What roles do Ralph and Piggy toward evil on the island with their different reactions?Do their positions represent anything allegorical? 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter Nine of Lord of the Flies, Piggy and Ralph sit listlessly on the beach until Ralph decides to cleanse himself, "Bathing,...that's the only thing to do."  As he splashes Piggy, Ralph expresses his desire to go home, back to civilization. When Ralph asks where the others are, Piggy suggests that they join them "to make sure nothing happens."

Betrayed by his hunger, Piggy steps near the fire where meat is cooking and one of the boys burn him with hot meat, making him again an object of derision.  However, Jack orders that Piggy be given something to eat. Afterwards, Jack invites Ralph to join his tribe since he has given him food. But, Ralph insists that he is chief. Frightened, Piggy asks Ralph to come away because "[T]here's going to be trouble." It is then that the orgiastic ritual of killing the mock "beast" commences, but at the same time, Simon descends from the mountain to declare what he has learned. Tragically, Simon is beaten to death.

Afterwards, in Chapter Ten, Ralph and Piggy talk the next morning. When Ralph alludes to the death of Simon, saying "That was Simon," Piggy becomes agitated and tells Ralph to stop and not talk about the incident of the previous night.  Piggy tries to rationalize about what has happened,

"We was scared!....Anything might have happened.  It wasn't--what you said." 

Piggy is "gesticulating, searching for a formula." But, Ralph faces the truth, asking Piggy, "Didn't you see what we--what they did?" Still, Piggy refuses to admit that he was part of the evil:

"It was an accident,...that's what it was.....Coming in the dark--he hadn't no business crawling like that out of the dark.  He was batty.  He asked for it.....It was an accident."

When Sam and Eric appear, they, like Piggy, feign ignorance of the night's incident, claiming that they left early because they were very tired.  Yet, they all know the truth:

The air was heavy with unspoken knowledge....Memory of the dance that none of them had attended shook all four boy convulsively.

"We left early."

In Chapter Eleven, after Piggy's glasses are stolen, he decides to take the conch and appeal to Jack's sense of what is right by asking for the return of his glasses. Nevertheless, he and Ralph

...understood only too well the liberation into savagery that the concealing paint brought.

Ralph tries to confront Jack with his thievery while Piggy later attempts to speak as he holds the conch, but their attempts fail as Roger releases a huge boulder from above that strikes Piggy, and Jack with others charge Ralph. After he flees, Ralph argues with himself that the savages will leave him alone, but finally "the fatal unreasoning knowledge" comes to him. Still, rationalizing as Piggy has done, he tells himself "They're not as bad as that.  It was an accident." As his isolation is extended into the night, Ralph admits that the boys are savages, but he feels they are still human, although he realizes he is an outcast. The next morning finds Ralph hunted like a beast; the savages set fire to the island, and it is only because the naval officer arrives in response to the smoke that Ralph is saved. Sitting on the beach, Ralph "wept for the loss of innocence" and his horrible recognition of the evil in the human heart. In this manner, Ralph represents an Adam-figure who is cast from the Garden of Eden in his realization of sin.

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Lord of the Flies

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