In "Lord of the Flies", how is Ralph unfriendly to Piggy and why?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Ralph and Piggy first meet each other in Chapter 1, Piggy is out-going and eager to befriend Ralph.  He introduces himself, and immediately sets upon trying to figure out their situation.  Although he expresses some pessimism, saying that “We may stay here till we die", Piggy is also the one that encourages Ralph to use the conch to summon the others.  Not only is he trying to be proactive, but he is also showing friendship by suggesting that Ralph be the one to call everyone.

Piggy's only request to Ralph is that Ralph not call him Piggy, as this is the rude nickname that his schoolmates created for him.  However, when Jack and the choir boys arrive, Ralph immediately betrays this request.  Annoyed by Piggy's pragmatic suggestion, Jack calls him "Fatty."  Ralph announces to Jack that his name is "Piggy", joining in the boys' laughter.

Ralph is not the most confident of boys.  As the story continues, we will see that he is unsure of himself, even when the boys elect him as leader.  He is intimidated by Jack, who comes marching to the beach like a military leader, with the choir boys following him in two lines.  Here is the description of Jack:

"Out of this face stared two light blue eyes, frustrated now, and turning, or ready to turn, to anger.”

Trying to be accepted and to not anger Jack, Ralph joins in with the bullying behavior.

Read the study guide:
Lord of the Flies

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