In Lord of the Flies,

...Piggy was an outsider, not by accent, which did not matter, but by fat, and ass-mar, and specs, and a certain disinclination for manual labor.

My understanding has always been that England is an intensely accent-conscious society, because accent is a class marker, and that class markers matter even more in English boarding schools than elsewhere (see Orwell's "Such, Such Were the Joys"). So why would Piggy's working-class accent not matter?

Obviously, I'm not English, and most of what I know about this subject comes from fiction. So maybe my premises are wrong.

  • 4
    English person here - yes, England is definitely overly obsessed with accent, especially as a class marker, and probably even more so at the time LotF was written than today. So your question is very reasonable.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Dec 5, 2017 at 15:27

2 Answers 2


Perhaps this serves to reinforce the idea that these children are very far from the society and norms they grew up with. The children don't care about the sociological trappings of class and wealth that can be inferred from an accent. They dislike Piggy at a much more visceral level based on his physical appearance and behavior. His accent might have mattered back home, but on the island, it is irrelevant.


But the accent does matter, the quote goes:

[...] Piggy was an outsider, not only by accent, which did not matter, but by fat...

So, while the boys probably aren't as judgmental as the "grown-ups" (when it comes to accents at least), hence the "which did not matter", the accent still makes him different from the others in a way.

  • Good catch there! Dec 29, 2018 at 21:02

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