My Character Study On Piggy
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I decided to write my character study on Piggy because I thought that he would be the most interesting character to investigate. In Lord of the Flies, Piggy was described as short and fat. ‘He was shorter… and very fat’ (pg 7), he also wore glasses which he had been wearing since he was three and had had asthma, which he seemed quite proud of. “I was the only boy in our school what had asthma”, said the fat boy with a touch of pride. (pg 9) This also meant that he could not do any physical work on the island. Golding’s descriptions of Piggy were sometimes cruel such as ‘bag of fat’. Piggy was probably closest in age to Ralph and was named a ‘big’un’. Piggy’s real name was never known and he made no effort to tell people it.
Before arriving on the island Piggy lived with his auntie in a sweetshop because his dad had died, though we never found out what happened to his mum. “My dad’s dead, and my mum -” (pg 14) he didn’t finish his sentence so we don’t know what happened to her. This could mean two things. Firstly that his mum was also dead or secondly that he didn’t know, or want to talk about what happened to her. He often referred to his auntie. I think it was because he missed her. He also couldn’t eat chocolate because it made his asthma worse. It was quite obvious that at school Piggy was very clever as this was shown on the island by the way he tried to keep order and had the mind of an adult. He also had a lot of general knowledge. An example of this was when Piggy explained to Ralph what the conch was and how to use it.
In Lord of the Flies, Piggy was a main character and was the most mature boy on the island. He was very civilized and often shouted at the boys because of their immature recklessness, “The first thing we ought to have made was shelters down there by the beach… Then when you get here you build a bonfire that isn’t no use. Now you been and set the whole island on fire” (p. 50). This also showed you that Piggy had common sense by wanting to build a shelter first, which although may be boring, is practical, rather than wanting to do the exciting things first.
As soon as Piggy was known to the others on the island he was immediately rejected simply because he was overweight, especially by Jack “You’re talking too much, shut up fatty”. (pg 23) Golding made Piggy-the overweight boy who wore glasses singled out as ‘the one nobody liked’ because this is what it is like in real life now. At the beginning Piggy liked the island but the more he was rejected the more he disliked it. Some of the characters didn’t even give him a chance and he was separated from them. On the boys’ first expedition, Jack said to piggy: “We don’t want you” (pg 26) He often watched the other boys actions and learned from them. When the other boys showed hatred, Piggy didn’t, as he had no reason to.
I think this was because Piggy was trying to be liked by everyone and thought that if he liked them, they would like him. Although he was an outcast, he didn’t lack self confidence in speaking to the others even when Jack put him down. “A fat lot you tried, you just sat there” (pg 46). Piggy gained this self-confidence as he was wisest and he had more knowledge than the other boys, and he knew it. When the rules were set, Piggy respected them and not many of the other boys did, apart from Ralph. Even though at the beginning of the book Ralph laughed at him and put him down, he had respect for Piggy and stuck up for him. “Jack, Jack, you haven’t got the conch, let him speak.” (pg 99) Jack however, despised him. I think it was because Ralph liked him and he was jealous because Ralph paid more attention to Piggy than to him and was more sympathetic to Piggy.
Jack to Ralph: “That’s right favour him as you always do.” Piggy felt threatened by Jack as it shows on pg 102. “I’m scared of him, and that’s why I know him. If you’re scared of someone you hate but you can’t stop thinking about him. You kid yourself that he’s all right really an’ then when you see him again; it’s like asthma an’ you can’t breathe.”
In chapters 5 and 6, the idea that a beast was on the island is introduced. Throughout the discussions, Piggy believed that there was no beast and would not give in to thinking that there was. “I know there is no beast-not with claws and all that, I mean-but I know there isn’t no fear either…Unless-…Unless we get frightened of people.” (pg 92) Without Piggy it is likely that Ralph would have lost his common sense and given in to the beast. Piggy, like Ralph, liked to keep the fire burning as he wanted the island to be seen by ships so that they could get back to England, also because the fire tended to keep the calm, whereas when it was out people tended to act disorderly.
In the first 7 chapters we found out that Piggy did not speak English very well even though it was his first language. He often used double negatives such as “Then when you get here you build a bonfire that isn’t no use.” (pg 50) When it should be, then when you get here you build a bonfire that isn’t any use.
Quite a lot of the time he spoke lazily e.g. “I got the conch ain’t I Ralph” (pg 49) This suggests that he could have been brought up in a working class family, perhaps in London, because in that area they use words like ‘ain’t’ and ‘an’. “An that’s not all. Them kids. The little ‘uns. Who took notice of ’em?” (pg 50)
I think that Piggy will become more unpopular with Jack, and Ralph will become friendlier with him. I also think that the boys will become more like animals and will break the rules; also Ralph and Piggy will try to restore the rules, but fail. I also think that the boys will split into two groups, Ralph and Piggy on one side and Jack and his hunters on the other. I find the way Piggy was used for his glasses interesting and that whenever he seemed nervous or embarrassed he always took his glasses off and cleaned them, ‘he went very pink, bowed his head and cleaned his glasses again’ (pg 23) I also find the fact that he didn’t do much on the island amusing. It seems difficult to understand how Piggy had so much self-confidence even though he was disliked. If that was me I would huddle up in a corner and not speak!