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 are the relationships between Ralph, Jack, Piggy, and Simon in Lord of the Flies?

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In Lord of the Flies, Ralph and Jack are bitter rivals and enemies. Ralph and Piggy are close friends who share the same views regarding civilization. Although Ralph and Simon are not particularly close, they get along and appreciate each other. Simon and Jack do not care for each other. Jack and Piggy hate each other.

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In Golding's classic story Lord of the Flies, Ralph and Jack are bitter rivals, who are diametrically opposed to each other. Ralph is the elected chief and champions civility, structure, democracy, and rescue. Jack resents Ralph for being elected chief and purposely undermines his authority. Jack is a selfish, violent savage who is more concerned with hunting pigs and having fun than cultivating a civil society. Jack successfully usurps power, becomes the leader of his own tribe of savages, and hunts Ralph throughout the island.

Ralph and Piggy become close friends who rely on each other for support and encouragement. Ralph and Piggy share the same affinity for civilization and recognize the importance of maintaining the signal fire to increase their chances of rescue. Both boys oppose Jack and his savage hunters and struggle to retain their civility. Piggy relies on Ralph for protection, while Ralph relies on Piggy for his intelligence. As the situation on the island becomes increasingly desperate and hostile, Ralph and Piggy become closer friends and attempt to challenge Jack's tyrannical reign.

Ralph and Simon have a unique relationship and share similar views on how their makeshift society should function. Although Ralph views Simon as a strange, soft-spoken boy, he appreciates him helping build the shelters and enjoys Simon's comforting words of encouragement. Simon looks up to Ralph and values him as a leader. He also desires to please Ralph and views him as a kind-hearted ally.

Jack views Simon with contempt and criticizes him whenever he gets the chance. Jack makes fun of Simon for fainting, overrules him when he speaks, and views him as an annoying, useless individual. Simon recognizes Jack as a ruthless, cruel person, which is why he chooses to support Ralph. Although Simon does not verbally express his negative opinion of Jack, his actions indicate that he does not like him. Simon gives Piggy meat without Jack's approval, picks up Piggy's broken glasses, and volunteers to walk through the forest at night against Jack's preference.

Jack and Piggy are fierce enemies who hate each other. Jack views Piggy as a soft, worthless boy who is loud and obnoxious. Jack goes out of his way to intimidate Piggy, continually interrupts him when he addresses the group, and even physically assaults Piggy several times. Piggy represents and supports everything Jack hates, which includes Ralph. Piggy recognizes that Jack is evil and will kill him if given the opportunity. Piggy also speaks out against Jack and criticizes him for his savage behavior. In order to avoid Jack's wrath, Piggy relies on Ralph for protection.

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As the British schoolboys attempt to form their society on the island, they form different relationships with each other based on their personalities and roles. Here are the basic ways each boy relates to the other in these pairs.

Ralph and Jack, though they begin as friends, soon become competitors. Jack is jealous of Ralph from the beginning because he feels he should have been chief. Ralph wants to associate with Jack because he is the other boy who is most respected. However, when Jack begins to lose sight of the goal of being rescued, placing more emphasis on hunting, Ralph becomes more antagonistic toward him. Piggy and Simon have to inform Ralph that Jack hates him. Ralph seems unwilling to see the worst in Jack; even at the very end, he believes Jack will listen to reason and will negotiate with him. Jack will not be satisfied while Ralph exists as a challenge to his power; at the end, he hunts Ralph.

Ralph and Piggy have a one-sided friendship at first, but Ralph eventually begins to appreciate Piggy as an indispensable ally. First Ralph teases Piggy for being overweight and violates Piggy's request to not tell the other boys his nickname. Piggy remains loyal to Ralph despite Ralph spurning him at times. Eventually Ralph realizes that Piggy has the greatest intelligence of anyone on the island, but that Piggy cannot lead. Piggy is therefore the "brains behind the throne," so to speak. Piggy helps Ralph see things he is missing, and he helps keep Ralph focused when he starts forgetting about the signal fire. Ralph does stand up for Piggy, telling Jack it was a "dirty trick" to break his glasses, and eventually going to Castle Rock to try to get Piggy's glasses back. Ralph and Piggy are inseparable teammates from the time Jack leaves the camp.

