In what sense do Ralph and Piggy make one whole boy while dealing with the conch?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ralph and Piggy represent two levels of the human psyche: the ego and the superego. Ralph, as the ego, is guided by the guidelines of society, but still susceptible to his emotions. He must constantly fight the urge to become like the other boys, and let himself run wild. He is a natural leader, a doer, and, unlike Piggy, not a thinker. Piggy, on the other hand, is guided entirely by reason. He is the smartest of the boys, the one who knows what to do in each situation. Without his suggestions, Ralph would be lost as leader. He first tells Ralph to blow the conch to assemble others. He has knowledge of the war that defines their stranded situation and chances for rescue, and he sees the need to organize. Unfortunately, his socially unacceptable physical appearance, his glasses, his asthma, and his weak social skills alienate him from acceptance. He is afraid of Jack and tries to stay close to Ralph for this reason, despite Ralph’s callous disregard for his sensitivity to his nickname.

This relationship becomes evident in the matter of the conch. Ralph possesses the conch, which is used to assemble the boys and becomes their focus as a symbol for order, but it was only on Piggy’s suggestion that he even knew how to blow it. Ralph does not quite grasp the motivations for what he does, but he does seem to understand the need for his actions. He needs Piggy, and accepts his advice, but at the same time he humiliates Piggy and prefers the companionship of the other boys. Boy have their strengths and weaknesses, and it is ony when they work togethe that they can guide the boys effectively.

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Lord of the Flies

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