By using specific references to the novel, trace the development of the relationship between Ralph and Piggy.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "golden boy," Ralph has the natural look of a born leader; as the son of a naval officer, Ralph understands the necessity of order, building shelters, and maintaining a fire--all the essentials of a basic society. However, he lacks the charisma and the reasoning abilities to be truly effective. Piggy, a fat, near-sighted, asthmatic, pale boy with thinning hair, who is intelligent and very rational and scientific, attaches himself to Ralph as soon as they encounter each other on the island, acting as Ralph's adviser. Thus, in many ways, the two boys complement each other, yet they both lack the maturity to command the others as is often needed.

At first, Piggy hopes to be the leader himself, but when the boys vote between Ralph and Jack, Piggy "grudgingly" raises his hand for Ralph. But, in Chapter Two, Ralph rides high on his new authority as he tells the boys that all islands have been charted by the British,

"And sooner or later a ship will put in here. It might even be Daddy's ship. So you see, sooner or later, we shall be rescued."

After these words, the boys "liked him now; respected him."  And, as a consolation, Ralph lets Jack be in charge of the hunters. Piggy points to the problem of such a fire: it will burn out too swiftly. Later, Piggy complains to Ralph that if he says anything, "you say shut up; but if Jack or Maurice, or Simon--" Then, Piggy points to the raging fire, "You got your small fire all right." Ralph yells at him to "shut up." Nevertheless Piggy's is the voice of maturity as he scolds the boys for not having built shelters, "How can you expect to be rescued if you don't put first things first and act proper?"

By Chapter Four, there is yet some tension in the relationship between Ralph and Piggy, who is an outsider because his appearance is repulsive to the boys and because he scolds them like an adult. Nevertheless, Ralph enjoys teasing Piggy,

Ralph turned and smiled involuntarily. Piggy was a bore..., but there was always a little pleasure to be got out of pulling his leg, even if one did it by accident.

Piggy saw the smile...[and] he rejoiced and pressed his advantage.

Later in this chapter when Jack and the hunters let the fire go out, Ralph chastises Jack; Piggy forgets his "timidity in the agony of his loss," as well. When Jack hits Piggy, breaking his glasses, Ralph becomes angry with himself for "giving way." He tells Jack, "That was a dirty trick." But, he is neglectful of Piggy after Jack finds a pig and roasts it. For, it is Simon who gives Piggy some meat and who retrieves Piggy's glasses for him.

But, in Chapter Five, Ralph begins to realize that he lacks all the talents necessary to be a leader,

The trouble was, if you were a chief you had to think, you had to be wise. had to grab at a decision. This made you think; because thought was a valuable thing, that got results....Only...I can't think. Not like Piggy.

Now, Ralph begins to adjust his values, and begins to fully appreciate Piggy, who understands the fears of the boys, assisting Ralph with his meeting as he speaks in a rational, fatherly manner,

"We know what goes on, and if something goes wrong, there's someone to put it right."

While Piggy remains scientific and rational, Ralph is tempted by barbarism and is cruel to Piggy, taking his glasses or splashing water on him. But, Ralph confides his inner thoughts to Piggy, who "flushed pinkly with pride" at how Ralph has accepted him. In the end, Ralph cries for his "true, wise friend."

rani16 | Student

"Lord of the Flies" is a malicious vision of human nature and explores the dark side of the human psyche. Ralph, the central character, is an embodiment of legislature, civilization, order and leadership. Piggy resembles the rational, intellectual and disciplined side of human beings. When the novel begins, note that, it is only Ralph and Piggy who meet first. It confirms a relationship of discipline with rationality. Piggy is thus Ralph's man-friday, and Ralph is Piggy's father-figure. Together, they are a unique blend of cultivated civilization, and counterbalance each other. He harbors a special corner for Piggy, even though he submits himself to savagery, and understands the meaning of a "true Friend." He teases Piggy with his name, considers him mediocre and insignificant to be given meat, and even snatches his glasses in a vortex of rage. However, in the end, it is only his bereaved friend, Piggy, whose pathetic loss, he sincerely feels and for the first and last time, whines in the true pain of loss. The novel ends with a strange, yet humanitarian bond between Ralph & Piggy, that was never divulged before.

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Lord of the Flies

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