Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, is a symbolic novel which explores the nature of man. A group of boys on an island without any adults offers Golding the opportunity to demonstrate what he thinks happens when the restraints of civilization are removed. Each of the four main characters in this novel represent four aspects of man; Piggy represents man's intellect.
Piggy is a rather unpleasant boy to look at; he is fat, bespectacled, and asthmatic. No one looks at Piggy and assumes he is a leader, though from the first pages of the novel it is clear that Piggy is the most organized and inquisitive boy on the island.
When Ralph finds the conch, Piggy is the one who teaches him how to blow it and has to explain to Ralph how it can be used to call the others. Piggy and the conch, symbol of order and civility, are connected for the rest of the novel. What happens to one of them happens to both.
Piggy takes everyone's names as they come to the meeting, so he is the only one who realizes that one of the littluns was killed in an out-of-control fire. Piggy is the driving force behind Ralph, and most of Piggy's ideas are spoken by him because no one wants to listen to Piggy. Even when Piggy holds the conch, he is disregarded and taunted by the rest of the boys. They are more concerned about making themselves happy and doing what they want than they are about making wise decisions or listening to reason.
Piggy is the one who is always wondering "what grownups would do," unaware that the same war which is playing out on the island is being fought on a worldwide scale away from the island. Though he is physically weak, Piggy is Ralph's strength. For a long time Ralph does not understand Piggy's fear of Jack; however, Piggy is the first to understand that Jack wants to kill him and Ralph. Ralph finally realizes Piggy was right and even asks Jack, "Why do you hate me?"
When Jack and his tribe of savages steal Piggy's glasses (for fire), Piggy is outraged and knows he must have a final showdown with Jack. He grabs the conch and goes to the fort, hoping to reason with Jack.
“I’m going to him with this conch in my hands. I’m going to hold it out. Look, I’m goin’ to say, you’re stronger than I am and you haven’t got asthma. You can see, I’m goin’ to say, and with both eyes. But I don’t ask for my glasses back, not as a favor. I don’t ask you to be a sport, I’ll say, not because you’re strong, but because what’s right’s right. Give me my glasses, I’m going to say—you got to!”
It is a futile hope. Just before Roger crushes Piggy and the conch with a boulder, Piggy shouts this: “Which is better—to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?” The boulder is their answer.
When the naval commander arrives to rescue the boys, Ralph weeps for "the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy."