We don’t know about you, but we think Percival is the most tear-jerking, heart-breaking littlun on the island. The first we hear about him, it’s in a passage telling us about how all the littluns are not so much taken care of as downright neglected by the older boys. Percival is the littlun that can’t handle the neglect, who at one point crawls into a shelter and stays there for two days, crying the whole time.
But Percival does more than tug at our heartstrings. Did you notice his habit of saying his full name and address over and over? Golding refers to this as an “incantation,” and unfortunately one that is “powerless to help” poor little Percival.
And this is what makes Percival so important to Lord of the Flies. The little safety nets of normal civilization are completely and utterly useless here on the island. Even worse, Percival has forgotten his name and address by the time the officer gets to the island, reminding us that the boys, even little Percival, have been transformed by their stay on island of horrors. So when Ralph weeps for the loss of innocence and the darkness of man’s heart, we weep for little Percival.