In what sense do Ralph and Piggy make one whole boy while dealing with the conch? William Golding's "Lord of the Flies"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While Ralph is the "golden boy," possessing the physical qualities of leadership with his good looks and "unreasoning knowledge," he recognizes that he needs Piggy, for Piggy can "think better than he."  For instance, in Chapter 2 when the boys express their fears of "the beast," Ralph feels himself "facing something ungraspable."  But, "something he had no known was there rose in him and compelled him to make the point, loudly and again."  He tells the boys there is no beast, and the strength of his new authority quiets them.  However, later in the novel, Ralph is not as convincing.  So, he hands the conch to Piggy, who tells the boys, "If there is a beast, we would have seen it, too."

In another instance of their complementing each other, in Chapter 8, Ralph is invited to join Jack and his boys after they have stolen the fire. But, he does not know how they will recapture the fire.  Piggy, then, suggests that they build the fire on the beach where it also will easily be spotted.  Later, in this same chapter, Ralph begins to despair and his mind "shuts down." He asks Piggy,

Supposing I got like the others--not caring.  What 'ud become of us?

Gratified that Ralph talks to him as a friend, Piggy is still troubled.  He takes off his glasses and tells Ralph,

I dunno, Ralph.  We just got to go on, that's all.  That's what grownups would do.

In this case as in others, Piggy is not only the friend, but the voice of maturity for Ralph, thus complementing Ralph's youth.



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Lord of the Flies

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