In William Golding‘s (1911-1993) novel “Lord of the Flies (1954),” Ralph is presented as the protagonist and one of the primary characters. Throughout the novel, Ralph struggles to maintain order and civilization on the deserted island where he and a group of other boys have been stranded.
1. Introduction and Election as Chief:
Ralph is introduced as a likable character with fair hair and good looks, and he quickly emerges as a natural leader. He is elected as the group’s chief early on, showing that the other boys recognize his leadership potential.
2. Establishment of Rules and Routines:
Ralph shows his leadership skills by creating rules and establishing routines that will help the boys survive and eventually be rescued. At the very beginning, Jack also expresses his argument in favour of rules and regulations. Jack says,
” I agree with Ralph. We, ve got to have rules and obey them.”
He emphasizes the importance of building shelters, starting fires, and maintaining a signal fire to attract rescuers.
More Notes: Lord of the Flies
3. Struggle Against Jack’s Influence:
Ralph’s leadership is challenged by the arrival of Jack, a charismatic and aggressive boy who forms his own group of followers. Jack becomes jealous of Ralph’s authority and seeks to undermine him. Ralph struggles to maintain control over the other boys and prevent them from descending into chaos.
4. Increasing Awareness of the Boys’ Savage Nature:
As the novel progresses, Ralph becomes increasingly aware of the boys’ savage nature and their potential for violence. He realizes that discipline and rules are necessary to prevent the boys from descending into anarchy.
5. Loss of Control:
Despite his best efforts, Ralph is unable to prevent the boys from turning on each other and resorting to violence. His struggle to maintain control over the other boys highlights the fragility of civilization and the ease with which it can be destroyed. Jack revolts against authority of Ralph. There is a clash between Ralph and Jack on the matter of authority. Jack says,
” I’m not going to play anymore. Not with you…I’m not going to be a part of Ralph’s lot”
6. Emotional Turmoil and Despair:
As his leadership is challenged and his followers begin to turn on him, Ralph experiences emotional turmoil and despair. He struggles to maintain his composure and remain focused on survival.
7. Heroic Efforts to Protect His Followers:
Throughout the novel, Ralph demonstrates his commitment to protecting his followers and maintaining order. He defends them against Jack’s attacks and risks his own safety to ensure their survival.
8. Symbol of Civilization and Order:
Despite his eventual loss of control, Ralph remains a symbol of civilization and order throughout the novel. He emphasizes the importance of discipline and rules, and his efforts to maintain order highlight the dangers of human nature and the importance of social norms.
In the end, Ralph’s character development comes to a head as he faces off against Jack and his followers in a final battle. Despite the odds against him, Ralph maintains his determination and leadership, refusing to give in to the savage impulses that have consumed the other boys. He is ultimately rescued and returns to civilization, forever changed by his experiences on the island.
Overall, Ralph’s character development in “Lord of the Flies” is a powerful exploration of the human condition and the challenges of leadership and morality in extreme situations.