In Lord of the Flies, is Ralph a combination of Jack and Piggy - with qualities in common with both?

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robertwilliam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yeah - I think this makes sense. Jack and Piggy are opposite extremes: and mostly, you can set them against each other in a series of antitheses. Jack represents anarchy, Piggy civilisation; Jack is instinctive and impulsive, quick to anger, and a natural leader, Piggy is thoughtful, ponderous and clear, rational and logical about things; Jack is a natural leader of boys, and Piggy is naturally the outsider.

Ralph is the "Everyman" of the novel: a phrase which just means he represents every man: the everyday man, you and me. And, understandably, Ralph can, for the most part, see the positive sides of both Piggy and Jack; and on different occasions is drawn to be like both of them.

Right at the start of the book, for example, Ralph, like Jack, appeals to the bad side of the boys by (as Jack does numerous times through the novel) openly ridiculing Piggy:

“He’s not Fatty,” cried Ralph, “his real name’s Piggy!”
...the boys were a closed circuit of sympathy with Piggy outside: he went very pink, bowed his head and cleaned his glasses again.

You also see Ralph, like Jack, captured by the "desire to squeeze and hurt" during the pig hunts. But then again, when Ralph tries to think out an assembly, he finds himself like Piggy:

Piggy could think. He could go step by step... only Piggy was no chief. But Piggy, for all his ludicrous body, had brains.

Ralph is like both Jack and Piggy. But which is he more like? That's the question.

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Lord of the Flies

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