Explain Ralph's use of power in Lord of the Flies.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Ralph attempts to use power judiciously on the island--to improve the quality of life for the stranded boys, ensure their survival, and to implement a plan for rescue.  For Ralph, being chief is not so much about the 'power' of the job, but the responsibility behind it; he feels the weight of this task keenly and takes it upon himself to see to the well-being of the other boys, particularly the littluns.  One outstanding example of this is when Ralph commits himself to building the huts on the beach for the boys' protection at night.  Even when the majority of the older boys have abandoned the job except for Simon, Ralph continues working to build the huts, hoping that the protection of the four primitive walls will ease the smaller boys' nightmares.  Ralph's use of power strikes the reader as being beneficiary; he does not use his role as chief to intimidate, nor does he use power selfishly like Jack. 

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