Lord of the Flies

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Piggy Character Analysis

The smartest boy on the island. Due to his obesity and asthma, Piggy is also the weakest of the biguns. Piggy believes passionately in civilization, law, and reasoning through problems, but he seldom does any work because of his obesity and his nonstop craving for food. Piggy also has a tendency to lecture and criticize. His condescension infuriates the other boys and inspires them to single him out, ridicule him, and even physically abuse him. Piggy symbolizes science and rationality.

Piggy Quotes in Lord of the Flies

The Lord of the Flies quotes below are all either spoken by Piggy or refer to Piggy. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Human Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of Lord of the Flies published in 2003.
Chapter 1 Quotes
"Aren't there any grownups at all?"
"I don't think so."
The fair boy said this solemnly; but then the delight of a realized ambition overcame him. In the middle of the scar he stood on his head and grinned at the reversed fat boy.
"No grownups!"
Related Characters: Ralph (speaker), Piggy (speaker)
Related Symbols: Adults
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

The premise of the novel is that a group of young boys has been marooned on a island. Their plane has seemingly crash-landed nearby, and every adult has been killed in the wreck. Right away, the boys are delighted by the absence of adults, whom they associate with order, discipline, and punishment (as any British schoolboy might). Notice that Ralph, the boy with the fair hair, is at first solemn, then happy about the absence of adults. Ralph has a natural instinct to feel sympathy and compassion for the dead and the wounded. But because he's also a child, Ralph's sympathy is quickly replaced with delight.

The quotation is important because it sets up the plot of the book: a group of boys on an island, without any grownups around. On a more metaphorical level, Golding intends his scenario to be a metaphor for human society--a society in which people are free to do as they please. In short, Golding wants to ask us, What would unlimited human freedom look like? The fact that Golding chooses children for his microcosmic view of human society suggests that he sees children as really being no different from adults--equally foolish, equally destructive, equally clueless about how to be good. Or perhaps Golding is trying to make a more complicated point by choosing to write a dark, sinister novel about children and society: if even children (pure, innocent children) are capable of falling into murder and bloodshed, then what hope do adults have?

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"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."
Related Characters: Piggy (speaker), Ralph
Related Symbols: The Conch Shell
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Piggy and Ralph find a strange object, a large sea shell called a conch. Ralph is immediately attracted to the conch because of its beautiful, patterned shape. Although he doesn't quite seem to know what to do with the shell, Piggy suggests using it to "call" other children on the island--Ralph can blow into the shell to make a loud sound.

The conch is one of the most famous symbols in the novel, and it's worth discussing a little here. One could say that the conch is a symbol of civilization at its best and most orderly: the conch is an almost religious symbol, designed to unite people together and make them respect one another. It's also worth noting that Piggy, not Ralph, is the one who first considers using the shell to call the other boys, and yet Piggy wants Ralph to blow the shell. Piggy, we could say, is the intellectual advisor--wise, intelligent, but not really a leader. Ralph, on the other hand, is the principled leader--not particularly brilliant, but smart enough to listen to his advisors.

Chapter 2 Quotes
"He says he saw the beastie, the snake-thing, and will it come back tonight?"
"But there isn't a beastie!"
"He says in the morning it turned into them things like ropes in the trees and hung in the branches. He says will it come back again tonight?"
"But there isn't a beastie!"
There was no laughter at all now and more grave watching. Ralph pushed both hands through his hair and looked at the little boy in mixed amusement and exasperation.
Related Characters: Ralph (speaker), Piggy (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Lord of the Flies (the Beast)
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, one of the small boys who's been trapped on the island asks Ralph--who's just been elected the leader of the island--what he's going to do about the "beastie." The small boy--probably no more than 5 or 6 years old--is terrified of the beastie, and wants Ralph to fight it.

It's important to note a few things. First, the passage sets a clear contrast between order and civilization, symbolized by Ralph and his conch, and anarchy, symbolized by the fear of the vague, formless beastie. For the time being, the boys either don't believe the beastie exists (Ralph, the rationalist, dismisses it altogether), or they think of it as an external thing--a literal monster to be avoided or slain. As we'll see later on, however the beastie is actually a more abstract, psychological opponent.

Finally, it's interesting to note that the little boy isn't speaking directly--he's actually using Piggy as a correspondent when addressing Ralph. Piggy, the intellectual of the group, is something of a spokesman for society's problems: it's his job to listen to the "little guy" and plead his case before the authorities (i.e., Ralph).

Chapter 12 Quotes
His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.
Related Characters: Ralph, Piggy
Related Symbols: The Island, Fire, Adults
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:

In the final chapter of Lord of the Flies, the boys are faced with a surprising rescue. Confronted with a grown-up for the first time in weeks, the boys suddenly realize how far they've fallen. In no time at all, the boys have become bloodthirsty murderers, savoring murder and violence of all kinds. The evidence of their barbarism is visible everywhere--their island itself is in ruins, burning to ashes by fire.

Confronted with the misery of his situation, Ralph has no choice but to cry. He can see very clearly what has gone wrong: Piggy has been killed; his peers have tried to murder him, etc. But Ralph goes further, weeping for the general savagery of humankind. The quotation is important, then, because Golding uses it to make explicit what he'd previously implied: the children's experiences on the island are a metaphor for humanity itself. If innocent, "pure" children, left to their own devices, are capable of murdering each other, then humanity as a whole is hopelessly destructive, too. The fact that children are capable of such destruction suggests that there is always innate evil in the human soul--the only thing that can save the human race from its own "heart of darkness" is civilization, grounded in reason, law, and respect.

