Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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What does Piggy's idea to make a list of boys on the island reveal about his character?

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Piggy's strongest and most valuable characteristics are also the ones that inspire the most mockery; after all, his practical intelligence makes him seem like a grown-up, which sets him apart from the other boys and makes him a target for their meanness.

Piggy's idea to make a list of the boys is something a teacher would do, so that they would know who is absent and who is late for meetings, for example. Though Piggy intends the idea to help everyone stay organized and safe, the idea makes him appear less spontaneous and fun. Piggy desperately wants to survive this perilous time, and he wants to contribute to the effort to help everyone else survive, but his methods are too much like something an adult would do. This side to his personality enhances the rough-and-tumble attitude of Jack and the thoughtful coolness of Ralph, as Piggy, though bright and intelligent, lacks the self-awareness to understand why his approaches are not as well-received as those of the other boys.

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In Chapter 1, Piggy suggests to Ralph that they make a list of names of the boys on the island. After Ralph blows the conch, the remaining boys on the island group together and hold an assembly. During the assembly, Piggy tries desperately to get everyone's name but is unable to do so. Piggy's suggestion to make a list of names illustrates his affinity for structure and civilization. Piggy is the most intelligent boy on the island and understands the importance of maintaining order. Creating a list of names also demonstrates that Piggy has his priorities in the right order. Piggy is pragmatic and attempts to organize the boys. Unfortunately, he is not able to list the littluns, and a young boy goes missing after they accidentally set the forest on fire. As the novel progresses, Piggy's representation of civilization, structure, and intelligence becomes more evident.

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