Literary Essay Sample: Character Analysis of Piggy in The Lord of the Flies

Published: 2022-10-13
Literary Essay Sample: Character Analysis of Piggy in The Lord of the Flies
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  English literature Lord of The Flies
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1572 words
14 min read

Piggy is the nickname of one of the boys stranded on the island. The reader never gets to know his real name mainly because the other boys, especially Ralph, are not interested. It is ironical that Piggy get referred to on the island by the name schoolmates verbally bullied him. He hated that name a lot. As he reveals to Ralph, "I don't care what they call me ... so long as they don't call me what they used to call me at school' (Golding 2016). When Ralph asks him what they called him at school, which he reveals Piggy. The name sticks with the boys when Jack calls him "Fatty" Ralph chimes in with the name he was trusted within confidence by the boy now known as Piggy. Piggy feels close to Ralph. He is an agent of cooperation among the strangers, boys barely into their teenage years.

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Physical Profile

Piggy is the one who fosters the social contract by emphasizing on group/societal needs over individual needs (Hobbes, Locke and more). Based on the name alone, one can deduce that Piggy is fat, overweight. "He was shorter than the fair boy and very fat. He came... looked up through thick spectacles" (Golding 2016). The third person omniscient perspective that Golding uses to describe Piggy is evidence of factual and unbiased physical description of the character Piggy. Piggy is short and round and the most physically unfit of all the other boys. To top it off, Piggy is asthmatic, and he is short-sighted. He wears thick spectacles showing that he has eyesight problems. With this physical description and being constantly reminded by his given name Piggy, the reader sympathizes with him.

Allegorical Representation of Piggy

The Lord of the Flies uses the literary element of allegory a lot. The story chronicles the clash between civilization and barbarianism. The island represents nature independent of man (represented by the boys). At the island, before the plane crashes, there is no human being. However, minutes after emerging from the crash, Ralph and Piggy witness the destruction the plane dealt on the environment. "All around him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat" (Golding 2016). Man as a social animal is shown to care about the natural environment only sporadically. People live in houses, artificial constructions. It would hence be hard for man or people as a social animal to feel a sense of guilt for invading a peaceful and biodiverse place like the island. Ralph notices the destruction as a "scar" hinting that he understands that they should not be here.

As a symbolic representation in society, Piggy represents reason. When Ralph notices that the grownups (notably the pilot) are not with them on the island, Piggy is startled. Piggy understands that children need adults to tell them what to do otherwise their interactions will result in chaos. As a victim of bullying, the reader realizes that Piggy speaks from a place of knowledge. However, the other boys especially Roger do not take kindly to Piggy's intelligence and appeal to logos. Piggy is a human's voice of reason personified. He believes in rules, boundaries, and guidelines which man invariably needs to live with others.

Social Intelligence

Piggy is well read and very intelligent. When he tells the other boys that he has asthma, they pronounce it "ass-mar"; Piggy is the only one who can pronounce the word correctly. He likes to read a lot. On the last page of the book, Golding writes, "Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy." Ralph thinks of Piggy as wise. Ralph is remorseful and regrets not listening to Piggy while he was alive; he had the chance to ask for Piggy's real name early on in the book, but he did not.

Piggy's Civilization and sense of Mutualism and Altruism

Piggy represents logic and civility in all social interactions. He considers things logically and methodically. He is very well mannered in his upbringing. When Piggy and Ralph realize that there are other boys on the island, the former remarks, "I expect we'll want to know all their names," said the fat boy, "and make a list. We ought to have a meeting (Golding 2016). Piggy already refers to Ralph and him as "we" showing that he feels that they are in it together. Piggy seems to value the concept of reciprocal altruism (Sherman 2009). The sense of being together for people who are strangers in real sense hints at elements of mutualism (Clutton-Brock, 2009). Piggy considers Ralph a kindred spirit, a sentiment that the fair boy might not share at this stage. Upon the first meeting between Piggy and Ralph, the former is the one who attempts to make an introduction.

