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Lord of the Flies

by: William Golding

Piggy

Piggy is the first boy Ralph encounters on the island after the crash and remains the most true and loyal friend throughout Lord of the Flies. An overweight, intellectual, and talkative boy, Piggy is the brains behind many of Ralph’s successful ideas and innovations, such as using the conch to call meetings and building shelters for the group. Piggy represents the scientific and rational side of humanity, supporting Ralph’s signal fires and helping to problem solve on the island. However, Piggy’s asthma, weight, and poor eyesight make him physically inferior to the others, making him vulnerable to scorn and ostracism. Piggy is also the only boy who worries about the rules of English civilization, namely what the grownups will think when they find the savage boys. Piggy believes in rules, timeliness, and order, and as the island descends into brutal chaos, Piggy’s position comes under threat of intense violence.

Piggy’s independence and thoughtfulness prevent him from being fully absorbed by the group, so he is not as susceptible to the mob mentality that overtakes many of the other boys. However, like Ralph, Piggy cannot avoid the temptations of savagery on the island. The morning after the frenzied dance, Piggy and Ralph both admit to taking some part (although they remain vague) in the attack and murder of Simon. While Piggy tries to convince himself that Simon’s murder was an accident, his participation suggests that his willingness to be accepted by the group led him to betray his own morals and better judgment. Piggy’s death suggests that intellectualism is vulnerable to brutality. While Simon’s death can be viewed as an accident or an escalation of mob mentality, Piggy’s murder is the most intentional and inevitable on the island, and the moment when the group’s last tie to civilization and humanity is severed.