Alex Lowery speaks about autism

Is Piggy from the Lord of the Flies autistic?

Written on 29th May 2018 by Alex Lowery

I’ve been attending a night class where I learn about English Literature studies. One of the books we’ve been studying is ‘The Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding. I’ve heard it suggested that one of the characters ‘Piggy’ might be on the autistic spectrum. I thought it might be interesting to explore this idea so that’s what I’m blogging about today. Is there any evidence of Piggy being autistic in the book?

I’m really quite uncertain as to weather Piggy is on the autism spectrum or not, but I can definitely see traits that could well support the theory. We do know that Piggy is a very highly intelligent. His IQ is probably in the genius level! I know that this doesn’t make him autistic, but we do know that a lot of people on the higher end of the spectrum tend to be very intelligent.

We also know that he really doesn’t seem to fit in with other boys his age. His behavior, and beliefs resemble those of an adult more than a child. I feel like this would make him very different from the others and wouldn’t be so easily accepted. When I was a boy, on some level I could relate to this. I wasn’t mature by any means. However, I didn’t have the typical behaviour you’d expect from someone of my age. I didn’t mess about, get into trouble or do silly things. For the most part: I was fairly sensible and serious. I rarely even got told off when I was in a group. As a result of this: it was really hard for me to fit into a group of kids my age when I was basically the only one in the group who was like this.

A bigger indicator that he’s on the spectrum is that he very much thinks in an objective and logical way, and doesn’t think with his emotions quite so much. He doesn’t appear to see things past his own perspective either. His intellectual approach to life is modeled on the attitudes and rules of the adult world. He thinks everyone should share the views and values he has.

When Simon was believed to be the Beast and they all killed him… Piggy seemed to feel guilt was not necessary because it was an accident and couldn’t be helped. When Ralph brings up the fact that Simon’s death was at their own hands. Piggy keeps it scientific. He reckoned that the assault on Simon was ok because Simon asked for it by crawling out of the forest into the ring.

I could also see this as quite an autistic like characteristic. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting all or even most autistic people would think like this, but I could see it being the case for some. Piggy clearly has that very objective, rule based and structured mind that one may find in those on the autistic spectrum. He clearly isn’t seeing it from Simon’s perspective here which also ties into the difficulty with theory of mind that autistic people often have. Piggy also doesn’t appear to be great at picking up on social cues. When Ralph has been sarcastic, Piggy has tended to think he’s being serious.

We don’t really know enough about him to say if he is or not but those are some things that could suggest it.

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Organisations Alex has worked with

  • Autism Cymru
  • Chester University
  • Glyndwr University
  • National Autistic Society
  • St John's Ambulance
  • Welsh Government

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