Piggy asks the fair boy what his name is and we get to know that it is Ralph. Ralph does not observe the courteousness of social engagements which would, in usual circumstances, ask Piggy for his real name. Piggy does not volunteer his name, which goes to show that he respects other people's opinions even if it hurts him. In a way, Piggy represents an obsession with rules. Laws, regulations, and civility are useful and right to a large extent. However, Piggy's demise is evidence that over-reliance on civility and manners may be detrimental especially in extraordinary circumstances.

A sense of identity and non-conformism

Piggy and Ralph bond well and become sort of friends. When they meet the other boys such as Jack, Roger, and Simon, Piggy makes a point of knowing their names. Ralph responds that Piggy should do it and consider it a job. At this point, Ralph considers their relationship an "exchange relationship" where a person's value is by what they continuously contribute to a group as an individual (Clark, 1984). However, he does not complete the record taking as the boys are interested in exploring the island. For an exchange relationship to work, people must compromise and often change their personality (Clark, 1984). Ralph conforms to the false standards of the other boys on the island. It helps Ralph to become famous and be considered the de facto leader much earlier before being made one. Piggy keeps his personality even when he meets the other boys. Piggy acts like the adult in the group; the other boys recognize his usefulness, but they do not respect him. Furthermore, they dislike Piggy because he makes the other boys get in touch with reality, while their instinct is to forget themselves.

The other boys want to live in a make-believe world. They consider Piggy boring and avoid spending time with him. To his credit, Piggy does not let it get to him. However, the bond he develops with Ralph while beneficial for the latter is detrimental to Piggy. The interest of Piggy is that they live well in a community, a society far away from home. The other boys think about themselves, but Piggy is the only one who thinks regarding the collective. Piggy's identity is in the group rather than with the individual self. The behavior showed by Piggy has parallels with animals making alarm calls when sighting prey to warn the others of danger in a show of altruism (Sherman 1977). Piggy warns Ralph about Jack's jealousy. He stresses the importance of being objective. When an undocumented boy disappears, he reminds Ralph of the importance of keeping records. "How can you expect to be rescued if you don't put first things first and act proper?" (Golding 2016) Piggy is very humane.

Outside Influence, Cooperation, and Gender Roles

Adults mainly influence Piggy's thoughts, actions, and speech. He has a reverence for adults who always seem to know what to do. The fact that he brings up his aunt on occasion when the boys have to deliberate on what to do serves to represent the female gender in the book. Piggy's aunt on retrospect is the only female voice in the book. Females are remarkably more cooperative than males especially in the animal kingdom for example baboons and lionesses teaming up to raise their young in intraspecific mutualism and manipulation (Clutton-Brock, 2009). The boys in the story are on a collision course with the disastrous end from the very beginning from lack of cooperation. The reader starts wondering if it was girls would they have gone down the same part? Would girls in the same situation have opted to disregard manners and civility and be dirty and painted as the boys were at the end during the rescue time? Would girls have let two of them die ass in the case of Piggy and Simon?

Piggy is an orphan boy living with his aunt before the events of the story. He respects women and the female gender in general. Without Piggy's aunt, the reader would not have invoked or asked himself or herself the place of girls in a similar situation. If the group had a girl or two, they might not have disintegrated. Piggy tried his best, but he was overlooked sadly, and killed by the cruel Roger.


Golding, W. (2016). Lord of the Flies. Penguin.

Clark, M. S. (1984). Record keeping in two types of relationships. Journal of personality and social psychology, 47(3), 549.Sherman, P. W. (1977). Nepotism and the evolution of alarm calls. Science, 197(4310), 1246-1253.

Clutton-Brock, T. (2009). Cooperation between non-kin in animal societies. Nature, 462(7269), 51.Hobbes, Locke, and More. "The State of Nature." Class Notes.

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