In Lord of the Flies, what are Piggy's and Ralph's main concerns?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With all the symbolic significance given to the beast, the fire, the parachutist, and the killing of the sow and the impaling of its head on a stick, there is justification for the labeling of Lord of the Flies as an allegory. As such, then, characters represent types; thus, Piggy, Ralph, Jack and the other boys all represent British citizens who have been conditioned to believe in honor and civil behavior. As individuals, however, Piggy, Ralph, Jack, Simon, Roger and some of the others reveal other characteristics. Ralph and Piggy both remain the most civilized, although even they fail and become unwitting accomplices in the fatal and brutal beating of Simon.

But, in the beginning of the narrative, Ralph, the "golden boy" who resembles the heroic type and the leader immediately establishes himself as one who is confident enough to lead. The son of a military officer, Ralph assumes his role as leader when the conch is found by Piggy and he takes it. After Ralph blows in the conch, the others on the island hear it and follow its sound. Assembling the boys, Ralph suggests that they need a chief and a vote is called for. Jack and Piggy both would like to be chief, but

...there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out; there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch. The being that had blown that had sat waiting for them on the platform with the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart.

Piggy, who specifically has asked Ralph not to call him "Piggy," finds himself as a second to the golden-haired boy Ralph. Nevertheless, he assumes the role of adviser. Then, they set out with Simon and Jack to explore the island. After they accomplish this, Ralph thinks that they should build shelters--"homes"-- for themselves and when Piggy, who points out that no one knows they are on the island, Ralph suggests that they build a rescue fire and keep it going all the time.

When the other boys clamor up the mountain, Piggy,

with a martyred expression of a parent who has to keep up with the senseless ebullience of the children,...

picks up the conch and follows, assuming his role as an adult as well as the voice of reason. Later, when Jack and the hunters steal the fire, Piggy reasonably suggests that they simply move the fire down on the beach where they stay. Also, he maturely insists that they follow rules and be rational. 

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Lord of the Flies

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