Character Piggy in 'Lord of the Flies'

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In William Golding’s famous Lord of the Flies, the absence of females is very evident, consistently throughout the novel. Since the earliest eras of society, women have been perceived as inferior, always fighting for equality and justice against oppression. Seeing as the novel was written during the 20th century, women were often expected to stay home and had little room to make their own decisions; this was particularly significant during World War Two. Thus, in the novel, it can be assumed that the presence of female characters would have altered the outcome, as well as the progression of the plot, of the novel.

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After reading the novel, the readers could assume that Piggy represents a female figure in a society of males by embodying stereotypical womanly characteristics. The weaknesses associated with him gives the readers the impressions of how a female would have been perceived in this time in history. The asthma that he repeatedly mentions at the beginning, is an example of this. The fact that he can not swim, that he is overweight, he is not as agile as the other boys and that he needs glasses though the most important female characteristic is his sensitivity. Usually a female is very welcoming and always looks after people. In Lord of the Flies, Piggy tries very hard to make the boys feel safe when they first get together on the island, he also tries to look after them so nothing goes wrong.

In general, females are usually less respected than males, and are assumed less intelligent or important, especially with a constant portrayal of these characteristics in everyday society. Whenever Piggy in 'Lord Of The Flies' tries to give his opinion it is automatically shut down.

The plane crash that happened on the island is described as a scar, insinuating that this mark has permanently damaged what was previously an “untouched” island. The use of that word also indicates that the ruin as well as the damage done by the specific situation represents the beginning of the manifestation of violent features. In the novel, many themes arise but most importantly, the concept of civilization versus savagery has a big impact on an important, violent aspect of the novel. The readers can identify Ralph, Piggy and Simon as more civilized by the choice of wanting to use the conch to keep the organized and contained meetings in order.

The readers can tell that Jack has lost respect for the rules of authority. He terminates all values of the conch which leads to a sign of savagery. The opposing theme in the novel is savagery. The perfect example of that is Jack and his hunters. They start by working together to complete the goal they have in common, to get food and stay alive. Unfortunately, this team was not able to collaborate which led to many disagreements. Temptations driven by the need for food caused bad judgement as they were forced to all work together again. After Simon's death, one can say the boys let the evil within get to them. Simon is accidentally beat to death, because of how afraid the boys were of the beast and thought for one second that the beast was him. Piggy gets a huge stone thrown on him by Roger just to prove he has power. Perhaps if there were females used in the novel, the death of the boys could have been avoided. Any type of violence would have most likely not occurred, because of the sense of leadership mixed with softer characteristics that females generally have. A woman would have searched for a peaceful solution before resorting to violence. Also, girls generally mature faster and a female of that age would have had a better perspective on how to properly deal with such situations. In reality. women’s try very hard to avoid any physical violence, often attempting to take a more intellectual route, so if there had been some feminine presence on the island, these situations could have been avoided, altering the progression of the plot and the fate of many characters.

Leadership and organization is a key for survival when you are stranded on an island, especially when stranded amongst a group of unpredictable teenage boys. In Lord of the Flies, the boys have a difficulty of making their way around the island due to the lack of both these vital aptitudes. In a daily life, females tend to develop said qualities earlier and allow application of them in bad situations. One can assume that had there been a female perspective and influence, the boys would not have struggled as much with their meetings, or with getting food, let alone survival. At one point in the novel, there was two groups of boys one lead by Ralph and the other lead by Jack. They split thinking each group could survive on their own, because they each thought they were better leaders. If there was women on the island, the turn out of the story would be different. At the start of the novel, they had to pick a leader ‘if there was a female, the intelligent decision would have been taken to place her in charge in collaboration with a boy.

Following that event, they start to build a fire, which did not last long, because it was hard for them to build it together. If a female was there, she may have had a better idea of how and where to place the fire, probably using a much more thought out plan, the maturity and often more complex thought processes of women much more effective. Also, dividing roles would have been much simpler as there would have been a clear division between the strengths of both parties. Due to a falling out, Jack leaves the tribe, which causes many conflicts with the rest of the group who needed to pick a side. If females were present, they would have been able to keep them all together as one group, having a better perspective. The death of Simon was inevitable due to the circumstances in which they occurred. It was dark out and they boys were having a party. When you are in the forest and you hear noises from behind the trees your first instinct is to attack, which is what the boys did. If the whole series of events were more organized the death of Piggy would have also been avoided since they would all have been working together instead of against. The tragic and dark ending of the novel was avoidable had there been peace on the island and with females, one assumes it would be.

In conclusion, Piggy’s abilities, the acts of violence’s and the lack of leadership and organization within the boys prove that the roles of women are very important. They can help conquer many things. Specifically, when stranded on a Island at a young age like the boys, females could be convenient for success and survival. Yet another proof of the importance of women influence in society; where would it be without them? 

Works cited

  1. Bhatti, N., Shaikh, A., & Javed, S. (2019). Gender inequality in education: An analysis of the social, economic and cultural factors affecting female participation in secondary education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of International Education Research, 15(1), 23-34.
  2. Bordo, S. (1988). Feminism, postmodernism, and gender-scepticism. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 397-422.
  3. Eagly, A. H., & Carli, L. L. (2007). Through the labyrinth: The truth about how women become leaders. Harvard Business Press.
  4. Hattery, A. J., & Smith, E. (2010). The social construction of gender and race in the United States. Social Problems, 57(4), 513-524.
  5. Hirschman, C., & Voloshin, I. (2015). The structure of gender stereotypes: Interrelationships among components and gender label. Sex Roles, 73(1-2), 1-12.
  6. Tandon, N. (1997). The impact of World War II on women's employment and status in the United States. Journal of Women's History, 9

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