Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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How does Ralph change throughout Lord of the Flies?

At the beginning of Lord of the Flies, Ralph is optimistic, naive, and confident. As the boys begin to neglect their duties and ignore his authority, Ralph grows frustrated and angry, and he loses hope and begins to turn towards savagery like the others. In the end, Ralph is scared and recognizes the "darkness in man's heart."

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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At the beginning of the story, Ralph is a relatively optimistic, naive child who believes that the boys will be able to create a civilized society on the uninhabited tropical island. After being elected chief, Ralph has faith that the group will obey his directives and that he will be able to maintain order. As the novel progresses, Ralph discovers that Jack resents him and is gradually attempting to undermine his authority while the boys begin to neglect their duties. Ralph then begins to lose hope when the majority of boys refuse to help build the shelters on the beach or follow simple instructions that would help cultivate a civilized society. In chapter 4, Ralph becomes infuriated and discouraged when they miss a rare opportunity to be rescued by a passing ship because Jack allowed his hunters to neglect the signal fire. In the next chapter, Ralph holds an assembly and attempts to address the numerous issues among the boys.

After Samneric claim that they witnessed the beast on the top of...

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chocolatekirby007 | Student

He loses conviction and belief in order, authority and civilisation once he witnesses the savagery that the school boys, descned into.

taykennedy7 | Student

At the start of the story, Ralph is optimistic, calm, and confident.  He seems to know what needs to be done to get rescued and he knows that leadership is required.  Since he does immediately state the obvious need for leadership, he is a natural choice to the boys to be the leader.  He lacks the ability to lead however.  He does not continue to command respect from the boys, he does not see that things get done and get done correctly; instead, he complains to the boys that they aren't doing things right.  Unfortunately, he does little more than complain.  By chapter 9, Ralph is beginning to sink into savagery like the other boys.  He actively participates in the circle of chanting and dancing boys who kill Simon, even if he doesn't actually lift a spear and stab at Simon himself.  He realizes later, the horror of what happened.  That attests to the idea that he still has some civility left in him.  By the last chapter, however, he is slinking through the brush and trees on the island, trying to think like a wild pig as he attempts to elude the boys who are hunting him in order to kill him.  He has had to become savage in order to survive.  At the end, when the boys are discovered by the naval officer, Ralph has just enough civilization left in him to cry for all the civilization he has lost.

permabound2 | Student

In the beginning of the novel, Ralph is the cool and charismatic character.  The boys elect him over Jack, and under Ralph's leadership, the boys are somewhat productive; they try and build shelters and tend the signal fire.  However, as the boys lose sight of their goal (to be rescued) they start to shy away from Ralph, and go to Jack.  Ralph berates them about not following the rules, so the boys get annoyed with Ralph.  They think he is obsessed with maintaing the signal fire.  As the boys turn to Jack and to savagery, so does Ralph, even if he doesn't realize it.  Ralph tries to kill a pig, and he was part of the group that killed Simon.  He also almost forgot what "rescue" was.  However, aside from Piggy and Simon, who both died, Ralph was the most civilized of the boys througout the entire book.