Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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Describe Ralph's physical features and also his reaction to being on the island in Lord of the Flies.

Ralph is an athletic, typically English 12-year-old boy with fair hair, a slim "golden" body, and broad shoulders. He looks like a natural leader because he is tall, has a "stillness" about him, and is attractive. His reaction to being on the island is one of delight, but this does not last long.

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We get a description of Ralph's physical features in the first few pages of the book. We know that he has blond hair. In fact, the author refers to him as “the boy with fair hair.”

His physique is also contrasted with Piggy’s when they first meet. Ralph is described as the “fair boy” versus Piggy, who is described as the “fat boy.” This contrast clues us to the fact that Ralph is probably thin and well-built. In fact, we learn that he is athletic because he performs a hand-stand right there in the middle of the scar.

At just over twelve years of age, he has “lost the prominent tummy of childhood” (his baby fat). However, he is not “yet old enough for adolescence to have made him awkward.” The initial impression we get is that he is limber and nimble enough to do a head-stand on the beach. The logical extension is that Ralph is athletic. The fact that he is not "awkward" supports this view.

Yet he is not painfully thin. In fact, Golding goes so far as to say that Ralph...

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