When Piggy and Ralph met for the first time, there was no connection between the two -at least that’s how Ralph wanted it to be- this however was not to continue. All through the first four chapters we are to see a great deal of change between the two boys and the way which they treat one another. When they met for the first time, Piggy made a courteous attempt at being polite, in a hope to becoming friends. We understand that ‘the fat boy waited to be asked his name in turn but this proffer of acquaintance was not made. ‘ (Page 3) Ralph turned down this gesture of friendship looking at Piggy as a fat and ugly waste of space.
It was pure irritation for him to be saddled with such a social outcast following him around. He wouldn’t even consider looking at Piggy’s personality; he just saw the unattractive clothing and unflattering flaws in his persona, judging him as unimportant. Ralph constantly tried to walk away but “the fat boy hurried after him” (Page 2). Ralph didn’t even attempt conversation with “the fat boy”, instead “Ralph shook his head and increased his speed. ” (Page 3) At this point we’re viewing Ralph as a firmly dislikeable character.
He seems judgemental and cruel, and it doesn’t seem like Piggy is going to have much of time being acquainted with him. As the chapters progress we see that Ralphs maturity also begins to. Jack insults Piggy by calling him “fatty” but Ralph steps in and defends him. It might be that Ralph was stirring more trouble, but it may have been honourable intentions when he interrupted saying, “He’s not fatty… his real names Piggy! ” (Page 17) It may have been a ploy to save Piggy some humiliation by Jack’s name calling, but it seemed that a small part of Ralph couldn’t let go completely.
He does mention later that it’s still “better Piggy than Fatty”, showing he wants to be able to care, but can’t risk the social outcomes. He still felt compelled to put Piggy down himself, possibly to regain control. Ralph didn’t seem to care when the boys laughed at Piggy and certainly didn’t understand when Piggy came to him feeling hurt and betrayed; which portrays he probably just didn’t understand. The first expedition that took place on the island was one done by Ralph, Simon and Jack, Piggy was not allowed.
Ralph banished Piggy from the exploration group because it seemed he was unfit and would hold the group back. This at first shows that Ralph could be concerned for Piggy, or for the rest of his group, but on second look shows that he’s playing in a popularity contest. It wasn’t particularly to save Piggy, but to gain the respect of Jack by hurting Piggy’s feelings.
This succeeded as Jack thought better of Ralph agreeing with him. He attempts to speak nicely to Piggy, letting him down slowly and gently by insisting he would simply be “no good on a job like this. (Page 21) Jack on the other hand shouts directly, ‘we don’t want you… Three’s enough. ‘ We’re able to see by this that there is a good chance that Ralph has a sympathetic part of him unable to totally crush Piggy. Fire quickly becomes an obsession of the boys, Ralph at least, but the first time it is lit is with the help of Piggy’s glasses.
He wasn’t asked, but they were taken. Piggy struggled to resist the boys as he wasn’t comfortable with this idea and was relying on Ralph to help him but ‘Piggy was surrounded before he could back away. (Page 40) Ralph didn’t help him out of it, instead he” elbowed him to one side,’ (page 40) abandoning him in an unfriendly manor. It is of no concern to Ralph how Piggy will survive at this point without his glasses as he can only see what matters to him. When they have served their purpose, he hand s the glasses back without a thought towards Piggy. The character of Ralph at this point seems like one not to be trusted and not to be tolerated as nothing is of concern to him if it doesn’t involve him.
The fire is very quickly allowed to escape and rage uncontrollably, pushing the older boys to blame the younger children. Piggy can understand that they need to remain calm, and see’s the errors in their previous ways, suggesting how they could amend them. Ralph on the other hand blames the little’uns, simply because he can. Piggy manages to question Ralph’s leadership skills asking, ‘How can you expect to be rescued if you don’t put first things first and act proper? ‘ (Page 45) Ralph doesn’t seem to take this into mind, and doesn’t think in the same way as Piggy.
Piggy is still nothing more than a talking irritation to him. As Piggy proceeds to rationalise the situation, revealing Ralph as a terrible leader, the patience of Ralph is really tested until he silences Piggy, shouting “That’s enough! ” (Page 46) This shows that Ralph must have control, and he must be obeyed- even by those who are doing the right thing. Time progresses on the island but the relationship between Ralph and Piggy has not. Ralph has gotten exceptionally bored with Piggy, “his fat, his ass-mar and his matter-of-fact ideas were dull” (page 68).
Ralph is growing more and more tired of the uselessness about Piggy. The only reason they seem to keep the boy around is to enjoy pulling his leg. Ralph still refuses to look past the physical appearance of Piggy and casts him aside as a social outcast. ‘Piggy was an outsider. ‘ (page 68) and that was all that mattered. Piggy mentions to the group of older boys how easy and sensible it would be to make a sundial. This is a clear link that Piggy still has with the world of civilisation, and he’s holding on tightly to a last bit of sense to do with the adult world.
Ralph dismisses the idea and humiliates Piggy for such a stupid idea. He jokes saying that while they’re at it they could build fun items like a TV set and an airplane. While watching Ralph pull his own leg, Piggy misinterprets it completely, seeing Ralphs smile and mistaking it for friendliness. We can see how Ralph is not acting like a friend should, he is still far to concerned with what other members of the group think. The story continues to progress and the characters become more defined.
Jack really defines himself as a bully when he punches Piggy, letting him fall to the ground and break his glasses. Piggy is left defenceless while Jacks mimics him embarrassing him in front of all the other boys, while “Unwillingly Ralph felt his lips twitch; he was angry at himself for giving way. ‘ (Page 76) This is a huge turning point of the story as we can see that Ralph is changing. He has seen what a bad and dark creature jack can be, and generally feels sorry for Piggy. The twitch in his lip indicates his heart is moving directions.
His head still trying to go with his usual crowd of boys and laugh at Piggy, but his heart is pulling him away. He has recognised the evil within Jack and can see Piggy as the intelligent person he really is, so holds himself back from laughing attempting to gain Piggy’s trust. The next time Piggy is approached for his glasses, in aid of the fire, a very different advance is taken. Ralph asks Piggy for his permission to use the glasses and assures them of their safe keeping. This gives Piggy more of a confidence in Ralph, and he is able to see the real kindness Ralph is capable of.
It also proves to him Ralph is not only concerned with social business but with the safety of the group and the survival of them all. From the beginning of the book to the end of the fourth chapter we see a dramatic change in the relationship between Ralph and Piggy, mostly from Ralph’s side. As the island forced Ralph to grow in maturity, it also pushed Piggy to respect Ralph more. Ralph was able to see through the unattractive show that Piggy puts on and see his intelligent and sensible character. He realises how badly he really needs Piggy, as an accomplice and as a friend.