What is an example of Ralph ignoring his responsibility to ensure safety in Lord of the Flies?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An example of Ralph ignoring his responsibility is his failure to listen to Piggy. 

Ralph is selected leader, but he has no actual leadership skills.  In fact, Ralph feels very incompetent.  He understands the importance of his role as leader, and knows it is his job to keep everyone safe.  Yet he can’t seem to get the boys to build shelters or keep the fire going.

After he is chosen for blowing the conch, Ralph starts off well enough in the leader role.

“Listen, everybody. I’ve got to have time to think things out. I can’t decide what to do straight off. If this isn’t an island we might be rescued straight away. So we’ve got to decide if this is an island….” (ch 1)

Once leader, Ralph sometimes listens to Piggy but never respects him.  He tells the other boys his name is Piggy, and Piggy never gets to use his real name.  The other boys ignore and bully Piggy, and so does Ralph.

As time goes on, Ralph begins losing control of the group.  He does not listen to Piggy’s suggestions.

“We got a lot of sticks. We could have a sundial each. Then we should know what the time was.”

“A fat lot of good that would be.”

“You said you wanted things done. So as we could be rescued.”

“Oh, shut up.” (ch 4)

Ralph contributed to the lack of respect the boys had for Piggy and his ideas.  Piggy could have been seen as a valuable source of ideas.  Instead, Ralph ensured that he remained a joke.  In the end, Piggy was the only one who stood by Ralph, even though Ralph never really stood by him like he should have.

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Lord of the Flies

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