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Piggy Character Timeline in Lord of the Flies

The timeline below shows where the character Piggy appears in Lord of the Flies. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Human Nature Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...a list of everyone who survived. He lets slip that in school people called him Piggy. Ralph laughs. Piggy begs Ralph not to tell anyone. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...swimming hole and says his father, who's in the Navy, will come rescue them. But Piggy is fairly certain that no one knows where they landed. Piggy says they have to... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...of the meeting. One of the boys in the choir, Simon, faints. Jack soon tells Piggy to shut up, and calls him "Fatty." Ralph gleefully reveals that Piggy's name is "Piggy."... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
...boys must explore their island. He and Jack will both go, of course. Ralph ignores Piggy's whining pleas to be included, and picks Simon to be the third explorer. Ralph, Jack,... (full context)
Chapter 2
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Piggy takes the conch and says no one knows they're on the island. Ralph agrees, but... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...birthmark that covers half his face steps forward. After some prodding, the boy whispers to Piggy, and Piggy tells everyone what the boy said. He saw a "beastie," a "snake-thing," the... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...boys jump up and run to collect wood and bring it to the mountain top. Piggy, left alone at the meeting place, disgustedly says that the other boys are acting like... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...mountain. They can't figure out how start the fire until Jack grabs the glasses off Piggy's face. Ralph uses the glasses to focus the sun's rays on the wood. Piggy is... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
The fire burns out because the wood is so dry. Piggy starts to criticize the boys, but Jack shouts him down. Simon points out that Piggy's... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Piggy notices that sparks from their signal fire have set the trees below them on fire.... (full context)
Chapter 4
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
On the beach, a bunch of biguns, including Ralph and Piggy, rest and talk. Soon Piggy comes up with a plan for them to build sundials... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Piggy and even some of the hunters start yelling at Jack. Jack, humiliated and angry, hits... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Eventually Jack apologizes for letting the fire die. Ralph asks Piggy's permission to use his glasses to light the fire. Ralph realizes he and Piggy have... (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
They cook the pig, but Jack refuses to give Piggy any meat. Simon shares with Piggy. (full context)
Chapter 5
Civilization Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...planning what he'll say at the meeting and wishing he could think as well as Piggy can. Finally, he blows the conch. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...the littleun's crybabies. He says he's been all over the island, and there's no beast. Piggy agrees with Jack. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
Simon takes the conch. He says maybe the boys themselves are the beast. Piggy thinks this idea is crazy. Many of the boys think Simon's saying the beast is... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Piggy grabs the conch and shouts that ghosts don't exist. He asks the boys if they're... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...the beast and kill it. He starts a chant on the beach. Everyone but Ralph, Piggy, and Simon join him. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Piggy tells Ralph to blow the conch, but Ralph refuses. What if no one responded? Ralph... (full context)
Chapter 6
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Ralph calls a meeting that quickly becomes heated. Jack questions Ralph's decisions and leadership, mocks Piggy, and claims the conch no longer matters. For an instant it seems as if Jack... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Ralph and the biguns agree to search the island. Piggy stays behind to look after the littleuns. At the far tip of the island, the... (full context)
Chapter 7
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...before they reach the mountain. Ralph realizes that they need to send someone to tell Piggy they won't be back that night. Everyone's too frightened to volunteer, except Simon. (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack mocks Ralph's concern for Piggy. Ralph asks Jack why he hates him. The question makes all the boys nervous. (full context)
Chapter 8
Civilization Theme Icon
Back on the beach, Piggy can't believe the beast is real. He asks what they should do. Ralph isn't sure.... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Next Jack accuses Ralph of belittling the hunters. He says Ralph is like Piggy and isn't a proper chief. Jack calls for a vote to remove Ralph and make... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
...the forest. Everyone is stunned, but the meeting continues. Simon suggests they climb the mountain. Piggy considers the suggestion insane. He says they should just build a signal fire on the... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...dance and sing. After the fire, Ralph realizes that all the biguns but Samneric and Piggy have disappeared. Most have gone to join Jack. (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
...The beast warns Simon that if he tries to interfere Jack, Roger, Maurice, Robert, Bill, Piggy, and Ralph will "do" him. (full context)
Chapter 9
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Meanwhile, everyone but a few littleuns and Ralph and Piggy have gone to Jack's feast. Ralph mocks the feast as a bunch of boys "pretending"... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...be a pig at the center of the circle, but eventually stops. Even Ralph and Piggy press forward. The circle of boys becomes a frenzied mob. (full context)
Chapter 10
Civilization Theme Icon
The next morning, Piggy and Ralph discover that every bigun except them and Samneric has joined Jack's tribe. Ralph... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...hunting tomorrow and have a feast. To cook the meat, they'll raid Ralph's group for Piggy's glasses. Meanwhile, Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric discover four people aren't enough to keep the fire... (full context)
Chapter 11
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Though only Piggy, Ralph, and Samneric remain in their group, Piggy tells Ralph to blow the conch to... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Ralph demands that Jack return Piggy's glasses. He mentions again the importance of the signal fire. Jack's tribe has only a... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Ralph and Jack start to fight again, but Piggy asks to speak and Ralph relents. Piggy raises the conch and once more calls them... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Roger pushes a boulder from the fort. Ralph dives out of the way, but Piggy can't see without his glasses: the boulder hits him head on, and the conch explodes.... (full context)
Chapter 12
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...says he would have expected more from British boys. Ralph begins to cry, thinking of Piggy. All of the other boys begin to cry as well. (full context)