What does Piggy symbolize? What does Simon symbolize?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The character of Piggy symbolizes intellect, science, innovation, rationality, and civility throughout the novel Lord of the Flies. Despite Piggy's physical weaknesses, he is by far the most intelligent boy on the island. He is the first to identify the conch and attempts to gather the names of all the boys. He is Ralph's advisor and is continually reminding Ralph about the importance of maintaining the signal fire and being rescued. He is also the voice of reason throughout the novel. Piggy is continually arguing against Jack's tyrannical ideas and offers unyielding support for Ralph despite his unpopularity. Piggy attempts to build a sundial and makes the suggestion to build the fire on the lower platform. These two innovations represent aspects of civilization, which Piggy clearly favors. Piggy attempts to deal with the identity of the beast pragmatically by searching for a scientific explanation. He concludes that the only thing the boys should fear is each other. Despite Piggy's support for civility, he becomes a victim of the savage nature of the boys when he is brutally murdered.

Simon symbolizes existential understanding and the inherent positive qualities humans possess. Simon displays selflessness, courage, and sympathy for others throughout the novel. He cares for the littluns by building them shelters and picking fruit for them. Simon even walks through the forest alone to let them know the status of the boys' expedition because no one else will go. He is the only boy on the island who truly understands the nature of the beast. He realizes that the beast is inside each individual and is the wickedness present in all human beings. Simon transcends rational thinking by concluding that the beast is an inherent quality that cannot be destroyed. He is portrayed as the "Christ-figure" throughout the novel, and his meeting with the Lord of Flies parallels Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. Before he can share the truth about the beast he is brutally beaten to death by the group of boys.

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Lord of the Flies

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