What details do we learn about the second boy in chapter 1?

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schulzie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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The second boy, who is short, very fat, and wears thick spectacles, traveled on the same plane as Ralph. He suffers from asthma, and the disease has limited the number of things he has been allowed to do.  He cannot run, cannot swim, cannot do physical work, and later in the chapter we learn that he cannot blow the conch shell --- all because of his asthma. He was the only boy at his private school to suffer from asthma. They called him "Piggy" at school, a name which embarrasses him, and a name he asks Ralph NOT to use when introducing him to the other surviving boys. He lives with his aunt because his father died, and the reader never finds out what happened to his mother.  His aunt ran a candy store, and "Piggy" was allowed to eat all the candy he desired.

"Piggy" is intelligent, emotional, and a detail person.  When Ralph tells him that his father will come to their rescue, Piggy reminds him that the pilot said there had been an atom bomb, and everyone died.  He reasons that since everyone is dead, and they are stranded on an island, no one is going to rescue them. This creates an emotional response in him.

" His lips quivered and the spectacles were dimmed with mist" (pg 14)

When they find the conch, "Piggy" remembers details about it.  He remembers that his friend used to blow it to contact his mother; it was expensive; it was on his friends garden wall; his friend had some other white stones; and there was a bird cage with a green parrot in it.  "Piggy" reasons that they can blow the conch to alert any other surviving boys of their location. When they blow the conch and the other boys start arriving, Piggy immediately asks their name.  Ralph gives him the job of finding out all of the boy's names. These details are important to "Piggy".

Emotionally, Piggy is insecure and easily intimidated.  When he meets the choir, he asks no names because,

"He was intimidated by this uniformed superiority and the offhand authority in Merridrew's voice.  He shrank to the other side of Ralph and busied himself with his glasses."  (pg 21)

When Ralph introduces him as "Piggy", he confronts Ralph about it.

"Piggy's glasses were misted again, and this time with humiliation" (pg 25)

"Piggy's" glasses take a very strong symbolic meaning in this novel.  However, in the first chapter, he cleans them constantly when he gets nervous. It is a sign of his insecurity.

We never know "Piggy's" real name. We do know that he gets no respect.  He tries to stand up for himself, but the boys just make fun of him because of his size.




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