In chapter 1, Piggy is responsible for the original blowing of the conch but allows Ralph to take credit.  What does this reveal about Piggy's character?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The conch, which ultimately comes to symbolize all that is civilized and good on the island, was completely Piggy's idea.  Ralph originally finds the conch "among the ferny weeds" on their first day together on the island (15).  Piggy recognizes the conch for what it is and imbues the conch with a much deeper value than mere aesthetics:

"We can use this to call the others.  Have a meeting.  They'll come when they hear us" (16)

Although Piggy suggests the idea and instructs Ralph how to blow on the conch to make the trumpeting noise, he allows Ralph to take credit for the powerful image of the shell.  This decision on Piggy's part actually reveals his own self-awareness and his insight into social relationships.  He is used to being disliked by other children.  Piggy knows that the others will take Ralph more seriously than himself and will be a better leader up front.  Piggy organizes himself into the role of assistant, collecting names as the boys straggle in. 

Piggy's decision to let Ralph be seen as the controller of the conch reveals his ability to be a team player along with the recognition that having Ralph as chief will be much more to his advantage than the other possible contender, Jack.

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