Although Ralph criticizes the boys for their lack of cooperation, does he bear some of the responsibility for the group to achieve its goals in William Golding's Lord of the Flies? 

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies follows a group of young English schoolboys who have been left stranded on a tropical island, without any adults, after a plane crash. As soon as the boys gather and meet for the first time, they immediately elect one of the older boys, Ralph, to be their chief.

It is true that Ralph has several good ideas which need to be carried out, including building shelters and keeping a fire going in the hope of being rescued by a passing ship. The plans seem quite good and the boys meet regularly; however, Ralph's plans are never fully implemented because he is is an ineffectual leader. 

In chapter three, Ralph expresses his frustrations to Jack, chief of the hunters. Jack advises him to call more meetings, but Ralph knows that is not the answer. He says, 


“Meetings. Don’t we love meetings? Every day. Twice a day. We talk.” He got on one elbow. “I bet if I blew the conch this minute, they’d come running. Then we’d be, you know, very solemn, and someone would say we ought to build a jet, or a submarine, or a TV set. When the meeting was over they’d work for five minutes, then wander off or go hunting.”

It is clear that Ralph has set some worthy goals, but it is equally clear that he is unable to get anyone but Simon to implement them. Ralph has no one but himself to blame for that.

Read the study guide:
Lord of the Flies

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question