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Leadership is a characteristic that all of humanity strives for. Be it women or men, we all look for
leadership to be guiding, dependent, and comforting. In the novel The Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
creates a character, Ralph, who is chosen to be the leader of a group of boys stranded on a deserted island.
Ralph possesses certain attributes that make him a both good and bad leader. Golding develops this concept
of leadership by providing many examples of Ralph's ability to conduct order on the island.
During the first half of the novel, Ralph portrays himself as a fairly adequate leader. In the
beginning of the book, Ralph discovers a conch shell that produces a loud bellow when blown. Ralph blows
the conch and produces a sound so loud that it is heard throughout the island. Moments later, boys began
appearing from the forest in hopes of finding the source of the loud noise. All of the boys agree that in
order to survive on the island, they must have some sort of leader. Jack and Piggy were the obvious leaders
for Jack was bold and Piggy intelligent. "But 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 powerfully, there was the
conch" (Golding 21). The boy who had blown the shell, the one who had successfully brought the boys in a
state of order was, in the boy's view, the most comprehensible leader. They based his leadership skills on
the fact that he had congregated the boys toge!
ther and his envious appearance. Ralph accepts his reign as the leader and begins giving orders. For the
most part, the boys were eager and willing to listen to Ralph instead of Jack for a change. An example of
the boy's willingness to accept Ralph as their leader is shown when "Ralph sat on a fallen trunk...On his
right were most of the choir; on his left the larger boys who had not known each other before the
evacuation; before him small children squatted in the grass" (30). This attentiveness shown by the boys
proves that Ralph has acquired the attention needed to run the island successfully. Thus far in the book,
Ralph has proved that his leadership skills are sharp and keen enough to direct the island until later in
chapter 2, Ralph shows a flaw in his leadership abilities. At meetings, the boy's sole means of
communication came directly from the presence of the conch. During a particular meeting, "The assembly
was lifted toward safety by his words. They liked and now res!
pected him" (35). The boys began chattering among themselves when "Ralph waved the conch" (35). At
sight of the conch, the boys quieted. "He went on in the silence, borne on his triumph" (35). This quote by
Golding directly shows the relationship between leadership and the conch. Without the conch, Ralph was
nothing. Just another Piggy or Simon mixed in among the crowd.
The second half of the novel portrays a different Ralph and a different leadership as the unity of
the island begins to break up. One example of this is shown after the boys discover the "beast". The boys
are in a state of panic and confusion. Ralph insults Jack's hunters by calling them boys with sticks. This
upsets Jack and he decides to take it upon himself and call a meeting when in fact, calling meetings was
Ralph's job. Jack blows on the conch and the boys immediately respond by gathering at the platform. Ralph
protests Jacks calling of the meeting but soon gives into Jack and allows him to speak at the meeting.
Throughout the beginning of the book, leadership was Ralph's and Ralph's only. For the first time in the
novel however, the leadership has changed. Jack challenged Ralph's authority and easily won. Later in the
book, the boy's split apart into two groups consisting of Ralph and the young boys and Jack and his hunters.
Jack's tribe later went to the beach were R!
alph's tribe stayed and stated "Me and my hunters, we're living along the beach by a flat rock. We hunt and
feast and have fun.
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