Search Menu


    

Ralph

Ralph

Ralph is the athletic, charismatic protagonist of Lord of the Flies. Elected the leader of the boys at the beginning of the novel, Ralph is the primary representative of order, civilization, and productive leadership in the novel. While most of the other boys initially are concerned with playing, having fun, and avoiding work, Ralph sets about building huts and thinking of ways to maximize their chances of being rescued. For this reason, Ralph’s power and influence over the other boys are secure at the beginning of the novel. However, as the group gradually succumbs to savage instincts over the course of the novel, Ralph’s position declines precipitously while Jack’s rises. Eventually, most of the boys except Piggy leave Ralph’s group for Jack’s, and Ralph is left alone to be hunted by Jack’s tribe. Ralph’s commitment to civilization and morality is strong, and his main wish is to be rescued and returned to the society of adults. In a sense, this strength gives Ralph a moral victory at the end of the novel, when he casts the Lord of the Flies to the ground and takes up the stake it is impaled on to defend himself against Jack’s hunters.

In the earlier parts of the novel, Ralph is unable to understand why the other boys would give in to base instincts of bloodlust and barbarism. The sight of the hunters chanting and dancing is baffling and distasteful to him. As the novel progresses, however, Ralph, like Simon, comes to understand that savagery exists within all the boys. Ralph remains determined not to let this savagery -overwhelm him, and only briefly does he consider joining Jack’s tribe in order to save himself. When Ralph hunts a boar for the first time, however, he experiences the exhilaration and thrill of bloodlust and violence. When he attends Jack’s feast, he is swept away by the frenzy, dances on the edge of the group, and participates in the killing of Simon. This firsthand knowledge of the evil that exists within him, as within all human beings, is tragic for Ralph, and it plunges him into listless despair for a time. But this knowledge also enables him to cast down the Lord of the Flies at the end of the novel. Ralph’s story ends semi-tragically: although he is rescued and returned to civilization, when he sees the naval officer, he weeps with the burden of his new knowledge about the human capacity for evil.

Test Your Understanding with the Ralph Quiz

TAKE THE QUIZ
+
#

RALPH QUIZ

What does Jack represent?
Order, civilization, productive leadership
Spiritual goodness
Test Your Understanding with the Ralph Quiz
TAKE THE QUIZ

Ralph QUIZ

+
Test Your Understanding with the Ralph Quiz
TAKE THE QUIZ
This is for question 4 i think!

by laloca52411, October 05, 2012

piggy finds a conch . and they use it to call a meeting .

13 Comments

79 out of 261 people found this helpful

How was it brave that Simon spoke to the Lord of the Flies?

by waitwhathomework, November 18, 2012

Maybe because the other boys were like afraid to (Fear of the Unknown?) or something? He also discovered the truth? Idk help?

9 Comments

25 out of 76 people found this helpful

Questions for Ch. 11 and 12

by cooper2121, December 14, 2012

11:
1. What symbols does Golding use to show that civilization has been destroyed on the island?
2. What do you think is meant by "They understood only too well the liberation into savagery that the concealing paint brought"?

12:
1. How does Golding change his boys from savages back to little boys in the eyes of the reader?
2. What is the purpose of the naval officer's presence in the surrounding waters, and what is the irony of this in the light of his reaction to the "fun and games" of the boys?

6 Comments

54 out of 95 people found this helpful

See all 140 readers' notes   →