Lord of the Flies: Character analysis

Essay by dreary_eyedHigh School, 10th gradeA+, February 2004

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Lord of the Flies: Character Analysis

Ralph: An attractive boy and a natural leader, the sort of intelligent, well-adjusted, athletic boy who easily might become the idol of his schoolmates. We meet him in the first chapter as he leads the way out of the jungle while Piggy lumbers after him. That he is fair-haired suggests that he is a child of fortune, one who is blessed by nature with grace, strength, and luck. There is recklessness to his manner. He seems happy at the prospect of living on a deserted island, away from the influence of adults. The setting fosters dreams of heroic adventure in which he is the protagonist. He will overcome all of the difficulties present in his surroundings, lead a joyously exciting jungle life, then optimistically await a glamorous rescue by his naval-officer father. Unfortunately, his dreams are frustrated when nature and his fellow youths refuse to cooperate with his romantic vision.

And, as his dream becomes more difficult of attainment, he loses confidence and calmness and begins to indulge himself in escape fantasies and dreams of the past. Gradually, he forfeits the respect of the other boys. A contrasting characteristic to his tendency to dream is his common sense. He is quick to assess the situation of the boys in realistic terms. He sees what must be done for their survival and rescue and sets about arranging parliamentary meetings, building a signal fire, and constructing huts. He appraises the advice of Piggy according to its practicality. He fights against the superstition and terror of the boys as being detrimental to the organized progress of their society. Ralph is by no means a perfect character. He is often mean to those weaker than himself, particularly the faithful Piggy. Occasionally he performs rash and foolish actions. He...