I have been thinking about this pig head. I can’t seem to get the idea out of my head, therefore I thought if I did it, and used it, I could move on from it.
Work in progress:
The pig has multiple representations. My son was recently reading ‘Animal Farm’ to me on car journeys. This is clearly where the seed was planted. The pig head representing so many elements of social structure, and politics. In many ways, discussing the relevance of Animal Farm to modern society and hierarchy I was moved to think about my own position and values; and how these have inevitably been shaped by the society I have been raised in; my gender; my education; the letters after my name; geography and my time of birth. As society is ever-changing and my role within it is limited to a pin-prick on the timeline of life – as we know it – it makes me feel even more that the Pig represents so many of us who live with money in a democracy. I’m there with my fist held high over issues of feminism, equality, celebrating diversity, religious freedom, and encouraging people to embrace the power they have to make positive change in the world. I’m running alongside others dressed in pink, wearing a yellow daffodil, a red ribbon, buying the Big Issue, direct debits to ‘good’ causes, buying Good Gifts as presents, supporting Greenpeace, supporting Amnesty International, raising awareness, sponsoring others, giving away artwork in exchange for a few pounds more in sponsorship whilst I run 5K or 10K or wear a silly costume.
I’m still the pig.
I’m still the over privileged. I’m still the child of people who own their own home. I’m still working in a private school, funded by wealthy individuals. I live in a house with heating which I can afford to use. I have a garden to relax in. I can buy my shopping in Tescos. I have rights – hard won by generations before. I have never had to fight in a war or wave a loved one off to the front line. I can vote. I can choose. I can change my life, and that of others. For every time I roll my eyes as the alarm goes off, am I grateful for the opportunity to work? Every time I am delayed in traffic am I conscious that my car, my transport, my ability to move from one place to another is a luxury? When I get lost in political debate about what is and isn’t right, am I suggesting an alternative, or merely summarising my frustrations at the status quo? Do I contribute? Do I really?
I’m still the pig.
I’m the pig who is an over consumer. I’m the pig who has taken the privileges of generations of suffering and uses this to throw more straw on the floor in my pen. I better my surroundings. I drink the whiskey and raise my glass to the good. I turn from the plight of many. I question the wickedness of others and ignore my own flaws. I surround myself with people who tell me I am a good person; kind; sympathetic. I don’t want to know the truth. I don’t want to be reminded that I’m the pig. That billions of people around the world have less, and yet I still find myself moaning. I’m the pig. That billions go hungry whilst I eat, and still eat some more. That billions have nothing whilst I worry about whether I can buy extra luxuries this month. I’m not rich. But that’s on a British scale. Globally I am rich. I’m a pig. I am vain; my teeth are not white enough, my body is not slim enough, my skin is not soft enough, I’m a pig.
‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’ – George Orwell
So what can I do but expose myself. Wearing my new pig mask, I will move into society exposing this creature for what she is. And in doing so, I will accept it, I will understand it better.
That the pig is me and I am the pig.
Animal Farm by Tim Rollins
In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the boys who are stranded on the island come in contact with many unique elements that symbolize ideas or concepts. Through the use of symbols such as the beast, the pig’s head, and even Piggy’s specs, Golding demonstrates that humans, when liberated from society’s rules and taboos, allow their natural capacity for evil to dominate their existence. One of the most important and most obvious symbols in Lord of the Flies is the object that gives the novel its name, the pig’s head. Golding’s description of the slaughtered animal’s head on a spear is very graphic and even frightening. The pig’s head is depicted as “dim-eyed, grinning faintly, blood blackening between the teeth,” and the “obscene thing” is covered with a “black blob of flies” that “tickled under his nostrils” (William Golding, Lord of the Flies, New York, Putnam Publishing Group, 1954, p. 137, 138). As a result of this detailed, striking image, the reader becomes aware of the great evil and darkness represented by the Lord of the Flies, and when Simon begins to converse with the seemingly inanimate, devil-like object, the source of that wickedness is revealed. Even though the conversation may be entirely a hallucination, Simon learns that the beast, which has long since frightened the other boys on the island, is not an external force. In fact, the head of the slain pig tells him, “Fancy thinking the beast was something you could hunt and kill! Ö You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you?” (p. 143). That is to say, the evil, epitomized by the pig’s head, that is causing the boys’ island society to decline is that which is inherently present within man.