Although Simon looks up to Ralph and wants to support him and be his friend, Ralph never really appreciates Simon's abilities. Ralph chooses Simon as one of the three explorers of the island, and he takes the advice of Simon and Piggy to continue being chief. However, he doesn't give credibility to Simon when he speaks up at the meetings; he mocks and belittles Simon's contributions and insights as much as the other boys do. He tells Simon to shut up and tells him he's batty. Ultimately, Ralph fails Simon during the feast and unwittingly takes part in his murder. He is plagued by guilt after that, although he and Piggy manage to rationalize away their part in the execution in order to be able to live with themselves.

Simon and Jack do not appreciate each other. Even when they are on the initial exploratory tour of the island together, Jack ignores Simon or belittles him. When Simon calls attention to the candle-bud bush, Jack overrules him by saying it can't be used for anything. When Jack states that the conch isn't needed anymore, an example he uses is that Simon's speeches haven't done any good. For Simon's part, he realizes that Jack would be dangerous as a ruler, so he encourages Ralph to go on being chief. Simon meets his death at the hands of all the boys, but during the dance that Jack has instigated.

Jack and Piggy hate each other. Jack is jealous of Piggy's relationship with Ralph, and he makes fun of Piggy for wearing glasses, being heavy, and having asthma. Jack punches Piggy in the stomach, breaks one lens of his glasses, and later steals his glasses. Eventually, under Jack's regime at Castle Rock, Piggy is murdered. Piggy is afraid of Jack. When Ralph suggests that he, Ralph, should no longer be chief, Piggy tells him that he must go on because Jack hates Piggy and also Ralph, implying that Jack's rule would be dangerous for all of them.

The relationships between the characters are realistic. Because no pair has a flawless relationship, the interpersonal conflicts add to the tension within the novel as the plot unfolds.

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Explain the relationship between Jack and Piggy in Lord of the Flies.

It's not surprising that Jack and Piggy don't get on. Jack is one of life's natural bullies, whereas Piggy is the kind of boy who regularly finds himself on the receiving end of bullying. Shy, brainy, and overweight, he's a natural target for being picked on, especially in a British public school environment where those considered "too clever by half" are generally despised. (Incidentally, in Britain, a public school is the name given to an elite, fee-paying institution, not like public schools in the United States).

Jack and Piggy are like chalk and cheese and their mutual interactions are generally confined to insults and acts of violence. (All of them emanating from Jack, of course). In some ways, Jack feels threatened by Piggy's evidently superior intelligence. Whereas Jack wants to be in charge, he's not prepared to put in the hard work necessary to make a success of life on the island. Piggy, on the other hand, uses his brains to figure out ways to solve practical problems, such as how to build fires and shelters.

That's why Jack resents him so much: Piggy always seems to get in the way of his plans, to act as a constant reminder to everyone that there's invariably a much better way of doing things than anything that Jack suggests.

So long as the island is run according to the rational principles embodied by Piggy, then he's perfectly safe. However, as soon as the boys split up into rival groups Piggy's days are pretty much numbered. The more violent and unrestrained Jack becomes, the more likely he is to attack Piggy. And that's precisely what he does, punching Piggy in the face, causing his glasses to break.

The symbolism of this moment in the story is obvious: barbarism has triumphed over reason, and it's just a matter of time before Piggy, as the voice of reason, is silenced once and for all by a barbaric act of violence.

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Explain the relationship between Jack and Piggy in Lord of the Flies.

