From the beginning of Lord of the Flies to the end, how did Ralph move from civilized behavior to savagery?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Ralph struggles with maintaining his grip on civilization throughout the novel.  He fully feels the allure of the hunt and savagery.  The reader especially notices this in chapter seven when Ralph participates in the impromptu hunt of the wild boar that crashes through the brush.  The other boys openly admire Ralph for hitting the boar with his spear, and Ralph in turn, "sunned himself in their new respect and felt that hunting was good after all" (113).  In less than two days' time, Ralph will participate in the hunt again, only this time in the context of Jack's wild dance on the beach that results in Simon's death.  Afterwards, Ralph struggles even more to maintain his connection to civilization. 

As the novel progresses, Ralph begins to forget why maintaining the signal fire is so important, knowing that "there was something good about a fire. Something overwhelmingly good," but is not able to verbalize to Samneric what that reason is (163).  Piggy comes to his rescue, reminding him "how else are we going to be rescued?" (163).  Golding uses detail and snatches of the boys' conversation to portray Ralph as a character with good morals, but one who begins to cave to the pressure of uncivilized life on the island.


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