Piggy in Lord of the Flies: Character Analysis & Quotes

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  • 0:00 A Wise, True Friend...
  • 0:33 Description &…
  • 1:38 An Adult Voice
  • 2:41 Piggy's Death
  • 3:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Judith Dunkerly-Bean

Judith has taught university literacy and teacher education courses and holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction.

This lesson focuses on Piggy, one of the main characters in William Golding's classic novel, 'Lord of the Flies.' Piggy represents intellect, logic, and conscience in the novel, yet he meets his death in an act of thoughtless barbarism.

A Wise, True Friend…

It is a stereotype that endures. The chubby, bespectacled intellectual who acts as the voice of reason, if just a bit condescendingly. The one who, despite the teasing and barbs, remains a true friend. Thinking back over your own life, there is probably a face or a name that comes to mind that matches this description. In this lesson, we will meet Piggy. Just like your friend from long ago, he will haunt your memory. He will leave you wondering what may have happened if life and circumstance had been just a bit kinder and the world just a bit more reasonable.

Description & Introduction in the Novel

When we first meet Piggy, he is struggling to make his way out of the underbrush after the plane he and the other boys were traveling in crash-lands on the island:

'The naked crooks of his knees were plump, caught and scratched by thorns. He bent down, removed the thorns carefully, and turned around. He was shorter than the fair boy and very fat. He came forward, searching out safe lodgments for his feet, and then looked up through thick spectacles.'

In this first description, we picture the nameless boy who, despite the ordeal he has just experienced, is measured and careful in his actions. He has just met Ralph, and they are hoping that some of the others have survived. Piggy is especially anxious about the adults and wonders where they are. In this first scene, and throughout the novel, Piggy represents the adult world and logic and reason. It is Piggy (we never learn his real name) who finds a conch shell and tells Ralph that he should blow into it to summon any other survivors:

'We can use this to call the others. Have a meeting. They'll come when they hear us--'

He beamed at Ralph:

'That was what you meant, didn't you? That's why you got the conch out of the water?'

An Adult Voice

Although Ralph finds the shell, it is Piggy who knows how to use it. However, he is physically unable to do so because of his asthma, so he instructs Ralph. This pattern is played out through the novel. Despite Piggy's intellect and reason, he can only act by being Ralph's advisor, as he is neither a natural leader nor is he able to directly relate to the other boys.

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