Jack and Piggy absolutely despise each other, and the two characters have a hostile, antagonistic relationship. Golding utilizes Jack and Piggy to represent two completely opposite archetypes, which are savagery and civilization. Jack represents savagery and mankind's uncivil, primitive natural state. He is only focused on hunting, killing pigs, and playing by the pool. Jack has no desire to establish a civilized society on the uninhabited tropical island and challenges Ralph on virtually every policy issue and rule he creates. In contrast, Piggy represents intelligence, civilization, and order. He has a completely opposite personality and subscribes to an entirely different ideology. Piggy is a proponent of civility, a strong supporter of Ralph, and is opposed to Jack's belief system and lifestyle. Jack continually interrupts Piggy when he is speaking, physically and verbally abuses him, and intimidates Piggy whenever he gets the chance. Piggy views Jack with contempt and relies on Ralph's protection to avoid being killed by him. Unfortunately, Piggy cannot prevent Jack from usurping power and creating a hostile, chaotic environment. Eventually, one of Jack's followers rolls a massive boulder towards Piggy, which kills him instantly.

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Explain the relationship between Jack and Piggy in Lord of the Flies.

Jack, a tall, strong-willed, forceful ego maniac takes an immediate dislike to Piggy. 

"Piggy is a man of thought, not of action, and he is physically weak because of his asthma."

When Jack looks at Piggy, he sees everything that a typical bully loves to pick on, an overweight kid, with glasses, who doesn't like to fight and can barely defend himself against an insult.

From the start, Piggy is fearful of Jack, who after he strips away his last sense of civilized propriety, oozes with savagery.  He is frightening to be around, and Piggy makes sure to stick with Ralph. 

Jack tolerates Piggy in the beginning, but his clinging to the rules of civilized behavior start to irritate Jack as the novel progresses.  

As Jack becomes more detached from any form of social order, and assumes a primal nature, he and Ralph begin to fight.  The disputes encourage Piggy to insist on rules all the more.  This further separates Piggy from the group and ultimately the disconnect between the boys results in the death of Piggy.

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Explain the relationship between Jack and Piggy in Lord of the Flies.

Jack and Piggy represent opposite forces in the book and thus they are at odds from the beginning.  Piggy represents civilization and the world of thought and reason.  He is fat, ugly, soft, and weak.  His strength is in his ability to reason.  It is he who thinks of building the fire and his glasses that start the fire.  His glasses further represent civilized thought.  Piggy is not a leader; he needs Ralph to put forth and convince the other boys of his ideas.  He is everything that Jack is not.

Jack represents the savage world of the island, and he despised what he sees as Piggy's weakness.  Jack is also smart and he is a leader.  The reader first sees him leading his fellow choir members as if they were a military formation.  Jack is the first one to try to hunt on the island and he soon develops a taste for the blood of the hunt.  Jack further separates himself from civilization by donning a mask and he becomes increasingly animalistic as the book continues leading up to Simon's death.  A key moment is when Jack steals Piggy's glasses because the glasses represent civilization and by taking them from Piggy he demonstrates the strength of the savage nature of man over the veneer of civilization and reason.

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Describe Simon and Piggy's relationship in the novel Lord of the Flies.

Simon and Piggy do not have a mutual relationship. Although they both value civilization and are Ralph's biggest supporters, Piggy does not respect Simon. Despite Piggy's dismissive views of him, Simon is quick to aid Piggy whenever possible. There are several scenes throughout the novel which depict Simon helping Piggy and offering him support. In Chapter 4, Simon is quick to grab Piggy's glasses when they fall on the rocks, and in Chapter 7, Simon volunteers to travel back through the forest to tell Piggy and the littluns where the group is located. Piggy takes Simon's selflessness for granted and acts rather rude to him. In Chapter 5, during an assembly meeting where the boys discuss the existence of the beast, Simon admits that he isn't sure whether or not a beast exists. Simon says, "What I mean is...maybe it's only us" (Golding 89). Piggy quickly responds by saying, "Nuts!" (Golding 89). Piggy thinks Simon is crazy and doesn't attempt to understand his thought process.

