Lord of the Flies

Piggy: Brains, Wisdom, and the Human Spirit

In the introduction to William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, E.M Forster describes Piggy as not only “the brains of the party” but also “the wisdom of the heart” and “the human spirit.” This description of Piggy becomes more accurate as the novel increases and the distinction between savagery and civilization becomes clearer. At the beginning of the novel, Piggy may seem to the boys on the island a brainy nuisance; yet as Jack and his tribe rapidly dominate the island with their brute force Piggy’s insight, experience as an outcast, and staunch belief in ethical ideals keep him from falling into the lure of savagery. When Ralph weeps at the end of the novel, he clearly sees how wisdom, soul, and sacrifice have made Piggy a true friend.

Piggy, most commonly acknowledged as Ralph’s subordinate, brims with intelligence that is both beneficial and harmful to himself; while his specs, symbolizing brains, clarity, and his physical limitations, prove to be a supportive pillar of survival on the island. His responsibility and need for structure can be seen when he says to Ralph, “How can you expect to be rescued if you don’t put first things first and act proper?”(45). Chastising Ralph and Jack for running up the mountain “howling...

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