How far do you agree that Piggy is the most sympathetic character in Lord of the Flies?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Piggy fails as a sympathetic character mainly because of his failure to try to help Simon in Chapter Nine when the hunters circle around him and beat him to death in a savage frenzy, along with his attempts after this murder to excuse what has occurred as an accident by means of a false rationalization to Ralph about what has actually taken place:

"We was scared!...Anything might have happened. It wasn't--what you said.....
It was an accident," said Piggy stubbornly, "and that's that."

In addition to this egregious denial, there are other more minor reasons for Piggy's being an unsympathetic character, among them the following:

  • Piggy's inability to face the realities of their life on the island is prevalent in Golding's narrative, beginning with his whining about being called Piggy even though he volunteered the moniker to Ralph upon their first meeting. 
  • At times rather querulous, Piggy quibbles about things of little import; for instance, he tells Ralph that Samneric should take two turns gathering firewood after Jack and the others have stolen the fire, even though they do everything together. As another example, when he loans his glasses for the boys to start the fire, he complains that he will have clean them again. Often he complains to Ralph of Ralph's treatment of him.
  • While he is a good thinker and does have ideas that provide solutions such as setting a fire on the beach after Jack and his boys steal the one on the mountain, Piggy is ineffective as a leader as well as an example to the other boys. For instance, at one point he demands that the boys choose between following the rules and killing, between acting orderly and “breaking things up,” yet he himself acts lawlessly since he makes no effort to bring into question the hunters' despicable act of murdering Simon.
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