How and why is Piggy considered by the others to be an outsider?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Piggy is considered to be an outcast among the group of boys because of his overweight appearance and poor physical condition. Unlike the other boys on the island, Piggy wears glasses and refuses to participate in physically challenging activities because of his asthma.

In addition to Piggy's poor physical condition, he is rather annoying and continually attempts to voice his opinion. Piggy also supports Ralph and is a proponent of civility, which is something that further distances him from the majority of the group once Jack begins to gain influence. Piggy is also not afraid of confrontation and continually criticizes the boys for their disobedience.

Piggy's overweight physique also makes him the subject of many jokes, and the boys also probably resent his intelligence. Overall, Piggy is an unpopular child, whose continual criticism of the boys' savage behavior during their stay on the uninhabited island marks him as an outcast. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The boys are enrolled in an exclusive school. Many of them cite their families as proof of their belonging. Piggy only references his mother which gives the impression of a "mama's boy". In addition, he is easily rattled by all events. The final reason is his lack of health. The other boys are relatively rugged and can handle the rigor of the island, whereas Piggy has glasses, asthma and a weight issue. He has no peer who shares any of the problems he has therefore making him an outsider.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Besides Piggy's lack of physical prowess, his upbringing also affects his reputation.  While the other boys discuss their fathers, Piggy reflects on the female members of his clan.  He appears to respect feminine values which harms his reputation on the island. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Another way of framing the same response is by considering the centrality of masculinity to Golding's novel.  Those boys most masculine are most admired, while those more timid are not.  The aggressive children become leaders, the more passive children become followers.  Piggy is not aggressive but has other qualities of leadership.  Unable to categorize him in their very narrow concept of masculinity, the boys ostracize Piggy for his "powers" exceed--are outside--those they understand.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Piggy is an outsider for many reasons. His health is one. Boys like Ralph are strong and healthy. They are confident in their ability to act. By contrast, Piggy is fat and has asthma. He wears glasses, and his mom has been very protective of him, making him hesitant to act. However, he's also an outsider because he is fundamentally an intellectual. He lives in his mind, while the other boys in their bodies or the community. That makes him seem weird to them.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial