What are 2 ways Piggy changes throughout Lord of the Flies?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With thinning hair, impaired vision, compromised athletic ability, and heavy with physical ailments, Piggy initially represents the voice of maturity and reason in Lord of the Flies as he judiciously suggests that Ralph use the pink conch which they discover as a summons to organized meetings. As the second man to Ralph, he is reminiscient of those political figures who whispered in the ears of kings. 

However, his power of reason is only as strong as Ralph's leadership while at the same time it reinforces it; therefore, Piggy often finds himself ignored as the boys rush up the mountain to make a fire,

...with the martyred expression of a parent who has to keep up with the senseless ebullience of the children, he picked up the conch, turned toward the forest, and began to pick his way over the tumbled scar.

This rationality of Piggy is symbolized by his glasses, glasses are are used productively by Ralph to ignite a signal fire, but are later stolen by Jack and the savage hunters, only after one of the lenses has been broken.

  • After one of the lenses is broken, Piggy seems to lose some of his reasonableness and becomes susceptible to the rebellious and savage excitement of Jack and the others who perform their ritual of killing the pig. Then, in Chapter Nine, Piggy succumbs to the craving for meat; he suggests to Ralph, "P'raps we ought to go too." When Ralph looks at him in shock, Piggy excuses his urges, "I mean--to make sure nothing happens."

Later in this chapter, Piggy urges Ralph to back away since they have had their meat and there will be "trouble." But,

under the threat of the sky, found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society.

  • It is at this point that Piggy begins to change further. For, Piggy is doomed in a society where irrational fears and physical strength are more important than reason and dialogue. Piggy himself falls victim of the terror created by the sadism of Roger and savagery of Jack. In Chapter Ten, Piggy becomes so fearful that he rationalizes the death of Simon, sacrificing his integrity.  "It was an accident...that's what it was," he tells Ralph, excusing himself with "I only got one eye now." Further, he advises Ralph to not let Samneric know that they participated in the ritualistic dance under which Simon was killed. Thus, it is that the "irresponsible authority" of the hunters begins its total control, symbolized by Jack's stealing of Piggy's glasses.



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Lord of the Flies

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