One of the most important figures in the novel The Lord of The Flies by William Golding is Piggy. Piggy provides balance to both daily life and major events that occur during the time in which a random, and rather unfortunate, group of British school boys are stranded on a deserted island. He is one of the few sources of good heart and good values found in this group. However these qualities about him cannot always be shown due to some of his physical disabilities. One characteristic that he has is his intelligence. This is quite a valuable quality to have when one is barely twelve years old and lost on an island at sea. In addition, Piggy has a motherly nature. This is crucial for the group because nearly half of the boys are even younger than eight years of age and thousands of miles away from their homes and parents. These characteristics of Piggy are represented by his glasses and the conch shell that he and Ralph discover during their first hours on the island.
Piggy's glasses are very important to both Piggy and the boys. His glasses represent Piggy's intelligence and without them there would be no fire. No fire means no signal to passing ships as well as no warmth or way to cook their meat. He is very attached to them, especially because he cannot see without them. When one of the boys takes Piggy's glasses his reaction is, "'my specs!' howled Piggy 'give me my specs!... jus' blurs, that's all. Hardly see my hand--'"(41). Piggy screams and tells them to give them back because he can hardly see his hand. He has dreadful eyesight. If he loses them everything will be a blur from there on. Piggy is an intelligent boy and knows more than the others. His glasses help to make him appear smart, despite his lower class. He knows a lot for his age and that is helpful. One example of Piggy's insight is a conversation he has with Ralph discussing why Jack acts so horribly. Piggy explains, "I know about people. I know about me. And him. He can't hurt you: but if you stand out of the way he'd hurt the next thing. And that's me" (93). Piggy knows what is coming his way. Also when Piggy's specs break, this causes havoc and Piggy becomes severely disabled. This is also terrible for the entire island because they may not be able to make any fires anymore and may never be rescued. As one could imagine, this puts forth a gloomy outlook.
Piggy is represented as a female figure to the boys on the island by the conch shell that he expresses great emotion for. The conch is a female symbol because it is a yonic object. Piggy is associated with it frequently, and often with great excitement from him. He is always concerned about it and shouts to the other boys about its importance in maintaining order at meetings. When Piggy is killed by the boulder on Castle Rock and the conch is completely shattered, this represents all civilization on the island being destroyed. Also, he is always on the beach by the huts. He is like a "mother" because mothers are usually the ones to stay at home and take care of the kids. That is what Piggy does with the littluns. When the older boys go off after the first meeting to scope out the island, Piggy stays with the younger boys and "moved among the crowd, asking names and frowning to remember them." (18). Piggy is also openly afraid of the beast. His thoughts once they discover the parachute figure on the mountain are, "Couldn't we- kind of- stay here? Maybe the beast won't come near us" (101). This shows that he is scared and just wants to stay on the beach. Piggy can't go on adventures to castle rock or go hunting because of his asthma and his larger body size. When the Ralph chooses Simon and Jack over him he gets mad and says, "You're no good on a job like this"..." I was with him before anyone else was" (24). Piggy becomes mad because Ralph chooses Jack and Simon to go instead of him. Piggy also is upset because he felt he knew Ralph the best and yet Ralph chose these boys he had just met to go. But Piggy isn't right for the task because he is not in nearly as good of a physical condition and wouldn't be able to keep up. In conclusion, Piggy's characteristics are prominent in the story and add to the balance of their lives on the island.