What does Piggy’s asthma symbolize? (Answer)

What does Piggy's asthma symbolize

What does Piggy’s asthma symbolize? Piggy is one of the most interesting and complex characters in William Golding’s novel “Lord of the Flies”. He is not only a source of wisdom and rationality but also a target of ridicule and violence. One of the most significant aspects of Piggy’s character is his asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that affects his physical health and well-being. In this article, we will explore the symbolism and meaning of Piggy’s asthma in the context of the novel.

What does Piggy’s asthma symbolize? Piggy’s Asthma in “Lord of the Flies”: Symbolism and Meaning

Piggy represents the scientific and rational side of humanity, supporting Ralph’s signal fires and helping to solve problems on the island. He alone understands the importance of building shelters, collecting freshwater, and maintaining order and discipline. Piggy’s intelligence and knowledge are his greatest strengths. However, these strengths make him vulnerable to the other boys’ aggression and hostility. Piggy’s asthma, weight, and poor eyesight put him at a physical disadvantage. The other boys use these weaknesses to exclude him from their group and treat him with contempt.

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease caused by inflammation and narrowing of the airways, which makes it difficult to breathe. In the novel, Piggy’s asthma symbolizes his vulnerability and fragility in a hostile and unpredictable environment. He needs his glasses to see, his inhaler to breathe, and his wits to survive. Without these tools, he is at a disadvantage, both physically and mentally. However, Piggy’s asthma also represents his resilience and determination to overcome his limitations and contribute to the group’s welfare.

Piggy’s asthma is also a metaphor for the boys’ alienation from nature and their own bodies. The boys are used to the comforts of modern civilization, such as electricity, running water, and medical care. However, they are forced to adapt to a primitive and harsh environment on the deserted island. They have to hunt for food, build their own shelters, and face the dangers of wild animals and storms. Piggy’s asthma reminds them that they are not invincible or omnipotent but mortal and vulnerable beings. They need each other’s support and cooperation to survive, and they cannot rely solely on their physical strength or weapons.

Piggy’s asthma also reflects the novel’s theme of the conflict between reason and instinct, civilization and savagery. Piggy embodies the rational and scientific approach to life but is surrounded by boys who are in thrall to their emotions and impulses. Piggy’s asthma symbolizes the tension between his rational mind and vulnerable body, intellectual curiosity, and physical limitations. He wants to understand the natural world and its laws but also knows he is part of that world and subject to its forces.

What does Ralph say about Piggy’s asthma?

In the book Lord of the Flies, Ralph responds to Piggy’s mention of his asthma by dismissively saying, “Sucks to your ass-mar!” This phrase reflects Ralph’s lack of empathy towards Piggy’s condition and highlights the growing tension and disregard for individual needs among the boys on the island.

What does Piggy represent symbolically?

Piggy symbolically represents intellect and rationalism in Lord of the Flies. As the boys’ only source of scientific knowledge and logical thinking, he embodies a sense of order and reason amidst the chaos that unfolds on the island. Piggy’s glasses, which are used to start the signal fire, also symbolize his intellectual capabilities and his ability to see things clearly, both literally and metaphorically. However, his marginalization by the other boys highlights the rejection of logic and reason in favor of primal instincts and savagery.


In conclusion, Piggy’s asthma is a powerful symbol in “Lord of the Flies”, representing his vulnerability, resilience, and humanity. It reminds us that even the most intelligent and rational person can be marginalized and mistreated if they are physically weak or different from others. It also reminds us that we are all part of nature and must respect its laws and limitations if we want to survive and thrive. Piggy’s asthma is a testament to his courage and will to survive, inspiring us to appreciate our strengths and weaknesses as part of our humanity.

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