How can you recognize the loss of Ralph’s authority?And why does he lose his authority?

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luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ralph begins to lose his authority over the boys in chapter 2 when, despite his attempt to create order and establish rules, by the end of the chapter, one of the littluns has been lost.  Ralph tries to lead by appealing to reason.  He fails to realize that he is dealing with children who do not necessarily respond to reason; they respond to more concrete leadership. Jack's style of leadership, which is to command the boys to act, is what the boys respond to (see Jack's meeting in chapter 10).  By the end of chapter 9, with the death of Simon, Ralph has lost complete control, Jack's tribe is fully savage, and Jack is the leader.  Ralph continued, even as his authority continued to disintegrate throughout the novel, to appeal to reason to get the boys to obey him and follow his lead.  That was Ralph's downfall as a leader and what made him ineffectual.

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Lord of the Flies

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