If Only They d Listened to Piggy
Throughout the novel Piggy s character is used to represent the intellectual side of man and act almost like an adult figure to the boys. There are many things that he does and that Golding says to support this. Three things come to mind that represent his place in the novel; he is a clear thinker, his appearance, and his symbolic losses throughout the book.
Right off the beginning we see evidence of Piggy s thinking ability. He realizes the boys situation and is thinking about how they are going to survive. He says We got to find the others, we got to do something. We then see indication of his intelligence, he says, A conch he used to blow it he kind of spat you blew from down here. Only a bright person would know the name of a rare shell and how to blow it to make a noise. Further on at the end of chapter two Piggy compares the fire on the mountain to the fires of hell. It almost like he can see what is going to happen to the kids. Also he says acting like a crowd of kids as if was the adult on the island trying to help the kids . More proof of his clear thinking is the fact that Ralph relies on Piggy s good advice to succeed. Without Piggy, Ralph would be lost. As the story progresses we see the boys drift apart however we see Piggy try to retain order as an adult might. When there is going to be a fight he says, Come away. There s going to be trouble. And we ve had our meat. He realizes the intensity of the situation and tries to stop any altercation. The boys continue to drift apart but Ralph and Piggy continue to be friends. In particularly, after the killing of Simon, Piggy tries as best as he can to support Ralph although he realizes they were a party to the violent death. He says, You stop it. What good are you doing talking like that. Although his is wise no one seems to listen to him except for Ralph, those who didn t respect him may wish they had.
Piggy s role as a grown-up mainly backed up by what he says and his actions, however his appearance is symbolic of his role in the novel. He is fat, bad-looking ; it is this which leads to the boys lack of respect for him. Also his asthma, weak eyes, thin hair are all common afflictions of old age. Throughout the novel his glasses are used to symbolize intellect. Their role is somewhat significant. These all help prove his role as an old, supposedly, wise person because usually the elder are looked upon for reason and order. It seems that his physical weaknesses and characteristics are all consistent with the adult role he is made to play. However, shamefully, only Ralph realizes his knowledge. Everyone else is lead by fear instead of reason.
As the novel progresses Piggy and his role are slowly filtered out. Even at the beginning he is laughed at although his suggestions are logical. Then his glasses, which represent intellect and reason, are taken from him without permission. Piggy was surrounded before he could back away. His voice rose to a shriek of terror as Jack snatched the glasses off his face. This is the first in a series of events which shows the gradual deprivation of reason. As Jack continues to be meaner and meaner to Piggy his power through Ralph is diminishing. The next step of the elimination is when one of the lenses in Piggy s glasses is broken during an argument about letting the fire go out. The breaking of one lens shows the boys are only half under control of reason. In chapter 10 the stealing of Piggy s glasses illustrates the complete defeat of common sense by the savage. When he tries to get his glasses back he his murdered by a small boy that could barely through a rock at someone in chapter 4. The boy rolled a boulder down on him, striking him and killing him. At the same time the conch, which symbolized the traditional system of authority so cherished by Piggy, was crushed. These events show the complete obliteration of rationalism from the island. Jack realizes the all out defeat of his rival and yells, I m Chief!
Piggy s role in the novel is heavily symbolic. He symbolizes the force of reason among the boys. To the boys what he says mimics that of what their teacher or maybe their parents may have said back home. However due to his appearance they don t feel the need or desire to listen to him as they would have listened to their teacher at home. In our world the same is true. Many wise people are shunned simply because of they way they look. This is more evident during our younger years but does continue as we age. At what point will we as a society learn to listen to those people who should help guide the more inane? No one knows, but as in the book things could go wrong. Piggy s gradual loss of sight and, eventually, the loss of his life itself, are used to show the progressive degeneration of the boys and their innocence .