In chapter 12 of Lord of the Flies, Ralph confesses he was in charge but then realizes he was not. Who or what really is?

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Ralph says he is in charge because that was his designated role. Throughout the novel, we saw his loss of control to Jack and the savage boys. However, in truth Ralph knew who or what was really in control over the last few days, and he knew it in deepest part of his being:

And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.

Each of these concepts was a form of the beast within. Innocence will always come to an end. According to Golding, man does have a dark heart. Finally, truth is often killed as we saw evidenced through both the characters Simon and Piggy. These concepts that we could consider in charge might easily be labeled the evil of man, corruption of man, or selfishness of man.

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