Piggy

Piggy

Piggy seems to come from a lower social class than the other boys but he is more thoughtful and mature than his companions. He uses rational thinking to come to conclusions and very soon realises that without adults the boys are in danger of becoming uncivilised and that they will need leadership, rules and organisation.

It is also easy to see why the other boys would find him annoying as Piggy always seems to want to spoil their fun. He is also physically different from them as he is fat, has asthma and wears glasses. All these things go towards making him an outsider to the rest of the group.

Piggy's real name is never revealed. Instead he is treated as though he is one of the pigs on the island - also like one of them, he is brutally killed. Piggy remains an outsider and a victim throughout the novel, though Ralph does come to respect him.

How is Piggy like this?EvidenceAnalysis
OutsiderThere are many things that mark Piggy out as "different". He comes from a lower social class than the others and has been brought up by an auntie. He wears glasses, is fat, has asthma and seems to be a bit lazy. Piggy saw the smile and misinterpreted it as friendliness. There had grown up tacitly among the biguns the opinion that Piggy was an outsider, not only by accent, which did not matter, but by fat, and ass-mar, and specs, and a certain disinclination for manual labour. Piggy is not good at picking up on other people's body language towards him. When Piggy thinks he has won approval he goes too far and, once again, finds that he is back on the outside.
RationalPiggy is full of thoughts and theories and is fond of reminding the others about the adult world that they have left behind them. He often quotes what his auntie would do or think but the other boys are not interested in what grown-ups would do."Life," said Piggy expansively, "is scientific, that's what it is. In a year or two when the war's over they'll be travelling to Mars and back. I know there isn't no beast - not with claws and all that, I mean but I know there isn't no fear, either." Piggy places great trust in the capabilities of science and technology and uses these to explain the situation they are in. Some of the boys fear that there is a Beast after them but Piggy dismisses both the Beast and fear as unscientific. He is a very practical person, finding solutions where he can.
OrganiserRight from the start Piggy tries to be a good organiser when he suggests to Ralph that they use the conch to call the others to their first meeting. As soon as the boys arrive, he starts making a list of names. Piggy lost his temper. "I got the conch! Just you listen! The first thing we ought to have made was shelters down there by the beach…how can you expect to be rescued if you don't put first things first and act proper?"Piggy thinks there is a right way and a wrong way to do things and that things should be tackled in a specific order if good results are to be obtained.

Analysing the evidence

quote
"Like kids!" he said scornfully. "Acting like a crowd of kids!" Ralph looked at him doubtfully and laid the conch on the tree trunk. "I bet it's gone tea-time," said Piggy. "What do they think they're going to do on that mountain?" He caressed the shell respectfully, then stopped and looked up. "Ralph! Hey! Where you going?" Ralph was already clambering over the first smashed swathes of the scar. A long way ahead of him was crashing and laughter. Piggy watched him in disgust. "Like a crowd of kids--." He sighed, bent, and laced up his shoes. The noise of the errant assembly faded up the mountain. Then, with the martyred expression of a parent who has to keep up with the senseless ebullience of the children, he picked up the conch, turned toward the forest, and began to pick his way over the tumbled scar. Piggy, as described by William Golding in the novel
Question

How does Golding show that Piggy is different from the other boys?

How to analyse the quote:

'"Like kids!" he said scornfully. "Acting like a crowd of kids!" Ralph looked at him doubtfully and laid the conch on the tree trunk. "I bet it's gone tea-time," said Piggy. "What do they think they're going to do on that mountain?" He caressed the shell respectfully, then stopped and looked up. "Ralph! Hey! Where you going?" Ralph was already clambering over the first smashed swathes of the scar. A long way ahead of him was crashing and laughter. Piggy watched him in disgust. "Like a crowd of kids--." He sighed, bent, and laced up his shoes. The noise of the errant assembly faded up the mountain. Then, with the martyred expression of a parent who has to keep up with the senseless ebullience of the children, he picked up the conch, turned toward the forest, and began to pick his way over the tumbled scar.'

  • "Acting like a crowd of kids"/ 'the martyred expression of a parent' - Piggy seems more like a critical adult than a playful child.
  • "tea-time" - he is thinking about how things are done back home rather than his current situation.
  • 'laced up his shoes' - most of the boys are getting rid of their clothes.
  • 'clambering' / 'began to pick his way' - Ralph and Piggy approach the obstacle quite differently.

How to use this in an essay:

Part of Piggy's problem is that he does not react and behave in the same way as the other boys so he becomes an outsider. He complains that the boys are 'acting like a crowd of kids' even though that is exactly what they are. He comes across as a grumpy old man rather than a pre-teenage boy and Golding says he has 'the martyred expression of a parent'. While most of the boys are simply having fun, Piggy is still thinking about his home life and its civilised rituals such as 'tea-time'. As the others are happily abandoning their clothing, Piggy makes sure that he has 'laced up his shoes'. Even his approach to an obstacle is different. While Ralph is actively 'clambering' over the scar, Piggy can only nervously 'pick his way.'