Despite Piggy's pretentious attitude, Simon recognizes that Piggy is the closest person to grasping the truth, and even looks to Piggy for help and sympathy when he attempts to address the group in Chapter 8. Later on in the chapter when the boys are collecting wood for the new signal fire, Simon wanders off. Ralph asks Piggy if he thinks Simon is climbing the mountain and Piggy says, "He might be...He's cracked" (Golding 132). Piggy's response clarifies how he views Simon. Piggy tolerates Simon because Simon is a generous, helping individual, but Piggy does not respect him.

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What's the nature of the relationship between Ralph and Piggy in Lord of the Flies?

They absolutely need each other in their attempt for leadership.  Piggy needs Ralph's charisma and natural leadership, and Ralph needs Piggy's rationale and intelligence.  However, Ralph also recognized the downfalls of Piggy(physical appearance, un-usable ideas) and didn't always trust what Piggy had to say.

One of my students last year paralleled President Bush and VP Cheney to Ralph and Piggy.  At the risk of starting a political argument, that's probably not a bad example...

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What's the nature of the relationship between Ralph and Piggy in Lord of the Flies?

Ralph is the leader. Think of him as something like the chief of the tribe that is forming on the island.

Piggy is the equivalent of the tribal priest or medicine man. He is the thinker. He isn't Ralph's match in charm or physical prowess, but he can come up with key ideas and symbols (like the conch). Ralph needs him for his brain and spirit, just as Piggy needs Ralph for his body, his charisma, and his ability to act.

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Please explain the development of Piggy and Ralph's relationship in Lord of the Flies.

At the beginning of the novel, Ralph finds Piggy to be annoying and is relatively unsympathetic to his situation. Despite Piggy's obvious affinity for Ralph, Ralph calls Piggy by his unflattering nickname and attempts to distance himself from the overweight child. As the novel progresses, Jack begins to antagonize both Ralph and Piggy by continually interrupting assemblies and disagreeing with Ralph's decisions. Jack immediately becomes enemies with Piggy, who only becomes closer to Ralph because he knows that Ralph will protect him. As Jack becomes increasingly savage, Ralph and Piggy's bond becomes stronger.

Ralph and Piggy see eye-to-eye on important issues, such as maintaining a signal fire, building huts, and preparing to be rescued. Piggy often encourages Ralph to continue challenging Jack's reign and reiterates important issues whenever Ralph appears to be forgetting them. Towards the end of the novel, Piggy and Ralph stand side by side as they approach Castle Rock to addresses Jack's savage behavior. Ralph allows Piggy to carry the conch on the journey to the other end of the island and even defends Piggy during his climactic argument with Jack. Piggy and Ralph are the two characters who stand in the most stark contrast to Jack and his band of savages. They support civility and challenge Jack's tyrannical reign throughout the novel. Unfortunately, Ralph cannot prevent Piggy from becoming another victim of Jack's brutality when Roger hurls a giant boulder towards him. 

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Please explain the development of Piggy and Ralph's relationship in Lord of the Flies.

In the opening of the story, Ralph and Piggy are the first two boys to be introduced.  It is just the two of them on the beach after the crash.  Piggy, the first to speak, wants to be friends.  Ralph just seems to glory in being alive and on the beach.  Ralph makes fun of Piggy's size, giving him the only name by which he's known in the story, and of Piggy's asthma.  This doesn't seem like the beginning of a good friendship, but it is.  Many times, Ralph appears frustrated with Piggy because Piggy continually is that nagging voice of reason and common sense. He often reminds Ralph of the need for basic necessities and of the need for order.  Part of Ralph would like to ignore Piggy and be an irresponsible kid, but a greater part of him realizes, that the time for irresponsibility is over and he must take charge.  Through this back and forth the friendship grows.  By the beginning of chapter 10, the bond between Ralph and Piggy is strong as they sit in shock and despair over Simon's death.  By the end of the story, Ralph is weeping over who he now realizes was his "true, wise friend".

