Lord of the Flies Homework Essay
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Piggy is clearly a clever boy, but he is a victim too? How does the writer use him in the novel?
Lord of the Flies is about a group of schoolboys stranded on an island. The boys have to fend for themselves and try to get rescued. One of the main characters in the book is Piggy.
The second person we find out about on the island is Piggy. We never find out his real name because he was always called Piggy and at the beginning Piggy also says “They used to call me “Piggy””.
He said this to Ralph because he trusted him and wanted to build friendship with him. Ralph makes fun of him, which shows the first sign that he is a victim.
When Golding first introduces Piggy, he is described as “the fat boy”, whereas Ralph is described as “the fair boy” and as an athletic person. This contrast between the two characters makes Piggy seem inadequate in comparison to Ralph.
This consequently makes him a likely victim too. It also makes Piggy the most physically vulnerable character because he is overweight and has asthma.
Golding uses Piggy as a representative of an adult on the island. Even though at the start he repeatedly talks about his aunt, “My auntie told me not to run”, which sounds very childish, but as the rules of civilisation fall away from the island, he does not mention his auntie any more. On several places throughout the novel Piggy wonders about what grownups would say. He longs for the order and structure that adults impose. On times when Ralph thinks about what will happen next Piggy says they just have to carry on because that is what grownups would do. When the boys go rushing off to light the fire on the mountain, Piggy describes them as “crowd of kids” and follows them with the “martyred expression of a parent”. These examples clearly show that Golding uses Piggy to replace the grownup world.
Another example of his maturity is when he wants the shelters to be built, “The first thing we ought to have made was shelters down there by the beach… Then when you get here you build a bonfire that isn’t no use. Now you been and set the whole island on fire”. This shows also that Piggy had common sense by wanting to build the shelters on the beach first, which might be boring, but better than the doing exciting things first like the other boys think.
The writer also uses Piggy as a symbol of intelligence and civilisation. This however did not benefit the rest of the boys directly. If this was the case, he probably would not have been victimised at the end. The main reason for this might be that he did not have any leadership qualities, as an obese person, having asthma and wearing glasses would not be able to do certain things.
His look did not fit into the profile of a powerful leader and he did not have the charisma a leader needs. Instead of this Piggy’s intelligence was used and published by Ralph, which left him with nothing to tell the group that they would recognise. This made Piggy even more of a victim because nobody apart from Ralph really noticed Piggy’s intelligence. Ralph needed Piggy and that is why he was able to notice his intelligence. Piggy was someone who reminded Ralph back to civilisation when his thoughts began to drift away.
Piggy knows all sorts of things like at the beginning he finds and also tells Ralph how to use the conch and that it would make a noise, which would then call all the boys together. This also shows his intelligence.
The physical appearance of Piggy is his biggest fallback of his ideas he puts into the assemblies. Often his ideas are completely ignored, because nobody recognises how important they might be. Because Piggy is very sensitive too and Jack continuously bullies him, he does not get any respect from the other boys. The fact that Jack is successful in doing this to Piggy, other boys get frustrated and choose to ignore him and follow Jack’s influence.
Once rules are established, in Piggy’s eyes, breaking them is unthinkable because he stays civilised throughout the whole novel. On several places in the book he says “I’ve got the Conch. Let me speak” and a lot of referring to the conch because he sees the conch as an important symbol unlike the other boys. Whereas the other boys on the island do not care about rules at all Piggy cares a lot about them. He is unable to adapt the living without law and order and does not comprehend why the other boys can. Piggy gets killed in the end because Jack’s tribe gets fed up with Piggy and his importance of the conch and rules.
By the treatment of Jack’s tribe towards Piggy Golding wants to show that a society also needs a scapegoat. The boys choose Piggy because of his physical appearance and because they do not understand his intelligence and the need of it. By picking Piggy as the scapegoat they make themselves feel better. Jack, who bullies him most, also slaps him on the mountain because he knows that Piggy will not be able to take revenge on him as Piggy is a fat boy having asthma. This makes Piggy a victim too, because it shows that everyone on the island could do anything to Piggy without worrying that he might not revenge.
Even the name ‘Piggy’ makes him a victim. I think Golding called him so because he is the victim of the island. His name is used as he is the prey of the island just like the pigs that are killed for food. This is done to show how society victimises people.
In conclusion Piggy’s character is the symbol of civilisation and intelligence. He mainly becomes a victim because of his physical appearance and his inability to do certain things because of his asthma. I think Golding chose to victimise Piggy because he wanted to make the reader feel sympathy towards a civilised, kind and intelligent character, no matter how his physical appearance is.