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Lord of the Flies Essay: Importance of Ralph

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Introduction

Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding. The novel discusses how culture created by man fails, using as an example a group of British school-boys stuck on a deserted island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results. The story stances on the already controversial subjects of human nature and individual welfare versus the common good; and the novel widely explores certain themes-most that relate to the inherent evil that exists in all human beings and the malicious nature of mankind. In Lord of the Flies, Golding shows how the boys' gradual transformation from being civilized, well-mannered people-turns to a savage nature; and their inner 'ritualistic beast' develops. This culminates in a vivid and disastrous ending that is both significant and allegorical. Throughout William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies, a post apocalyptic scenario is portrayed in which a group of young British schoolboys are stranded upon a desert island, as aforementioned. The beast within; an evil longing for power, which is developed by the build-up of fear, gradually begins to manifest itself inside each of the boys-although they all deal with it in very different ways. Ralph, the athletic and charismatic protagonist, is seen as one of the key characters to withstand this base of evil nature; and he shows a strong sense of leadership and righteousness throughout the course of the novel. Ralph is probably the most likable character in the entire story, and although he does not ponder as deeply like Piggy, is not as spiritual like Simon, or as energetic as Jack, there is something in him that attracts the audience. ...read more.

Middle

Unlike Ralph though, Simon and Piggy are never very practical; Piggy isn't listened to and he is of an annoyance to most of the boys; and as my previous quote suggests, Simon always disappears. Golding first shows this practicality of Ralph's when he states that one of the first things they needed to do as a group was to light a fire on top of the mountain for passing ships to see. 'There's another thing. We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire'. Ralph reasons that this is the right course of action whilst the majority of other boys are content with playing on the beach and swimming, mainly the novels antagonist Jack Merridew. Ralph's ultimate goals whilst on the island are to get rescued, have shelter and ensure that all the boys remain safe. Everything he does is with these goals in mind. Ralph attempts to convince the others that they need to abide to his regulations if they wish to live in a clean state and have the possibility of being rescued. However, after the Hunter's-made up of Jack's choir and some of the older boys-abandon most of Ralph's rules, Ralph comes down harshly upon them and chastises those involved. Two examples of this are when the hunters do not maintain the fire ('" you let the bloody fire out"' as Ralph states angrily), and also ...read more.

Conclusion

Although Ralph may have used forceful language in several instances throughout the novel and sometimes treated people with a great deal of disrespect, for the most part Ralph was simply trying to help the person or group in question. A key example of this is when he speaks with disdain to the littluns with regard to their hygiene and their attitude; "I said if you're taken short you keep away from the fruit. That's dirty...I said that's dirty!" This may be seen as forceful and it even could be said that Ralph was trying to assert dominance over the younger boys. However it is quite clear from the text that he was telling the boys off for their own good, he ultimately wanted them to enjoy a high quality of living. This is in complete contrast to the character of Jack who simply abuses his power and asserts his dominance simply out of a primeval thirst for power. In fact, the only instance in which we see Ralph abusing another boy simply for the sake of it is when he teases Piggy with regard to his much-hated nickname. "Piggy! Piggy!" as he mocks. Yet even in this most extreme of situation, Ralph shows a great deal of remorse and even apologises to Piggy. The act is also very stereotypical of a young British boy, and demonstrates Ralph's playful attitude at the beginning of the novel. The character of Ralph shows readers through his actions and personality within Golding's Lord of the Flies that man does have a just and reasonable side within that can shine through in the most horrific of circumstances. ...read more.

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