What is Ralph's attitude towards Piggy in the first chapter?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the first chapter of the novel, Ralph tries his best to ignore Piggy and is rather rude to him. When Piggy asks Ralph his name, Ralph does not even bother to return the question. When Ralph begins to walk away, Piggy attempts to keep pace with him and continually tries to start a conversation. However, Ralph speeds up and becomes annoyed at Piggy's incessant attempts to talk. Whenever Piggy tells him what the boys at school used to call him, Ralph bursts out laughing. Ralph dances around and yells, "Piggy! Piggy!" (Golding 12). Piggy then asks Ralph not to the tell anyone as Ralph continues to laugh. When Piggy mentions that he can't swim because of his asthma, Ralph says, "Sucks to your ass-mar!" (Golding 15). After the boys begin to show up, Piggy attempts to tell Ralph each person's name and Ralph pays him no mind. When Jack Merridew says, "Shut up, Fatty," Ralph says, "his real name's Piggy!" (Golding 27). Ralph also ignores Piggy and does not let him explore the island with them. Ralph thinks that Piggy is annoying and useless. He does not want to be his friend in Chapter 1, and makes fun of him in front of the boys.

MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ralph's attitude is one of shaky friendship mixed with condescension. He seems callous and unaware of Piggy at first: when Piggy asks his name, he does not ask Piggy in return. He replies "Sucks to your auntie" and "Sucks to your ass-mar" to Piggy's attempts at casual conversation. Yet he allows Piggy to advise him on what to do in the role of leader, & after finding the conch. Piggy sticks close to Ralph, perhaps as a result of a natural aversion to the aggressive nature of Jack, and Ralph allows this, perhaps understanding the need for Piggy's intelligence.

However, Piggy feels betrayed when Ralph reveals his nickname to the group, after he specifically asked him not to. Yet Ralph makes a marginal apology ("Better Piggy than Fatty") and assigns Piggy some minor responsibility to make it up to him. One senses that at this point, Ralph identifies more with Jack than Piggy, but Piggy will prove to be a true friend, while Jack harbors ability for evil within.

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Lord of the Flies

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