Lord Of The Flies

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade February 2002

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What would a person do if he/she was on a plane and suddenly crash, fell down from the sky and land on an island? After reading the novel by William GoldingLord of the Flies, one can find a similar experience that happened to the main characters. The main characters are boys, not adults; they are twelve year olds and younger. The boys play civilization: there are two groups the biguns (the ones that do everything) and the littluns (that just play all day). The most important biguns are Simon, Jack, Piggy and Ralph; each of them is different in his own way and provides something different and important for the group. Simon represents the natural goodness in all human beings, opposite to the natural evilness represented by Jack and the enforced moral values of civilization represented by Ralph and Piggy. Piggy also represents the scientific, practical part of civilization; he is the one that can see everything which is metaphorically shown by his hair not growing.

Ralph can see the problems but not as clearly as Piggy; this is known when Golding emphasizes the getting his hair away from his face. Ralph is the most important one because he's chosen chief by the other boys, represents the civilizing instinct within human beings, as opposed to the savage instincts symbolized by Jack, the hunter. Ralph is voted chief of the island at the beginning of the novel because he is the one with the conch, which symbolizes unity; this is what creates hatred between him and Jack. Ralph represents the order, the hard work to try to live civilized, and the productive leadership of the novel.

At the beginning of the novel when Ralph meets Piggy, he is the one that is having fun and going crazy. After the first meeting with all the boys he is the one concerned about shelters, security and ways of getting a fire to transmit smoke signals for a ship to see, and get rescued. By this he represent the order of the group. In the part when he is voted chief he acts very maturely by saying to the boys "Listen everybody. I've got to have time to think things out. I can't decide what to do straight off. If this isn't an island we might get rescued straight away. So we've got to decide if this is an island or ot. Everybody must stay round here and wait and not go away. Three of us-if we take more we'd get all mixed, and lose each other-three of us will go on an expedition and find out. I'll go, and Jack, and, and "¦" (p. 23-24) This is his first speech, where the reader can know that Ralph will be a good leader because he has ideas of how to have an organized civilization; this is shown by the words "I've got to have time to think things out. I can't decide what to do straight away." This tells the reader he'll be cautious about the decisions he makes because he will think things twice before actually making any decisions. Ralph is a very respected leader by all of the other kids, with the exception of Jack that's jealous with him because of the title of "chief," which helps him for his decisions to be taken seriously and in fact be done.

Just as Ralph demonstrated his leadership by bringing order to the group, he also demonstrated his interest of living their days in the island a little more civilized and not like savages by working hard. The first act of hard work is when he suggests making a fire "We can help them 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." (p. 38) A fire is the most essential thing they need on the island to get rescued, and Ralph suggests that they produce smoke by making fire, and indeed everyone works hard to make it. Another very important thing they need is houses or shelters, how they are called in the novel, and Ralph works very hard to make at least three of them "They're hopeless. The older ones aren't much better. D'you see? All day I've been working with Simon. No one else. They're bathing, or eating, or playing." (p. 50) The words "All day I've been working with Simon" suggests that Ralph is interested in the enhanced life for everyone that he'll do anything for them to feel more like home. He works all day to build three small, shaky shelters that will help them to protect from the rain, while Jack and his choir are out hunting and don't even bring food, and the others are playing and eating and having fun. Ralph thinks not only on himself but on the whole group because he works hard all day to improve their life style and live a little more civilized.

Through out the whole novel, the reader can notice Ralph's productive leadership by the various ways he is concerned about the problems they have, such as letting the fire run out to go hunting, and about the wisdom he needs to handle everyone. Ralph gets really mad when Jack and his hunters go hunting and leave the fire alone and it runs out. "There was a ship. Out there. You said you'd keep the fire going and you let it out!' He took a step toward Jack, who turned and faced him. "˜They might have seen us. We might have gone home-." (p. 70) This little speech represents Ralph necessity to return home, and it explains the importance of the fire to get rescued. Also it can tell the reader that Ralph is a very good leader and that if Jack would have been voted chief, his only concern would be hunting and not, getting rescued. Ralph has lots of spare time to think about what's going on and what he as a leader has to improve. The following passage explains how hard it is to be a good leader: "Ralph moved impatiently. The trouble was, if you were a chief you had to think, you had to be wise. And then the occasion slipped by so that you had to grab at a decision. This made you think; because thought was a valuable thing, that is "¦. Only decided Ralph as he faced the chief's seat, I can't think. Not like Piggy. Once more that evening Ralph had to adjust his values. Piggy could think. He could go step inside that fat head of his, only Piggy was no chief. But Piggy, for all his ludicrous body, had brains. Ralph was a specialist in thought now, and could recognized thought in another." (p. 78) In this passage, Ralph admits that Piggy can think and that he is something else than just a "fat boy with no brains." He admits that he can think and that to be chief he has to be very wise, but he also admits that he has learned some things from Piggy, who is the responsible one for reminding him of their goal: "Getting rescued." Ralph is a very wise little boy, considering he is only twelve years old, who is also a very productive leader, this is proven by his emphasis on the need of a fire, to get rescued, and his admition of Piggy's intelligence.

Ralph represents the order and need to not become savage, the hard work to try to live a civilized life, and the productive leadership to help them survive, in the novel. Ralph's commitment to civilization and values is so high in a way which helps him to maintain his dream of getting rescued and returning home to his family and to society where adults are in charge of everything, and he can enjoy life. Ralph shows his good leadership to the boys in various ways through out the novel, like when he emphasized the need of shelters and fire, to be able to survive and when he shows he is a good leader that will make the right decisions for everyone to try to live happily. This novel takes place in World War I, the boys are from Great Britain, from wealthy families, their parents send them there so they can survive and live a safer life. The kids don't know this, and if they did they would see this experience from a totally different point of view. If one of the boys would know why they really are there, would they act in a different way? Would they have different priorities? Or would everything be the same?