Lord of the Flies


In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, a character that changes is Ralph. Ralph is the protagonist of the story and is portrayed as the typical human who does good but isn’t so out-of-touch that he could not relate to normal human temptations and weaknesses. However, Ralph’s rationality weakens do to adverse circumstances that unfold through out the novel.


Ralph seems to preside over the other boys by a natural sense of authority. Upon their arrival on the island, his rational thinking earns his significance in their society. ‘Of a ship comes near the island, they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain.’ Ralph’s audacity and implies that he possesses a strong sense of leadership. This is demonstrated when he discovers that Jack has neglected the fire, destroying their chance of rescue. ‘…We ought to die before we let the fire out.’


However, Ralph’s tenacious character weakens as he is torn between the anarchical demands of the public and his philosophy on morals and reasoning. ‘The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering. ‘While he wants to satisfy the wishes of the public, he must also realise that certain rules of behaviour must be followed in order to prevent anarchy. Unfortunately, anarchy defects order and when the fire goes out, Ralph looses his bearings, unsure of his next move or of himself. ‘We can’t keep one fire going and they don’t care. And what’s more, I don’t sometimes.’


Golding’s portrayal of Ralph delineates how human beings can loose their identity and values when they are in conflict with the demands and expectations of the society. Though Ralph falls under the contradiction of his philosophy and the adverse circumstances he is trapped in, he remains the one character who remains civilise through the entire novel.