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What is the significance of Piggy's plea to join the expedition in Lord of the Flies by...

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kobe12345 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 28, 2013 at 12:25 AM via web

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What is the significance of Piggy's plea to join the expedition in Lord of the Flies by William Golding?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 28, 2013 at 4:20 PM (Answer #1)

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William Golding's Lord of the Flies is set on a deserted island, and the characters are all British schoolboys who have been stranded there after a plane crash. In the first chapter, the boys all finally meet and hold a meeting. One of the older boys, Ralph, is elected to be chief; another of the older boys, thinks he should have been elected chief. Ralph lets Jack keep his choir boys as hunters and then invites Jack to explore the island with him.

It is clear from the beginning that no one really wants to spend any time with Piggy, a fat, asthmatic boy who wears thick glasses. He is physically unappealing, which is enough for all the boys to want to distance themselves from him. Despite his physical appearance, Piggy is intelligent and tries to keep order on the island. The symbol of order, the conch, was discovered by Ralph, but Piggy is the one who taught him how to blow it. Piggy is the first person Ralph meets; while Piggy feels connected to Ralph, it is evident from the beginning that Ralph wants to distance himself from the fat boy.

When it is time for Ralph to choose boys to go exploring with him, he studiously avoids selecting Piggy, but Piggy wants to go.

Piggy stirred.
“I’ll come.”
Ralph turned to him.
“You’re no good on a job like this.”
“All the same—”
“We don’t want you,” said Jack, flatly. “Three’s enough.”
Piggy’s glasses flashed.
“I was with him when he found the conch. I was with him before anyone else was.”

Piggy tries to make the case that he should go, pleading with Ralph to take him along. Ralph does not want Piggy, so Piggy must stay behind. Piggy's desperate plea to go with Ralph indicates his intuitive understanding that Ralph will be the only protection Piggy will have from the mean and cruel Jack, and he feels the need to stay with Ralph for protection. When he is forced to remain behind, Piggy feels vulnerable and exposed. Piggy's sense of things will prove to be right.

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Lori Steinbach

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