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How does Ralph change throughout Lord of the Flies?

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sexylindsay | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 15, 2008 at 12:38 PM via web

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How does Ralph change throughout Lord of the Flies?

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

Posted April 15, 2008 at 8:31 PM (Answer #1)

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At the start of the story, Ralph is optimistic, calm, and confident.  He seems to know what needs to be done to get rescued and he knows that leadership is required.  Since he does immediately state the obvious need for leadership, he is a natural choice to the boys to be the leader.  He lacks the ability to lead however.  He does not continue to command respect from the boys, he does not see that things get done and get done correctly; instead, he complains to the boys that they aren't doing things right.  Unfortunately, he does little more than complain.  By chapter 9, Ralph is beginning to sink into savagery like the other boys.  He actively participates in the circle of chanting and dancing boys who kill Simon, even if he doesn't actually lift a spear and stab at Simon himself.  He realizes later, the horror of what happened.  That attests to the idea that he still has some civility left in him.  By the last chapter, however, he is slinking through the brush and trees on the island, trying to think like a wild pig as he attempts to elude the boys who are hunting him in order to kill him.  He has had to become savage in order to survive.  At the end, when the boys are discovered by the naval officer, Ralph has just enough civilization left in him to cry for all the civilization he has lost.

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permabound2 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted October 31, 2010 at 10:11 AM (Answer #2)

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In the beginning of the novel, Ralph is the cool and charismatic character.  The boys elect him over Jack, and under Ralph's leadership, the boys are somewhat productive; they try and build shelters and tend the signal fire.  However, as the boys lose sight of their goal (to be rescued) they start to shy away from Ralph, and go to Jack.  Ralph berates them about not following the rules, so the boys get annoyed with Ralph.  They think he is obsessed with maintaing the signal fire.  As the boys turn to Jack and to savagery, so does Ralph, even if he doesn't realize it.  Ralph tries to kill a pig, and he was part of the group that killed Simon.  He also almost forgot what "rescue" was.  However, aside from Piggy and Simon, who both died, Ralph was the most civilized of the boys througout the entire book.

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chocolatekirby007 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted September 16, 2013 at 9:08 AM (Answer #4)

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He loses conviction and belief in order, authority and civilisation once he witnesses the savagery that the school boys, descned into.

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taykennedy7 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 10, 2012 at 1:00 AM (Answer #3)

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At the start of the story, Ralph is optimistic, calm, and confident.  He seems to know what needs to be done to get rescued and he knows that leadership is required.  Since he does immediately state the obvious need for leadership, he is a natural choice to the boys to be the leader.  He lacks the ability to lead however.  He does not continue to command respect from the boys, he does not see that things get done and get done correctly; instead, he complains to the boys that they aren't doing things right.  Unfortunately, he does little more than complain.  By chapter 9, Ralph is beginning to sink into savagery like the other boys.  He actively participates in the circle of chanting and dancing boys who kill Simon, even if he doesn't actually lift a spear and stab at Simon himself.  He realizes later, the horror of what happened.  That attests to the idea that he still has some civility left in him.  By the last chapter, however, he is slinking through the brush and trees on the island, trying to think like a wild pig as he attempts to elude the boys who are hunting him in order to kill him.  He has had to become savage in order to survive.  At the end, when the boys are discovered by the naval officer, Ralph has just enough civilization left in him to cry for all the civilization he has lost.

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