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Lord of the Flies

by: William Golding

Piggy

Didn’t you hear what the pilot said? About the atom bomb? They’re all dead.

In the first chapter, Piggy mentions the ongoing global war to Ralph, implying that no one survived. As the boys rebuild society on the island, we understand how the world might look after a cataclysmic nuclear event. Ralph and the others represent a small scale version of humankind’s proclivity for violence and war. The fact that they quickly degenerate to the same sort of intolerance and tribalism that leads to war does not suggest much optimism for mankind’s ability to correct course after a global catastrophe.

Acting like a crowd of kids!

In Chapter 2, Piggy is frustrated by the immaturity of the others when they excitedly run off to build a fire atop the mountain. He asks them to calm down, think rationally, and use adult intellect to problem solve. While the boys view Piggy as a nuisance, he correctly assumes that in their excitement, they contributed to the death of at least one stray littlun.

Give me my specs!

Piggy begs with the boys to return his glasses in Chapter 2 during the first signal fire atop the mountain. This quote establishes Piggy as physically inferior to the other biguns, particularly when they gang up on him. It also foreshadows the importance of Piggy’s glasses to the group’s need for fire and the developing plot.

That little ‘un that had a mark on his face—where is—he now? I tell you I don’t see him.

After the boys light a signal fire that erupts into a huge forest blaze in Chapter 2, Piggy asks after a littlun who is missing. He indicates that in their excitement the boys lost track of some of the smaller boys and that at least one child is likely dead from the raging fire. Finally listening to Piggy, the other boys fall silent in shameful realization.

I know there isn’t no beast—not with claws and all that, I mean—but I know there isn’t no fear, either...Unless we get frightened of people.

In Chapter 5, Piggy refuses to believe a real beast is on the island, but he does concede that fear itself exists, and could be particularly dangerous if the boys start to become frightened of one another. Manipulating fear in order to control people is a tactic eventually employed by Jack and Roger in the final chapters, proving Piggy right.

What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages? What's grownups going to think?

Piggy fears that the boys are going to descend into savagery in Chapter 5. As the voice of logic and intellect, Piggy is ridiculed and ignored, and when he asks this legitimate question during an assembly, Jack immediate stands and calls him names, proving Piggy’s concerns about savagery on a small scale.

[Jack] hates you too, Ralph...You got him over the fire; an’ you’re chief an’ he isn’t… He can’t hurt you: but if you stand out of the way he’d hurt the next thing. And that’s me.

In Chapter 5, Piggy foreshadows his own death at the hands of Jack. Piggy’s intelligence and sensitivity lends him insight into Jack and Ralph’s relationship, and he can understand how dangerous Jack would be if Ralph were ever removed. Jack’s jealousy and anger toward Piggy culminates in Piggy’s murder in Chapter 11.

Now you done it. You been rude about his hunters.

Piggy recognizes that Ralph’s insult about Jack’s hunters in Chapter 8 will have dire consequences on the island. As one of the most sensitive boys, Piggy understands that Jack’s pride is easily wounded, particularly when it comes to providing meat for the group and his hunters. Piggy correctly predicts that this rift between Ralph and Jack will not end happily.

Come away. There’s going to be trouble. And we’ve had our meat.

In Chapter 9, Piggy senses that there will be some sort of violence after the feast on Jack’s side of the island. Sure enough, Simon stumbles into the war circle and is brutally murdered by the boys, including by Piggy and Ralph, who are lured by mob mentality and inherent human cruelty.

That's right. We was on the outside. We never done nothing, we never seen nothing.

In Chapter 10, on the morning after Simon’s death, Piggy and Ralph reconvene to discuss the events of the past evening. While Ralph admits to participating in the murder of Simon, Piggy insists that they didn’t see or do anything. Unlike Ralph, Piggy tries to maintain his sense of humanity and dignity by lying to himself about his culpability.