What does Piggy say they should have done before starting a fire in Lord of the Flies?

1 Answer | Add Yours

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Piggy says they should have made shelters before starting a fire.

It is clear that Piggy is intelligent, and does not agree with Ralph.  It is also clear that no one takes Piggy seriously.  In this chapter, we see Piggy attempt to share ideas of how he thinks things should be done, and all of the other boys completely ignore him.  In the end, Piggy’s only contribution is that they use his glasses to start the fire.

At the meeting, Piggy comments that no one knows they are there, so starting a fire is not necessarily first priority.  The boys are interested in making a signal fire, but they are not very organized and Piggy is annoyed because no one listens to Ralph at the meetings.  The boys act like little kids, because they are very disorganized and have trouble getting anything done.

“I got the conch! Just you listen! The first thing we ought to have made was shelters down there by the beach. It wasn’t half cold down there in the night. (Ch. 2)

Fire is more interesting than shelter.  Making shelters is work, and boring.  The boys do not listen to Piggy, conch or not.

They also do not listen to Piggy about how to make the fire.  Piggy complains that they put up a pile of too much wood, which is dangerous, and risk making a fire they can’t control.  They don’t listen to him then either.

Piggy shook his head and came to the pile.

“My! You’ve made a big heap, haven’t you?” (Ch. 2)

They use his glasses to start the fire, then ask for more wood.  Piggy is annoyed.  He is told that the conch does not work on the mountain, so he has no right to speak.  He is frustrated by his inability to make himself heard.

“You said you wanted a small fire and you been and built a pile like a hayrick. If I say anything,” cried Piggy, with bitter realism, “you say shut up; but if Jack or Maurice or Simon–” (Ch. 2)

As the fire actually turns into a huge, out of control forest fire, Piggy is almost gleeful because he was proven right.  This is when he uses his moment in the spotlight to tell everyone that they need to build shelters.  It looks like they will now need them.

This novel explores the darker side of human nature.  Piggy is the boys’ best asset, yet they continually belittle and diminish him because they don’t like the way he looks. He is fat, he wears glasses, and he has asthma.  Even on an island away from conventional society, preconceived ideas and prejudices matter.  They choose the hopeless but attractive Ralph as their leader, and then the sociopathic but ruthless Jack, rather than the intelligent and sensitive Piggy, whose name we never do learn before they beat him to death.  No one ever thinks to ask.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,929 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question