What are key examples of bullying against Piggy in Lord of the Flies? Who bullies Piggy and why?

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bullgatortail's profile pic

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Just about everyone bullies Piggy, including Ralph who is Piggy's closest friend. Ralph betrays Piggy's confidence early in the story when he reveals the nickname that he hates so much.

     A storm of laughter arose and even the tiniest child joined in.  (Chapter One)

Nearly all of the boys ridicule Piggy because of his weight, bad eyesight, "ass-mar," and high level of intelligence. He is not allowed to go on the early exploring "expedition" with Ralph, Simon and Jack. Although the boys are supposed to allow the possessor of the conch shell to speak, Piggy's right is often denied.

     "I got the conch."
     Jack turned fiercely.
     "You shut up."
     Piggy wilted.  (Chapter Two)

Piggy's glasses are often "borrowed" to start the fire; later, one lens is broken before Jack steals them outright, beating Piggy and leaving him almost blind. In the end, Piggy faces "sniggering," "jeering" and "booing" from the others before Roger unleashes the boulder that knocks Piggy off the cliff and onto the rocks below.

durbanville's profile pic

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In Lord of The Flies, Piggy is an outsider. He is "the only boy...whose hair never seemed to grow." This in itself may not be significant but the fact that certain characteristics set Piggy, "the fat boy," apart physically reinforces the intellectual differences between Piggy and the other boys. Piggy can't even swim but it is he who recognizes the importance and usefulness of the conch which will come to represent order and civilization.

Ralph uses Piggy's name carelessly, causing all the boys, "even the tiniest," to laugh which sets up Piggy to be the brunt of jokes and bullying. Later Ralph will reflect on the pleasure he gets from "pulling his leg" (Piggy's). Piggy, however, does not always recognize it as bullying; he mistakes it for friendliness, leaving him even more vulnerable to bullying.

Jack directs much of his animosity towards Piggy, punching him in the stomach and mocking his voice. Jack's tribe, the hunters, are encouraged by Jack's teasing which makes them laugh and this encourages Jack until the boys' laughing becomes irrational and hysterical. Even after lighting the fire with Piggy's glasses and cooking Jack's "kill," Jack uses his mockery of Piggy to assert himself to the point that the twins (Samneric) laugh and even Simon can only look away shamefacedly. 

Jack also has no respect for Piggy's right to speak and his tribe thinks that anything Piggy says is comical; they wonder "what amusing think he might have to say." Having stolen Piggy's glasses for the last time and knowing that this renders Piggy powerless just makes Jack hate Piggy more. This symbolizes a turning point in the book as Piggy, the voice of reason who has been Ralph's main source of inspiration, becomes for Jack less important than the smashed shell. Jack is more concerned with the fact that he can claim to be chief and doesn't show any concern that "Piggy was gone."  


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