Homework Help

What is a song, work of art, or poem that represents Ralph from Lord of the Flies by...

user profile pic

pmarko62 | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted September 11, 2013 at 8:46 PM via web

dislike 1 like

What is a song, work of art, or poem that represents Ralph from Lord of the Flies by William Golding?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 11, 2013 at 9:41 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

I wish I could think of a great work of art which would represent Ralph in William Golding's Lord of the Flies, but all I can think of is either the statue called "The Thinker" by Rodin (more satiric than realistic) or any version of St. George defeating the dragon, though that is not quite right, either. I do have one poem and two songs which represent some characteristics of Ralph in this novel. 

The poem is a familiar one--"If," by Rudyard Kipling. While everything in the poem is not applicable to Ralph, of course, there are portions which seem to fit quite well. The first stanza says:

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.
The truth is that Jack blames Ralph for many things, including the fact that he does not have unlimited authority on the island. Ralph does generally keep a level head in the midst of the troubles on the island, sometimes with Simon's and Piggy's help and sometimes on his own. 
 
These lines from the third stanza are even more applicable to Ralph's situation, especially after Piggy is murdered and Ralph is the lone holdout against total savagery on the island:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
The two songs which, for me, most exemplify Ralph in this novel are "Like a Rock" by Bob Seger and Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger." (Of course, I am likely to think of many others once I click "submit" on this answer.) While Seger's song is only appropriate for the Ralph we meet in the first chapter of the novel, the first stanza of the song is apt:
Stood there boldly 

Sweatin' in the sun 

Felt like a million 

Felt like number one 

The height of summer 

I'd never felt that strong 

Like a rock.
The other song choice is probably stronger--after all it is sung by a group called Survivor (which Ralph barely manages to be) and its central image is "the eye of the tiger." These lines from the song really work well to describe Ralph, or at least one side of him:

Rising up, straight to the top
Had the guts, got the glory
Went the distance, now I'm not going to stop
Just a man and his will to survive.
Finding just one song or other work to describe Ralph is difficult because he changes throughout the course of the novel; however, his most significant characteristics (good and bad) can certainly be captured in the sentiments and images of other works. 
 
 

Sources:

Lori Steinbach

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes