Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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Why does Ralph tell the other boys Piggy’s nickname?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Ralph may be a generally sympathetic character and the nearest thing to a hero in the story. But when all's said and done, he's still just a boy and not a saint. So, like the immature young man he is, he'll do and say things that he really shouldn't. Ralph, no less than the other boys on the island, initially revels in his new-found freedom. But unlike them, he soon gets down to the practical business of arranging some semblance of order and civilization on the island.

However, Ralph still has a deep yearning to be one of the boys. And unfortunately this means that he can't resist divulging Piggy 's cruel nickname. Piggy may be on the same wavelength as Ralph as regards the necessity of establishing rules and order, but there's still a huge gulf between them in terms of their social acceptability....

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Keri Sadler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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brendalkk86 | Student

Ralph considers himself the leader of the boys. When another boy refers to Piggy as "Fatty" Ralph corrects him. Ralph reminds him that Piggy is better than Fatty. Piggy wants to "go along to get along" however the interaction serves to show that Ralph is really the boss and will do what he likes, regardless of what he is asked. More than just asserting his power, Ralph is someone who needs to label people on the island because he feels out of control and vulnerable and deciding who each boy will be, adds to his power and domination over the boys. This is illustrated when Piggy is unable to get the other boys to give them their names so he can make a list. Without Ralph around, to legitimize Piggy, he is powerless and therefore not a threat to Ralph. It's significant that the given name of the character Piggy is not revealed at all in the book. That is a device Golding used to show the hierarchy of the group and how all become who their leader decides will be.