Lord of the Flies

Authors Avatar

Ralph, one of the first characters encountered in the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, is a young, fair-haired boy of twelve. Ralph is stranded on a deserted island during World War II with a group of English kids. Their plane crashed and the pilot is nowhere to be seen so the group of kids are stranded under no adult supervision. Since there are no adults to take charge, Ralph a natural leader, is elected as the chief of the boys. As the novel progresses, his leadership is threatened by Jack´s instinct towards acting savagely and lust for power. Ralph learns that most boys have their own ideas of right and wrong and sometimes have totally different priorities. Golding presents Ralph as a character that symbolizes order, civilization, and leadership in a society.

Ralph first gains order from blowing on the conch shell to summon the boys after being separated from the crash. Since Ralph is the keeper of the conch, he is elected chief and has the power over the boys. The narrator describes Ralph by saying, "There was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerful, there was the conch." (p. 19) The conch represents order and power and it is used for the right of speaking in the tribe. He tries to instill a sense of order into the boys. Order is seen when Ralph calls the children into an assembly by using the conch and tells them, "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?A fire! Make a fire!" (p. 33) Ralph is demanding to the children that a fire is needed and ordering them to make it. He is testing his power by raising his voice so that he can keep the children under control. Order is very important to Ralph because he is chief which means he must maintain it and without it, the children would run wild doing as they pleased
Join now!

Ralph´s role as a leader is very strong on the deserted island. Like all leaders, he experiences glories and downfalls, high points and low points during his status as chief on the island. Ralph sets out showing his leadership by suggesting to build huts and thinking of ways how to maximize their chances for retrieval. Ralph starts their first task with an expedition to find out if they are on an island so that they can analyze how to be rescued. Ralph displays his leadership when he says, "Everybody must stay round here and wait and not go ...

This is a preview of the whole essay