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Explain the relationship between Roger and Piggy in Lord of the Flies.

In Lord of the Flies, the relationship between Roger and Piggy is one of predator and prey.  Roger, described once as being "furtive," is a boy who delights in the suffering of others.   Roger is a classic bully.  He derives enjoyment and a feeling of power from the suffering of others, like when he throws rocks at Henry or destroys the sandcastles of the little boys.

Piggy, easily one of the weakest boys on the island due to his short-sightedness and overall out-of-shape physique, becomes a natural target for Roger.  If a bully such as Roger likes to prey on the weakest individuals in the camp, then Piggy would be his largest target (figuratively and literally, unfortunately).  Moreover, Piggy's alliance to Ralph clearly sets him against Roger and Jack.  Roger, as Jack's evil henchman, takes great delight in ending Piggy's life. 

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What is the relationship between the boys of Lord of the Flies, especially Ralph and Jack?

At first, the relationship between Ralph and Jack is quite friendly. Both boys are in the same boat, and they seem to realize that they need to work together if they're to make the island in any way habitable.

But soon, relations between the two rapidly start to deteriorate. The main problem is that Jack wants to be the undisputed leader and hates to see Ralph in charge. Unlike Ralph, Jack doesn't believe in rules, democracy, and all the things that make for a well-run, ordered society. He just wants to be king of the castle, head honcho, or just plain old dictator.

Jack comes to see Ralph as the biggest single obstacle to the absolute power he so desperately craves. It's not surprising, then, that he should set out to remove him from the scene once and for all by killing him. Once his thug-in-chief Roger kills Piggy and destroys the conch-shell with it—the symbol of a rules-based order—Jack no longer feels under any constraints. So he hunts down Ralph like an animal, like one of the many pigs he's so brutally killed since he arrived on the island. Jack no longer sees Ralph as in any way human; he's just a dangerous animal that needs to be slaughtered, and quickly.

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What is the relationship between Jack and Piggy like in Lord of the Flies?

This is a good question.

From one point of view, Piggy is an outsider in the group. He is intelligent, logical, but he lacks social skills and leadership. The boys do not accept him. Jack, on the other hand, possesses leadership skills and a desire for exploration and danger. Just from these points, we can see that the boys will not like each other at all. 

Jack gains more power as the leader of the hunters and he begins to pick on Piggy. At one point he even steals his glasses. 

On a deeper level, the two boys represent two different parts of humanity. Piggy represents civilization and logic and Jack represents savagery and our baser natures. Therefore, these aspects of our humanity are always in conflict. As the story progresses, Jack takes over. Piggy actually dies. This means that Golding had a dark and pessimistic view of humanity. Piggy and Jack tolerated each other but in the end they could not coexist. 

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What is Jack and Piggy's relationship like in William Golding's Lord of the Flies?

In William Golding's novel about a group of young boys stranded on an island and forced to survive while confronting the divisions that emerge between them, Lord of the Flies, Jack and Piggy represent vastly different ends of the humanitarian spectrum.  Piggy is something of a sad figure insofar as he is neither physically nor emotionally suited to the hardships that the boys must endure.  While smart and helpful, he is highly dependent upon the kindness of Ralph -- a situation highlighted by Piggy's need for the eyeglasses that will constitute his most serious "Achilles heel."  Jack, in contrast to Ralph and Piggy, represents the more hostile, confrontational and dictatorial side of the spectrum.  An early indication that he will be a problem as Ralph attempts to organize the boys into a coherent unit with basic rules occurs during the newly-stranded youngsters' first such meeting.  Piggy, helping Ralph to organize the meeting, is abruptly cut-off by Jack:

“You’re talking too much,” said Jack Merridew. “Shut up, Fatty.”

As Golding's novel progresses, the divisions separating the group led by Ralph, which invariably includes Piggy, and the one led by Jack, with its more violent and confrontational tendencies, provides one of the Lord of the Flies' central conflicts.

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