How Does Golding Show Conflict Between Ralph, Jack & Piggy in Chapters 1&2 in Lord of the Flies?

Topics: Conflict, William Golding, Civilization Pages: 6 (2307 words) Published: February 6, 2013
In lord of the flies, Golding presents a strong sense of conflict, between the boys, the boys and nature and the boy’s personal lives. The theme of conflict is an important one within the novel, as it helps to represent the disagreement and fighting of World War II which was happening during the time that Lord of the flies was written and that Golding experienced first-hand. Golding’s main message in Lord of the flies was how cruel men could be to one another and conflict is an obvious link to this idea. We begin to see conflict very early in the novel, even before the story begins, as Golding tries to introduce the key themes at the start of the novel. The boys are actually brought to the island itself by the conflicts of World War II. While conflict and violence is happening in the macrocosm that is the world, it starts to arise on the island, a microcosm of the world. We also see conflict and tension between Ralph and Piggy for a number of reasons. Ralph straightaway thinks of himself as superior to Piggy because he is physically more attractive and athletic then Piggy. While Jack is described as a ‘fair boy’ a stereotypical sign of goodness and pureness who ‘might make a boxer as far as width and heaviness of shoulders went’ and with ‘size and attractive appearance’ that ‘marked him out’. Piggy on the other hand is ‘plump,’ ‘shorter than the fair boy and very fat’. Ralph also mocks piggy by calling him by the nickname he dislikes. This is a deliberate act of cruelty as Piggy says confidently: ‘I don’t care what they call long as they don’t call me what they used to call me at school…They used to call me “Piggy”.’ But Ralph ignores this and mocks Piggy, he ‘shrieked with laughter ...Jumped up..”Piggy!”’. He is also rude to him by disregarding his health problem, saying, ‘sucks to your ass-mar!’. This immediate superiority Ralph feels over Piggy and his cruelty towards him could be a representation of how people in society generally act and think, and the behaviour towards thinkers or people with disabilities, that appearance and physical attractiveness is important and superior and that health impairments such as very poor eyesight and asthma marks someone out as being different and therefore strange. It is also important that Golding has shown that Ralph has the capability to be cruel. Although we later find out that he is a representation of democracy, Ralph as a person can’t be holey good but he can’t be holey evil either. This links to Golding’s main message of Lord of the flies, which was inspired by seeing the awful things men could do to one another: that man, no matter how good, democratic or orderly can be holey good and are capable of being cruel, mostly for no valid reason and often as a result of discrimination and hunger for power. We also see a feature of emotional conflict between the boys. Ralph’s father is in the navy, another person who contributes to the conflict within the world and the island. As well as this, he is not only in the navy but a commander in the navy and taught Ralph how to swim. When Ralph asks Piggy about his father, piggy ‘flushes suddenly’ and replies: ‘‘My dad’s dead’ he said quickly, ‘and my mum—‘…’I used to live with my auntie…’. His words give us the indication that his father is dead, his mother has left him and that his auntie used to look after him but no longer wants him. His upbringing, especially in comparison to Ralph’s, makes him feel insignificant and upset and evokes pathos in the reader. From this, and his cockney accent (‘all them other kids’, ‘we was attacked’) we can conclude that Piggy represents the underclass in the 1950s. However, out of all the boys, the majority of which attended private school or were educated in grammar school, piggy is the best one, even though he has had to live in care and has been neglected through his childhood, all things which Golding uses to make the reader feel empathy and sympathy towards him. As a character, Piggy is...
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