does a good job of developing action and showing visuals that we could only imagine and visualize by reading. In Hook’s film interpretation, Piggy’s death is much more violent and much more significant. This is because when Piggy dies, the chase scene, following this one is very powerful, with slow-motion techniques and tracking shots. The Death of Piggy Scene starts of with a slow tracking shot of Ralph (Balthazar Getty) and Piggy (Danuel Pipoly) climbing up Castle Rock to get Piggy’s glasses. Non-Diegetic sound is playing in the background establishing a fore coming danger.
A low-angle shot shows Jack (Chris Furrh) and the hunters on high ground and quickly followed by a high-angle shot showing Ralph and Piggy on the ground. This shows that the power lies in the hunters hands. Then an over the shoulder shot is used as Ralph surveys his surroundings. Suddenly the camera takes a long neutral, close-up of Roger (Gary Rule), showing that he would be significant in this scene. When the fight between Jack and Ralph breaks out, there is a loud diegetic sound of the hunters screaming and lots of quick panning shots around Jack. Finally a vertical panning shot is used as the rock falls on Piggy’s head. To add to the effect slow motion is used.
Although Hook does not remaining faithful to the novel, the comparison between the two is very interesting. Hook’s interpretation has many similarities and differences to the novel, but they all get across the same message. Firstly there are many similarities, starting with the most obvious, that they both show the death of Piggy. Secondly, Hook shows the fight between Jack and Ralph, not just the verbal, but the physical too. Finally, Hook thinks it is important to show Piggy’s final speech and Ralph’s quick glimpses at the boulder that will bring about Piggy’s death. The major difference is how Piggy dies in the novel.
He falls off the cliff and lands in the ocean. However, in Hooks version, he just lies where he got hit and stays there. In addition when he dies in the film, we don’t see the conch being shattered even though this is a very significant part. This is because the conch is the symbol for rational behavior on the island and with that shattered; Ralph doesn’t have anything against Jack to show his power and leadership. Despite the differences, both the novel and the film have their own distinct personalities which make each one of them even more exciting.
So in conclusion, despite Hook not remaining faithful to the novel, he did a very good job of developing action and suspense, which is much harder to write than to visually present. The stylistic film techniques made the death of Piggy almost seem real. However, Golding’s world wide success ‘Lord of the Flies’ could, and should have many more interpretations in film and drama. We know for sure, that there is a lot more to the novel than just action and suspense.