In the novel Lord of the Flies, Golding uses Ralph to represent democracy and friendship.

Authors Avatar

What is the significance of Ralph in LOTF

In the novel “Lord of the Flies”, Golding uses Ralph to represent democracy and friendship. He also uses him, however, to represent how the innate goodness of someone can be overridden by their “essential illness” and vice versa.

At the beginning of the novel, Ralph and Piggy find the conch. It is used to assemble all the boys on the island, forming a meeting. It is Ralph who realises that a leader is needed. They call a vote and Ralph is chosen, “Let him be chief with the trumpet thing”. Yet, in-spite of his power, Ralph chooses to delegate. He evidently realises how Jack needs to be kept occupied. He also realises that Simon is vulnerable, so invites him along to explore the island.

Ralph’s ability to judge characters, delegate power, and rule using democracy, represents how he was the perfect leader, and how without him, society would inevitably have collapsed immediately.

Join now!

Golding explores “man-kinds essential illness” and uses Ralph to express his ideas. Ralph’s appearance is described as proclaiming “no devil”, yet in-spite of this, Ralph still partakes in the murdering of Simon. Although he tries to convince himself that the affair was “an accident” he becomes aware of the boys true capacity for evil, “I’m frightened. Of us”. Evidently, Ralph realised that without grown-ups, anarchy would (and did) strike, and if law-and-order weren’t resorted soon, then the island would become consumed in chaos and destruction.

A further example of when Ralph is overwhelmed by the capacity to ...

This is a preview of the whole essay

Here's what a star student thought of this essay


The Quality of Written Communication is fine. There is no cause for concern with regard to any of the language that has been used. the spelling, grammar and punctuation are all perfect and indicate a candidate with exceptional control over their written expression. Either that, or the candidate has wisely read and re-read their work for typing/writing errors and has accordingly rectified these. The results are clear as this candidate's essay is void of any error and so I greatly recommend other candidates take the time to do this before the final hand-in date/you close the exam booklet.

The Level of Analysis is very good. The candidate delves to proficient depth in appraising the symbolic resonance of the character of Ralph and his role within the play. Where the candidate impresses most though, is how they take the themes and symbols beyond the pages to appreciate what Golding was trying to achieve not just for his audience, but for the book in general. The book is trying to teach us how there are innate drives within us that bay to our most primitive, un-civilised desires and it's brilliant to see this recognised at GCSE Level. There is every evidence of a candidate who understands how to form a strong and cohesive analysis of character, with excellent quotes for reference and insightful comments made on them, helping this answer remain thoroughly engaging - one I am sure will stand out against other answers of the same question for any examiner.

This answer easily attains - and goes far beyond - a top grade candidate answer for GCSE. The answer is extremely clear, the point made are concise and very effective by being to-the-point and succinct with the question being asked at all times; they also demonstrate abilities of great perception and sensitive understanding of the character of Ralph and to some extent (which would no doubt come to the fore if required), the other characters relevant to the essay. The candidate makes it clear from the very first lines of their introductory paragraph the intentions for the novel and what Golding aimed to achieve with the character of Ralph. Being an allegorical novel, each character is a symbol, and Ralph has been correctly identified and explored here as the boy who represents how the innate savagery that exists in all of us can be won over in the end, and how it's the moments when our most urgent desires can be realised that we succumbs to the more animalistic state. The essay is structured perfectly. Plenty of care has been taken to ensure that all the information can be read and appreciated with ease. This essay feels fluid and confident in it's analysis as a result of the strong structure. The introductory and conclusive paragraphs a nicely formed so they bookend the essay, helping to create a unified piece of analysis directly focused on the question.