How does Ralph indicate his belief that Piggy is smarter than he is?

Expert Answers

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

Chapter Five, Beast from the Water, finds Ralph walking by himself, alone with his thoughts. Ralph is far more cynical now about the island and he takes a moment to remember how enthusiastically he explored it when they first arrived. He knows that he needs to plan to hold another assembly, but he's trying to think it through first, in order to address the items that need to be addressed. He knows that the meeting needs to be a serious one and that is the part that bothers Ralph. 

Ralph continues walking up the beach as the tide comes in and he begins to be bothered by all of the little things that signify how long they've been on the island, such as the length of his hair, how stiff and sandy his clothes are, or how his clothes are beginning to chafe. He reaches the bathing pool, where the rest of the boys are gathered. As he loses himself in thought again, Ralph realizes: 

Ralph moved impatiently. The trouble was, if you were a chief you had to think, you had to be wise. And then the occasion slipped by so that you had to grab at a decision. This made you think; because thought was a valuable thing, that got results. Only, decided Ralph as he faced the chief’s seat, I can’t think. Not like Piggy. Piggy could think. He could go step by step inside that fat head of his, only Piggy was no chief. But Piggy, for all his ludicrous body, had brains. Ralph was a specialist in thought now, and could recognize thought in another. (Chapter 5, pg. 109) 

Ralph realizes that Piggy has an ability that he doesn't and that this is part of the problem with having Ralph as chief. He recognizes that Piggy's ability to think ahead and break things down is an asset, but he fails to recognize Jack's charisma as a threat. 



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