In what ways does Piggy prove himself superior to Ralph in Lord of the Flies by William Golding?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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More adult in appearance, Piggy represents the more rational aspect of humans in William Golding's allegory, Lord of the Flies. In fact, at one point, Ralph even reflects that "Piggy could think" and rues that he is not as capable as his friend at doing so.  One example of Piggy's clear thinking is after Jack and the hunters steal the fire.  Most disconcerted at the loss of the one thing which can reconnect them to civilization, Ralph becomes anxious that they are not able to climb the mountain to reclaim the signal fire.  But, in Chapter 8 Piggy suggests that Ralph and he and the others with them rebuild the fire on the beach:

The boys began to babble. Only Piggy could have the intellectual daring to suggest moving the fire from the mountain.

Allegorically, however, Piggy's glasses respresent his ability to reason.  So, after these glasses are stolen by Jack, Piggy loses some of his clear-sightedness and becomes emotionally myopic as well as physically.  For instance, he denies the facts about Simon's death.

parkerlee's profile pic

parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Piggy is not necessarily better than Ralph, but he is depicted as being undeterred in his objectives and conceding to the negative influence of Jack and his "recruits." Because of his purist character profile, Piggy could even be considered a stereotype : the good kid on the block, a bit overweight and nearsighted, but "a diamond in the rough."

Ralph, on the other hand, is a round character, and for that reason, much more "human" and believable. He is a "good guy" too, but he sways a bit to the influence of the group before taking distance again. As Piggy, he would have even fallen victim to Jack's savagery had the boys not been found and rescued (from themselves) in time.

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sunnie's profile pic

sunnie | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) eNoter

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Piggy is also superior to Ralph because of his level of intelligence. Ralph however, is smart, but in a more practical survival leadership way, and Piggy is more wise when it comes to book smarts but does not posse the courage to stand up for himself when made fun of by the other children; particularly Jack. Piggy begins to fear for his life when he senses Ralph's submission to Jack because he knows that as soon as Ralph is out of power, and more importantly, out of Jack's way, Jack will hurt Piggy.