Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding
Start Free Trial

At the end of Lord of the Flies, why does Ralph cry?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the end of the novel Lord of the Flies, Ralph cries. He cries for the loss of innocence of the boys on the island. Ralph cries because he realizes that he almost dies at the hand of Jack and Roger. Also, Ralph is relieved to see the naval officer. He realizes that he is saved, but he cries for the loss of his friend Piggy.


Ralph cries for the end of innocence in the lives of the boys on the island:

Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy.

No doubt, Ralph realizes that Jack and his hunters have become savages. He realizes that Jack has become savage in his murderous actions. Jack has become a symbol of evil. Without restraints on the island, Jack has become barbaric in his actions. He has gruesomely murdered the pigs on the island. He has seemed to literally enjoy decapitating the pigs. He has enjoyed slinging blood on his hunters. He and the other hunters have laughed hysterically when Roger forces his spear into the anus of a sow which screams in agony as Roger twists the spear to cause the sow as much pain as he can enforce. 

They corner the wounded pig, and when she falls they are on her. Roger is particularly cruel, driving in his spear slowly by leaning his weight upon it until the sow screams in agony. Then Jack cuts its throat. Jack begins to rub the blood on his hands onto Maurice, and then they notice Roger withdraw his spear. They become hysterical because he had pinned the sow by driving the spear through its anus.

No doubt, Ralph has fought against this savagery. He has tried to be strong and lead the boys into behavior that represents civilized nature.

Jack has led the hunt which has caused Ralph to run for his life. Jack has been jealous of Ralph since they were stranded on the island. Truly, Jack has lost his sense of what is right and wrong. For this reason, Ralph cries. He has tried to do what is right all along. He has tried to be strong for too long. When he sees the naval officer has come to his rescue, Ralph weeps with a sense of relief to know that the horrible ordeal is over. He can return to society where discipline and safety is enforced. His tears are a sign of joy and sadness all at the same time. He is relieved to be rescued but he is saddened by the evil savagery that lurks in the heart of Jack and his hunters. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team