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In Lord of the Flies, compare and contrast Ralph and Simon; both seem to be good...

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elolpz | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 26, 2011 at 10:25 AM via web

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In Lord of the Flies, compare and contrast Ralph and Simon; both seem to be good characters. Is there a difference in their goodness?

Explain how each could be considered good people.

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted July 28, 2011 at 6:06 AM (Answer #1)

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In an analysis of Simon, he is considered a Christ-like figure. He is a picture of goodness. Previously to his death, he was rushing to tell the boys that there is no beast. He had determined that the beast was the parachutist. He cared about the others. He did not want them to be worrying about a beast that does not exist.

Also, Simon was always kind enough to feed the littluns. The littluns could not reach the fruit, so Simon would pick the fruit and feed them. This proves how much he cared about others. At other times, Simon would try to reassure Ralph that everything would be okay. When Ralph was worried about the fire going out, Simon assured him they would be rescued. Simon tried to make Ralph smile. Indeed, Simon is Ralph's helper:

Among all the boys, it is Simon whose behavior is perhaps the most exemplary during the first part of the story. He is Ralph's faithful helper in building the shelters.

Ralph is a born leader:

He is 'sunny and decent, sensible and considerate.' He seems to be genuinely interested in the welfare of the entire group and can get along with all kinds of people.

While Ralph is concerned with everyone's welfare in building shelters, he does not appear to be the better man while witnessing the killing of Simon. He is in some ways responsible for Simon's death. He did not try and stop the boys from murdering Simon. For this reason, he feels guilty which shows that he still has a heart for what is right and wrong:

The shame that Ralph, Piggy, Sam, and Eric all feel the day after Simon's death, despite their attempts to ignore it, show that civilized values still have some hold on them. Yet the incident marks an important turning point in the story, for it is the first time that the boys have deliberately killed one of their own.

No doubt, Ralph is deeply troubled over Simon's death. He is also afraid of being harmed himself later in the story. Overall, Ralph maintains an effort to do the right thing. He tries to keep the fire burning. He tries to keep order. He never gives in to Jack and his savage ways.

While Ralph is fleeing for his very life, he runs into the naval officer and realizes he is rescued. Ralph's goodness is evident when he loses his composure, sobbing for the losses of Simon and Piggy:

Ralph breaks down and sobs, mourning Simon and mourning Piggy.

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