Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

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How does Golding vividly portray Ralph's growing understanding of human nature in Lord of the Flies?

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Golding uses imagery to make Ralph's realizations about human nature and their effect on him especially vivid. When Jack and the hunters let the fire go out, the narrator describes "Ralph's scarred nakedness, and the sombre silence" of his group of boys. When Jack tries to explain how satisfying and successful and thrilling their hunt was, Ralph is unmoved. "One arm pointed at the empty horizon. His voice was loud and savage and struck them into silence. 'There was a ship.'" The visual image of Ralph's tanned and skinny arm pointing toward the unbroken horizon—where a ship once was—is very arresting (and heartbreaking), and Ralph's stillness is quite stark especially in comparison to Jack's movements. Jack begins to stab at the pig, while "Ralph brought his arm down, fist clenched, and his voice shook." It is visual and auditory imagery like this that Golding uses to help make Ralph's growing awareness especially vivid. As if to juxtapose what is represented by each...

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