Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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How does Piggy change throughout Lord of the Flies?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Piggy is portrayed as a physically weak yet intelligent boy who is a fierce supporter of Ralph and an adamant proponent of civilization. Piggy remains dedicated to civilization from the beginning to the end of the novel and his personality and perspective never really changes throughout the story. From the beginning of the story, Piggy tries to help organize the boys and establish a civilized society on the island. He continually criticizes and scolds the other boys for not following Ralph's directives and disobeying the conch. Piggy is diametrically opposed to Jack from the onset of the story and his negative feelings towards him do not change as the novel progresses. As the boys gradually descend into savagery and begin neglecting Ralph's orders in favor of following Jack, Piggy remains loyal to Ralph and does not waver in his support of civilization. Piggy never hunts and is utterly disgusted by the behavior of Jack and his hunters. However, one could argue that Piggy experiences a lapse of civility by participating in Simon's brutal death. Piggy also experiences denial by refusing to acknowledge his participation in Simon's death. Despite this brief moment of change in Piggy's personality, he remains supportive of Ralph and is still a proponent of civilization to the end. Tragically, Piggy dies trying to uphold the standards of civilization when Roger rolls a massive boulder towards him.

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Throughout the novel Piggy is the intelligent, scientific voice of reason.  One of the remarkable things about Piggy is that he actually doesn't change. When he dies at the hands of one of the other boys, he dies the same ineffectual boy who suffers as the punchline of the other boys jokes.  He is larger and smarter than the other boys, but as their society grows more and concerned with brawn than brains he becomes obsolete.  In appearance he seems to be the oldest of the group (thin hair and glasses).  Once his glasses are destroyed, Piggy is literally blind and helpless, despite his constant referrals to "what grownups would do" Roger brutally kills him.

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